Friday, August 20, 2010
>You are so intricately woven into my life,I cannot recall when you were not.I could no more walk without you than I could stop breathing.I know and I understand that we've always walked together...as do you.That is how it is,and will always be.I know we'll always be there for each other;and,you know it as well.
There's no explaining this awesome gift,it just is.I can merely whisper,"Thank you God,for this timeless friend,as often as possible.Please know how much you have given into my life...all of which is a Sacred Privilege for me.
The gift of you is one of the most precious gifts I have ever received.I treasure this gift always and,The Giver.We have been brought together for reasons reaching far beyond ourselves.What a glorious journey !
From your Flannel Robe Sister
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
You, O God, are the Lord of the mountains and valleys. You are my mother and my father. You have given rain to make the corn grow, and sunshine to ripen it. Now in your strength the harvest begins.
I offer you the first morsels of the harvest. I know it is almost nothing compared with the abundance of the crop. But since you have provided the harvest, my gift to you is only a sign of what you have given to me.
You alone know how many suns and moons it will take to finish reaping. You alone know how heavy the crop will be. If I work too hard and too fast I forget about you, who gave me the harvest. So I will work steadily and slowly, remembering that each ear of corn is a priceless gift from you.
Monday, August 16, 2010
"The honor of the people lies in the moccasin tracks of the woman. Walk the good road.... Be dutiful, respectful, gentle and modest my daughter... Be strong with the warm, strong heart of the earth. Be strong and sing the strength of the Great Powers within you, all around you." --Village Wise Man, SIOUX
The Elders say the Native American women will lead the healing among the tribes. We need to especially pray for our women, and ask the Creator to bless them and give them strength. Inside them are the powers of love and strength given by the Moon and the Earth. When everyone else gives up, it is the women who sings the songs of strength. She is the backbone of the people. So, to our women we say, sing your songs of strength; pray for your special powers; keep our people strong; be respectful, gentle and modest. Oh, Great One, bless our women. Make them strong today.
Famous Native Women
Rebecca Adamson (1950-) Native American Advocate
A member of the Cherokee nation, in 1980 Adamson founded the First Nations Development Institute. This group has established new standards of accountability regarding federal responsibility and reservation land reform and has an operating budget of about three million dollars. Adamson has aided indigenous peoples in Australia and Africa also and has received many awards for mobilizing and unifying people to solve common problems.
Ada Deer (1935-) American Indian and Civil Rights Activist
Deer was the first member of the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned an MS in Social Work from Columbia. Deer led her tribe in gaining passage of the Menominee Restoration Act, which restored their land and treaty rights as American Indians. At the national level, Deer became Deputy of Indian Affairs and is now the Director of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
La Donna Harris (1931-) Indian Rights and Civil Activist
Harris, member of the Comanche tribe, has served since 1970 as president of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), a multi-tribal organization devoted to improving life for American Indians. She has served on the National Rural Housing Conference and the National Association of Mental Health. Harris has expanded the AIO to include the "American Indian Ambassadors" program, which provides one-year fellowships for Native American students.
Winona LaDuke (b.1960) Author and Environmentalist
Winona LaDuke has worked for nearly three decades on the land issues of the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota including litigation over land rights in the 1980's. She currently serves as the Director of Honor the Earth and Founding Director of White Earth Land Recovery Project.
Queen Lili'uokalani (1838–1917) Monarch
The last reigning monarch of Hawaii, Lili'uokalani inherited a difficult situation in 1891. Foreigners forced through a new constitution which took away voting rights from most Hawaiians. A revolution, encouraged by the American government, forced Lili'uokalani to abdicate in 1893 and in 1889, the Hawaiian Islands were annexed by the United States. Among her legacies are over 200 songs she composed, including the very popular Aloha Oe.
Belva Lockwood (1830-1917) Lawyer, Women's Rights Activist
Lockwood graduated from the National University Law School in Washington, D.C. in 1873. In 1879, she was the first woman admitted to practice before the Supreme Court where, in 1900, she argued and won $5 million for the Eastern Cherokee Indians. She ran for president in 1884 and 1888 as the National Equal Rights Party candidate. Lockwood joined the Universal Peace Union, and in 1889 was a delegate to the International Peace Congress.
Wilma Mankiller (1945-) American Indian, Civil Rights Activist
Mankiller lived in San Francisco in 1969 when she and friends from the Indian Center successfully occupied Alcatraz and brought national attention to the needs of Indians. She returned to Oklahoma and became deputy chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1983. She was elected principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in 1985, the first woman to be elected to this position. Mankiller served for 10 years and in 1991, she won with 82% of the vote.
