Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The fourth Cherokee Prophecy

A Cherokee Prophecy – Cherokee

This was sent to me by my wife a Cherokee.

I am not sure where it comes or if it is from the Cherokee as I have not heard it before but what it says is the fourth prophecy is true.

It is told that, in the early days of the Old (Cherokee) Nation, seven wise and holy men went together to a certain valley in the Smokey mountains to seek knowledge of the future.

Of all the people in all Seven Clans of the Cherokee these seven men were the most truthful, most selfless, and most heedful of the needs and well being of all the Tribe. They carried the medicine deerskin and medicine tobacco, and did all the holy things along the way.

And when they came to this certain valley, they spread out the deerskin in the center and prayed, saying they came with humility, to seek truth and to share it with the people.

Then they blew smoke over the deerskin, each in turn, and they watched the smoke trails for a sign from the Spirits.

And the Spiritss came down from the heavens and spoke, and they showed the seven Holy Men images of what life would be like in the future.

And when the Spirits were finished, the Seven Holy Men went and prophesied to the people the marvels that they had been shown.

The first was that men would someday fly in the air.

The second was that the tracks of the Cherokee people would someday lead west to the valley of the
Mississippi , never to return.

The third was that there would be schools to teach important knowledge to all the people.

But the fourth prophecy was that in the future, young people would return from the schools, and point rudely to the old men of the tribe, and claim that what the old men said did not matter -- because they knew nothing.

The people considered this last prophecy for a long time, and talked in Council and among themselves, but they were never able to determine what great wisdom might be taught in these schools that the children should point to the old people and talk in this way.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Do We Need Ceremony In Our Lives

The desire to have ritual and a sense of belonging in our life is one of our main drives and is often overlooked. The lack of ritual is a cause of many problems in our lives.

We each have an inherent desire for ceremony or religion of some type in our own life. We need ritual to feel balanced. An absence of religion is not an absence of religion. It is only the absence of an organized religion. Many times we will create our own rituals without knowing it. People seek ritual in their life and many times if they cannot find it they withdraw and this becomes a type of ritual in itself.

Desiring ritual in our lives is not the same thing as desiring a supreme being in our life. Those are two different aspects even though many times having a supreme being in your life leads to rituals. Even people who do not believe in a supreme being seek ritual in their lives. The absence of a mainstream religion can be a ritual in itself.

Three words to consider are religion, spirituality and ritual. Ritual is interchangeable with ceremony. I will call it a ceremony here.

Ceremony can take many shapes and forms without people realizing that it is a ritual. Take someone who never fails to watch Monday night football. Each Monday they will get out their favorite food, beverage and many times even wear special clothing. It may be a hat, a jersey or even certain clothes they consider lucky. They may include a certain group of people who gather to watch the game. Even if they do not gather a group each week they will still follow the same ceremony each time they watch the game.

As with any community with the joining of outsiders to the group there is always a screening process. You wouldn’t invite someone who hates football to come and watch football on Monday night. Leaders within the community or group approve or disapprove new members. If you watch football at a friends house and you want to bring someone else you always ask and get approval first.

Within the community and during the ceremony there are requirements for accepted wear. If you are watching a football game many people will wear their favorite jersey or what they perceive as their lucky clothes.

There are accepted greetings between members of the participants in rituals that are not the same as greetings for non-members. There are also consequences for withdrawal or betrayal of the community.

Some other examples of ceremonies would be youth sports and the culture that surrounds it, joining of social sites on the Internet, belonging to a musical group, following a famous musical group, the huge annual ceremony when people gather to watch the Super Bowl.

Another example of this would be the drug culture. The clothing, the signs used for greeting, the way they fill a pipe when it is used, the preparation of the drugs, the acceptance of others into the group and the consequences if you leave or betray the community. Although it can be argued that the chemical dependency plays an important part in this but ritual also plays an equal part.

One of the reasons that drug rehabilitation often fails is not only the chemical dependency but the dependency on the familiar ritual within the community. When people are rehabilitated there are not ceremonies and the sense of belonging to replace the ones lost. Because of the lack of community after rehabilitation in conventional rehabilitation that is the reason that spiritual groups or groups like AAA with their weekly meetings have a better success rate at rehabilitation then others.

