Editor's Note: The following short essay is one of 80 entries in book released earlier this month from Northern Michigan University entitled "Voice on the Water: Great Lakes Native Americans Now."
Dr. Jessica A. Rickert in Entertainment. Discussion »
Circle of Life
TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN - The Potawatomi know the circle of life exists - we are all connected here, right now. As importantly, we are connected to the seven generations preceding us. It is what they did that brings us here. And, what we do today will have an impact seven generations hence. What will that impact be? We need to think about that.
I believe in the development of the American Indian youth, as did my mother and father. Here is how they treated their daughters:
Because they listened to her, She knew she had something important to say.
Because they believed in her, She believed in herself.
Because they said she could do anything, She did.
I thank them.
As Sitting Bull stated in 1870, "Let us put our minds and hearts together and see what kind of life we can build for our children."
My husband and I tried to do so. My own children are now doing that for my six grandchildren. I thank them.
As we go forth from this great Misch I gon ong with its wondrous waters, remember what the Potawatomi say:
"Our people are as a great river, flowing from forever to forever. The river comes from drops of water - from the sky, from the hills, from the springs. Each individual drop is insignificant, almost nothing. Yet when they all come together as a river, it cuts a path through anything on its way. Even granite.
Individuals come into this world, like drops at some point, flow along as part of the river for a while and later leave it like fog or haze.
A small contribution is made and the river goes on "
Dr. Jessica A. Rickert-Potawatomi
Jessica Rickert, DDS, is a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. Dr. Rickert is the first female American Indian dentist ever. She has received numerous awards and honors, among them her entry into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame in October 2009.
posted December 23, 2011 7:20 am est
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