Maria Montoya Martinez (1887–1980) Artist, Potter
Martinez lived in the small, ancient Tewa Indian village of San Ildefonso, New Mexico, where she learned the traditional Pueblo way of making coiled pottery from her aunt, Tia Nicolasa. She and her husband rediscovered the ancient techniques of firing polychrome and black-on-black pottery. These fine designs are highly praised today, and this blend of the old and new has helped produce economic self-sufficiency for the Indian village.
Sacajawea (1784-1812) Frontier Guide
Sacajawea was a Shoshone woman sold to a fur trader, Charbonneau, when she was fourteen. Lewis and Clark hired Charbonneau as an interpreter; Sacajawea was a translator and guide. She traveled with her two-month old baby nicknamed "Pomp." She saved the expedition when she met her long-lost brother, a Shoshone, who prevented conflicts with unfriendly tribes. Lewis named a "handsome river" in Montana for Sacajawea, this trusted interpreter.
Buffy Sainte-Marie ( 1941-) Singer
A Cree Indian, Sainte-Marie has supported Native American rights through her songs. Her intense political songs in the folk style of the 1960’s, like Universal Soldier and Now That the Buffalo's Gone, established her solid reputation as a songwriter and vocalist. Her first album debuted in 1964, and her latest in 1991. Sainte-Marie has written over 300 songs which have been recorded by her and more than 100 artists in seven languages.
Susette La Flesche Tibbles (1854- 1903) Indian Rights Advocate, Author
Tibbles taught at an Indian school after being educated in the East. In 1887, her Indian tribe, Ponca, was forcibly removed from their land on the Dakota-Nebraska border. Tibbles lectured in the East and made many converts to the cause of Indian rights, including Helen Hunt Jackson. In addition to writing Indian stories, in 1881 Tibbles addressed the Association for the Advancement of Women on "The Position, Occupation and Culture of Indian Women."
Sarah Winnemucca (1844-1891) Indian Rights Activist
Winnemucca, a Paiute Indian, was a liaison between the Paiutes in Nevada and the army in the 1870s. After the Bannock Uprising in 1878, Winnemucca lectured to publicize the injustices suffered by the Paiutes. She wrote a book, Life Among the Paiutes: Their Wrongs and Claims, which won wide popular support. She took thousands of signatures on her petition to Congress that passed a law giving land grants to the Paiutes, but the Secretary of the Interior ignored its provisions.
border of flowers
"It is a paradox in the contemporary world that in our desire for peace we must willingly give ourselves to struggle." --Linda Hogan, CHICKASAW
The Grandfathers have taught us about sacrifice. We have been taught to pray for the people in a pitiful way. Struggle and conflict is neither good nor bad, it just is. Everything that grows experiences conflict. When the deer is born it is through conflict. When the seed first grows, it is through conflict. Conflict precedes clarity. Everything has the seasons of growth. Recognize - acknowledge - forgive and change. All of these things are done through conflict.
"Great Spirit, give me the courage today to see that struggle and conflict are here to teach me lessons that are a gift from you."
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Grandfather looks heavenward at this hour. His gaze is steady and intense. I need to walk the path. Grandfather walks with me. The stillness is wonderful and refreshing. He hums softly. The vibration of the humming seems to open my sight to images of golden fields of wheat moving/swaying by the soft winds.
Raven calls. His graceful form moves effortlessly against a clear blue sky.He circles several times,then disappears among the grove of tree's nearby.
Now,I see a mountain range. It's slopes bare traces of snow. So silent,so massive.Eagle soars above it's summit.His call reverberates far and wide.Oh,how good to hear these blessed voices.I've missed their call.I've missed seeing them in their own respective element...such power and grace.
Grandfather and I walk on in stillness.He stops suddenly;and with a stick,traces a circle into the earth.He takes the pipe and moves it over the circle several times.He indicates to me that we should stand together inside the circle.As I step in to join him,the circle begins to move.Grandfather's eyes tell me to focus on his eyes,not the moving circle.I do. I feel the moving increase,even faster.He begins to hum again.The moving stops suddenly.I'm standing at the edge of the ocean. The waters are so calm.A voice whispers,"Little Sister,open your eyes." She stands before me. Her smile more radiant than the sun. "Come,she whispers." It's time to dance.The drums begin.She turns to the West. The sun is merely moments from setting. She whispers again,"Come," and takes my hand.The drums increase in pace and volume.I feel the familiar spiraling as it surrounds me.
She speaks,"We'll dance before the Ancients. We'll dance in the midst of the Sacred Fire. Come!"
