Manataka American Indian Council
Saturday, February 16
I have two daughters. One is married and the other is a teenager. Jamie, my teenager has given many reasons for me to speak to the Creator. One day another girl said bad things to my daughter and a fist fight broke out. The girl got a black eye and my daughter got into trouble. The other girl's mother was very angry at my daughter. Both girls were wrong but my daughter was being punished and the other girl was not.
I was having trouble getting past my own anger. I was filled with anger and could find no peace or answers. I was empty but also filled with poison. Then a hawk appeared above me and I closed my eyes. I saw the hawk soaring and he turned black. I ask him to speak to me the only words that came were, "What would Standing Bear have you do?" I thought for awhile and then it came to me that he would have me pray for blessings to give the other girl and her mother. My first thought was, "Oh Yuck!"
Well, I went into prayer and I ask that blessings be given to the girl and her family and that she would feel better and that she would have a wonderful day. All of my pain from my anger left me and to this day I have not had bad feeling toward her or her family. You can not out-give the Creator. The more you give the more the Creator gives back.
I have lived many lives and this one has been full of happiness, anger and sadness. Over the years, I remembered all the cruel words that caused me great pain.
One day I asked the Creator, "Why should I forgive again, because I have forgiven so many times before?"
Finally today I received an answer. I was going through a large storage container of beads, feathers, hides, furs and findings and a planter fell over into the box. Dirt was mixed in and all over my stuff. It took a good hour to sort and clean the dirt off my things, but I also found things that I had forgotten.
After I was all done these words came to me. "Words are just that, they come either from a dark empty place or a place filled with light. It is your choice what you will do with these words. Take the dark words and wear them like they carried the truth and let them cover you like the dirt so you cannot see the words that come from the light. As you saw many good things were buried under the dark. If you don't move the dark out of the way you will lose the good. That is why you forgive my child."
Saturday, February 23
I have been drawn to hawks for as long as I can remember. Over twenty years ago I started to notice a change. When I watched that tiny spot soar in a graceful circle across a field or so very high up in the sky, I felt a strong pulling sensation inside of me. I could feel a line between the hawk and myself.
I learned to use the sensation to draw the hawk to me. I felt awed when I watched the hawk's circle move across the field and come closer to where I stood. He still stayed high into the sky and I tried to tell myself that he was hunting, it was not me that he was coming to.
Over time he came lower and lower. Often, when I would walk in the little woods to spend time for quiet reflection he would appear. One day as I was leaving the little woods, the hawk called out and the words came to me, "My heart is in you, your heart is in me, we are as one." Since that time the hawk is never far from my sight. I have received many messages in many ways . I would be honored to share some of these messages with you.
Wednesday, February 27
Yesterday a so-called psychic spoke to me about Jamie and the things that she had to say were not very good. In my minds eye, a big vulture appeared and the words came, "I have been sent to remind you that as I pick at the remains of waste so shall she pick at the darkness of your fears. Remember what was told to you and be strong."
Blessings come to us all in many ways, for many reasons or none at all. Sometimes the Creator sends little blessings for comfort, to fill us with light and joy, or remind us the Creator is always nearby. I feel that blessings are just that because you can't buy them, you don't have to be special to get one and sometimes they come when you least expect them. I have had so many in my life. Some were big, some small and others came as bad tidings but were blessings in disguise.
I try not to
overlook my blessings and always give thanks. We fill our
lives with what we think are the important things such as career and
family but we often run out of time for a very important part of
life - those simple things around us. Do forget to count
our blessings or assume they are a stroke of good luck?
Often a big problem became much smaller after being given a
One time I was feeling lonely and hurt so I went outside and leaned against a tree. As tears fell on my cheek, a little sparrow lit on my shoulder. Immediately, I was filled with a sense of peace and love and knew then that I was not alone in my sadness.
Another time, I was driving along in my truck complaining to the ancestors about my pitiful life. I was griping about having too many bills to pay, a mutinous daughter and anything else I could find to complain about. Becoming bored with myself, I turned on the radio only to have my spirits lifted with the beautiful song, "I am So Blessed" sung by Faith Hill. That's when I began counting my blessings instead of my woes.
Friday, March 1
I was close to my Grandfather all my life. He lived well into his 90's. He lived alone in the woods and would not have had it any other way.
He was gentle, kind, and loved playing tricks when we were little. It was many years before my brother and I found out that it was not the bear that was setting off our traps. And, it was Grandpa who told us to replace grandma's ping pong balls with turtle eggs. He had many laughs over the years.
