Take root in healthy behaviors

by Peter Twitchell

I believe that a man or a woman is much like a tree in one respect. As humanity we need water to grow and nutritious food to make us big and strong like a tree. I have seen trees in swamps and trees planted solidly in rich soil.

Trees in swamps don’t flourish, they look unhealthy and in great need of salvaging. They may have a chance of thriving if transplanted, dug up and re-planted in healthy soil. Otherwise the tree will never start to thrive and grow to be a tree blooming with beautiful green leaves fluttering in the breeze and shining in the sunshine.

A healthy tree needs strong roots to anchor itself so that a strong wind cannot knock it down, bend it, or break it. I have seen 100 year old cottonwood trees at my fish camp here in Alaska. These trees which grew to be 40 feet high needed good water and rich soil to get their nourishment to grow. I can see the correlation between a human body and a healthy strong tree.

As people we need to be rooted in healthy characteristic, traits, and behaviors in order to grow strong mentally, emotionally, with a positive human experience in our lives.

Our ancestors and elders, our Yupiaq people of southwest Alaska practiced human values and held one another in high regard, respecting their elders, and their fellow man. Our Ancients thrived and survived in a harsh cold environment to live long fruitful lives.

These indigenous human beings long before our time highly respected one another and genuinely loved their neighbors. Human life was precious as a gift from the supreme spirit they called “Ellam Yua” – Son of the Universe.

Our ancestors were spiritual people believing Creator God who made everything from man, animal, all living creatures, the air, the land, the tundra, the water, to the smallest organisms. Our ancestors believe the great spirit made us from the ground, the land is where we come from.

Our ancestors were grounded like a strong tree in their value systems. They believed and taught their children. I believe our ancestors survived by living healthy fruitful lives so that our people, our tribe, flourished and we are the result of their healthy lives and practices. Their beliefs were grounded in love – caring, sharing, with respect for each other, the land, water, air and the tundra.

Unfortunately modern times have changed us to where our mind and body has been grounded in anger, resentments, selfishness, envy, jealousy, and self pride. All unhealthy characteristics of a man to where we have grown to hate each other, disrespect one another and love which was the cornerstone of our ancestors is absent because it can’t shine in the dark, callous and cavalier world we live in today.