Manataka American Indian Council
Traditional, Cultural and Spiritual Teachings
By Gram Selma, Ocali
Many of our traditional, cultural and spiritual teachings have been lost or suppressed due to the influence and forced co-existence with dominant society and it's implied and or regulated expectations.
Our Creator and the spiritual world at large have protected some of the ceremonies and some of the traditional ways, beliefs, teachings, and concepts by placing them with some of the elders to keep them " under wraps", safe, accurate, pure, secure and intact.
Individuals complain that many do not understand our traditional values and ways. Some that lack that understanding are of our "own peoples" even greater numbers are of dominant society.
The elders are willing to teach these gifts and assist with the inner walk to understanding. If they are approached in an honorable fashion and they read sincerity in not only the words but also the walk of the professed talk.
Elders have a wise window in their heart and in their heads......it allows them to "sense" another's sincerity thru patterns of speech, attitudes of energy and how
the individual walks what they profess thru talk.
Those who seek and request in an honorable fashion will be exposed to the traditions as a small child is fed small bites, a little at a time. The elder
will observe as to whether the " food" has been accepted, chewed well and understood. If those small bites are not incorporated in to that individuals walk they will never receive a full course meal.
Even an elder will not spoon feed to the point of choking the recipient who is unwilling or unable to digest. This is why one of the basic lessons they must master is personal self discipline !
Without it they will never understand or " see" beneath the superficial surface of the teaching Many an elder has been the subject of criticism due to this and actually that very criticism is a " good thing". Part of the elders purpose is to get the individuals attention and cause them some discomfort. They " squirm" a little,
question themselves and their limited view that ultimately causes them to think !
Those actions of avoidance eventually lead the individual to adjust, attempt change, and triggers their personal emotional and spiritual growth.
The elders can learn from the criticism they receive from "outsiders" as in each criticism there is at least a grain of truth, along with the opportunity to better understand the individuals who levy judgment.
An individual who is constantly passing judgment on others is essentially exercising externalized self judgment and lacks acceptance of themselves. Criticism is not an effective "weapon" against an elder who knows...lives and walks their traditions...it actually makes them stronger and adds to their depth of character and aids them in being more effective.
Often the criticism comes from unlikely sources, those amongst our own culture.
One of the most common is "why would you share traditional teachings or ways with those of different color or culture?" It usually is not worded quite that politely, but that is the essence of their verbiage.
Each must answer that criticism in their own way. Personally, I fail to see that it is even a valid or reasonable concern.
If you were Baptist and someone came to you who was not Baptist seeking accurate information, struggling to learn and understand your beliefs and convictions as a Baptist. You might be flattered and honored if someone If they decided to "convert" to become a Baptist. Would you say they "stole" your spirituality?
The traditional way, the ancestral way, is alive somewhere within every beating heart and no-one can "steal" something that is usually freely given or shared if the request is presented in an honorable fashion.
The "old way", the "red road", the "traditional walk". It is not about being " Indian".
It is about being of "the people" a human being. It comes from our ancestral memories, our DNA coding and what we were taught. It comes from how we were raised, but also what our hearts tell us and what Creator has designed and directed us to do. What not do and be and not be.
Our lives, actions and walk are a reflection of the voice of the wind.
The melody of the rushing water.......
The lessons observed from all the four legged's.......
The strength of the up right standing ones..........
The humility of the creepy crawlers.........
The freedom of the winged ones.........
The depth of the finned ones...........
The records of the stone people........
The vastness of the heavenly bodies.........
The grounding and creative forces of Earth Mother.
I leave you with a hug,