We gave voice to the majesty of ceremony and prayer through songs, dances and stories.
You see, we knew we were more than the sum of our physical parts, or our tribal names; indeed, we were water, land, trees, animals, swimmers, flyers, crawlers and the supernatural.
It's not even for digging up data and statistics about us.
We lived by the dictate: "Begin, in a good way, as you mean to carry on." This did not mean that we avoided arguments, or other tribes for that matter, that occasionally resulted in a battle royal; after all, many tribes were fierce warriors. If people were taken from a tribe for any reason, they were usually adopted into their new tribe at the same level of importance.
This was, for example, common among the northern tribes of British Columbia.
I certainly understand the argument about how "faulty traditions" have been adopted in recent times, for example: women not being allowed to play the big drums began in the early 1972.
There is a lot of research that clearly shows the ban is wrong.
As the Great Spirit Prayer says, and I paraphrase, it is the responsibility of each of us to go to the spirit world with clean hands and straight eyes so that when life fades as the fading sunset we can move beyond the white veil without shame.