Traditional Values

by Peter Twitchell

When I looked up “values” it means: principles, standards, morals, ethics, ideals, and when we talk about traditional values it could include these Tlingit Values: Respect for self and others including Elders, Remember our native traditions, our families, sharing, loyalty, pride, and loving children, Responsibility, Truth and wise use of words, Care of subsistence areas, care for property, Reverence “we have one great word in our culture: haa shageinyaa. This was a Great Spirit above us, and today we have translated that reverence to God.” Sense of humility, Care of human body, Dignity, The Tlingit word for dignity is yan gaa duuneek, Peace with the family, peace with the neighbors, Peace with the others, and Peace with the world of nature.

Alaska Native Cultures all hold certain values to be paramount to their cultures. These lists from the Alaska Native Knowledge Network website showcase some of the similarities and individualities of various Alaska Native groups and their values. Below is a list of some important values all Alaska Native Cultures share.

1. Show Respect for Others – Each Person Has a Special Gift.

2. Share what you have – Giving Makes You Richer.

3. Know Who You Are – You Are a Reflection on Your Family.

4. Accept What Life Brings – You Cannot Control Many Things.

5. Have Patience – Some Things Cannot Be Rushed.

6. Live Carefully – What You Do Will Come Back To You.

7. Take Care of Others – You Cannot Live without Them.

8. Honor Your Elders – They Show You the Way in Life.

9. Pray for Guidance – Many Things Are Not Known.

10. See Connections – All Things Are Related.

These are wonderful values but they get swallowed up by the pleasures of the world. It’s easy to get away from our traditional values and what we were taught when we were young. Life is fast today and we often get lost in it.

If we followed these simple values we would be standing on solid ground. We would be free of all the hurt we feel because of our past. If you let chemicals like alcohol rule your life, you will not practice these values. What good is a tool if we’re not going to use it? So, start practicing your traditional values and you will begin to see them in your life.