Friday, May 7, 2004

The Wolves are Surviving

Michigan Wolf Population Said Established

.c The Associated Press

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - The surging gray wolf population in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has exceeded 200 for the fifth consecutive year, a milestone that likely will bump the animal from the endangered species list.

Once virtually extinct in Michigan, the wolf is continuing a remarkable comeback that began in 1989 when three of the animals established a territory in the western Upper Peninsula, the Department of Natural Resources said Thursday.

The estimated population rose during the last year from 321 to more than 360, the agency said. Department biologists produce a yearly census using techniques such as tracking, aerial observations and monitoring wolves fitted with radio collars.

Keeping the population above 200 for five years in a row means the population has reached the state recovery goal, said Pet Lederle, supervisor of the department's research and technology section.

The wolf's status already has been downgraded from ``endangered,'' meaning on the brink of extinction, to ``threatened,'' the next level of severity.

The U.S. Forest Service is expected next month to propose removing the wolf from the list, a process that would require hearings. Once it is completed, the natural resources department would do likewise on the state level, Lederle said.

Once that happens, the wolf population would be overseen by department managers.

Killing or otherwise harming wolves would remain illegal, although the department might destroy those that repeatedly attack cattle or cause other serious problems.

The agency last year killed four members of a pack in the eastern Upper Peninsula that continually went after livestock, Lederle said.

``As the population increases, the likelihood that we'd have to take that type of measure also increases,'' he said. ``But I still think it would be pretty rare.''


Wednesday, May 5, 2004

What is a Medicine Walk?

What is a Medicine Walk?

In Native American Tradition, Medicine is anything that will aid the seeker in feeling more connected and in harmony with nature and all life-forms. Anything that is healing to the body, mind and/or spirit is Medicine.

To find a special Medicine that would give answers for a personal challenge or problem our Ancestors would often walk in the forests or on the mesas to observe the portents or signs that would assist them in healing and seeking wisdom.

The Medicine Walk was a way to re-establish the link to the Allies, or Medicine Helpers. A Medicine Walk is still possible in today’s busy world if the seeker knows how to read nature’s signs.

Intuition allows us to maintain Earth-connection through understanding the languages of the Planetary Family. Power is no more than our gifts and abilities and can never be stripped from us by another. It is time for each seeker to acknowledge and use those talents.

For centuries the Red people have used the omens of nature to arrive at the decisions of entire Nations. All living creatures have their own Medicine messages to share with those who are willing to learn the language.

Hail-lo-way-ain, the Language of Love in the Seneca tongue is the way that All Our Relations speak to us. Through Hail-lo-way-ain, our hearts can feel the answers received on a Medicine Walk and healing can then proceed.

Two-leggeds (humans) are the only creatures in our world who do not out of gratitude return to Great Mystery the love they have received. The Language of Love can be understood when compassion and mutual respect are allowed to come full circle and are redistributed among those who share our world.

To send love to a beautiful sunset, to a willow tree, to a circling hawk, by admiring the beauty of each, is one way to begin. Every fellow Creature-being or life-form is a teacher and a potential friend.

Each teacher in nature holds a deep abiding love for Great Mystery and will impart messages to those who seek the mysteries of the Void. The unknown is made up of those lessons that instruct us in our roles within Creation as well as the roles others play.

To understand these messages is to become one with the Creature-beings of nature. To seek the peace of the Standing people (trees), to acknowledge the sacredness of all life-forms, and to find harmony with each living thing is to gain respect for Self as a Guardian of our Earth Mother.

The basic premise of this understanding is to acknowledge the Uniworld. The Uniworld is the Universal Family of Creation. The Earth is our mother, the Sky is our father, our grandparents are Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon.

Our Brothers and Sisters are the Stone People, the Standing People, the Creature-beings, the Plant People, and other Two-legged. We are never alone. When our human family is separated or moves onto the Blue Road of Spirit through physical death, we have nothing to grieve if we remain connected to the universal Family of Creation.

The Medicine Walk is one way of reclaiming those connections.

In our modern world, the understanding of the Language of Love, Hail-lo-way-ain, can be understood only through an open heart, for it is a way of living life rather than a system to be mastered.

