The Aga Khan is the spiritual leader of Shia Ismaili Muslims worldwide. He spoke recently at Harvard University about tribalism. The Associated Press summarized his speach as follows:
“He said globalization should not mean the creation of a single, homogenized society where all differences are erased, but one where what we have in common and what makes us different is respected.”
The Aga Khan was speaking of the relationship between the Christian and Muslim worlds but I also immediately thought of Pine Ridge.
I think that this cuts to the heart of the challenge for the Sioux reservations of the northern plains. On the one hand there is a desire for greater economic and social connectivity, inclusion and integration. On the other hand, lives the fear of losing heritage and culture. The problem is the feeling that we have to choose one or the other. That notion is limiting.
A new paradigm might be the embrace of both ideas. Easier said than done I am sure but in Lakota society the direction one faces is considered to be important…because it determines where you end up.