Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Need Healing Prayers

My friends who do read this, I am going into the hospital soon to have surgery. The doctor did a uterine biopsy and it came back cancer so he plans an extensive surgery to make sure that he gets it all.

I request any and all prayers and will write again and enclose articles when I am able afterwards.


Wednesday, December 7, 2005

American Indian News Source



 •  Indian law courses headed to University of Richmond  •  Purdue program to recruit, retain Native students  •  Tennessee to offer in-state tuition to North Carolina-based tribe  •  Native Cooking  •  Four Corners School  •  Tribes may lose on trust fund payments  •  Cass Lake residents seek action to stem violence


Abuse survivors finally to receive compensation


Abuse survivors finally to receive compensation

Posted: December 05, 2005 by: Matt Ross / Indian Country Today

OTTAWA - Almost $2 billion in Canadian funds will be paid to aboriginal survivors of the Canadian residential school system.

The settlement was announced Nov. 23, one day before the First Ministers Meeting with national aboriginal leaders convened in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Following six months of negotiations between the Assembly of First Nations and the federal government, an agreement-in-principle was signed that has resulted in the largest and most comprehensive settlement package in Canadian history.

About 86,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit are eligible to collect these payments, many of whom are more than 60 years old.

AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine, himself a survivor of these schools, spoke at a press conference in Ottawa Nov. 23. He stated that before Canada's elected politicians and Native leaders could address the health, education and social issues that are troubling the country's reserves at the First Ministers' Meeting, the legacy from this shameful past had to be resolved.
''While no amount of money will ever heal the scars, we hope the settlement package will bring comfort and a sense of victory and vindication for the children and grandchildren of survivors as well; for they, too, have suffered and witnessed the affects of the residential school legacy,'' said Fontaine.

Lump-sum payments have been calculated on a ''10 plus 3'' basis, whereby $10,000 will be given to all those who attended these schools with an additional $3,000 per year thereafter. Those who are older than 65 are immediately eligible for an early payment of $8,000.

Further, these awards will not override any pending individual lawsuits. The agreement sets aside $800 million to cover plaintiff judgments and increased the amount that can be won in court to a maximum of $275,000 while survivors have a reduced burden to substantiate their claims.

''Canada and the First Peoples of this country can be proud of this settlement package,'' Fontaine said. ''It has set the bar very high. It affirms that all races in this country are equal: none deserved to be assimilated or destroyed. It is an agreement for the ages.''

For the better part of 100 years - until the mid-1970s - the federal government operated residential schools that institutionalized aboriginals which, under the guise of education, tore the children from their families and stripped them of their heritage. By law, children as young as 4 were taken from their parents without the need for consent and were returned for only short periods of time.

In an attempt to Anglicize First Nations, school rules and civil laws forbade the use of Native languages and cultural practices. Compounding the problem within the residential schools were the numerous allegations, since proven in court, of physical and sexual abuse by the educators - most of whom were associated with the Anglican and Catholic churches.

At the press conference, several of Canada's high-ranking ministers spoke from the ruling Liberal party, including Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, about the country's historical misdeeds.

''No agreement can erase the memories of generations of pain and suffering and abuse, and that is why this agreement goes beyond monetary recognition,'' said Cotler. ''It is an agreement that seeks to provide healing, to provide reconciliation, to provide the capacity for renewal.''

Besides individual payments, the settlement package will also include funding of $60 million for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with the goal of informing the public about residential schools. There will also be community truth-telling processes, while individuals will be encouraged to file their own personal statements for archival purposes.

Also benefiting from this agreement is the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, which will receive $125 million over the next five years. Chairing this foundation, which has been in operation since 1998, is George Erasmus, the AFN national chief from 1985 - '91.

Speaking from Kelowna, Erasmus acknowledged this financial compensation will help erase the pain by providing a stable foundation where people can get the culturally-sensitive help they require. However, he was looking for specific words from other authoritative figures.

''An additional apology from the prime minister would clinch this nicely and that is still possible,'' Erasmus said on CBC Television. ''If the government is going to go this far and acknowledge this is something that should never have happened, it wouldn't be that much more to do. It wouldn't hurt to also have it from heads of churches and the pope.''

While it is generally acknowledgedwithin Canada that compensation for school survivors is long overdue, the only criticism has been the timing of this announcement. During a tumultuous week on Parliament Hill, when the three opposing parties were expected to vote on a non-confidence motion to force the dissolution of the government, critics were questioning whether this deal was seen as pre-election campaigning.

''This settlement could have been rolled out last spring but was delayed six months for election timing,'' said member of Parliament Pat Martin, the Indian and Northern Affairs Critic for the left-of-center New Democratic Party.

It was Martin in March who spoke for two hours at a parliamentary committee in favor of a deal of this nature, following the AFN's recommendations that took 18 months to formulate. As the agreement stipulates only those who were alive as of May 31 are entitled to collect, Martin alleged that ''playing politics'' cost hundreds of survivors their opportunity for compensation.

''Fifty survivors per week will never see justice, due to the Liberals manipulating this settlement for their own political advantage,'' Martin told Indian Country Today on Nov. 28, just hours before the non-confidence vote.

Regardless of any possible election or subsequent government, this settlement package will be respected by all political parties. The Conservative Party (right-of-center), should it form the next government, is on record stating it will acknowledge and honor this deal.

Elders believe compensation insufficient

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Despite the recent signing of the largest and most comprehensive compensation package in Canadian history, residential school survivor Clarence Dennis believes this financial aid is a mere pittance and would not fairly represent his suffering.

''That compensation shows we are abused, used, humiliated, degraded and insulted,'' said Dennis, 63. ''To be cured for all of the abuses we've taken and for the funds we need would be $200,000 per person.''

Under the new legislation, school survivors are entitled to a ''10 plus 3'' plan where every person would get $10,000 Canadian for their first year enrolled and $3,000 for every yearthereafter. Dennis, who was in a residential school between the ages of 7 and 14, would be entitled to $34,000.

However, he lists a host of physical and emotional scars he received while in attendance at a government- and church-operated school, wounds that he still harbors a half-century later. Expelled from the Port Alberni institution after telling authorities he was sexually abused, he was sent to juvenile detention and deemed ''incorrigible.'' This became the first of many trips to jail and prison during his next 25 years; and while he has not been incarcerated since the 1980s, Dennis points to his stolen childhood as the root cause for his anger.

Having attended three treatment centers, each for six-week stints, to address his psychological problems, Dennis calculates that for full and proper treatment for school survivors, their spouses and children, medical and professional costs would easily push $200,000 per person. He added that this figure would include neither the physical pain and suffering nor the losses of culture and identity, intangible factors for which a price would be hard to determine.

''They're not obeying their own standard sets of deterrence foundations of our judicial system,'' he said, pointing out that $30,000 - $40,000 per survivor for this general abuse does not provide enough of a financial penalty to prevent this from happening again. (Individual court awards for sexual abuse cases are not included.)

Another Vancouver elder who endured the residential system is Oliver Munro, 71. Even though his family only lived six miles away from his Lytton school, visits home were infrequent during his decade of schooling.

When describing his experiences, Munro's eyes continue to display fear of authority. Articulate and university-educated, with a bachelor's degree in cultural anthropology, Munro flinched and referred to the school's headmasters by their surnames as if still in their presence.

He blames that environment for retarding his social skills, including the ability to be intimate.

''When I got married, it was for convenience. Every time I got sick and tired of the kids, I went into the logging camps [to work],'' Munro said.

Although Munro was eventually able to tell his mother that he loved her before she died, because he never received support and nurturing as a child he found it difficult to pass those feelings along to his children. That problem stemmed from within the crowded dormitories where there was no sense of right or wrong in the absence of parental guidance.

''Getting hit every day was nothing, because I thought it was natural.''

Eligible for $40,000, Munro respects how Native negotiators and the federal government have tried to compromise for an acceptable agreement to correct these injustices. But, he succinctly noted, money is not the cure-all for his pain.

''Whatever money we get, it will never, ever pay for what happened. Never.''


