by May 7, 2022OPINIONS0 comments



One Feather Editor


I was listening to a recent session of Tribal Council in which it was stated that the person speaking was there to tell “my truth”. The inference from that statement (my opinion only) is that truth is situational. And I think many people believe that either truth depends on viewpoint or that truth can be different for anyone and everyone.

For example, I accept the Bible as a true document, and I therefore accept the precepts contained in it. My truth is in the belief that the decrees are truly based on the source of the writings. Yet, even in that, I am accepting in faith who that source is. Because I believe that source, his truth becomes my truth.

It would seem that the truth at least partially relies on what you use as a foundation.

For example, the law against speeding is a fact and a truth. It is true that if you are speeding past a police officer and he chases you and pulls you over, he will explain that truth to you. He may even attach consequences to emphasize that truth to you. Now you may have been racing to the hospital to perform a surgery or you may have been rushing your wife to the hospital to have that baby, and you don’t feel like that truth should apply to you, but situation does not equal truth. And position doesn’t, and shouldn’t, change truth.

I think we become so engrossed in personal and political agendas that we have made the word “truth” a tool to convince others to accept situations that justify positions.

I have friends that are opposed to the entire health community approach to the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. In fact, they question the very existence of COVID-19. I also have friends who are totally onboard with all the elements of the fight against COVID-19, from precautionary measures to treatment to vaccines. Now, I consider both sets of friends to be intelligent folks. How can two intelligent people have polarly opposite positions? They can do so because these are positions or situations, not truths. Their positions are based on personal and political agendas.

Propagandizing truth is an attempt to legitimize one’s position or situation. If I formulate a personal position, one that is advantageous to me, it is beneficial to getting support for my position to call it a “truth”, especially if my position is going to conflict with the majority.

The broad stroke statement here is that media has been the biggest proponent of propagandizing truth. We in the media have a duty to present for the communities we serve the facts and the truth. And yet, the media, as a whole, has made it less certain what the truth is by mixing commentary with fact and truth. When news organizations allow their reporters to analyze and surmise based on the input of those who also may be conjecturing, and they are allowed to mix that into a factual, or truthful, article, the result is a short story which may be a fairytale to convince you of the position of the reporter or the news organization that they represent. Again, that is a broad statement. Not all news media and owners are part of that practice. But national and regional media do have more than their fair share of “in-house” experts who attempt to educate you in the position you should take on a truth. And even without the influences of a misguided media, there are social media influencers and other people with specific agendas that are there to persuade you of “right” thinking.

I was once asked what a person is supposed to do if they cannot trust the media to report factually on issues of the day. They wanted to know where they go to get their truth.

I have come to believe that it doesn’t matter so much as to where you get your information, but what you do with that information when you get it. I do not take information I receive, even from a friend, at face value. They may mean well, but unless they have used the same processes as I have in coming to a conclusion, I cannot be certain of what they are conveying to me. I have heard things come out of my friends’ mouths that sound like things that they would have read in the National Inquirer tabloid, and they presented those things as facts without ever fact checking them. Sift information you receive. Compare it to other sources and reporting. In other words, stop being so gullible.

There are those in our world that would love to see media and the public barred from meetings of government. They loathe cameras, voice recorders, and public scrutiny. But in a free society, a basic right is that the people who are governed have the right to know what is going on in their government.

The Tribal public records law is outdated with timelines that benefit the governors and not the governed. The rules of release are so convoluted that people responsible for dissemination of information can deny access at will. In fact, I had one public official tell me that since the law did not require that a certain piece of information had to be released, then they would not provide it. Meetings are held in closed session with no attorney for the people present and no record is made of the sessions. Our governors can cut media feeds to public meetings (cable and livestream) and continue with open session if the venue remains open. Boards and committees of the Tribe are making individual changes to their bylaws and meeting policy to make it easier to shut off the public at times of their choosing. Some leaders are openly opposed to documenting their activities, in the best interest of the tribe, of course.

All of this means that we, as citizens of our Tribe, must be more diligent and engaged. And when the rumor mill cranks up, we must be ready to research, challenge, and dispel the modern myths. In the absence of facts, people are prone to hear, say, and accept gossip as gospel.

We need to stop misusing the word “truth”. Situations may vary. Truth is universal. Positions are different for everyone. Facts are specific and irrefutable. It doesn’t sound as cool or powerful to say “my situation” or “my position”, but at least it will, indeed, be the truth.