We must be willing to use the feelings and the inner senses to ~hear~ the tender teaching of our fellow life forms.

Imagine walking through your favourite forest, rolling hills, open mesa, or green valley. See yourself surrounded by those creatures who are your Totems, or favourite animals.

Notice which direction the wind is blowing. Look to the Cloud People; do they take the form of faces or animals? Feel the warmth of the Earth Mother nurturing you in her gentle arms.

Look at Grandfather Sun, see how his light plays uponthe Earth Mother. Taste the breeze and drink in the promise of rain. Respect and admire all that surrounds you. In this way, you are ready for the Language of Love to penetrate your senses in the silence of a quiet heart and mind.

Each flower or rock can be your teacher. They wait to be acknowledged by you as you walk through the land you share. The Medicine they hold is freely and abundantly given, if you allow yourself to feel it.

The wind is the forerunner of any lesson, for all spirit comes on the Wind. If it comes from the South, it is offering a teaching on faith, trust, innocence, humility, or the child within.

If Wind blows from the West, it offers lessons on inner-knowing, seeking answers or goals through introspection.

When Wind blows from the North, it beckons you to be grateful and to know the wisdom being offered as well as acknowledging the wisdom you hold personally.

The East Wind brings breakthroughs, new ideas, and freedom through illumination. The East Wind will assist you in casting aide doubts, or darkness by opening the Golden Door that leads to new levels of Understanding.

Once we understand which type of lesson is coming our way on our Medicine Walk, we can then proceed by noticing which Allies call to us. When something catches our eye, it has called our attention and is speaking to us through the Language of Love.

In caring for that messenger we establish a link that will allow the message to be received. In observing each medicine Helper, whether it be Dragonfly or Ponderosa, Pine, Petroglyph or Stone person, we learn the lessons of nature.

All that is necessary from the seeker is an open feeling heart, a desire to learn, and a willingness to feel the Language of Love.

The Native way of life can bring a change in consciousness that opens new doors of expression and expansion. To understand the Red People is to reach out to another culture and share the beauty of our common paths. In doing so, we trust that our common goal will be attained; peace, truth and healing for Mother Earth’s children.

When the Children of Earth are healed, we may welcome the Rainbow of Peace into our hearts and trust that each medicine Walk on the Sacred Path will bring new connections and Good medicine that can be shared. In this way, we become the living prophecy of the Fifth World of Peace.

Walk in Beauty always ..from the site SeaWolf's Haven


Sunday, May 2, 2004

Legend of The Oigin of Disease and Medicine

Origin of Disease and MedicineSource: Myths of the Cherokee
by James Mooney

In the old days the beasts, birds, fishes, insects and plants could all talk and they and the people lived together in peace and friendship. But as time went on the people increased so rapidly that their settlement spread over the whole earth, and the poor animals found themselves beginning to be cramped for room.

This was bad enough, but to make it worse, Man invented bows, knives, blowguns, spears, and hooks, and began to slaughter the larger animals, birds, and fishes for their flesh or their skins, while the smaller creatures, such as the frogs and worms, were crushed and trodden upon without thought, out of pure carelessness or contempt. So the animals resolved to consult upon measures for their common safety.

The Bears were the first to meet in council in their townhouse under Kuwa-hi mountain, the "Mulberry Place," and the old White Bear chief presided.

After each in turn had complained of the way in which Man killed their friends, ate their flesh, and used their skins for his own purposes, it was decided to begin war at once against him.

Some one asked what weapons Man used to destroy them. "Bows and arrows, of course," cried all the Bears in chorus. "And what are they made of?" was the next question. "The bow of wood, and the string of our entrails," replied one of the Bears.

It was then proposed they make a bow and some arrows and see if they could not use the same weapons against Man himself. So one Bear got a piece of locust wood and another sacrificed himself for the good of the rest in order to furnish his entrails for the string. But when everything was ready and the first Bear stepped up to make the trial, it was found that in letting the arrow fly after drawing back the bow, his long claws caught in the string and spoiled the shot.

