TLE works to development activities that primarily improves the overall quality of life in our 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…………………
Food Security and Food Sovereignty
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 how 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. Economic security comes about when the good of the community is put before profit.
Food security and food sovereignty. A community must have food security and food 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. Tolani Lake would like to become a “Healthy Community”.
What would a healthy community looks like on Navajo?
A community that is:
Physically healthy with a minimal of diet related illnesses and practicing a healthy lifestyle.
Where K’é (a system of kinship that recognizes both close blood ties and clan ties) is the norm rather than the exception. A place where fresh wholesome food is available on the local level at a reasonable and affordable price. Economic development and opportunities are present in the community. 80% or more of the population is fluent in Navajo, from infancy to adulthood. Cultural awareness is present in a manner the is respectful of all spiritual orientation.
Tolani Lake, like most other communities on Navajo is in dire need of these things. What would make Tolani Lake Chapter truly a Healthy Community is to have all of the above and to be able to replicate the methodology throughout Diné Bikéyah. In other words we want a truly Holistic Navajocentric Community that will serve the well being of our people for the next seven generations.
How Do We Accomplish This?
In order to have physical health we must have a healthy environment. Clean air, clean water, clean food, clean soil.
In order to have physical health we need to have mental health. We achieve mental health by having proper relationships with the natural world, cultural awareness.
In order to have physical, and mental health we must also have emotional health. We gain emotional health through the practice of K’é.
In order to have physical, mental, and emotional health we must have spiritual health.
We are awarded spiritual health when we take the first three and mix it with a large portion of love. Love of self, of family (humanity), love for the environment, and love for your Higher Power (However you define Higher Power).
By addressing these four main components of life we achieve balance. We must have balance in order to have a successful outcome.
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 these issues to some degree.