This coming Sunday will give us all an opportunity to celebrate one of the most important holidays on the calendar, Mother’s Day. But, Mother’s Day is anything but an annual holiday. It’s more than that. It’s a time to realize and understand just how significant and influential our mothers (or mother figures) are in our lives. It’s a time to show our utmost appreciation for the one person that has probably had the most effect on each and every one of our future endeavors as well as successes.
Mothers are more than just mothers, especially in our culture. Our mothers serve as the backbone of our people, but it is the many other purposes they serve that have the greatest impact. They are nurturers. They are leaders. Our mothers have sacrificed and many have sacrificed a lot. And, most continue to sacrifice so that their children can live better lives. And, often times, they are the voice of reason. We all know that our clan affiliation is derived from our maternal bloodline but it is the long lasting effect that our mothers have on our culture through their overall being that has the biggest impact. It’s something we see daily when we interact with our Cherokee mothers whether it be through seeking guidance or advice or looking for comfort like we always have. The Cherokee mother has provided and continues to provide the calmness and direction that our tribe continues to desperately need.
And, while our Cherokee mothers deserve the highest of accolade and acknowledgement, let us not forget all the non-enrolled mothers throughout our tribe that have an equally daunting task. For it is they that are also responsible for raising our future Cherokees as well and their role in that is no less important. They, too, are providing to the cause. All mothers throughout our reservation and beyond face such an uphill battle a lot of times and it is crucial that we acknowledge and appreciate just how hard their job is.
On a personal note, I would like to say just how much I appreciate my own mother, who happens to be a full blood and my wife, who is non-enrolled. Both have had (and continue to have) to put up with a great deal and both have been the highest of examples for motherhood. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother and a better mother to my children.
So on this Mother’s Day whether or not you celebrate it in a traditional manner make sure to give thanks for the wonderful mothers amongst our people. And at the very least, let your mother (or someone else’s) know just how much they appreciated.
Currently living in Chattanooga, Tenn.