4 – R’s Core Cultural Values
Kinship – In the most profound sense, we are all related. Humans are related to both each other and to all things. As Western scientists are now finally learning, we—and all matter-- are “the very stuff of stars.” Indigenous peoples have long known that humans have a kinship with rocks, plants, animals and the Earth. The concept of relationships includes the need to value each person, group and element as an important part of the whole.
Community – We have a duty to care for our relatives. Each human is accountable for the well-being of their kin. If we call the Earth our mother, then we have an obligation to care for her. We respect and recognize the impact of our lives on the natural and social environments. We have a responsibility to use our “medicine” (inner strength) in strengthening our relationships and to respect and empower our relatives.
Interconnectedness/Balance – Our relationships and responsibilities shape our roles in life and are reciprocal as is the nature of the Universe and all aspects of life. Articulation and an understanding that all things are connected and cyclical are fundamental in knowing how we fit into the Universe, community and our families. Reciprocity represents cause and effect as we strive for balance. AIO views leadership as a reciprocal, shared responsibility.
Generosity – Our reciprocal relationships and responsibilities guide us to share our resources. Most tribes in North America had complex and sophisticated systems for the redistribution of wealth in order to maintain relatively flat societies, like potlaches among the tribes of the Northwest, giveaways from the Plains and Pueblo feast day throws. The collective and communal traditions of our ancestors teach us that wealth must be shared for the greater good of the whole. Traditionally, one became a leader, in part, because of one’s generosity and ability to care for relatives. In contemporary society we can articulate redistribution as the sharing of information, expertise, knowledge, advocacy and other resources.