When a group of people come together to participate in some kind of common endeavor which holds special meaning,  a natural kinship is strongly formed with one another. Be it by blood or not, there is a bond that unites them all,  and is often referred to as a clan.  Indian cultures have always had clans from day one, and is probably how various ties developed to make these sub-tribal groups adept at various pursuits in living upon the planet.
While often first nation people, that is, the original inhabitants of an area, have always been considered as indigenous people, I have often wondered where that designation originates or terminates.  The line seems blurred to me, because we are all indigenous to Motherearth in some aspect, simply because it is a common place we are all born into.  History is a bit  relative. Once we arrive, each day forward creates our own personal history. It matters not, where the starting point is, upon our time-line, as we travel during our life long burning of the human flame. What matters is how we burn our flame and what we leave behind.

To me, having evolved into a river outfitter and guide, over the years, it has always felt like the professionals of the river community-sphere  comes close to being a similar form of tribalism. Like Peoples of past centuries  who  lived close to nature and were dependant upon earth’s natural resources at a more primal level than most people of today appreciate, the land and river  guides this day and age seem to mirror that same connection to earth. They are  a little like a second generation of beings engaging the world in more raw terms and similar kinship with Indian people in their world view.

As guides eke out a living, simple, and far less materialistic than corporate flavored Americanism, they have developed a common spirit of appreciation for the natural world.  When living close to nature, in a hand and mouth, more or less subsistence level, there comes a deep appreciation for base values that sustains our existence.

As the oarlock turns, and each stroke contributes to the designing of our own destiny, there is a powerful feeling of accomplishment that comes with navigating a rapid right side up.  When negotiating difficult waters, the challenge is often daunting, yet ever so electric when safely accomplished.  Amping up on the river’s juice, is power in itself, that courses through the veins of our own being. Our very veins are only an extension of the river – itself a vein of Motherearth.  Being one with the river, is more than zen. It is a way of being that helps us feel the efficacy of the life-giving water our tiny orb sustains us with as it spins through-out the universe.

(www.salmonriverphotos.com)

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