I did not go to his funeral because I could not face Grandfather leaving me. I made myself believe that he was still alive in his cabin and I simply did not have time to stop to see him.
About five years later, I decided to face the truth. I drove alone north to the little cemetery in the woods. I parked the truck and spent the next half hour walking around the cemetery but could not find Grandpa. I was ready to give up and leave. Well, guess what? He had to have the last laugh.
If I had parked just a little bit over, I would have been right on top of him. I sat beside his grave and cried many sad and painful tears. The headstone signified he would no longer be waiting for me at his cabin. How could I survive the pain? I was lost in grief.
At that moment Grandpa lifted me up onto my feet and words came to me to stop being sad. I had been given time to feel my loss. Now I know he will always be with me. By parking my truck almost on top of his grave, he was telling me that although I do not see him he is still there beside me. Grandpa comes to me in dreams now. We have many talks and sometimes he tells me things that will come to pass.
We must take time from what we feel is important in our lives to be aware of all the many blessings that we are given and to give thanks.
Thursday, March 7
I am fond of the expression, "You cannot out give the Creator" I have found this to be true many times in my life.
I love the
woods. I have gone often over the past 20-years to a
small circle of woods in the middle of a large field not far from my
home. These woods there are so full of life from another
time and hold memories of the people who walked there before
It is not hard to miss the two largest trees there, Nokomis (grandmother) and her sister. I can feel life within Nokomis as I sit with my back resting against her. I wonder how many people she has seen over her lifetime? This is a true place of peace, a place where I can see past the curtain of time. I can see the people of good heart who walked among the trees long ago. I can see the old man who has much knowledge sitting across the field with a blanket pulled around him and the one who stood at his side. He knows of me, but chooses not to speak as the others do.
I sit and pray asking if the visions and messages gifted in my little woods are true. I also ask to see the one who has walked with me for as long as I can remember. I pray for a sign or a vision to know the truth. You know, the old 'shake my hand so I really know that you are real' type of sign.
From the time I was a child, it was a natural occurrence to see and hear things that others do not, so I sometimes forget that am blessed.
Each time before I leave the woods, I go to a special place to pray and leave a gift of tobacco.
I had the blessing of being brought up in and around the woods by a grandfather who lived in the woods.
One of the
many lessons he taught me was how to track animals and to this day I
love to track. When I go into woods, I follow the tracks of
deer, coyote, fox and almost anything that leaves a trail. I
use this quiet time to give thanks for my many blessings and to
pray. I always ask to see the one who walks with me.
One day while I was tracking, and after three years of prayer, I was discouraged as I walked across the hard-dirt field to the place where I pray and offer tobacco. So like an angry child, I called out to the Creator that I had nothing to show for three years of praying and giving thanks and all I asked for was a sign that I was not nuts. Well, nothing dropped out of the sky on to my head.
That was it, no more would I pay attention to all that went on around me. I turned around to leave and there at my feet like someone had just laid it down was a prefect arrow head!!
Remember, I had just tracked my way over to my special spot and the dirt was as clean as a newly swept floor. I spent the last three years walking this path to my special spot and I have walked these fields and woods for over 20 years and never once have I found an arrow head.
You could not have offered me a million dollars for that moment. The joy that filled me made the three years look like three minutes. That night fearing that if I let the arrow head out of my sight it would disappear, I put it under my pillow.
I woke up in the night and there was a man standing at the end of my bed, my first thought was "Wow what a bad hair day," because very long black hair stuck up all over his head.
I went back to sleep and woke up again. This time he was standing beside my bed. The same thoughts went through my mind "Wow, bad hair day," and I went back to sleep but this time I was with him.
We were standing in a place that I felt was the little woods but it looked different, we were standing beside a fire and he was showing me how he had made the arrow head.
I was given something better than a hand shake. This arrowhead would not disappear in a moment, but it is something I can take hold in my hand forever.
I will write on this once. It is a very dark and hard road traveled, but from it's many lessons I have become who I am today.
As a child
of small size I had a big sense of courage. There was nothing that I
was afraid of except the one's I saw walking in the dark of night.
When I was around eight years old, I watched three older boys tease a mentally impaired boy. I got between them and the younger boy and told them if they wanted to pick on someone to pick on me. They took off. The younger boy's mother hugged me and cried.
Over the years I stood up to and for many things, so I don't know how I ever got myself into an abusive relationship that took over for ten years of my life.