Even homeless people have a community and ceremonies in their life with a hierarchy who oversees them. The ritual and hierarchy will change with each area that they travel to or by where they live within an area. There are accepted rules of behavior and a sense of belonging. Go to the camp of the homeless in a major city and you will quickly see the community and if you’re accepted you may witness some of the evening ceremonies which are maybe as simple as gathering to talk and drink.

Some of things that rituals have in common are:

A process to join the group

A sense of belonging

Rules to follow

What is accepted and what is not accepted behavior.

What to wear and bring when attending a ceremony

A sense of betrayal when someone that belongs to the group no longer conforms

A leadership within the group even when it is informal and not clearly defined

Acceptable and non acceptable clothing

Vocabulary that is just for the group

Status symbols

The need of everyone to do their part

All this is to replace the loss of the sense of belonging to a village or community and the rituals that go with the community. Not many generations ago we were members of small communities with all the rituals that go with it. Even in big cities older people speak of the sense of community in the neighborhoods that they grew up in. They speak of the elders that would sit outside each evening and talk, of the festivals within the community and much more.

Ceremony and ritual are part of our makeup and we continue to seek it out even if it is something as simple as applying makeup or shaving in the morning. We call them habits but many of our habits have become rituals in themselves.

To not acknowledge that we need communities and the rituals that go with the community just as our ancestors did leaves a sense that something is missing.

Each of us has to decide what the ceremony in our lives will be and where to find it. What is right for me is not necessarily right for someone else. When we learn to foster a sense of belonging within our families and group of friends and recognize the need for ceremonies our lives and relationships can began to heal and grow.

Not having the sense of belonging and ceremony leads to many of the suicides in our societies especially in youth.

What I wrote here is what I have been taught and come to understand over the last few years while watching the resurgence of pride in our Native communities. Seeing the change that programs like what http://whitebison.org is doing, teaching our people how to have pride in our community, heritage and ceremonies is helping to bring healing to people.

You do not have to agree with me and that is your right. These are words that have come to me and I wanted to share with you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Want To Jump On The Trampoline

This might prove interesting if you jump on it but it would definitely be a good place to go hunting. Now you know why when you are in the woods hunting you cannot find any bucks. They know where to hide during hunting season.

A Frickin Elephant

The Things A Teacher Hears

My five-year old students, are learning to read.

Yesterday one of them pointed at a picture in a zoo book and said,

"Look at this! It's a frickin' elephant!"

I took a deep breath, then asked..."What did you call it?"

"It's a frickin' elephant! It says so on the picture!"

And so it does...

" A f r i c a n Elephant "

Hooked on phonics!

Monday, March 16, 2009

United States Credit Crisis

Here is a good video about the current credit crisis here in the U.S. It is a good explanation. The only thing I saw was that if an individual tried to do what the big corporations do they would probably end up in jail.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Native American Boarding School March

There is a great organization called White Bison. Their website is whitebison.org

White Bison works to help bring about healing among our American Indian family with their wellbriety program. They also have a daily email they send out with words from our elders. To subscribe to it go to http://www.whitebison.org/meditation/subscribe.php?Submit=Subscribe It is worth reading everyday.

Here is the one for March 16 that I thought was great as usual.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 16
"Each of us must know in our minds and believe in our hearts that even though we are different, you are like me and I am like you."
--Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA
One of the definitions of humility is having an awareness of one's own character defects. To recognize and acknowledge that one has imperfections is being humble. We should never pray for ourselves unless by doing so it would help another person. To have self-importance puts self first and this is not humble. We each have strengths and we each have weaknesses. Both the strengths and weaknesses are sacred. Life is sacred. We learn sacred things from weaknesses also. Therefore, all lives are developed through trial and error, strength and weakness, ups and downs, gains and losses- all of these are part of life and life is sacred.

Great Mystery, let me see and know about the sacredness of life.

On May 16th 2009, White Bison will begin a 40-day, 6,800 mile cross-country journey to present and former Indian School sites. It's goal is to promote awareness, dialogue and forgiveness among Native peoples for the historical trauma of the Indian Boarding School Era which began in 1879. You can go to whitebison.org to find out how to take part or how to help support what they are doing.

