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One Family, Many Cultures

Published: June 22, 2009, Author: MHirch

When the salutation, “All my relations” is spoken or written these days, many people think this quaint and perhaps a little presumptuous. But, the expression has always expressed a deep and timeless connection between people that celebrates relationships between people, places and other beings. “All my relations” also speaks to a collective memory among people that extends back deep into the beginning.

In the western hemisphere including Greenland and the far eastern part of the Eurasian continent that touches Alaska and Japan we recognize a human family spread out, living in different climates and ecosystems.  The differences are responses to the place, plants, animals and view of the sky. The sameness of members of a vast family bespeaks a distant root branched out over the continents. There is one family of native peoples making up the whole, but many cultures with different languages, social practices, economic activities, and ways of praising grandmother and grandfather.

Long told in stories and remembered in numerous ways, the connection between native peoples in the western hemisphere have remained a constant. Origin stories, legends, songs and dances reach into the distant past and give in metaphor the details of the passage into this world.  Now, according to Science News the biological tracers have been identified by deductive science to affirm what has long been known among the original peoples in the western hemisphere: We are all related.

There are many important differences between native peoples throughout the hemisphere and virtually all have to do with culture; though it is often the case the customs, cultural practices are often similar if not always exactly the same.  The use of song, dance, stories, hunting methods, transportation and even sometimes eating habits are the same or very similar.

It is and always has been true that we have connection between peoples in this hemisphere even as it is true for peoples on other continents. With respect and dignity we salute our friends and family with “All my relations.”

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