This was annoying, but someone suggested that they might trim his claws, which was accordingly done, and on a second trial it was found that the arrow went straight to the mark.

But here the chief, the old White Bear, objected, saying it was necessary that they should have long claws in order to be able to climb trees. "One of us has already died to furnish the bow string and if we now cut off our claws we must all starve together. It is better to trust to the teeth and claws that nature gave us, for it is plain that man’s weapons were not intended for us."

No one could think of any better plan, so the old chief dismissed the council and the Bears dispersed to the woods and thickets without having concerted any way to prevent the increase of the human race. Had the result of the council been otherwise, we should now be at war with the Bears, but as it is, the hunter does not even ask the Bear’s permission when he kills one.

The Deer next held a council under their chief, the Little Deer, and after some talk, devised to send rheumatism to every hunter who should kill one of them unless he took care to ask their pardon for the offense.

They sent notice of their decision to the nearest settlement of Indians and told them at the same time what to do when necessity forced them to kill one of the Deer tribe.

Now, whenever the hunter shoots a Deer, the Little Deer, who is swift as the wind and cannot be wounded, runs quickly up to the spot and, bending over the bloodstains, asks the spirit of the Deer if it has heard the prayer of the hunter for pardon. if the reply be "Yes," all is well, and the Little Deer goes on his way; but if the reply be "No," he follows on the trail of the hunter, guided by the drops of blood on the ground, until he arrives at his cabin in the settlement, when the Little Deer enters invisibly and strikes the hunter with rheumatism, so that he becomes at once a helpless cripple.

No hunter who has regard for his health ever fails to ask pardon of the Deer for killing it, although some hunters who have not learned the prayer may try to turn aside the Little Deer from his pursuit by building a fire behind them in the trail.

Next came the Fishes and Reptile, who had their own complaints against Man. They held council together and determined to make their victims dream of snakes twining about them in slimy folds and blowing foul breath in their faces, or to make them dream of eating raw or decaying fish, so that they would lose appetite, sicken and die. This is why people dream about snakes and fish.

Finally the Birds, Insects, and smaller animals came together for the same purpose, and the Grubworm was chief of the council. It was decided that each in turn should give an opinion, and then they would vote on the question as to whether or not Man was guilty.

Seven votes should be enough to condemn him. Once after another denounce Man’s cruelty and injustice toward the other animals and voted in favor of death.

The Frog spoke first, saying: "We must do something to check the increase of the race, or people will become so numerous that we will be crowded from off the earth. See how they have kicked me about because I’m ugly, as they say, until my back is covered with sores;" and here he showed the spots on his skin.

Next came the Bird--no one remembers now which one it was - who condemned Man "Because he burns my feet off," meaning the way in which hunters barbecue birds by impaling them on a stick set over the fire, so that their feathers and tender feet are singed off.

Others followed in the same strain.

The Ground-squirrel alone ventured to say a good word for Man, who seldom hurt him because he was so small, but this made the others so angry that they fell upon the Ground-squirrel and tore him with their claws, and the stripes are on this back to this day.

They began then to devise and name so many new diseases, one after another, that had not their invention at last failed them, no one of the human race would have been able to survive.

The Grubworm grew constantly more pleased as the name of each disease was called off, until at last they reached the end of the list, when some one proposed to make menstruation sometimes fatal to women.

On this he rose up in his place and cried "Wadan! (Thanks!) I’m glad some more of them will die, for they are getting so think that the tread on me." The thought fairly made him shake with joy, so that he fell over backward and could not get on his feet again, but had to wriggle off on his back, as the Grubworm has done ever since.

When the Plants, who were friendly to Man, heard what had been done by the animals, they determined to defeat the latters’ evil designs.

Each Tree, Shrub, and Herb, down even to the Grasses, and Mosses, said: "I shall appear to help Man when he calls upon me in his need." Thus came medicine; and the plants, every one of which has its use if we only knew it, furnish the remedy to counteract the evil wrought by the revengeful animals. Even weeds were made for some good purpose, which we must find out for ourselves.

When the doctor does not know what medicine to use for a sick man, the spirit of the plant tells him.