I do not know if was my bad choices or the work of the Creator or both. But I do know the time spent on this dark trail led me to a light that has helped to make me who I am today.
I share this story to let others know if they find themselves on a similar dark trail, they are not alone and there is a way out.
In my twenties, I was in a relationship that seemed pretty normal at the time, but in hind sight there are many red flags.
I remember the first flag. We were supposed to meet at 5:00 p.m., but I was still helping my mother when he called from my apartment. He said if I was not there in 15 minutes he was leaving!
I did not question him about how he got into my apartment and got my mother's phone number. I just thought it was funny that he was telling me that I had 15 minutes to get home. Come on -- I was an adult. I have never had someone tell me to get home. What was he going to do ground me?
Over the next ten years I looked death in the eye more than once. I went from being a confident person to a person who had no self esteem. The problem was I though I did.
When he touched one of my children, I stood up to him. I fought back or left. But, if I had good self esteem, I would have applied the same standards to myself. I was called every vile name a woman can be called. I was accused of every nasty thing a woman can be accused of doing.
I was not allowed to have a job because I could not be trusted to stay out of the bed with my boss or fellow workers. Instead, I cleaned the house, took care of the kids, and was in bed for hours when he got home. He would drag me out of bed by my hair to cook for him, then he either threw the food in my face or beat me because he knew I had someone at the house.
I left him many times, but I always came back. I did not go back out of love. He stalked me and he threatened my family. I had seen him get away with a lot of pretty bad stuff and he was a very dangerous person. He was physically strong and I had yet to see anyone put him down.
This was back in the days when domestic assault was not taken as seriously as today. Also, it was something that one didn't talk about.
Once I tried going to a women's shelter. I was there for a day when I received a call from my brother who was coming from California to help me. When I got on the phone it was my abuser. He had a way of finding me where ever I went and my protectors were no more safe than I was. I did not want to put them in danger so I stayed with him.
I also learned it was better to know where he was than have him sneak up on me. Over a ten year period, my nose was broken many times. I have been stabbed and my arm and jaw were broken. The black eyes are too numerous to count. He nailed the windows of the house shut and held me at gun point for three days and nights. He beat my head against a toilet, the dash of a truck, the hood of a truck, the road and many walls. He would climb on top of me and choke me as he yelled that he was going to kill me. Once my head was split open with a table leg and I woke up with him holding me in the shower as I watched the blood run down the drain.
The list could go on, but you get the idea. These years took a lot from me. Through the Creator was I able to find my way out. Many do not survive what I have been through and those who do need years of help. By the Creator's loving hand did I survive.
Throughout the ten year ordeal, I questioned the Creator why was I allowed to suffer so. Help was always there when I prayed for it, but I made the choice to stay. I told myself I would try harder to do things right and not make him mad. I learned there was no right in his eyes.
Finally, something happened to change my life forever. One night I was losing consciousness during a beating and our daughter woke up. She always slept through our fighting and beatings, but on this night she got up, came out of her room and walked toward the front door. He went to stop her and with one hand I grabbed an iron skillet and with the other I grabbed two personal items of his and walked him away from the door and I left.
I was a very broken, scared and lost woman at that time but I took my life back and vowed that no one would ever control me or my choices again.
I did not think about it at the time but I had been given some very unique gifts.
Having to live a life of always having to be aware of every little detail around me I became very good at it. I watched his every move, gestures, the sound of his voice, I listened to him when he was asleep. I became aware of what was going on around him and if it affected how he acted.
It got to the point that I knew probably before he did that I needed to run and hide. My senses seemed to widen their range.
I looked at life deeper. Living out in the country, not being able to work or have friends I spent a lot of time alone. I had much time to pray and really hear and see life in a one on one level.
We see grass every day but have we ever really sat down and touched it and thought about the fact that it is not just this green stuff that we walk on and needs to be cut but that it has life?
I learned to look at everything around me and learn something from it. The Creator was with me the whole time. When I asked he helped. When I vowed I would change the Creator was there for me and when I did not change the Creator waited for me. When I started to take my life back he was there for me over and over.
It was not easy. I had to do it step by step and I had times that my abuser tried to scare me back into his life but the longer I held on to the Creator and my new growing self esteem, I felt that I was becoming bigger and he was becoming smaller.
Now and then I hear a little verbal grief from him but he now respects me like a snake that you know not to touch.
I am a lot wiser now and I have been blessed with many gifts.
