As a Tribe, The Grand Ronde Tribe is dispersed throughout the United States and abroad because of termination policies forced upon us by the U.S. Federal government back in the 1950s, for more on termination click here. This has put us in the unique situation of being a Tribe and Tribal without living in close proximity to each other. This begs the question: What does it mean to be “Tribal?”
Recently, I was talking with two elders, my Mother, Elinore Anders (LaChance), and Margret Provost when I posed that question. Their response surprised me. “It is not about beads and moccasins,” replied Provost, “Rather it is about family and sharing our lives with each other.” The conversation turned to reminiscing about days gone by, stories of friends, family, and reservation life.
It dawned on me, today it is impossible for my Tribe to enjoy being “Tribal” the way our elders enjoyed it because it is physically impossible for us to gather together in one place.
So, how do we build relationships with extended family members who live hundreds, even thousands of miles away? We connect online, using the technology available to us. We use social media to find each other and begin to share our lives with each other. We have conversations, dialogs about our lives and passions because this is what makes us a Tribe.
Do you agree? What do you think makes us a Tribe and how do you suggest we be more “Tribal?”