Saturday, November 26, 2005

School abuse victims getting $1.9B

Last Updated Wed, 23 Nov 2005 17:43:22

The Liberal government offered tens of thousands of survivors of abuse at native residential schools up to $30,000 each in a $1.9-billion compensation package announced Wednesday morning.

Another $195 million will be spent on a truth and reconciliation process, a commemoration program and other projects designed to promote healing in First Nations communities.

AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine during a purification ceremony before the announcement Wednesday."We have made good on our shared resolve to deliver what I firmly believe will be a fair and lasting resolution of the Indian school legacy," Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan said at a news conference in Ottawa.

She was flanked by other federal cabinet ministers and abuse survivors, including National Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations.

"It's a wonderful day," said Fontaine, speaking of the years of negotiations that led to the agreement in principle. "I know that every moment has been worthwhile. Justice has prevailed."

Fontaine said the package covers "decades in time, innumerable events and countless injuries to First Nations individuals and communities."

Justice Minister Irwin Cotler also hailed the package, calling the decision to house young Canadians in church-run native residential schools "the single most harmful, disgraceful and racist act in our history."

The agreement must still be approved by the courts because of the high number of outstanding lawsuits launched over residential school abuse, McLellan said.

She said she hopes the seven courts in different provinces that have been dealing with class-action suits will see that the deal "is fair and just and will bring an end to this complex set of litigation that we have seen for many years."

A federal official said the courts will be approached as early as May to approve the agreement, once it is put into formal language.

Tens of thousands of former students could benefit

As many as 86,000 native Canadians who attended church-run schools across the country may be eligible for payments under the plan.

For decades, they had been fighting to have the government recognize the abuses they suffered in the school system that Ottawa supported financially between the 1870s and 1970s.

Tens of thousands of First Nations young people were taken from their families for months at a time and deprived of their culture, and many were sexually or physically abused by school staff.

The average age of survivors is 60, Fontaine noted Wednesday.

The package includes:

  • A "common experience payment" of up to $10,000 per person, plus $3,000 for every year a victim spent in the schools, at a cost to the federal government of $1.9 billion.
  • Compensation for claims based on sexual and physical abuse, as well as loss of language and culture.
  • A speeded-up process to get an initial $8,000 payment to claimants aged 65 and over while the rest of the program's details are sorted out.
  • Five-year funding for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, totalling $125 million.
  • $60 million for a truth and reconciliation process.
  • $10 million to commemorate what happened in the schools, to assist in victims' healing.
  • An agreement that victims accepting compensation payments cannot sue the federal government and the churches running the schools except in cases of sexual and serious physical abuse.
  • An alternate dispute-settling process to deal with separate claims for sexual abuse and serious physical abuse.

The federal government's package did not include a national apology for the abuses. McLellan said that was not a part of the negotiations "for this process."

Karen Shaboyer, a former residential school student who works at an aboriginal cultural centre in Toronto, said the agreement is a good start. She hopes it will open the eyes of non-native people, at the very least.

"You see a lot of my people today who may be staggering on the street, and people just call them down, but really, that person is holding a lot of pain and they don't know how to deal with it," said Shaboyer.

Package called 'deathbed conversion'

NDP native affairs critic Pat Martin calls the package a deathbed conversion on the part of the Liberals.

He says the looming federal election likely prompted the announcement, which came a day before Prime Minister Paul Martin attends a first ministers' conference on native affairs in Kelowna, B.C.

"The government is doing the honourable thing, but it does have the stink of desperation to it," the New Democrat MP said.

In May, former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci was appointed to help Ottawa develop a plan to compensate victims and avoid the costly lawsuits facing the courts.

About 12,000 survivors of residential school abuse are now suing Ottawa.

Written by CBC News Online staff


Friday, October 21, 2005

Native American Proverbs

Native American Proverbs

Speak truth in humility to all people.
Only then can you be a true man. (Sioux)

With all things and in all things,
we are relatives. (Sioux)

Love one another and do not strive for
another's undoing. (Seneca)

We will be known forever by the tracks
we leave. (Dakota)

Each person is his own judge. (Pima)

Do not judge your neighbor until you walk
two moons in his moccasins. (Cheyenne)

There is no death, only a change of worlds.

The more you give, the more good things
come to you. (Crow)

Don't walk behind me;
I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me;
I amy not follow.
Walk beside me that we may be as one.

Ask questions from you heart and you will
be answered from the heart. (Omaha)

No one else can represent your conscience.

Do not speak of evil for it creates
curiosity in the hearts of the young.

I have been to the end of the earth.
I have been to the end of the water.
I have been to the end of the sky.
I have been to the end of the mountains.
I have found none that are not my friends.

The greatest strength is gentleness.

You must live your life from beginning to end:
Noone else can do it for you.

Don't let yesterday use up too much
of today. (Cherokee)

What is past and cannot be prevented
should not be grieved for. (Pawnee)

Knowledge that is not used is abused.

It is easy to be brave from a distance.

Seek wisdom, not knowledge.
Knowledge is of the past,
Wisdom is of the future. (Lumbee)

Don't be afraid to cry.
It will free your mind of sorrowful
thoughts. (Hopi)

Listen to the voice of nature,
For it holds treasures for you. (Huron)

When a man moves away from nature his
heart becomes hard. (Lakota)

Take only what you need and leave the
land as you found it. (Arapaho)

God gave us each a song. (Ute)

Everyone who is successful must have
dreamed of something. (Maricopa)

Life is not separate from death.
It only looks that way. (Blackfoot)

It is no longer good enought to Cry peace,
We must Act peace, Live peace and Live
In Peace. (Shenandoah)

From the web page:
Native American Proverbs

Monday, September 26, 2005

Cherokees vote to display Ten Commandments

  Cherokees vote to display Ten Commandments 'We are sovereign nation and can pretty much post anything we want'
Posted: September 24, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

If you are nostalgic for the days when the Ten Commandments were posted in public buildings, you might want to consider visiting the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

The tribal council is making plans to mount a copy of the Ten Commandments in the council house where government meetings are held, and possibly display them throughout other public buildings in the Cherokee Nation of western North Carolina.

The idea was introduced by Councilwoman Angela Kephart last month. She said the tribe should display the Ten Commandments out of respect and devotion to God. The motion passed unanimously.

"We aren't saying you have to abide by the Ten Commandments," Kephart said, according to the Smoky Mountain News. "We are simply displaying God's Ten Commandments. That's what He expects from each and every individual. If you break that, it is between you and God. It is not between you and the tribal council; it is between you and God."

There is no First Amendment issue involved, and even if the American Civil Liberties Union wanted to make one, it can't. The U.S. Constitution does not apply to Cherokee, nor to any other Native American tribe for that matter, according to Cherokee's Attorney General David Nash.

"We are a sovereign nation and we can pretty much post anything we want in our council chambers," said Kephart. "For once the federal government is not going to tell us what to do. We can feel good about it because we are standing up for God. The more it becomes controversial, the more we need to stand firm."

Kephart was clear about her desire to promote Christianity.

"God has blessed our tribe," she said. "We have a very rich tribe, per se. We are operating on over a $200 million budget thanks to our gaming enterprise."

Posting the Ten Commandments doesn't prevent others from practicing their religion, explained Nash.

"Anybody can practice any religion they want to practice," Nash said.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Native American Women

Wilma Mankiller former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation

Wilma Mankiller, former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, lives on the land which was allotted to her paternal grandfather, John Mankiller, just after Oklahoma became a state in 1907. Surrounded by the Cherokee Hills and the Cookson Hills, she lives in a historically rich area where a person's worth is not determined by the size of their bank account or portfolio. Her family name "Mankiller" as far as they can determine, is an old military title that was given to the person in charge of protecting the village. As the leader of the Cherokee people she represented the second largest tribe in the United States, the largest being the Dine (Navajo) Tribe. Mankiller was the first female in modern history to lead a major Native American tribe. With an enrolled population of over 140,000, and an annual budget of more than $75 million, and more than 1,200 employees spread over 7,000 square miles, her task may have been equalled to that of a chief executive officer of a major corporation.