Those of you that have said I wish there was a way to learn more, to take part or to help here is your opportunity.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sweat Lodges

By Paula Bidwell

This is a talk about “Inipi” or Sweat Lodge Ceremony. In Native American traditional ways we learn by listening to our elders talk and tell stories. This article is meant to be just that. I will tell the story as my teachers did and then at a later time I will add more to the knowledge.
Imagine we are sitting around a fire maybe at Powwow or maybe Sun Dance, or even in our own backyard. The hour is late and everything around us is still and quiet except for the crackle of the wood burning. A voice begins to speak….
Did you know there are different types of Inipi (Sweat Lodge) ceremonies? Many think the Sweat Lodge is only for cleansing and purification. But, this is not true; there are many kinds of Inipi or Sweat Lodges.
There are Sweat Lodge ceremonies held when a relative has died. These help the deceased person cross over to the other realm. They are usually held for four nights. Night is the time for the spirits of the deceased or “Wanagi”. After the sun goes down, and especially between midnight and pre-dawn, they wake up and are moving around. The four days is the time when the newly deceased is able to communicate important messages and to say their goodbyes. These Sweat ceremonies are also for the mourners to end their official time of mourning. Which is usually 13 moons or approximately one year. The ceremony for the end of the time of mourning is called “Wasigala” and can be done without the Sweat Ceremony.
There are also Sweat Lodge ceremonies for the healing of illnesses. These are called “Doctoring Sweats”. These ceremonies may only have the patient and medicine person in the lodge. The rest of us would stay by the fire and pray or be busy in the house cooking. Or sometime there may be a few singers and other people close to the sick person inside the lodge.
Most of us have been to Sweat Lodges that contact the Tunkasilas or ancient beings for advice and guidance during difficult and perilous times. It is said that in the Sweat Lodge we meet the Tunkasila or elder spirits half way. These sweats are usually very hot. They make us so uncomfortable that we are forced to stay in a state of prayer, which is very far removed from our everyday busy worlds. This is how we meet the Tunkasilas half way. Some us don’t eat or drink so that we are even further removed from our material world. Many of us let our hair loose and unbraided or untied. This is another way to remove us from the material world. We are not concerned with how we look. That is why your elders may tell you not to wear jewelry, or make-up.
Then there are Sweat Lodges for activating, renewing or cleansing of sacred objects, medicines or canunpas (sacred pipes). In the case for cleansing, these are very serious ceremonies. It means that something has happened to the sacred object that has harmed or weakened it. The need to cleanse a sacred object is a very sad thing. Many tears are shed during these ceremonies. For the renewal of a sacred object or medicine is far less serious and is a little like breathing fresh air into it and letting the sun shine all over it. Activating a sacred object is another serious ceremony. It is necessary when a person takes the responsibility of carrying a canunpa (sacred pipe) for the people. This is best done where the Buffalo Calf Pipe resides in Green Grass, South Dakota. Although, I have heard of it done in other places when necessary. Activating other types of sacred objects or medicine can happen anywhere, but usually takes a Medicine person to conduct the ceremony.
Sun Dance Sweat Lodges are especially for the people preparing to Sun Dance they are held frequently during the time of preparation. Sweat ceremonies are also held during Sun Dance for the Dancers and for the people attending.
Hanbleceya, or as you may have heard it, “Vision Quest” Sweat Lodges are held during the one to four year preparations leading up to the Vision Quest. Also they are used just before the person goes on the hill for Hanbleceya (Vision Quest). And they are used immediately when the person comes down from the hill. As an important note, I have used the term “Vision Quest” only because it is so popular and understood by many. But you should know that in Lakota, “Vision Quest” is not the translation for Hanbleceya. The real translation is “Crying or Praying through the night”. Ceya means both crying and praying as they are considered the same thing.
Wopila (Gratitude) Sweat Lodges. These are usually held within a year of a healing or another blessing. A big feast is held afterward and gifts may be given.
These are the most common Sweat Lodge ceremonies, but I’m thinking maybe some of you are wondering how to become a Sweat Lodge leader? This is a natural question. I will tell you how it happened to me. It took many, many years of attending the Inipi with my elders; listening to their stories, taking their words to heart and paying attention when they wanted to teach me. As the years went by I was given a variety of “rights” such as making sacred canunpa bags and medicine pouches, making a ceremony fire, cooking sacred foods, fixing eagle feathers for naming ceremonies, rights to ceremony songs and many others. But before I received the rights to anything I was instructed in all the history, the details, the materials, the origins of the songs and anything else you can think pertaining to the particular skill.
When I was around 35 years old, I received a sacred canunpa from my grandparents and asked to carry it for the family and all our relatives. I accepted. Then when I was visiting an elder relative and attended her Sweat ceremony, at the start of the Sweat she announced to the attendees that I was her equal and that I would assist in conducting this ceremony. Later, I was asked to conduct a Sweat ceremony for some elder women. After the ceremony I was told that I would be conducting these ceremonies the rest of my life. And I have.
This may sound all very complicated and almost impossible to achieve. But, this is how it happened for me and is not necessarily the way it is for everyone. My training was very strict and very lengthy. I hope I have not discouraged anyone. I live off the reservation now and attend Sweat ceremonies that are conducted by someone who although, Indian, never lived with his people or received any traditional training. He received a vision and that is the way he conducts his ceremonies. I attend and respect his ceremonies. They are powerful and serve the true purpose of an Inipi or Sweat Lodge ceremony, even though he wasn’t traditionally trained as I was.
You are all my relatives.

