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

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.