Initially, Wilma's candidacy was opposed by those not wishing to be led by a woman. Her tires were slashed and there were death threats during her campaign. But now as Wilma shares her home with her husband, Charlie Soap, and Winterhawk, his son from a previous marriage, things are very different. She has won the respect of the Cherokee Nation, and made an impact on the culture as she has focused on her mission - to bring self-sufficiency to her people.

"Prior to my election, " says Mankiller, "young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief." Mankiller had been asked by Ross Swimmer, then President of a small bank, who assumed leadership of the Cherokee Nation in 1975. He convinced Mankiller to run as his deputy chief. They won. In 1985, Swimmer resigned as chief to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Cherokee law mandated that the deputy chief assume the duties of the former chief.

In the historic tribal elections of 1987, Mankiller won the post out-right and brought unprecedented attention to the tribe as a result. "We are a revitalized tribe," said Mankiller,"After every major upheaval, we have been able to gather together as a people and rebuild a community and a government. Individually and collectively, Cherokee people possess an extraordinary ability to face down adversity and continue moving forward. We are able to do that because our culture, though certainly diminished, has sustained us since time immemorial. This Cherokee culture is a well-kept secret."

Mankiller attibutes her understanding of her peoples history partially to her own families forced removal, as part of the government's Indian relocation policy, to California when she was a young girl . Her concern for Native American issues was ignited in 1969 when a group of university students occupied Alcatraz Island in order to attract attention to the issues affecting their tribes. Shortly afterwards, she began working in preschool and adult education programs in the Pit River Tribe of California.

In 1974, she divorced her husband after eleven years of marriage when their views of her role continued to widen. She moved back to her ancestral lands outside of Tahlequah, and immediately began helping her people by procuring grants enabling them to launch critical rural programs. In 1979 she enrolled in the nearby University of Arkansas, and upon returning home from class was almost killed in a head-on collision in which one of her best friends who had been driving the other car, was killed. After barely avoiding the amputation of her right leg, she endured another seventeen operations. Mankiller says that it was during the long process that she really began reevaluating her life and it proved to be a time of deep spiritual awakening.

Then in 1980, just a year after the accident, she was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a chronic neuromuscular disease that causes varying degrees of weakness in the voluntary muscles of the body. She maintains that it was the realization of how precious life is that spurred her to begin projects for her people, such as the Bell project where members of the community revitalized a whole community themselves.

It was the success of the Bell project that thrust Mankiller into national recognition as an expert in community development. The election to deputy chief did not come until two years later. In 1986, Wilma married long time friend and former director of tribal development, Charlie Soap. Mankiller's love of family and community became a source of strength when again a life threatening illness struck. Recurring kidney problems forced Mankiller to have a kidney transplant, her brother Don Mankiller served as the donor. During her convalescence, she had many long talks with her family, and it was decided that she would run again for Chief in order to complete the many community projects she had begun.

She has shown in her typically exuberant way that not only can Native Americans learn a lot from the whites, but that whites can learn from native people. Understanding the interconnectedness of all things, many whites are beginning to understand the value of native wisdom, culture and spirituality. Spirituality is then key to the public and private life of Wilma Mankiller who has indeed become known not only for her community leadership but also for her spiritual presence. A woman rabbi who is the head of a large synagogue in New York commented that Mankiller was a significant spiritual force in the nation.

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"All the stones that are around here, each one has a language of its own. Even the earth has a song." ---- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

To believe that every tree, plant and insect can talk takes an open mind. Go by yourself into nature and sit quietly. Then pick up a rock and listen to your thoughts. After a while, put that rock down and pick up another rock. Your thoughts will change. These are the voices and wisdom of the Stone People. Each one has different wisdom and they are willing to share their wisdom with you. Many of the Stone People are very old and very wise.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fussing about how NA are getting treated with Katrina

I know that there are hundreds of families and individuals misplaced from Katrina and my heart goes out to ALL of them, not just New Orleans,

What I am fussing about this time is that the only place that seems to be focused on is New Orleans, as if no place else on the coast got hit or killed or devastated.

And this news about there was no help help sent because the people were poor and "African American, throwing in the race card.

I blame the media for that.

They did the same thing when there was that huge power outage up north that affected several states but the ONLY one they talked about was New York, as if that was the only state affected.

It is biased and unfair and the media likes to "say" that they do not show partiality or play favorites...but that is like BS bigtime.

They are as politically motivated as any campaigner ever dared to be on the presidential trail.

Not only that, this 2 thousand dollar debit card is a crock of POOP.

I have two friends that were devastated in the New Orleans area and they have now had to move near here and are coming over today for a cook out.

They went to the Red Cross.

They got 250 dollars apiece.

That's right folks.

Two HUNDRED and FIFTY dollars a piece NOT a debit card and not 2 thousand.

They lost everything. They lost their home. Their pets. Their life. Their jobs. Their friends.

They are NO different from anyone else I see on the news except for two things.

1. They got out ahead of the storm and

2. They are part native american and part white.

Other than that there is no difference. They are poor. They are elderly. They have nothing.

They were not on public assistance because they did try to work and lived pay check to pay check and went without seeing doctors when they needed to because the doctor or the medicines would cost more than they could afford.

They got their butts in the one old car they had and got out of the New Orleans area before the storm hit..... like Friday before when they said Katrina "might" head their way. ((common sense there)))

Doesn't take a lot of smarts to get out of the way and it only cost a tank of gas for them. I know that many a person didn't even have a car, old or otherwise so I won't say everyone could have left, but many who stayed did do so by choice and those I am tiffed with. They even said so in the interviews at the Astro Dome the day they were lining up to go in. I heard the interviews. ((I think after the mess started I would have broken into the school bus barns and loaded up folks WITH their pets and headed out...thise buses are still sitting there in several shots I saw on the news))

They are alive but they have nothing now except that old rattle trap car that overheats and breaks down more than it runs.

They are not getting any of the benefits that you hear on the news from the Red Cross or from FEMA.

So before anyone gets too excited that the Red Cross is "all that." In reality they are not treating all the victims the same any more than the media is.

In reality those with Native blood get screwed again.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Last of WWII Comache Code Talkers Dies

Last of WWII Comanche Code Talkers Dies Associated Press  |  July 22, 2005OKLAHOMA CITY - Charles Chibitty, the last survivor of the Comanche code talkers who used their native language to transmit messages for the Allies in Europe during World War II, has died. He was 83.

Chibitty, who had been residing at a Tulsa nursing home, died Wednesday, said Cathy Flynn, administrative assistant in the Comanche Nation tribal chairman's office.

The group of Comanche Indians from the Lawton area were selected for special duty in the U.S. Army to provide the Allies with a language that the Germans could not decipher. Like the larger group of Navajo Indians who performed a similar service in the Pacific theater, the Comanches were dubbed "code talkers."

"It's strange, but growing up as a child I was forbidden to speak my native language at school," Chibitty said in 2002. "Later my country asked me to. My language helped win the war and that makes me very proud. Very proud. "

In a 1998 story for The Oklahoman, Chibitty recalled being at Normandy on D-Day, and said someone once asked him what he was afraid of most and if he feared dying.

"No. That was something we had already accepted," he said.

"But we landed in deeper water than anticipated. A lot of boys drowned. That's what I was afraid of."

"I wonder what the hell Hitler thought when he heard those strange voices," he once told a gathering.

Chibitty was born Nov. 20, 1921, near Medicine Park and attended high school at Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kan. He enlisted in 1941.

In 1999, Chibitty received the Knowlton Award, which recognizes individuals for outstanding intelligence work, during a ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

"We could never do it again," Chibitty told Oklahoma Today. "It's all electronic and video in war now."


Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Canyon Skywalk

  The Canyon Skywalk By Glen Meek
Contact 13 Posted: July 4, 2005

It is one of the great natural wonders of the world -- and it will soon to be joined by an engineering marvel.

A fantastic glass bridge arcing 60-feet out over the grand canyon -- giving visitors an unobstructed view 4000-feet straight down.