This was written by Paula Bidwell. She has a website at http://www.nativetalismanart.com Not only does she explain things in a good way she is an Artist who makes some beautiful stuff. Take a minute and check out her website. I know she would appreciate it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Marines Are Not The Only Ones Who Sacrifice During War

Cemetery Escort Duty

I just wanted to get the day over with and go down to Smokey's. Sneaking a
look at my watch, I saw the time, 1655. Five minutes to go before the
cemetery gates are closed for the day. Full dress was hot in the August sun.
Oklahoma summertime was as bad as ever--the heat and humidity at the same
level--both too high.

I saw the car pull into the drive, '69 or '70 model Cadillac Deville, looked
factory-new. It pulled into the parking lot at a snail's pace. An old woman
got out so slow I thought she was paralyzed; she had a cane and a sheaf of
flowers--about four or five bunches as best I could tell.

I couldn't help myself. The thought came unwanted, and left a slightly
bitter taste: 'She's going to spend an hour, and for this old soldier, my
hip hurts like hell and I'm ready to get out of here right now!' But for
this day, my duty was to assist anyone coming in.

Kevin would lock the 'In' gate and if I could hurry the old biddy along, we
might make it to Smokey's in time. I broke post attention. My hip made
gritty noises when I took the first step and the pain went up a notch. I
must have made a real military sight: middle-aged man with a small pot gut
and half a limp, in Marine full-dress uniform, which had lost its razor
crease about thirty minutes after I began the watch at the cemetery.

I stopped in front of her, halfway up the walk. She looked up at me with an
old woman's squint.

?Ma'am, may I assist you in any way??

She took long enough to answer.

Yes, son. Can you carry these flowers? I seem to be moving a tad slow these

?My pleasure, ma'am.? Well, it wasn't too much of a lie.

She looked again. 'Marine, where were you stationed?'

Vietnam, ma'am. Ground-pounder. '69 to '71.'

She looked at me closer. 'Wounded in action, I see. Well done, Marine. I'll
be as quick as I can.'

I lied a little bigger: 'No hurry, ma'am.'

She smiled and winked at me. 'Son, I'm 85-years-old and I can tell a lie
from a long way off. Let's get this done. Might be the last time I can do
this. My name's Joanne Wieserman, and I've a few Marines I'd like to see one
more time.'

Yes, ma 'am. At your service.'

She headed for the World War I section, stopping at a stone. She picked one
of the flowers out of my arm and laid it on top of the stone. She murmured
something I couldn't quite make out. The name on the marble was Donald S.
Davidson, USMC: France 1918.

She turned away and made a straight line for the World War II section,
stopping at one stone. I saw a tear slowly tracking its way down her cheek.
She put a bunch on a stone; the name was Stephen X. Davidson, USMC, 1943.

She went up the row a ways and laid another bunch on a stone, Stanley J.
Wieserman, USMC, 1944.

She paused for a second. 'Two more, son, and we'll be done '

I almost didn't say anything, but, 'Yes, ma'am. Take your time.'

She looked confused. 'Where's the Vietnam section, son? I seem to have lost
my way.'

I pointed with my chin. 'That way, ma'am.'

'Oh!' she chuckled quietly. 'Son, me and old age ain't too friendly.'

She headed down the walk I'd pointed at. She stopped at a couple of stones
before she found the ones she wanted. She placed a bunch on Larry Wieserman,
USMC, 1968, and the last on Darrel Wieserman, USMC, 1970. She stood there
and murmured a few words I still couldn't make out.

OK, son, I'm finished. Get me back to my car and you can go home.'