When someone gets mad at me and starts calling me names and saying hurtful things to me I have trouble staying quiet. I want to say mean and hurtful things back and then spend a few hours thinking about what else I should have said. I think about what was said to me and wonder if it was true, "am I really that thing?"
A few weeks
ago I was called an ignorant person and a few other not so nice
things. I was pretty angry.
I went to get some gas for my truck and was having trouble cooling off so I thought about driving past my little woods.
A thought came to me that a hawk would be there with a message. As I got close to the woods sure enough (I had no doubts) there was the hawk.
I had my arm out the window and smack, a bee hit me, ouch! I pulled my arm inside and looked up at the hawk and the words came to me, "There is less pain when you move away from its source. You feel more pain when you try to return it." So, I now try to keep my mind on those words and my mouth shut.
Sometimes I wonder how much of life I miss by becoming so busy with little things that I don't pay attention to what is really going on around me?
I try to
pray to the Creator everyday. I give thanks for my many
blessings. I ask for guidance and then I speak with the
ancestors. When I take the time to do this it helps me to stay
focused on what is really going on around me. If I am not
centered and focused I would see the hawks but would not feel their
great strength and I would not hear that voice from within.
We miss many blessings every day by letting our minds go 90 mph on so many little things that we let them fill up our days. What is the price of gas today? What should I make for supper? What should I wear tomorrow? Every now and then, I have to back up a few steps and slow myself down.
Yesterday was one of those days. I needed to drive to another town and instead of going the quick highway route, I chose the back roads. The drive gave me time to catch up on prayers and time to speak to the ancestors.
I try to always have paper and pen close by because sometimes when I am blessed with words I need to write them down. As I spoke with the ancestors that voice from within spoke:
"Open yourself to our voices. Open your heart so we may touch you. Listen with your soul not your ears. See not with your eyes, but know what is spoken is true. One may walk among you who speaks truth and one may speak lies, but your heart will tell you only truth."
I wrote it down as I was driving thinking. "Well, at least I am not on a cell phone.." - chuckle. I thought the message was good and tried to think about who was telling me a lie.
For the past fifteen years I have been a vendor at craft shows and powwows. Before I go to a show I pray and talk to the ancestors.
I hope the
people enjoy what they see and ask questions. I hope my words
are guided so that they take something. I try to plant a seed
of knowledge in children. I also do a give away. I ask that I
will be told who should have this give away. I do not pick
anything out ahead of time and I have no idea who it will be.
This year I made shadow boxes. I really liked one in particular and intended to keep it, but I took it to show anyway. It was kind of abstract with clouds behind a standing ancestor below a maiden who is pouring the water of life down onto the earth. The colors are in blues, grays and off-whites. At the powwow, people said I should raise the price because it was too beautiful.
A teenage boy with bright warm light all around him came by and said he really like the shadow box. He asked questions about what it was and what it meant. He also told me of his feelings about the box. As we spoke, I heard a voice from within telling me this is to be the give away. My first thought was, "Oh no, not this one, it is too pretty and it cost too much and I want to take it back home." I was ready to hold on to it with both hands, but a voice gently told me it was a gift of love and it meant more to give it away then to keep it.
The young man pulled out his wallet and as I wrapped it up I told him that it was a gift for him, even as I said the words a part of me was saying, "are you crazy?" but then another feeling inside of me started to take over. He was so excited, after a couple of minutes his mother came up too me and ask me if it was true that I had given this to him and I assured her that it was a gift and she said that he would treasure it and she had tears in her eyes and I found out that he was pretty ill. I was filled with gratitude that I was able to give something to someone else that would give them some happiness.
One craft show that I do is on a little river island and is called the Color Tour. The town gathers annually to celebrate its history with an encampment and craft show complete with French voyagers, wagon rides, herbal lore, museum replicas, displays, wood sculpture, basket making, and American Indian crafts.
are come on the first day and ask many questions. One child
wanted to know if there are any Indians still alive. A little boy
said, "Oh, look at the pretty kitty fur," as he picked up a rabbit
pelt. Another child picked up a prayer fan and waved it around
saying he was casting evil spells. Other kids wanted arrows to
act out fighting. Their questions show how little kids today
know about American Indians.
I craft many different things, not just pretty little dream catchers to hang on the rear view mirror. (Who sleeps while they drive?) I let them know that arrows were used to provide food and prayer fans are not used to cast evil spells. Some ask cute questions and other ask rude questions. If our children are not given factual information, they will grow up stereotyping American Indians and making uneducated, if not rude comments.