Sheri Yellowhawk, tribal executive says "That's gonna be a scary view. It's gonna be exciting. It's gonna be a once in a lifetime view.

It may be scarey indeed having nothing more than sheets of glass separating you from eternity.

But the bridge has been engineered to withstand 100-mile per hour winds, magnitude 8 earthquakes -- and hold the weight of 71-jumbo jetliners.

The glass bridge -- officially called the canyon skywalk -- been under construction for months here on the west rim of the grand canyon.

It's being built on Hualapai tribal lands -- and the tribe hopes it will become one of the biggest attractions in the southwest.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of this year and when it's up and running, the hualapai expect as many as 3-million people a year will come here -- and take a walk out over the edge.

The idea for the skywalk came from las vegas tour operator David Jin, and its It has taken nearly a decade to turn his dream into a reality.

But not everyone was sold on the idea at first.

There were elders -- and others -- concerned about any construction on pristine native lands.

Tribal Executive Sheri Yellowhawk says "We had the area blessed. We had the elders come out and they talked about it and they said We would like to keep our land the way it is, but we have to look at the future of our kids, to have something that's economiocally feasable for their future

The financial future of the Hualapai is tied to tourism. They are not a gaming tribe.

But they are betting that -- when it comes to the skywalk -- if they build it -- you will come

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Shawnee tribe sues Ohio for land

Shawnee tribe sues Ohio for land TOLEDO, Ohio, June 28 (UPI) --

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe, now located in Oklahoma, has sued Ohio to recover thousands of acres of their ancestral lands.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the tribe's lawyer, Mason Morisset of Seattle, said that the Shawnee hope to convince Ohio to allow the tribe to locate one or more casinos on smaller plots of land. Several economically depressed municipalities in the state, including the city of Lorain, have suggested they would welcome a gambling palace.

Charles Enyart, the tribe's chief, said the Shawnee were forced out of Ohio and have land claims based on the Treaty of Greenville, signed in 1795. He said state Attorney General Jim Petro ignored offers to negotiate.

Such discourteous treatment harkens to an earlier era in this nation's history which we had believed to have long since yielded to a more enlightened course of dealings between tribal and state government, Enyart said in a letter to Petro and Gov. Bob Taft.

The suit was filed in federal court in Toledo.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thunderbird Dream

I had a strange dream last night and I usually do not get the feeling that my dream is trying to tell me something but this one is different.

I dreamed I was looking up wards, at times through a window and at times I was outside, and I would hear the sound of a hawk calling. The sky was blue-gray like before the dawn or before the sun sets.

In the sky was a man bird, which is the only way that I can describe this bird.  He had beautiful wings and yet the main body was like that of a man.

I could not see his face but he was soaring on the air currents as a hawk or great bird will do. It was as if he was doing some elaborate sky dance on the air currents, a beautiful ritual dance, and when he would get almost directly over my head he would bring up his wings until they encircled him and his tail would spread out until he was like a circle in the air.

I cannot  hardly describe how he did it, but I would then see the brillant coloring of his under feathers and abdomen, which although he was a "man", was also covered in feathers like a bird.

 He would seem to hover on the wind in this circle with wings and feathers spread until the air current shifted and then he would begin to fly and soar around in the air near where I was.

He repeated this hover at least twice more before I woke, and each time I would see him and watch him in my dream I would call out to my friend ((there with me in the dream)) to look and see this magnificant bird but by the time they would look, he would be out of their view.

I can still see this man bird, and the word Thunderbird comes to mind, but I have no idea what it means yet. It was and is a beautiful dream and a peaceful feeling still.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Cultural Tie Gets in the Way Of Graduation

Md. Boy Wearing Bolo Is Denied a Diploma

By Ann E. MarimowWashington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 10, 2005; Page B01

Thomas Benya wore a braided bolo tie under his purple graduation gown this week as a subtle tribute to his Native American heritage.

Administrators at his Charles County school decided the string tie was too skinny. They denied him his diploma, at least temporarily, as punishment.

Thomas Benya says the bolo tie he wore to graduation for Charles County's McDonough High School reflects his heritage. (By Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)  


The bolo, common in contemporary American Indian culture, is not considered a tie by his public school in Pomfret. If Benya wants the diploma, he will have to schedule a conference with the administrators.

What his parents say they want is an apology from Maurice J. McDonough High School for embarrassing their son and failing to respect the Cherokee background of his father's ancestors.

"The schools in Charles County are asking him to ignore his heritage," Marsha Benya said as she turned to face her 17-year-old son. "I want you to be proud of it."

"I am proud of it," he said, sitting in her real estate office in Waldorf, where he plans to work this summer before enrolling at the College of Southern Maryland.

The high school is sticking to its policy. The dress code is mandatory for seniors who choose to participate in the graduation ceremony. And Benya was told during a dress rehearsal Tuesday that his black bolo with a silver and onyx clasp the size of a silver dollar was "not acceptable."

"We have many students with many different cultural heritages, and there are many times to display that," said school district spokeswoman Katie O'Malley-Simpson.

"But graduation is a time when we have a formal, uniform celebration. If kids are going to participate, they need to respect the rules."

Controversies over student attire at graduation are perennial, and school districts try to avoid confusion by sending letters to parents and seniors months in advance. In Prince George's County, for example, graduating seniors are told "they are not to wear any kind of additional accents," said schools spokesman John White.

"We set the standard to make sure all our ceremonies are formal and respectful," he said.

In March, Benya's high school sent a letter to parents and seniors explaining that "adherence to the dress code is mandatory," with the word mandatory in bold and underlined. For girls: white dresses or skirts with white blouses. For boys: dark dress pants with white dress shirts and ties.

That left Benya's classmates free to wear bright orange, red and striped ties under their gowns at the ceremony Wednesday at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. One senior girl wore a headscarf and long pants for religious reasons.

"The First Amendment protects religion, and we do everything possible to honor that," O'Malley-Simpson said. "There is nothing that requires us to follow everyone's different cultures."



The courts have ruled that students have limited rights to express themselves at school as long as their behavior is not disruptive. A 1969 Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines, sided with students who wanted to wear black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War.

David Rocah, a staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said there are limits to those rights. Carrying political placards or wearing a clown suit to graduation would presumably be disruptive. The question, he said, is whether a bolo tie under a gown is disruptive.

"There's nothing wrong with wanting graduation to be a formal occasion," he said, "but the idea that everyone should look the same -- they're not all the same."

Rocah called the school's interpretation a "narrow and cramped view of personal autonomy."

Benya grew up hearing stories about his paternal grandmother's father and grandfather, who lived in dismal conditions on a Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma. He attends powwows and has worn an heirloom turquoise and silver bracelet for as long as he can remember.

He favors black clothes and prefers working backstage with lights and sound to performing in plays. He said he wasn't looking to cause a scene.

"It's my way of relating back to my past and showing who I am," he said.

Monday, June 6, 2005


My grandmother was a wise woman. She never said very much. I remember her presense most of all. That and the fact that at eighty years of age she had almost no gray in her hair, she had the most beautiful reddish brown "tan" of anyone I had ever seen, and the most beautiful cheekbones.


My mothers people were all German and Scotch-Irish so I was pale, fair, and redhaired. I never tanned. I burnt. or...I cooked bright red looking like a lobster. Thank heaven's as I have aged my hair darkened and now at almost 50 I have very little gray in my dark hair, but I still can't dare venture into the sun.


My grandmother cooked for everyone everyday as if she were having a feast. She had given birth to nine children that I am aware of, two which passed before they were a year old. I asked her about them, the dead ones I called them, just one time being curious.


She just said "They could not stay dear. They just could not stay."


Later my aunts and uncles would tell me the children died "probably of pneumonia and back then, no one really knew much to do with sick babies."


So my grandmother cooked for grandpa and six children and worked cropping tobacco or picking cotton before and after meals in the fields with grandpa. They were what you'd call share croppers now. They never had indoor plumbing until the last few years of their lives when all the grown kids "insisted" and built one onto the back porch.