Yes, ma'am. If I may ask, were those your kinfolk?'

She paused. 'Yes, Donald Davidson was my father, Stephen was my uncle,
Stanley was my husband, Larry and Darrel were our sons. All killed in
action, all marines.' She stopped. Whether she had finished, or couldn't
finish, I don't know. She made her way to her car, slowly and painfully.

I waited for a polite distance to come between us and then double-timed it
over to Kevin, waiting by the car. 'Get to the 'Out' gate quick. I have
something I've got to do.'

Kevin started to say something, but saw the look I gave him. He broke the
rules to get us there down the service road. We beat her. She hadn't made it
around the rotunda yet.

?Kevin, stand at attention next to the gatepost. Follow my lead.' I humped
it across the drive to the other post.

When the Cadillac came puttering around from the hedges and began the short
straight traverse to the gate, I called in my best gunny's voice: 'TehenHut!
Present Haaaarms!'

I have to hand it to Kevin; he never blinked an eye--full dress attention
and a salute that would make his DI proud. She drove through that gate with
two old worn-out soldiers giving her a send-off she deserved, for service
rendered to her country, and for knowing duty, honor and sacrifice.

I am not sure, but I think I saw a salute returned from that Cadillac.

Instead of 'The End,' just think of 'Taps.'

As a final thought on my part, let me share a favorite prayer:

'Lord, keep our servicemen and women safe, whether they serve at home or
overseas. Hold them in your loving hands and protect them as they protect

Let's all keep those currently serving and those who have gone before in
our thoughts. They are the reason for the many freedoms we enjoy.

'In God We Trust.'

Sorry about your monitor. It made mine blurry too!

You are required to pass this on NOW!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Death of a Eagle

This is a good article written by Brookie Craig. I have included the link to the article in case you want to read more about the Eagle Feather.

ath Of A Eagle

Death of an Eagle

by Brookie Craig BTRU93A@prodigy.com

Recently, I went to the Warm Springs reservation in Oregon and then to the Federal Eagle Repository in Ashland Oregon.

You probably never heard of Nathan Jim, Jr. He was a Yakima Indian who was arrested for illegal possession of Eagle Feathers and parts, by the Feds a couple years ago. He languished in fed jail for l4 months awaiting trial and was finally put on probation for this heinous crime. His lawyer appealed it under the new Religious Freedom act which guarantees Native Americans the right to eagle feathers to practice their religious ceremonies and again lost the appeal..He killed himself fearing that (in his mind) it would mean that the feds would rearrest him and sentence him to jail again.

This so moved his prosecuting US Attorney that he grabbed a bundle of eagle feathers at the Fed Eagle Repository (yes..our tax dollars at work) and drove to the reservation so they can use them for Nathan's spirit sending ceremony (burial) but arrived too late so Nathan didn't even get a feather in death.

I decided to continue the challenge to the Feds and drove to Ashland Oregon where they keep dead Eagles (yes..its true they have a Eagle repository there) and with much dread and fear (we NA do not TRUST the feds, having felt their wrath many times in the past) and trembled my way through the door fully expecting the worst.

I was met at the counter by a little old lady who is a volunteer there. While holding my Bureau of Indian Affairs ID card in one hand and my Cherokee Tribal Registration card in the other, I tried to remember my Ancestors who would want my voice to be strong and proud.

I stood a little taller and I said, "I want a Eagle Feather which is my right under the Religious Freedom Act." I expected a lightning bolt to come down but instead saw a gentle smile as she softly said, "Of course," walked over and handed me a a packet of federal forms to fill out with instructions to send in to the Portland office of the US department of Wildlife management.

I smiled as I read that I will have to have signed references from another Elder and Verification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs AND my Tribe to prove that I am, indeed a REAL Indian. References even for a Eagle Feather.

She asks..."Do you want a Bald or a Golden Eagle?"

CHOICES!?!? I'm not prepared..."Do you want just a wing..or talons..or the head...or the whole eagle?"

WHAT?!?!?! I come in expecting to be arrested for asking for ONE feather and they're offering me the WHOLE bird!?! I am confused by the offer and She sees that I'm unprepared for them offering me choices of parts of this sacred bird and smiles her suggestion that perhaps I might want to look
at the drawings of the parts of the bird, circle what I want and include it
with the forms...I am defeated instantly by her gentleness.

