Preamble

Our bylaws are an identity document. Who we are, what we stand for, and how we do things should be readily apparent to all who read them. Our bylaws govern our conduct and the conduct of those who will follow after us. They will need to be reminded, as we sometimes do, that the decisions we make on behalf of this organization reach beyond us to the next seven generations.

In founding this organization, we seek nothing less than to change institutions of higher learning into places where Native people can pursue their educational goals while keeping their cultural identities intact. We recognize that we cannot succeed by doing the same things in the same way and expecting different results. We call upon the wisdom of our ancestors and our elders to guide us along a new path. Our strength is in our difference and this difference has been the key to our survival. Our uniqueness is a gift we offer to others.

Our organization is a many-layered web. We each represent individual institutions. Yet, like the strands of a web, we are connected and our futures are similarly intertwined. What impacts one of us has consequences for all of us for the hurt of one is the hurt of all. And, the honor of one is the honor of all.

As the Governing Council of this organization, we affirm that leaders exist to serve the people. People are more important than things. People are more important than time. Every member of this organization has the right to speak in Council. Wisdom comes from many sources and good counsel is welcome no matter who offers it. Leaders do not wield power. They hold responsibility in a sacred trust with the people.

We value consensus in our decision-making, as did our ancestors. We communicate honestly and openly. Time does not dictate the pace at which we make decisions. We wait until a course of action becomes apparent to all. A good decision is one that helps some, if not all of the people, and hurts no one. If a decision is good only for others and not for us, but does us no harm, then we must let it come to pass. We do not compete with each other. It is not important to be "the first" or "the only," but to ensure that there is enough for all.

We conduct ourselves and our relations with each other in a good way. We know those things that lead to our well-being. We observe moderation and balance in all things. And, we know those things that lead to our self-destruction. While in this circle, we abstain from alcohol and other drugs.

We pledge ourselves to this sacred responsibility.