Grandma saw no need for one, but I was scared of the hogs and the outhouse was in the pen beyond the fence and not far from the chicken coup. I was always in sheer terror the hogs would eat me, or the chickens attack and peck me to death.


And if that didn't happen I was terrified I would fall into that huge black hole in the outhouse or the snkaes I was sure were down there would get me. I was ready for the indoor "john."

With share cropping grandpa would have the house free to live in and would till the land and harvest whatever, he and all the young un's that were old enough to toddle and do anything. Wash day for all of us was this huge wash tub stuck out in the back yard and once I was old enough to be shy, I dreaded anyone that might drive by on the dirt road out front and "see" me.


Grandma would fix the meals and then not until after everyone ate would she quietly eata little, and that mostly as she cleaned the kitchen and put the bisquits in the pantry covered for later.


She named my daddy Jauquin. It is not spelled the way the Juaquin Valley was and I often wondered if it was just because she couldn't spell but when I asked her about the name she gently set me straight.


My grandmother told me that she had named him that because it meant "one who walks upright, bold like a bear". Now I have no way of knowing if grandmother was right. I cannot find the word spelled that way to look it up and she is long gone, as are both my parents and all of my family now.


I have often wondered what was in that name and what clan she would have been. Her maiden name was "White". I imagine that was rather common for the white man to just rename the Natives with whatever "christian" name they saw fit.


I look at my grandmother's pictures from time to time. There are only a small handful. She hated camera's for some reason and for that same unknown reason I don't like them either.


"There is something about them I don't care for." That's what she would say if I pestered her for an answer. That was the way it was with grandma, she never talked a lot unless you stayed on her heels.


I don't think I ever heard her raise her voice, but there were a thousand words in some of her looks. I think the day that I remember most is when mom and I rode up to the house to tell her my father, her son,  had died.


She took one look at mom and I and this sound came from deep within her soul and heart like nothing that I had ever heard. My dad was her firstborn. I don't remember her weeping, I just remember that sound that came from somewhere beyond words and beyond human sound. I didn't understand then like I do now what it is like to see your child die.


She was never the same after that and my uncle found her in bed one morning, way past when she would have been up doing things around the house. She had gone to sleep, and I guess she "just couldn't stay here anymore."


I miss her. I miss all the things that I never asked her. I miss all the things she never got to teach me and I never got to learn. I even miss her silence, because it was filled with her presense.



Friday, May 27, 2005

All the colors of Native America are not just red and white

African-Native Americans : We are still here : A Photo Exhibit : Exhibit Page

Jamie Sams


Jamie Sams is a Native American shaman of Cherokee and Seneca decent, who explains that medicine has to do with anything that makes us feel whole. Indians view medicine as a person’s gifts, including their inner strengths, talents, and abilities. "When we look at the idea of medicine," Sams says, "we have to embrace the total person: the body, the heart, the mind, and the spirit. When any of these part are out of balance, then there is a need for healing."

The processes used in healing depend on the type of illness. First a person must be diagnosed to see whether their sickness is physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental. Then it is treated accordingly. When the body is sick, herbs, flowers, and other plant matter can be used to promote recovery. Mechanical help is also used, such as setting bones when broken. Spiritual illnesses are handled by medicine people who may work with a person’s dreams, or with what they experience on other dimensions that need to be healed. Some tribes also take into account the influence of past lives. Emotional healing for family upsets, a broken heart, or other problems, and psychological healing for mental illnesses are handled differently still. "Sometimes we need to heal our impatience," Sams says. "And sometimes we need to heal our frustrations. Many times we need to heal the internal criticism that our brain is constantly carrying on, which makes us feel less than. But always, we need to take a look at that which does not work in our lives, and makes our behavior out of balance towards ourselves and others." Here, Sams explains important principles of healing for specific circumstances:

Native American Healing

George Amiotte


George Amiotte, an Ogalala Lakota from Pine Ridge, became a healing professional after a near death experience as a marine in Viet Nam. Upon his return home Amiotte searched for ways to restore his own wounded spirit and for a direction in life, when he was guided by Lakota elders to pursue a career in medicine.


This was a tall order to fill as Amiotte had only just gotten his GED in the Marine Corps, but he was able to enter and successfully complete a graduate program as a physician’s assistant. At the same time Amiotte studied medicine with Lakota elders. He, therefore, has a unique background that combines modern and traditional healing modalities.

Amiotte specializes in helping veterans overcome post traumatic stress disorder, a term used to describe combat fatigue. Most of his patients are Native Americans although he sees non-Native people as well. As a guardian of the sun dance, part of Amiotte’s work involves the use of the sun dance ceremony in healing. As a result, Amiotte has been able to achieve success where standard Veteran’s Administration programs have failed.


When an interested doctor from UCLA visited one ceremony, and was confused by what he saw, Amiotte explained to him that healing is more than a physical manifestation. Healing takes place on the physical, mental and spiritual levels, and a medical practitioner needs to consider all three aspects for optimum success. This is something western medicine fails to do.


Amiotte was then invited to see patients with gastrointestinal disorders who weren’t responding to contemporary western medicine. In a year’s time, his four patients responded beautifully to therapy, and the UCLA Medical Society woke up to the advantages of healing from a Native American perspective. Amiotte is now a member of a team of doctors that study and incorporate alternative healing methods into their western medical practices.


In a recent interview, Amiotte shared with me his philosophy of working with patients. His approach is to look at an individual on three levels. First, he checks to see that there are no physical problems, such as an organic disease; second, he interviews the patient to assess their state of mind; and, third, Amiotte looks at a person’s spirituality. Analyzing these factors helps him to put together an effective healing protocol.


"I don’t have one way ofworking," Amiotte says. "If a Native American wants to be treated by ceremony, I will set one up. That requires setting the stage for the individual to come to an alter, a physical area that is represented by earth, wind, fire, and water. Sometimes we use drum music. We acknowledge the universal laws, natural laws, our ancestors, the earth that we stand on. And we call in the healing aspect of this psychologically, physically, and spiritually.


Although trained as a healer, Amiotte acknowledges that healing depends upon God’s will and a patient’s receptivity: "I am a healer. But the reality of healing is in God’s hands. I’m a conduit, a hollow bone, if you will. For a patient to be healed, he or she must be receptive to a higher power. A person needs a relationship to God or a belief in a greater force."

Native American Healing

Monday, May 23, 2005

Wisdom and the wind, free texting again

Please always read things about Native traditions and culture with wisdom, discernment, and discretion.


Not all things written are fact. Not all things spoken are true. Your heart must weigh the entirety of a reading. Indeed we should read all things with care.


Once a friend told me all this in simple words: "You must chew up the meat and spit out the bones."


I wondered how was I supposed to know the difference when I read so many things and have so much to learn.  I don't feel like I have any wisdom. It did not seem so simple, and at times, it still isn't.


But I am learning. Bones will stick in your throat and choke you. You will not be able to breath in and out the very breath of life or pneuma.  It will kill you.


False words and false teachings can be that way...whether written or just simply said. They will attack the soul and spirit and choke the very life that the Creator has given us.


((( I give God no name. I simply call Him Creator at this time in my life for He is all and makes all things and to Him all things  come forth and return. )))


It is our responsibility to use wisdom and discretion, to weigh words with truth ....and see if the words bring life or death to the soul and spirit of a man.

It is hard to be sensitive to the spirit within us. The world around us calls and beacons and demands attention, while the still small voice of wisdom from the Creator is as a gentle breeze in the wind; almost indiscernable in the night.


At times I wonder what wisdom really is.  But I think that it is the ability to feel the inner soul, to know the inner spirit. To listen to that inner knowing and trust it.


Poison can kill us, slowly or some types can kill us rapidly. Words are that way to our inner self. They can tear us down or build us up. They can give hope, or take away the desire to fight and live and become victorious.


Perhaps it is a duty to ourselves that the Creator gives us. To read and hear and listen and to speak in wisdom.



