Manataka American Indian Council®

 

 

 

ELDER MOMFEATHER SPEAKS

 

 

 

 

Manataka welcomes our newest (fourth oldest) correspondent.  We have known this fine lady for many years and always felt the world was blessed to put her where we could witness her beautiful works.   Today, the people sing wherever she goes.

~Editors


 

 

It was a beautiful sunrise and I was out doing prayers and my water ceremony this morning and my spirit soared. When I came in I had to write this as I felt my spirit running in all directions like a gleeful child. I felt so blessed. While typing up my little thoughts this morning I thought of you. So guess who sees my spirit running this morning. (smile) When you get older it is a good thing we have a free spirit.   Prayers, M

 

I am a children  

 

My spirit is free allowing me to feel what is real.

It brings reality to my world letting me to see

things more clearly, creating a more beautiful

place of existence with intense awareness.

My spirit never grows old, experiencing daily

like a child with new found freedom. The first

taste of honey, touching the velvety nose of the

horse; climbing to the top of the highest tree;

hearing the ocean roar; smelling the delicate

rose pedals; that’s free spirit. I am the wind that

leaves no shadow as I sail across the treetops

gathering the warmth of the sunshine and a friend

of the moon from dusk till dawn. Creator has

blessed me with a free spirit and I still dance in the

rain; splash in the puddles; walk on water; kiss the

stones; talk to the plants and animals.

Remember me? I am the spirit of freedom.

I am still a children……… 

 

Momfeather July 14, 2008

 


 

Momfeather Erickson is champion of Native American ways in Kentucky


Momfeather Erickson is a loving wife, mother and grandmother, dedicated to her familyand community, no different in that respect from many other women in western Kentucky.  But there the similarities end.  For her alter-ego, "Momfeather," is very different indeed.  Poet, publisher, activist and teacher of "the old ways," Erickson, one-half Cherokee, has devoted the last few years of her life to educating those around her on the tribe's role in Kentucky history.

 

"Don't ever believe that it was Daniel Boone who blazed the trail through the Cumberland Gap," cautions Erickson, 66, whose gentle grandmotherly appearance belies her fiery crusade for Native American rights and recognition.

   

"That trail was made by the buffalo and walked on by the Indians long before Boone came through the Gap," she insists.

 

As director of the Mantle Rock Native Education and Cultural Center in Marion, Momfeather (Feather) - a name she was given by her paternal grandmother - is relentless in her quest to bring to Native Americans and especially the Cherokee the respect she feels they are entitled to.

 

"To this day, no Native American tribes are recognized in Kentucky, even with so many Cherokee groups living all across the state, and for this, I feel great sadness," she says. (they have made it to legislation)

 

As a result, she spreads the word - and her pride in her heritage - any way she can, as the author of seven books, from Momfeather Cooks Native American to Native American Children's Stories Warmly Told to Woman of the Wind, a book of poetry saluting her female ancestors, and as advisor, contributor and publisher of Turtle Tales, a bi-weekly Native American newspaper for students.

 

Then, of course, there is her work as educator, storyteller and community activist, serving as a board member of United Native America, formed in 2001 to strengthen Native communities and preserve native culture; as a spiritual elder of Mother Earth, a hemispheric council entrusted with keeping native prophecies and traditions alive, and for four years, as chief elder of the Southern Band of Cherokees. She is Ambassador for the American Indian Mothers and a Commissioner for the Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission.

 

While Momfeather has always had reverence for her Cherokee relations who first came to Leslie County in the early 1830's during the time of removal from their tribal lands in North Carolina, her activism was jump-started five years ago after what she will only describe as "a spiritual experience" at Mantle Rock in Livingston County, stop on the Trail of Tears.

 

She was so affected by the experience that she made the move from Nebraska, where she was living at the time, back to Kentucky to "do my part to help bring back our traditions."

 

Her latest project is the recreation of a village on 56 acres of land in Marion which will "illustrate the time period when our people were taken from their homes," she explains.  "We will have a museum, an interpretive center, genealogy lab...we've even started our buffalo herd."

 

At 69, Martha Erickson may be at the age when most women are ready to retire, but Momfeather sees no end in sight.

 

"I told my husband that as long as I have this important work to do, I will just keep on going."

 

Department of Tourism, Kentucky Heritage Council
Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission

nicole.harris@mail.state.ky.us  

 

 


 

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