An older woman recently asked if I am 100% full blooded Indian. She asked what kind of wool is mandella wool and she also asked what kind of feathers were used on a item at my booth. I told her they were hackle feathers. She became angry, "Well what kind of feathers are those? I have never heard of that kind before, are they off of a bird?" I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her that I had plucked them from my dog. I smiled and gave her the answers. Hopefully, she left a little wiser.
The Color Tour also features a camp of Civil War reenacters. For some reason, once these men put on blue Union uniforms, they assume the mentality of mindless century-old drones. I say this because this is not the first time I have had words with these blue wonders. I really question what book they have read when they act out this one sided war story of theirs.
I also wonder why these men with huge egos find me such a threat to their story? One man in blue came forward in a crowd around my tent and snorted, "What do you people call yourselves? Native Americans or Indians? I am sick of hearing Native American, you people are prejudice! "I don't care if my father was born in Czechoslovakia. I was born in the United States and that makes me just as much of a Native American as you and you "red" people are racist for calling yourself Native American.
I smiled and asked him to tell me about the Louisiana purchase and Andrew Jackson. If we were all "Native Americans" why did our brothers treat us in such an un-brotherly way? He left but when I saw him the next day he cleared his throat and spit on the ground in front of me.
Well I guess he got my point and there will always be next year and more seeds waiting for water.
When I think of the elders the first though that comes to mind are the ones who walked before us, but I walked many years with my grandfather. Through his gentle teaching, I learned many lessons. I can not remember a time that he raised his voice nor did he ever tell me that he loved me. But there was never any doubt. No one scooped me up and gave giant bear hugs better than Grandpa.
grandparents lived in the backwoods in a log cabin and had an old
wood stove for heat and cooking. They had a real ice box and
no electricity. There were kerosene lanterns for light and the
out house for reading catalogs.
My little cousin was afraid to go to the outhouse at night because of the bears, so Grandpa gave him a shot gun to carry. It was many years later my cousin learned the shotgun not loaded and it did not work anyway.
Grandpa taught me many lessons about nature. He seemed to know so much about the woods and the things around him. I can remember standing between his knees while he helped me hold up a gun as he taught me how to shoot. I became a very good shot.
That taught me a sense of confidence in myself. He taught me to fish, track, hunt and trap and to be aware of things around me. He taught me the importance of being honest and how to survive in different situations.
He loved to play tricks, but my grandmother was a very serious person. She loved us but had very little time for nonsense. Grandpa got a good laugh from the trouble that my brother and I got into when we lost her ping pong balls so he told us to dig up some turtle eggs and replace them for the lost balls.
He would sneak out into the woods after my brother and I set our bear traps. He would make it look like a bear had been there and spring our trap. We would be so excited because we knew that we had almost got him that time.
Grandpa would dare me at night to go 1/2 mile down by the lake and come back. I remember running down there and back not wanting to let Grandpa think I was too afraid to do it. Grandpa gave me the courage to face scary things.
When grandmother was put into a nursing home, my 90-year-old grandfather would not move away from his beloved home in the woods. Grandmother loved the nursing home because it had electricity, running water and inside plumbing. My mother asked him to move into town, but Grandpa said Mother Nature would take care of him.
He lived a good life and passed away in the woods with Mother Nature outside his door. It seems he knew about things in the outside world, outside his woods, but how he knew was beyond us.
I was so happy to see my Grandpa after I had been away for so many years. He looked at me at said, "Where is that little girl I used to know?…" From the years of abuse, I knew I was not the person I was. I lost myself.
I never spoke to him about the marital abuse I experienced. But, when he looked at me, I knew he could see into my soul and this helped me to take my life back.
For just a short time, our elders are here and walk among us. We must open our ears to the words they speak.
I do not speak to many people about my gifts because not many believe in such things. Some may think I am strange. Trust me, I am no different than any of you.
From a young age, I was taught to be aware of all things around me. I learned throughout my life how to fine tune my experiences. I do not find it strange when a message comes to me through a Hawk. I do find it strange others do not give notice that Hawk often flies over me. Some laugh and say I am nuts.
ago I was driving to town and the Hawk appeared. The Hawk said
to get ready for the first big snowstorm among many to come.
When I told my daughter's dad, he laughed at me for 'talking with a
hawk' and that we never get snow in October.
Well, our part of the country was hit with the hardest snowstorm we have seen in years. A long series of storms came all winter to make it one of the worst winters ever. Thank you Hawk.
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