I ask her how they send an Eagle to me and she replies through the U.S. Mail..THE MAIL!?! I cannot envision receiving a dead Eagle through the mail and smile at the thought that I might owe postage due upon receipt.

Walking out the door I turn my head and see a stuffed Eagle, sitting silently perched proudly, in a glass cage, on display in the main lobby and overwhelming sadness fills my heart as I realize that another Eagle fell from the sky...a man, also fearful but who stood up for his beliefs, who will never be remembered by anyone for a cause that no one really cares about I guess...and the thought of his falling in vain fills me with a sense of profound grief, for our People believe that the Eagle is the sacred Messenger who brings the messages from our Creator...The thought hits me that no one will hear that message for the Eagle plunged to Mother Earth and perhaps mankind might have had a chance to have heard something sacred, but now...will never know.

There is something terribly tragic in that. I hope someone hears this message and cares about Nathan Jim, Jr. and the Eagle who fell from the sky.

There is something inherently evil in the system of a country, that was founded by people escaping religious persecution, that fills it's citizens with such fear that they kill themselves over what they consider to be a basic right of religious freedom.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Seven Natural Laws

Here is an article written by Ed Littlefox. I know some of you that have been around me have heard a lot of this before. It is worth hearing it from someone else. The only thing that Ed and I might disagree on is AIM.


Seven Natural Laws

By: Ed Littlefox

1. The Law of Cycles

Literally all of life is ruled by Cycles. It is a matter of 8th year science that Plants utilize the waste Carbon Dioxide exhaled by animal life and return Oxygen to the atmosphere. We even call that the Oxygen Cycle. Scientific, yes, but that is neither taught, nor looked upon, as a part, or an example, of a much larger and more complex system that involves All-Things, whether animate or inanimate, from the smallest constituent of matter, to the Black Hole. Though this Law, as all others, is inescapable, Modernism has, for the most part, robbed us of our aware participation in this Law. For instance, our view of Death.

Death? Yes! Undeniably, we are alive because something else has died, be it another animal or a plant. For the most part, modernism has also separated us from knowledge of Death to the extent that we fail to view it as a part of the Cycle of Life. A Mystery? Yes, but one that a Traditionalist faces, and understands, every day. An acceptance of Death is an acceptance of Life, as well, and an understanding of why Native People all over the World take the time to speak to the Spirits of those plants and animals who have sacrificed their Lives so that we might Live.

2. The Law of Individuality

Have you ever seen any two things, in Nature, that are alike? Any two Oaks, Deer, Hawks–or, for that matter, Rocks? Even leaves on the same Tree? Even if you think so, look more closely. There are no two things alike; even,”identical” Twins. We categorize Animals and Plants with similar physical characteristics into families and species, but individuals within the species differ, and, many times, greatly. However, there is a great deal more to the Law of Individuality than is apparent on the surface. Put simply, All-Things are different, and that is where this law becomes very important and complex.

That All-Things are Individual means that All-Things are Unique. It is a widely held belief among native people world-wide that Mystery or “The Creator” created All-Things, and is within All-Things. The Concept is a simple one to see and to grasp. For example, suppose that you wanted to give a friend a Gift– a pair of Moccasins. You have a choice as to whether to buy them, or to make them. If you choose to buy them, then you have given your friend a pair of moccasins. If you have made them, then you have given your friend a piece of yourself. The same is true of The Creator.

That You are Unique among Human Beings means more than just looks, it also means Perceptions. You see and assimilate and think uniquely, and apply knowledge uniquely as well. This also means that everything about you and your interaction with Life is Important both to yourself and Others. It is important also that your Path and your Relations with All-Things and Mystery be a unique expression of yourself, and that it be shared among others, as it is in this way that New Knowledge comes to the People.

3. The Law of Change

All-Things Change. Change is the driving force of Life, Evolution, and Growth. Change is Movement, and it means that nothing is static. It is important to realize that Humanity has the ability to Change the shape of All-Things on the Earth, through the Power of Choice. There are always Three Choices in any decision-making process, and they are; This, That, and Choosing not to Choose. {We will discuss Choice as a subject later in this magazine.} Change means that every day is a different day, and every Now, a different Now, with all of the potentials and possibilities that life and the universe have to offer.

