Welcome to the Native Studies Program
We, the descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent, are many peoples. We celebrate the diversity of our ways as a source of strength within our nations, and as the wellspring of respect between our nations; for the right of each of us to be who we are involves the freedom to follow our own consciences, beliefs and customs, and the surest way to secure this right for ourselves is to recognize it in other human beings with other ways. Thus in diversity we find unity: unity of mind, unity of purpose, and unity of practice.
Our unity of mind is not the narrow dogma of one of the many competing visions of the universe. It is the realization that nothing is barred from consideration as long as it does not obtrude into the lives of others. From this unity arises our respect for the earth, upon which we all depend; our respect for the ways and opinions of others, even if we do not share those ways or opinions; and our commitment to reasoned discourse, not violence, as the means to resolve disputes.
Our unity of purpose is to ensure that our ways, as well as the ways of others, will endure. From this unity grows our knowledge that in respecting others we respect ourselves; our capacity to appreciate each other as we are; and our resolve not to see our ways shattered into thousands of unrelated fragments;.
Our unity of practice is to uphold these ideals, live them to the best of our abilities, and assure their continuation in our forms of life. From this unity arises our responsibility to our present generations and generations yet unborn, and our gratitude to the generations that came before us; our reliance on example and persuasion rather than authority and force when change is contemplated; and our determination to explore the limits of our own understanding.
These are the things which, once affirmed, no longer have need of explanation. They are the common grounds we bestow to one another, the starting points of our deliberations, and the shelter from which we can, with confidence, undertake the journey of our lives.