TLE works to development activities that primarily improves the overall quality of life in a community. That is the meaning of our logo, “Grow Our Own”. Community development is at the heart of the work that Tolani Lake Enterprises Inc. does. A healthy community is important to the survival of the Navajo Nation. TLE is working to build healthy communities on Navajo and to develop programs that can be replicated throughout Indian Country.
When using indigenous circular thinking all of the elements are equally important. We can not live without Water, Air, Fire, or Earth. It is the same with Native communities. We cannot have healthy Native Communities without…………………
What does a healthy community look like?
There are many ingredients the goes to make up a healthy community. Economic security is one. How economic security looks on Navajo and in Indian Country is quite different then it looks in the non-native world. Economic security can only come about through culturally relevant economic development and opportunities. It must also be in an atmosphere where dollars are able to circulate in the community at least 6 or 7 times.
Food security and food sovereignty. A community must have food security and sovereignty. The people must know that there is a sustainable and steady supply of food that is culturally relevant. The natural food of the people must be available. The people must be sovereign and control its own food supply and selection.
Housing. The people must have healthy housing that is culturally appropriate. Clean, safe, affordable housing. Housing that people can be proud of, claim ownership to, have buy in. Have true ownership to.
A healthy community must have strong cultural teachings, events, activities, ties, and practices.
Language is a most. Language is who we are. Proper family support, community support, communal activities. A community must honor and care for it’s elders. Have leaders that know how to marry the modern with the traditional.
Water. People are entitled to good, fresh drinking water, for self and for livestock. Access to good, clean water is a non-negotiable right that all communities must have. These are the core values that drives TLE’s initiatives. All of the programs initiated by TLE address on of these issues.