Healing Pollution for Ourselves, Our World, and Our Future


We poison our systems on multiple levels: "Bitterness, hatred, and resentment are toxins from our heart, while jealousy and greed poison our thoughts. Then we harm our bodies with unhealthy foods and artificial substances, and hurt our spirits with a lack of gratitude.

In this sickened state, human beings tend to lose balance, and begin to see the world around them as something to abuse as well. "The things that we have done to ourselves internally," notes Sams, "we have also done to the earth, which is our sustenance."

Native Americans realize that living according to right principles not only helps ourselves and our planet, but insures a future for generations ahead. Sams notes that, "When we gather herbs to assist someone, we thank each and every plant that the earth mother sends, and we pass the first seven plants to always remember to leave enough for the next seven generations. In doing that, we are honoring the ninth clan mother who looks toward tomorrow for what our children and their children will need on the earth."


Healing Humiliation

Regarding humiliation, Sams writes, "Humiliation is the one event in human life that becomes unforgettable. The loss of human dignity at the hands of another can be forgiven, but it is rarely, if ever, forgotten. Healing humiliation and the loss of dignity is something that comes from inside a person. No healer, psychologist, doctor, medicine person or teacher can do it for somebody else. Consciously shaming another has dealt many a blow throughout time. Kicking people when they are vulnerable is a tactic of insensitive bullies. The world has been fraught with this behavior since its inception. It never seems to happen when we are feeling strong. It almost always happens when we are dealing with our own self-doubt and self criticism.

"We can heal the need to experience this reflection if we protect ourselves. The key is to notice that if we stop beating ourselves up internally the bullies of the world will quit picking on us externally. In Native American thought, we understand that the external world, and the things we experience in day to day life are mirror reflections that show us what we are doing to ourselves internally. If we honor who we are without an arrogance or sense of pride, but do it in a balanced way, and we walk life in a manner that allows us to honor and respect every other living thing, then we don’t bring the experience into our lives that would necessitate us being shown how it feels to be bullied or humiliated by another human being."


Healing Personal Integrity

"One of the things that human beings need to heal is the idea of hypocrisy. We say walk your talk. Don’t talk your walk. Human beings have learned over the years that spoken words are cheap and promises are often broken. And that, in many cases, is a commitment that is not being honored. So, many times we ask people who have walked the crooked path to heal their personal integrity. That’s a facet of healing that most people do not look at.

In our grandparents and our great grandparents day, a person’s word was their bond. But in this modern world, most times, if we give our word, we aren’t sure that the person we give our word to, and they give their word back is going to honor their personal integrity, because the sense of self has been eroded to the place where we cannot embrace the idea that integrity is everything, that if a person honors themselves, that promise is made to themselves. When you make a promise to another person, you are making it to yourself. That’s another aspect of the great smoking mirror. And when you do not honor your promises to another, you have reflected back to yourself through that great smoking mirror, what you actually think of yourself, which must be very little, because the integrity in your bond and your word was not honored by you, so how can others honor that same thing."

From the Site: Native American Healing

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

KU Negotiating with Tribes to return remains

KU negotiating with tribes to return remains

By Terry Rombeck, Journal-World

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The fate of 168 sets of American Indian remains housed at Kansas University could be decided as soon as the end of this year.

KU and other state entities, including Kansas State University, Wichita State University and the Kansas State Historical Society, previously returned remains that were culturally identifiable to the respective tribes under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

But KU still has 168 sets of remains that were found over the years within the state of Kansas but can't be identified by tribe.

The university has been negotiating the return of those bones to 14 tribes who historically were found in Kansas. Representatives of the historical society, WSU and KSU also are involved in the same negotiation process for remains found at their sites.

Mary Lee Hummert, associate vice provost for research at KU, said she thought that final approval from the 14 tribes for returning the sets of remains could come by the end of this year.

After that, the memorandum of agreement would need to be approved by the federal government.

"We'd like to see this resolved as quickly as possible," she said. "It's a high priority for us."

James Riding In, an Arizona State University professor who was involved with the Pawnee nation's negotiations with KU, said once the memorandum is signed, the university would hand over the remains to the 14 tribes.

"The tribes would decide the disposition of the remains," he said.

One possibility, he said, would be a joint ceremony to reinter the remains

LJWorld.com : KU negotiating with tribes to return remains

Students 'depressed' by state of American Indian artifacts

Students 'depressed' by state of American Indian artifacts

By Terry Rombeck, Journal-World

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Carla Feathers says she often leaves the American Indian collections at Kansas University feeling depressed.

Some of the more than 5,000 artifacts in the collection are shoved into boxes. Items from tribes that were historically enemy tribes are sometimes placed next to each other, which some believe disrupts the spirits of the items. The collections generally aren't taken out for fresh air or for special ceremonies, as is custom in American Indian cultures.

"The items haven't been cared for," said Feathers, a graduate student who is Pawnee and Cherokee. "It's really saddening. All of us leave (the collection) feeling really bad. Most of us have a personal connection to the items."

Feathers and a group of fellow graduate students have started a campaign to improve conditions of KU's anthropology collections. They're hoping KU will step up its care for the American Indian collection, and for about 4,800 artifacts representing cultures in other parts of the world. In some cases, they say the items are too sensitive for the university to even keep in its collections.

Consultant help

The collections are now considered part of the "anthropology research and curation resource." They were the basis for the Museum of Anthropology, located in Spooner Hall, until the university closed the museum in 2002, citing budget concerns. The items are open to classes and researchers, but not to the public.

The students contend the university has considered selling all or some of the collections. University officials say while that may have been discussed after the museum closed, that possibility is no longer on the table.

Through the budget cuts, the number of people on staff to care for the artifacts -- which are housed in Spooner and Fraser halls -- fell from seven to one full-time position and one half-time position.



"The collections are all intact," said Mary Adair, the museum's interim director. "Donors have been very concerned about the status of materials. We're caring for them to the best of our ability. Obviously, we have limited resources."

But the graduate students, who are involved in the Center for Indigenous Nations Studies and the museum studies programs, say that's not good enough. For instance, they say, items in acidic wooden boxes should be transferred to metal boxes so they don't decay.

They're asking KU to increase its funding for the collection's upkeep. Ultimately, the group would like the items to be opened to the public again through public exhibition space.

The students say many of the items in the collection aren't properly identified, making care even more difficult. They'd like to bring in a group of tribal consultants to the collection to help identify the items.

"Just one Indian isn't going to know everything," said Jancita Warrington of Keshena, Wis., a member of the Menominee and Prairie Band Potawatomi tribes. "We're trying to bring in various consultants."

They're applying for grant funding from the Kansas Humanities Council, tribes and private foundations, but some granting agencies require the collection be tied to a museum that's open to the public.

‘Living objects'

If there are items that are identified by the consultants as especially sensitive for the tribes or have particular cultural value -- such as ghost dance shirts, eagle feathers or war bonnets -- Warrington said the items shouldn't be in KU's collections.

"The more ceremonial items we want returned to the tribes," she said. "They're not meant to be in a museum."

At the very least, the students say, some items should be taken out for fresh air and for a smudging ceremony, which cleanses objects of negative energies or spirits.

"It's very sacred stuff that's up there, to these tribes," said Johnny Williams, a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe from Mayetta. "They're not dead objects. They're living."

To spread the word about their concerns, the students have organized several panel discussions at KU and Haskell Indian Nations University this semester about the collection.




KU response

KU administrators say they're aware of the concerns over the American Indian collections.

"If any student would find an item in the collection that was not being properly stored or needed some particular treatment, they should definitely inform the interim director," said Mary Lee Hummert, associate vice provost for research. "We're very much aware of the fragile nature of the items."

But Hummert said she wasn't sure whether the university would volunteer to return items to tribes. Some items that are used for ongoing ceremonies or for funeral ceremonies, for example, must be returned to the tribes under the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

"We'd probably have to talk about a specific case," Hummert said. "We take very seriously our responsibility in relationship to artifacts and recognize the need for cultural sensitivity."

Hummert said there were currently no plans to re-open the collection or increase funding for upkeep.

Common problem

James Riding In, a professor at Arizona State University and an expert in American Indian collections, said conflicts over American Indian artifacts were not uncommon at universities.

