Never take anything for granted. Never take more than you need. Respect the land. And in all things, give thanks to the Creator.
These are beliefs that American Indians have always practiced as a way of life.
Several American Indians came together recently at Uniontown Indian Day in Uniontown to share some of their beliefs, as well as information about their culture, with anyone who took the time to listen.
The event was very much an in-depth and hands-on history lesson about the lifestyle and culture of the American Indians. People could participate in classes for stick weaving, beading, making corn husk dolls, medicine bags and dream catchers.
There was also a lesson in tepee construction and the art of smudging.
Matt Cordes, a member of the Long Plain First Nation of the Dakota Sioux and a resident of Radcliff, Ky., mesmerized a group of children and adults with his demonstration of tepee construction and the ceremony involved in building a home.
"As Indian people, one thing we have in common with other nations is that we respect the land we live on," he said. "When we move into an area, we respect the plant life."
That's why before constructing a tepee, a grass dance was held to stomp down the grass. Cordes said after the Indians moved on, the grass would grow upright again. The grass was not destroyed to make the home, he said.
"As we go through our daily lives ... we're always in tune with what the Creator has for us in our lives," he said. "Every aspect of our lives is spiritual.
"As a family begins to put up a home - we invite the spirits to come in and be a part of our home, to bless the home so good things go into the home."
Here, Cordes sang a song to bless the home.
"There's a lot of heart that goes into the songs - it's to share our hearts with the Creator as we sing these songs," he said. "In our culture, we're a very ceremonial people and there are songs for everything."
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