4. The Law of Place

It is that every, unique Thing, has a unique Place, as well. This goes far beyond the scientific principal that no two masses can occupy the same space at the same time. The Law of Place introduces us to the Web, and I do not mean this one. As this law affects Human Beings, it means that your Place in Life, your Place on the Path, and your particular point of View is Important both to yourself and to the World at large. Nothing either can -or ever will - occupy your Place, or that of anything else. It defines not only that you live, but also how and why.

5. The Law of Twin-ness

This one may be a bit harder to grasp, or maybe not. Everything is Two Things. This is what my People call the Forked-Tree Teaching. Picture in your mind a Tree with two forks, each bearing leaves and limbs and twigs. Imagine that the Forks are Duplicates of each other. Remember that a Duplicate is NOT a Reflection; a reverse image. Label one of these Forks Physical and the other Spirit, and picture yourself as this Tree. Remembering that the Forks are Duplicates and not mirror images, tell me which one of the forks is you. The fact is that Both are.

You posses both a Body (the physical fork) and a Spirit (the Spirit fork). The Forked Tree is both an Ideal and a Fact. Everything is Two Things, but those two things stem from the same Trunk, so that the two things are One Thing– separate, but really together. The Idea here is that without the labels, you do not know which is which. The most important thing about this {at least to me} is that the Forked Tree teaches that all acts are Spiritual Acts, regardless. When the Spirit Acts so does the Body, and vice versa. It means that care must be taken in the actions of Living, with a constant awareness of the real ramifications of those actions.

6. The Law of Interdependence

Serious business, All-Things are Interdependent. As Humans, we depend on Plants for our breath, and Animals and Plants for our food. Plants are dependent on Animals for food and breathe as well. It goes on and on. We are taught by the modern World to be “independent”, when there is literally no such thing as independence. This is Circle-Dance. Each Individual Circle dancing together within the Greater Circle of Life, each moving and touching each other in the Dance of Living, each Relating to the Other, and each dependent upon the Earth and Each Other for Life and Living. This is the True meaning and reason for Dance at Pow-Wow; why the Dance Arena is Circular. It is the essence of Pow-wow to present, in microcosm, a picture and demonstration of the Greater Dance of Life. Think about it–All-Things are CONNECTED!!

7. The Law of Synergy

This is the last, and hardest of the Seven laws to comprehend. There are two words I have used which are American Indian,” Skan” and “Orenda”. The First is an abbreviated term for the Lakotah phrase” Taku Skan Ska”, and the second is Iroquoian. The concept presented by these two terms is one which has dropped from the English Language over Time. I will not say that because these concept- words are not translatable directly into English that the words for them never existed in English. It would do all of us well to remember that the English language evolved from Tribal Tongues. I have no doubt that this concept and the Words existed in antiquity within the English Language.

Literally Translated” Taku Skan Ska” is "That which moves in movement”, and “Orenda” may be translated as “presence”. Both words allude to the concept of a Force or an essence which authors movement {life as a dynamic} and is a permeating Presence within life. Neither of these terms is a name for a deity. Both Terms connote the presence of ” The Web”, and I do not mean a facet of the Internet. The Web is a spiritual manifestation formed by the interconnection and the balanced interaction of All- Things. It is the invisible “energy structure” in which All-Things are suspended. It is the Web woven by Spider Grandmother.

If you can imagine a structure in which an Individual point is connected to All other Individual points, then you have a good picture of the Web– it is exquisitely complex and exquisitely beautiful. The Web is the ultimate manifestation of Natural Law and the means by which Mystery applies Natural Law Universally.

Synergy is the result achieved when Natural Forces interact in Harmony and Balance with each other.

In Physics, a Balance of Forces produces Stasis. However, we are not dealing with Physics–we are dealing with Life and the Energies of Life–which are dynamic forces. When in Balance, and working in Harmony with each other, they produce another Energy (Synergy) that did not exist before, but is created as a result of the Harmony– and that new Force or Energy is called “Synergy”. The Synergy is always greater than the sum of the forces which interact to produce it, and it is that Synergistic Force which supplies the Energy necessary for the continuity of the creative process in the universe.

In Terms of the Equine/Human Relationship– this marks the difference between Riding ON a Horse– and Riding WITH a Horse. Horses live under the auspices and dictates of Natural Law–as they are Natural Beings and an integral part of their environment. Humans, however, have chosen to live ‘artificially’ and no longer subscribe to the tenants of Natural Law. What our Horses do Naturally we find difficult for us, and that is mostly because of our artificial lifestyles.