Riding In, a member of the Pawnee nation, said returning culturally sensitive items to tribes may be difficult for several reasons. First, he said, the tribal leaders may be reluctant to provide details about traditional tribal ceremonies. Second, travel is an obstacle.

"Despite the myth that all Indians are gaming-rich, many lack resources to send people to these institutions to look at the items," he said.

Still, he said he applauded the students for becoming advocates for the artifacts. He said he hoped the university could find a way to make certain items available to more of the public for teaching purposes.

"I applaud them for showing their interest," he said. "The students saw the deep, rich, cultural significance of those items."


LJWorld.com : Students 'depressed' by state of American Indian artifacts

Man's Own Inhumanity to Man

Man’s Own Inhumanity to Man


There is no wound deeper than that made by a friend.

The heart shatters into pieces, too broken up to mend.

Trust is such a fragile thing,

Like fine spun glass it shatters,

And what is left is a life undone,

Where hurt is all that matters.

I look around and see

Empty hearts with broken dreams,

And empty eyes with sadness look

Into my heart and scream.

Pain in every corner in every single heart,

Tho most remains unspoken, it is hidden just in part.

For every single heart

Has shed its many tears,

And every single life knows

A multitude of fears.

And every single heartache

Has left its mortal scar,

And changed the life it wounded

As if it were at war.

So be kind unto your neighbor.

Look at his motives well.

For his actions are determined

By his own amount of hell.

And in love…..

Be gentle……


For the Only true insanity…

              Is man’s own inhumanity to man.

Written by CheyFire

Sept 1986


Sunday, May 15, 2005

What's in a name?

I very rarely just free text articles but I want to this time. I am in a process of learning the way of the Native American ... and at times I am so humbled and ashamed to speak of  Native traditions and rituals as if I know them so well or have any wisdom. Please know that I have neither.



Although my grandmother was beautiful and full blooded Seminole, I am hesitant when I write because I truly know so little.  I have tried to remember the things that she taught me and read everything that I can and I try to share whatever I find and I try to always give the site links so that others can read them.



There are so many "wanna be's" and new agers that twist and turn and pervert the Native way of life. I do not think you can "learn" the Native "way." It is not just a way of doing things, or performing rituals or reciting words for ceremonies.  It is not just that you have a love for the people or can build a sweat lodge or grow herbs to be used for healing.



I think it is a position of heart and spirit and soul that resides in the very bone and marrow of the one of Native blood.



I have been  humbled lately, making the very same mistakes other "white" men do. ((I stand in error myself when I called the Inuit people of Alaska "Eskimo's.")) 



I have so much to learn and I am so hungry to learn. The information that I obtain and attempt to share are things that I find on the Internet and so often the information is ... at best .... a blend of Native traditions, wicca, occult, and New Age philosophy with white men adding on their own two cents worth full of rituals. The news articles are for information and learning as well.



I have so much respect for the heritage and culture. I have so much respect for my grandmother. 



 Wildchildspirit  is correct in that the word Shaman is a term with it's descent from the Russia and it is not one used by any Native tribe that I am aware of.  It is a foreign word also used for witch doctors and other practitioners that walk "spiritual" pathways different from the traditional "Christian" anglo saxon one.



She is also very much correct that true Medicine men do not call themselves Shamans. Native people who practice the art of healing, balance, and wholeness do not give themselves any  title. It would be against the Native nature to boast and "label" oneself.



I have never met a true healer who even decided he would grow up and "be" a medicine man as the outside world decides a profession.



The true healer lives and walks a path of humility and honor; where  lifestyle reflects character.  Often their words are few and weighed by truth and proven over time. The truest leader leads by example, not by force or a sense of entitlement, and he is known by his works, not by the rituals he can recite or expound.


People will seek out the healer for he is known to be a  man of integrity in touch with the world and Mother Earth and the Creator.


Forgive me when I share things that are not entirely correct and help me to share the right information. Thank you to those who are teaching me.

Monday, May 9, 2005

Shaman's Past and Present: John Joseph

Shaman's Past and Present:  John Joseph

John Joseph, a shaman with the Chinook tribe of the lower Columbia River, and a nurse practitioner in Washington State, helps Viet Nam veterans suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, with the purification ceremony: "They have lost their spirituality, and this is a good way to help them find it. The lodge is a safe haven. No one can hurt them. Intrusive thoughts, the anxieties of the day, and the problems of living with post traumatic stress are left outside the door. They are able to speak about things that hurt them during the war and about things that hurt them when they came home. They are able to speak about the triggers that interfere with their lives today, even though it is 20 years later. They’re able to speak, cry, yell, regurgitate harmful emotions, and put them in the fire.

Joseph says that that true healing comes from being able to express oneself in a safe environment: "Everything said in the lodge remains there. Nothing is repeated outside of it. This gives a person a real opportunity to cleanse the heart, and to place things into the fire." He adds that the healing is amplified by being in the presence of the heated stones: "There is stone medicine, Inyan medicine; the sizzling and popping from the water on the stones actually gives a spirit direction. There’s wonderful healing in that."

"Many vets tell me that they feel considerably better for some period of time after they leave the lodge. Often they will come back and ask, ‘When are we going to do another lodge? I am absolutely stressed to the max.’ We do four, five, or six a year, sometimes more, depending on the number of requests.

"Once they start to get their spirituality back, their physical appearance changes. They start to keep their hair. They become neater in the way they dress. Their thought patterns become more cohesive, without constant intrusions. They can even think straight, in many cases. Sometimes children tell me that their dads sleep for two days after a sweat lodge, when they only slept two hours before. So, there’s a wonderful release, and a wonderful return of cohesiveness to their lives, after the purification lodge."


Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Shamans Past and Present

Wuan Geronimo Flores

Wuan Geronimo Flores claims to have inherited the gift of his great grandfather, Geronimo: the ability to heal through the movement of energy. Flores has the capacity to speed up his own energy, and to transfer this quickened force into a patient, thereby, helping a person to become spiritually centered, so that their ailments can disappear.

Flores does not need to know the nature of a person’s illness, because symptoms are physical manifestions, and Flores works on a more subtle level. He will look beyond appearances to get to the root of a problem. He says of his work: "The healing, which incorporates Native American and universal [principles], takes place in a sacred space. This is the part of an individual’s home that is special to them, a place they gravitate to, where they feel the most secure and comfortable. We go to that place and the person lies down. Ever since I was a child, one of my talents has been getting people to relax deeply by putting them in a trance-like state. Then there is the actual moving of energy, the speeded up energy from my body going into theirs. All the while I am concentrating on the individual, and that can be achieved through different ways: through chants, prayers, or just through central focusing.

"This is very visual for me. I start seeing a picture of the person. As I concentrate, the image of the person gets transposed, until there are nothing but stars floating in space. I see the exact same body, only now it is made of nothing but starts. I see metallic dots of blue, silver, purple and black filling up the space and raining down on the person. The colors are calming and cooling, almost as if they are utilizing a certain frequency for the person’s relaxation. Once a person has calmed down--they may even fall asleep--the energies that they were holding on to are easily released.

"I will see different things, depending on the person. One man had AIDS, although I didn’t ask him what he had or how he got it. But on an energy level, he looked like a meteorite, an astroid, a cavern. He was submerged in a swamp, with tiny pollens ticking away from the inside. That’s what his body was going against.

"Once that was removed, his body naturally healed itself by reproducing cells that he needed to get rid of the disease. And sure enough, about two weeks later, his cell count went from 4 to 300.

"So,that’s what I do. I work as a guide, and I work on avery deep level. My aim is to release energy blockages so that a person’s own energy can take over and restore balance."

Native American Healing

Introduction to the Shaman from Native American Healing

Native American Healers


The Shaman

Unlike western cultures, where people choose whether or not they want to become doctors, a person receives a calling to become a shaman or medicine person. Sometimes this ability runs in families, and other times one naturally feels summoned to enter into this work. John Grim, author of Patterns of Religious Healing Among the Ojibway explains that the term shaman refers to a practitioner, from an indigenous culture, who has had an exceptional experience of the cosmic power that pervades the world. These individuals are able to bring this power into rituals to affect healing experiences.


