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CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD On my way out of Cuba, from La Habana, on COPA airlines flight to Panama, I w...

dimanche 3 août 2014

EMBRACING MODERNITY WITHOUT LOOSING TRADITION: A SUCCESSFUL TALE AMONG THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS : THE KICKAPOO

In just over three hundred years, and in some cases even less, the American Indians had been forced to change their lifestyle, like no other people on earth. Forced to change their diet, their spiritual practices and their activities, and confined to small landmasses in unaccessible areas of the United States.
One tribe resisted this from the very beginning. When the United States Government wanted to forcibly remove the Traditional Kickapoo to Oklahoma, a good portion of the tribe, went lock, stock and barrel to Mexico, where they were welcomed as warriors and given land to settle. They were happy to be able to practice their religion and their lifestyle. There they lived happily for the next one hundred and fifty years, not forgetting their language or customs and traditions and especially their spiritual connections to the world. In the 1980s, they were allotted land in Eagle Pass, Texas by the government and they began the single life of Kickapoo but in two different countries.
Under the careful scrutiny of a tribal administration, in the last ten years, there has been a surging forth of economic activity, to such a degree that the tribe is the major employer in this region. Most of the counties bordering  Mexico are considered among the poorest in the USA and it is the unselfish and collective thinking of the tribe has made it self sufficient.
They have provided homes for almost every one in the tribe. When you enter the reservation, it is as if you are entering a middle class american neighborhood with clean lawns, well kept roads and landscaped architecture.
No, the Indians don't live in tepees any more, sometimes I reply to the innocent americans ignorant of the status of the original inhabitants of this land.
The fiercely maintain their spiritual world and resist any attempt by missionaries to convert them. All members of the tribe are speakers of the language and most of them are bilingual and some being trilingual (Spanish, English, Kickapoo).
When I visit them, I stay with a family which has become like a family for me. Because of my interest in their culture, I am greeted with traditional fare and most of the time including visits to the nearest Mexican town as well as their sacred grounds in Mexico.
They have embraced Modernity (most homes have Internet and WiFi!), the transportation is on modern trucks, most families owning trucks registered in Texas as well as Mexico and they are allowed to come and go freely between the two countries on the production of their tribal Identification.
On my most recent visit, a special dish was prepared for me. It took nearly a day to simmer and cook, and the chef had to get up at various times at night to check on her fare. It tasted very good!
I think the success of this tribe may lie in the fact that, they are proud of who they are, they cherish to speak their language and also follow all the centuries old traditions of the tribe.
They are surrounded in USA by descendants and immigrants from Mexico who are ashamed of their origin, don't wish to speak the language and deny their connection to the earth of Monctezuma. Mexican Americans, in general, are on the bottom of the social ladder in America, even among the immigrants from Latin America. 
I felt immensely good on this recent visit, able to help the doctora who looks after the Health of many of the tribal members. A lovely dinner at an elegant restaurant on the Mexican side, another one in the best Mexican restaurant on the USA side.. and of course the traditional fare prepared by the tribal members.
 Rio Bravo, which separates USA from Mexico

The pleasant mexican town on the other side of the border 

Especially prepared traditional meal, all are made fresh, the meat taking a very long time to prepare.

The tortillas made by hand and not bought at the store
They can grow all the traditional vegetables in the garden plots provided for them, if they so like. I would like to encorage them to do so.

Modern homes in the American Side of the Border :





They still follow all the traditions associated with constructing their winter and summer traditional homes in their sacred grounds in Mexico.

I am happy to know them and be associated with them.They know that I am jewish, so when they offer me food, they are meticulous about not using any pork or pork products. In their tradition, one does not eat members of the clan to which one belongs to and for a long time, they thought that I was a member of Pig Clan from some tribe!