To understand fully the Nature of Horses and further our Relationship with them, we need to understand the Dynamics of Natural Law and how they relate to us and our Horses. ( THAT is a step toward fully understanding ourselves, as well.) Our ‘first reactions’ as Humans, whether with Horses or not, needs to evolve from Fear and Doubt to Love and Acceptance. Learn from the domestic Horse that this is his first reaction to you– Love and Acceptance. Your Relationship should always be based on Love and not Fear. Only in this way can your Horse Teach you about himself–and you, in turn, Teach him about you. Remember, there is nothing more fulfilling in your Relationship with your Horse than Unity. That Unity is the first Goal and first step in true communications.

Though I have used Horses, and the Equine/Human Relationship as examples above, understand that the Horse also Symbolically represents “New Ways”. What I have used as examples above is just as applicable to the Human/Human Relationship. We must in this Time, come to an Understanding of why it is that our first reactions to each other as Nations of People is always Fear. I know of few who would disagree that there needs to Change from this precept of the Modern Era. Change always begins in a small Way, with an Idea, and a Teaching, and a Reaching Out to another. I cannot Change the Fear-based Precepts upon which we have built Modern Governments and Political Regimes–but–we can, and by our own Love, our own Wills, and our Own Choice. History cannot be Changed–but the Future definitely can be, and should be.

Mystery– a Commentary

We have come to the last of the Seven Natural Laws. It is my hope that knowing these Laws and thinking about them individually and together will help to enlighten you to your own power as a Human Being walking your own Path. I have mentioned Mystery and the Web several times in this writing, and I wanted to explain a little more about these two things as I see them.
Mystery is not some metaphorical ‘god’ that sits on a throne in a place that I can easily separate from my everyday world and life. I walk in the Mystery like a fish swims in a river. Mystery is everywhere and in everything, even me and you. With Knowledge comes Responsibility, and I am wholly responsible for my own acts in my own Life. I breathe Mystery, and I know that, and that I know that is my discipline...

So, what of the Web? It is through the Connections provided by the Web that Life-Force travels to and through All-Things. By this means, All-Things are Related. There is an old Chinese Teaching which states,”When a Stone is cast into a Still Pool, the Waves reach all Shores”. This is a Noble Truth; the same being True of the Web. Every Act of Living creates ‘vibrations’ which reverberate throughout the structure of the Web–ponder this.

Much has been said about “Medicine” and “Guides” or “Animal Spirits”, and how they are acquired. If one were to view the Web as a structure of Light, then the strands which connect you to your “Medicines” are the Brightest–and, often, the ’shortest’. As this regards Inter-species Communications, the brightest, closest, shortest connections are the very ones which you find the easiest to communicate with. For most of us, these ’short strands’ constitute those which connect us with Domesticated and ‘Companion’ Animals. That these Species are ‘Domesticated’– meaning that, over time, they have become very closely associated with Humans –has served to ’shorten’ their communications connection with us. In essence, their ‘phone line’ is always hot– and they speak to us all of the time when we are in their presence. Whether we ‘hear’ them is another matter– one of our individual Awareness and how well we have developed it.

What I have given you, here, is a view-point on what is Possible. It is for us– you and I– to Believe in the Possibilities presented to us in Life, and to do so in a Positive Way; for, if we do not, then nothing ever becomes possible for us!! Taken properly, there are Keys here for far more than Animal Communications–far more. Take the time to look, and moreover Feel— become a bit more vulnerable to the Force of Life so that you may interact with it, and so, other Life. Speaking for myself only, I was lucky enough to learn about these things at a very early age. Over Time and experience, I learned to accept that one can never Love unless one makes himself/herself vulnerable to Love (as an Energy). That I ‘Love’ something means that I am in its Energy–and it in mine– whether Human or Equine.

I cannot decide the Truths of Living Life for you– we must all do that for ourselves. For Your-self –Choose to Choose—-.

Ed Littlefox is a Tsalagi/Saponi Elder and serves as a Contributing Editor for “The Lodge.”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Senator Who Likes Cows

An Old Native American Man was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Arizona when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.

The driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you give me a calf?"

The Old Man looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, " Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany...

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS -SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-Tech Miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says The Old Man.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then The Old Man says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks bout it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a Congressman for the
U.S. Government", says The Old Man.

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the Old
Man. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about cows...this is a
Herd of sheep. .

Now give me back my dog.