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Tribes

Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis




Do you automatically associate the word tribe with Native Americans? I normally would, but I am aware of a new usage of the word to describe a way of returning to basic principles of human connection. Whether we realize it or not, our lives have become compartmentalized to an extreme. The media is full of discussions about the great divide between segments of society---by race, religion, politics, etc. But there is another sector that exists, and that is the segmented living environment of Elders. Consider that young adults primarily live in apartments, young families want a kid-friendly neighborhood, and empty-nesters may want maintenance-provided condos. When Seniors are in need of care, we move them to a facility at the edge of town where they are completely isolated from people of other ages. Is it possible there is much to gain by everyone if we return to the concept of tribal living?


Sebastian Junger, in his book Tribe, On Homecoming and Belonging, looks back to indigenous peoples to reveal a very appealing tribal concept. It is a historical fact that many of the early settlers who were captured by native tribes chose to stay with them because of their egalitarian lifestyle. In his book, he describes a culture in which each age and gender had important roles to fill. Hunters, gatherers, mothers, children, and especially the esteemed elders all had equally important roles in assuring a thriving village. Many new senior living concepts are built around this tribal model with an effort to create an environment where all generations can live in community to play, heal, learn, and support each other. By isolating our Elders, we miss the opportunity to gain from their wisdom and experience. Using this model assures multiple benefits for everyone involved and is the way of the future!

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