Native American Herbal Remedies

Insect Repellents and Insecticides

Goldenseal. The Cherokee pounded the large rootstock with bear fat and smeared it on their bodies as an insect repellent. It was also used as a tonic, stimulant, and astringent.


Pokeweed. Indians of Virginia drank a tea of the boiled berries to cure rheumatism. The dried root was also used to allay inflammation.

Bloodroot. A favorite rheumatism remedy among the Indians of the Mississippi region - the Rappahannocks of Virginia drank a tea of the root.


Wild Black Cherry. The Meskwaki tribe made a sedative tea of the root bark. Hops. The Mohegans prepared a sedative medicine from the conelike strobiles and sometimes heated the blossoms and applied them for toothache. The Dakota tribe used a tea of the steeped strobiles to relieve pains of the digestive organs, and the Menominee tribe regarded a related species of hops as a panacea.

Wild Lettuce. Indigenous to North American, it was used for sedative purposes, especially in nervous complaints.


Geranium. The Cherokee boiled geranium root together with wild grape, and with the liquid, rinsed the mouths of children affected with thrush.

Persimmon. The Catawba stripped the bark from the tree and boiled it in water, using the resulting dark liquid as a mouth rinse.


Native American Herbal Remedies


Dogwood. The Delaware Indians, who called the tree Hat-ta-wa-no-min-schi, boiled the inner bark in water, using the tea to reduce fevers.

Willow. The Pomo tribe boiled the inner root bark, then drank strong doses of the resulting tea to induce sweating in cases of chills and fever. In the south, the Natchez prepared their fever remedies from the bark of the red willow, while the Alabama and Creek Indians plunged into willow root baths for the same purpose.

Feverwort. The Cherokees drank a decoction of the coarse, leafy, perennial herb to cure fevers.


Pennyroyal. The Onondagas steeped pennyroyal leaves and drank the tea to cure headaches.

Heart and Circulatory Problems

Green Hellebore. The Cherokee used the green hellebore to relive body pains.

American Hemp and Dogbane. Used by the Prairie Potawatomis as a heart medicine, the fruit was boiled when it was still green, and the resulting decoction drunk. It was also used for kidney problems and for dropsy.


White Oak. The Menominee tribe treated piles by squirting an infusion of the scraped inner bark of oak into the rectum with a syringe made from an animal bladder and the hollow bone of a bird.

Inflammations and Swellings

Witch Hazel. The Menominees of Wisconsin boiled the leaves and rubbed the liquid on the legs of tribesmen who were participating in sporting games. A decoction of the boiled twigs was used to cure aching backs, while steam derived by placing the twigs in water with hot rocks was a favorite Potawatomi treatment for muscle aches. (((MY note::It also works great to remove make up and to fight acne without over-drying the face.)))


Native Hemlock (as opposed Poison Hemlock of Socrates fame). The Menominees prepared a tea if the inner bark and drank it to relieve cold symptoms. A similar tea was used by the Forest Potawatomis to induce sweating and relieve colds and feverish conditions.

Insect Bites and Stings

Fendler Bladderpod. The Navajos made a tea and used it to treat spider bites.

Purple Coneflower. The Plains Indians used this as a universal application for the bites and stings of all crawling, flying, or leaping bugs. Between June and September, the bristly stemmed plant, which grows in dry, open woods and on prairies, bears a striking purplish flower.

Stiff Goldenrod. The Meskwaki Indians of Minnesota ground the flowers into a lotion and applied it to bee stings.

Trumpet Honeysuckle. The leaves were ground by chewing and then applied to bees stings.

Wild Onion and Garlic. The Dakotas and Winnebagos applied the crushed bulbs of wild onions and garlics.

Saltbush. The Navajos chewed the stems and placed the pulpy mash on areas of swelling caused by ant, bee and wasp bites. The Zunis applied the dried, powdered roots and flowers mixed with saliva to ant bites.

Broom Snakeweed. The Navajos chewed the stem and applied the resin to insect bites and stings of all kinds.

Tobacco. A favorite remedy for bee stings was the application of wet tobacco leaves.