Now,we're approaching a camp fire.The flames are so alive,so hypnotic,so timed to the drums.Several persons stand to receive us.She speaks,"Greeting beloved of the beloved.We come in answer to your call. We rejoice to be part of the Sacred Dance." We are made welcomed,and invited to enter with in the Sacred Circle. She turns her gaze toward me. She whispers,"Look deeply thru these portals, and enter with-in." Again,the spiraling begins and I am lifted up into the night sky.She whispers,"Listen to the drum. It is a single voice come to deliver a message.Listen closely, little sister."
I look for her, but see only the night sky.Suddenly,a single drum sounds.It's slow,steady beat comes ever nearer,until I feel a presence.Words fall gently and clearly before me.I can see the words take shape to form images. The words reveal wisdom and joy.
Each word and it's image reflects many life-forms,many seasons,many journeys.Unique and part of the whole message.I see a new world rising in the East. I feel a new life essence being poured out into and throughout the cosmos. I see dying suns and moons replaced by new ones.I see the skies tremble,and stars(unseen before,) appearing. All this wrapped in warmth,and light,and stillness.
The drum is now silenced,but I can feel it's vibration reverberating thru my entire being.She whispers,"Come,little sister."Soon it will be sunrise."I look at her,and see we are again at the waters edge."Please sing that song for me," I ask.She replies,"Sleep, little sister. I will sing your song.It is,after all,your song that I sing.
Again,I find myself on the path. As she sings,I'm met by Grey wolf. Within that song we are held,and walk in the wondrous stillness.As I make my way down the path to home,Grey wolf stops,lowers his head slightly,and walks away,back to the woods.Her voice continues to sing,somewhere deep within me.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Earlier today I was looking at this photocopy of a painting of my Great,Great Grandmother.I thought,"You suffered and endured so much pain,loss and agony at such a young age...Almost immediately,a thought,(her answer?)followed,"Yes,but I also knew goodness and love. I knew life as being kind and gentle,and hopeful..."
Unlike Grandmother,we(today)do not know the true meaning of persecution. We do not know what true deprivation is.We do not know the horror of ignorance and hatred based on color of skin,or ethnicity. She did,and so much more that even recorded history cannot relate.
Is there a defining line between resignation to fate,and the primal instinct to survive despite the hell and agony involved? I think there is a difference based upon the individual's perception;and innate ability to cope,even in the face of death and destruction.
Grandmother's brief account of her own experience(in my mind,) and as has been handed down thru generations,reveals no less.I cannot begin to grasp,(say nothing about appreciate,) what hell she endured as a child...the persecution of her existence,the loss of her dignity and life's purpose.The attempt by ignorance and hatred to reduce her,(and her own,) to less than human.
Yet,being who she is,she could tell us today,"I learned to love..." This woman's character,her vision of life,her very essence,is my heritage. Through me, she walks tall and straight. She walks with incredible dignity,with love I have learned to appreciate her with increasing clarity.
She knew what it meant to truly Live and love.
I Take my heritage with me trough each day,there-in is my shield of strength and wisdom,and vision of courage. I will walk tall and straight because she walks with me...Dancingfire
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The drums sound...distant,yet none-the-less present. I see a campfire. I see a solitary one dancing. It's a measured step...a deliberate,emphatic step.It's a message of power,of wisdom,of extraordinary vision.
The hypnotic cadence brings me to the circle of fire,and the one dancing. She stops,and gazes into my eyes. I feel and hear her heartbeat,her breath as she inhales and exhales.Her eyes draw me ever deeper within,until I am moving thru them...moving toward a sunbathed meadow filled with glorious wildflowers.
That hauntingly beautiful song drifts on the gentle winds. Again ,she stands within arms reach of me,and she smiles."Welcome,Dancingfire.It is good that we are together again,after a time of(seeming) absence.It is a delight to watch your mind leap and dance as you always have done.I see you have a ways to go for patience. Come,sit here with me."
We sit down near a brook. She places her hand to my forehead,telling me to relax,and listen to the voice of the wind."close your eyes. The wind will speak to you." I close my eyes,and suddenly I hear a soft whisper that becomes louder...enough for me to hear a voice saying,"Now!It is time.It is time for you to increase, to expand your vision. It is time for you ,Dancingfire,to open wide the gate that brings you to the greater path. Do it! Now!"
I hear the drums again.She stands before me and says,"You know what to do,and when you are to do it.You will be given flashes of remembrance,as you are able to receive them.We will help you,guide you,Dancingfire.You cannot recall exactly (where you are this day,)But you and I have shared similar paths before.Be at peace.Walk very close,very attentive to our precious one.Know that we do no less for you, and for her."
The drums begin to fade.I am drifting. The winds carry me gently thru many layers of mist.My eyes will not stay open. As they close,she whispers,"Sleep ,my sister.Listen to the song."I hear that haunting song.It surrounds me,envelopes me;and it is so alive with love,and gentleness. I give myself over to it. I drift in it,and with it...on and on,and on.