Often healers experience some illness in their youth that leads them to be withdrawn and introspective, and causes them to seek out their advice of an elder. The person will become reflective and begin to feel a special obligation towards the work of helping others. This is a tremendous responsibility. A person must develop and maintain a special relationship with the spirit world, and bring that special relationship with spirit to the person or situation in need.


Many times, the shaman will receive revelations concerning particular objects to be used in rituals. These can vary and may include something from nature, a song, or a combination. Items can accumulate over a period of years, and are known as medicine bundles. But medicine bundles are seen as more than material objects; they are a collection of experiences. More specifically, these represent encounters with the sacred world that have been revealed through particular objects.


Medicine bundles are very personal and private, and meaningful only within a cultural context. Grim notes that it is inappropriate for non-Native peoples to place medicine bundles in museum out of curiosity, as these are an integral part of tribal identity and transporting them from a people would inflict deep wounds upon their heritage and identity. Besides, outsiders can never fully appreciate their significance. However, it may be appropriate for non-Native people to try and understand the significance of medicine bundles to Indian cultures to increase an awareness and respect for their customs and traditions.


Plants play an important role among medicine objects. Many indigenous healing practitioners had a profound understanding of local plantlife based on a sacred classification. In other words, they understood how one should approach a plant, which parts of which plants are to be used for treating specific maladies, and the idea of reciprocity, respecting the plant as a being of equal worth, being thankful for its help, and leaving an offering, such as a prayer, for the plant that is taken. A deep intimacy of exchange exists at all times.


The understanding of how a shaman functions is difficult for people of western cultures to understand, as their views of the world are so different. Yet it is something most people today need and yearn for. Grim explains: "What makes the shaman’s role so fascinating, in the late twentieth century, is the cosmological setting in which a shaman functions, namely, shamans bring people into the presence of the spirit beings who are in the world and in the cosmos. This is something very beautiful. It’s so difficult for us to understand in mainstream America where our cosmology, for the most part, is either the story of Genesis or the story of science. While the Genesis story is seen as very meaningful for Christians who hold that as their cosmology, it does not have the immediacy of entry into their daily life. It’s a cosmology which tells where the world came from, and perhaps explains early parents, the fall, why women suffer in childbirth, and why we were driven out of the garden. But it is not a cosmology that brings spiritual presences to our lives today. It’s a story that explains. The scientific cosmology is also an explanatory story, but one without interest in sacred or spiritual meaning. Scientists are reflective, but they work within certain limits. Their cosmology is a description of the world as it appears to them through their empirical observation.


"We live in this world, then, where the cosmologies that are available to us provide no intimacy. And yet we experience constant intimacies with this seasonal world, with this world of resources, with the clothes that we wear on our back. I want to suggest that the human is constantly interacting with this world. And our interaction demands some respect and attention. That attention can be trivialized or it can be deepened. And shamans are personalities who live in deepened relationship with their cosmology, and who assist their people to deepen their own personal and community relations with the world around them.


"We yearn for that in mainstream America. We yearn for intimacies of exchanges with our world. Does that mean we become Native Americans? That’s a foolish thought. It means we need to recover our own cosmology. Well, what is our cosmology? I think that’s what we need to re-explore. We yearn to recover that shamanic presence, that capacity to literally draw healing capacities from an exchange with the world around us, to literally heal our communities. Environmental degradation is woven right into these questions we’re talking about. One reason why Native people are connected with this issue is that they have intimacies with their homeland. They have regard for that mountain, desert, body of water. When one reverences something, quite often one doesn’t trash it. So, these natural exchanges between a people and the life setting in which they find themselves, those individuals called shamans, I tend to see as a mode or way of being that all people are being called to recover. We are being called to bring this sense of wonder back into our daily lives. So, the shamanic journey is not simply someone sitting with a drum, or a group of people withdrawing and taking drugs in order to get into some altered state. The shamanic personality is a challenge to the late twentieth century to recover right relationships with our bioregions, to begin to understand the earth again as something that has always nourished us. It will continue to provide for us. But it also needs our care and concern. That is the shamanic ritual now."

Native American Healing

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Standing up against Stereo Typing

I have reluctantly watched television at times and see the stereo typing of many races of people and of their culture.  


The African American people were able to finally deter many of their portrayals in the media but I do not think there has been very much "standing ground" overall amoung the Native American people as represnted in the media, and what is mentioned usually involves the word "casino".  


I do not mean that as a people we have not protested the abuse and use of the Native and their lands, but there are times that a certain commercial and of "native" portrayal or culture will just bother me as the following letter states that I sent to Subway today.  


Dear sirs,  


I have never taken the time to write with my concerns related to television commercials until now.  


I am one quarter Seminole. I am also an army "brat" and lived in Alaska for four years with the Eskimo people which also happen to be Native American.  


The commercial that you have advertising the "hot" subway sandwich being delivered to an igloo with what are supposed to be an Eskimo family portrays what appear to be a people of Asian or Oriental dissent and not of the Native American Eskimo people and or of their living conditions in Alaska.  


Both portrayals are incorrect and offensive. I request that you portray all races of people with their correct heritage and that you portray their society as it is without the stereo types. Eskimo's do not "live" in snow Igloos nor do they look Oriental or Asian.  


Thank you.



Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Lakota Way by Joseph Marshall III

Official Joseph Marshall III website.

The Lakota Way by Joseph Marshall III - Native American


Rarely do I attempt to do book reviews or brag about books, although my love of reading is ingrained in me.

This past weekend I was watching television and found this author speaking about his book The Lakota Way.

I then went to his web site and then to the local bookstore and have been reading it ever since. This "story telling" book tells the old stories passed down in Joseph Marshalls Lakota tribe.

Since Mr. Marshall is considered to be a story teller by his people, I have also ordered his tape which keeps the oral tradition of story telling it's rightful place.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a love of the old ways and a respect for the honorable characteristics of the Lakota tribe.

The Medicine Wheel - East

East - Illumination and Wisdom

Spirit keeper of the East - Eagle (Wabun)


March 21 to April 19:

Moon Phase: Budding tree’s moon red tail hawk

Power Animal: Red tail hawk

Mineral: Fire opal

Frequency: 3.6 megacycles

Color: Yellow

Plant: Dandelion

Clan: Thunderbird

Element: Fire


Characteristics: Red tail hawk people look at the world with a sense of wonder. They have a great flair for life and adventure, and are always open to learning something new. Being of the element fire, these people are passionate about everything they do. They are also fearless, and often act without thinking, which causes them to bump their heads a lot. These people cannot lie, for if they do, they are either no good at it, or it makes them ill. So, they are straightforward and not very tactful. If you ask a redtail hawk whether or not he likes your new dress, you are going to hear an honest opinion.


April 20 to May 20:

Moon Phase: Frog’s return moon beaver; New waters moon beaver

Power Animal: Beaver

Mineral: Crysacola.

Frequency: 4.5 megacycles

Color: Blue

Plant: Blue commis

Clan: Turtle

Element: Earth


Characteristics: These are the architects of the shields. Beaver people are usually workaholics who can focus on getting the job done. The results of their work can have great impact on people far away. Beaver people don’t like change in their lives, and must learn to embrace change and to be thankful for the opportunities it offers, even when this is difficult.


May 21 to June 20:

Moon Phase: Corn planting moon deer.

Power Animal: Deer

Mineral: Moss agate

Frequency: 5.26 megacycles

Colors: Green and white

Plant: Yarrow

Clan: Butterfly

Element: Air


Characteristics: In Indian cultures, deer people are referred to as the Einsteins of the shield. They’re the ones with all the ideas. While most people are wondering what to do with their lives, deer people are wondering when are they going to have time to do everything they think of doing. The element air makes them multifacted and changeable. Deer people don’t necessarily finish what they start, but move from one thing to another. Often, they are artists and entertainers, and they frequently have two or three jobs at once.