Native American Herbal Remedies


Boneset. Boneset tea was one of the most frequently used home remedies during the last century. The Menominees used it to reduce fever; the Alabamas, to relive stomachache; the Creeks, for body pain; the Iroquois and the Mohegans, for fever and colds.  


Catnip. The Mohegans made a tea of catnip leaves for infant colic.  

Ragleaf Bahia. The Navajos, who called the Ragleaf bahia herb twisted medicine, drank a tea of the roots boiled in water for thirty minutes for contraception purposes.

Indian Paintbrush. Hopi women drank a tea of the whole Indian paintbrush to "Dry up the menstrual flow."

Blue Cohosh. Chippewa women drank a strong decoction of the powdered blue cohosh root to promote parturition and menstruation.

Dogbane. Generally used by many tribes, a tea from the boiled roots of the plant was drunk once a week.

Milkweed. Navajo women drank a tea prepared of the whole plant after childbirth.

American Mistletoe Indians of Mendocino County drank a tea of the leaves to induce abortion or to prevent conception.

Antelope Sage. To prevent conception, Navajo women drank one cup of a decoction of boiled antelope sage root during menstruation.

Stoneseed. Shoshoni women of Nevada reportedly drank a cold water infusion of stoneseed roots everyday for six months to ensure permanent sterility.


Aspen. The Cree Indians used an infusion of the inner bark as a remedy for coughs. 

Wild Cherry. The Flambeau Ojibwa prepared a tea of the bark of wild cherry for coughs and colds, while other tribes used a bark for diarrhea or for lung troubles. 

White Pine. The inner bark was used by Indian people as a tea for colds and coughs. 

Sarsaparilla. The Penobscots pulverized dried sarsaparilla roots and combined them with sweet flag roots in warm water and used the dark liquid as a cough remedy.  


Wild Carrot. The Mohegans steeped the blossoms of this wild species in warm water when they were in full bloom and took the drink for diabetes. 

Devil’s Club. The Indians of British Columbia utilized a tea of the root bark to offset the effects of diabetes.  


Blackcherry. A tea of blackberry roots was the most frequently used remedy for diarrhea among Indians of northern California.

Wild Black Cherry. The Mohegans allowed the ripe wild black cherry to ferment naturally in a jar about one year than then drank the juice to cure dysentery. 

Dogwood. The Menominees boiled the inner bark of the dogwood and passed the warm solution into the rectum with a rectal syringe made from the bladder of a small mammal and the hollow bone of a bird.

Geranium. Chippewa and Ottawa tribes boiled the entire geranium plant and drank the tea for diarrhea. 

White Oak. Iroquois and Penobscots boiled the bark of the white oak and drank the liquid for bleeding piles and diarrhea. 

Black Raspberry. The Pawnee, Omaha, and Dakota tribes boiled the root bark of black raspberry for dysentery. 

Star Grass. Catawbas drank a tea of star grass leaves for dysentery.  

Digestive Disorders

Dandelion. A tea of the roots was drunk for heartburn by the Pillager Ojibwas. Mohegans drank a tea of the leaves for a tonic.

Yellow Root. A tea from the root was used by the Catawbas and the Cherokee as a stomach ache remedy.


Native American Herbal Remedies


To Speed Childbirth:

Partridgeberry:  The Cherokee used a tea of the boiled leaves. Frequent doses of the tea were taken in the few weeks preceding the expected date of delivery.

Blue Cohosh. To promote a rapid delivery, an infusion of the root in warm water was drunk as a tea for several weeks prior to the expected delivery date.

To Speed Delivery of the Placenta:

American Licorice. A tea was made from the boiled roots. Broom Snakeweed. Navajo women drank a tea of the whole plant to promote the expulsion of the placenta.

To Stop Post-Partum Hemorrhage:

Buckwheat. Hopi women were given an infusion of the entire buckwheat plant to stop bleeding.

Black Western Chokecherry. Arikara women were given a drink of the berry juice to stop bleeding. 

Smooth Upland Sumac. The Omahas boiled the smooth upland sumac fruits and applied the liquid as an external wash to stop bleeding.

To relieve the Pain of Childbirth:

Wild Black Cherry. Cherokee women were given a tea of the inner bark to relieve pain in the early stages. Cotton. The Alabama and Koasati tribes made a tea of the roots of the plant to relieve the pains of labor.


