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A return to traditional values

So the other day I wrote about the book by William Hensley called Fifty Miles from Tommorrow about his journey as a trailblazer activist for Alaska Native sovereignty. I listed all his many accomplishments which were very impressive. One that I did not list was his coming up with the idea to have a spirit camp. Later in life William had become disillusioned with all the oppression and traumas that Natives had been exposed to over the years and how this had greatly increased the assimilation and acculturation process. He decided to have a community meeting meeting with 75 residents in his village and then came up with a list of traditional values which had sustained them through the boarding school era, the loss of their religion, their language and of course the land itself. This was a very powerful process and it evolved into what are known as spirit camps. These spread throughout Alaska and have helped to revitalize the pride of all Alaskan Natives and other Native Americans who reside in the state. All Tribal communities would be well served to go through this type of process to help them to understand what their priorities should be.

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