Native American Herbal Remedies


Creosote Bush. A tea of the leaves was used for bronchial and other respiratory problems.
Pleurisy Root. The Natchez drank a tea of the boiled roots as a remedy for pneumonia and was later used to promote the expulsion of phlegm,
Wormwood. The Yokia Indians of Mendocino County used a tea of the boiled leaves of a local species of wormwood to cure bronchitis.


Yellow-Spined Thistle. The Kiowa Indians boiled yellow-spined thistle blossoms and applied the resulting liquid to burns and skin sores.



Native American Herbal Remedies

The following exerts under this heading, Native American Herbal Remedies,  will be from: The Cherokee Messenger  Copyright © 1996 The Cherokee Cultural Society of Houston


Skunk Cabbage. Used by the Winnebago and Dakota tribes to stimulate the removal of phlegm in asthma. The rootstock was official in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1882 when it was used in respiratory and nervous disorders and in rheumatism and dropsy.

Mullein. Introduced by Europeans. The Menominees smoked the pulverized, dried root for respiratory complaints while the Forest Potawatomis, the Mohegans, and the Penobscots smoked the dried leaves to relieve asthma. The Catawba Indians used a sweetened syrup from the boiled root, which they gave to their children for coughs.



Arnica. The Catawba Indians used a tea of arnica roots for treating back pains. The Dispensary of the United States (22nd edition) states this drug can be dangerous if taken internally and that it has caused severe and even fatal poisoning. Also used as a wash to treat sprains and bruises.

Gentian. The Catawba Indians steeped the roots in hot water and applied the hot fluid on aching backs.

Horsemint. The Catawba tribe crushed and steeped fresh horsemint leaves in cold water and drank the infusion to allay back pain. Other tribes used horsemint for fever, inflammation, and chills.


Sources: Millspaugh, Charles F. American Medicinal Plants. NY:Dover Publications, 1974.
Mooney, James. Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. Nashville TN: Charles and Randy Elders, Publishers, 1982.
Weiner, Michael. Earth Medicine Earth Food. NY: Fawcett Columbine, 1980.



Sacred Plants

Sacred Plants

Sweet grass

Positive energy, good thought, honor purification. This is one of the four sacred medicines (sage, tobacco, sweet grass, and cedar). Sweet grass represents Mother Earth's hair. In ceremony, a smoldering braid of sweet grass is taken around the circle gathered. Each participant then cups the smoke in their hands and bathes themselves in it. The smoke from the sweet grass promotes positive energy and good thoughts, so that the group's purpose remains clear. Sweet grass is a particular type of grass that grows wild in North America. It has no mind altering qualities. It is not smoked or inhaled.

Red Cedar

Cedar is burned while praying. The prayers rise on the cedar smoke to the Creator. Cedar is also spread, along with sage, along the floor of the sweat lodges of some tribes. Cedar branches are brushed in the air to cleanse a home during the House Blessing Ceremony of many Northwestern Indian ceremonies. In the Pacific Northwest, the people burn cedar for purification in much way as sage. It drives out negative energy, and brings in good influences. The spirit of cedar is considered very ancient and wise, by Pacific Northwest tribes. Old, downed cedar trees are always honored with offerings and prayers.


Sage is used to cleanse objects, places and people. Traditional elders say that before a person performs ceremony or is healed, they need to be cleansed of any bad feelings or negative thought. The cleansing can be done with sage, sweet grass or cedar. The smudging helps the healing come about in a very clear way, without ant negative energy regarding the healer or the patient. The elders also say that one should enter into a ceremony with a good heart. The proper way to dispose of sage is to throw it eastward rather than burn it or throw it down.


Ceremonially, tobacco is smoked as a means of communication with the spirit. The spirit world is asked for assistance and wisdom. The earthly substance, Nicotiani, is ignited, then transfigured into vapors and thus given in an honorable way to the astral lands of the spirits. It is said that the ancestors remember the pleasure of smoking the leaves and the dried blossoms. So, they return to partake in the essence of the tobacco.