Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

 

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...

October 2011

 

SOUND OFF!

 

 

Manataka receives hundreds of letters each month. Space does not allow us to publish all letters but we make a concerted effort to print letters that are representative of a majority. Let us know if there is a topic you feel needs to be addressed.  

 

Cherokee Freedman Controversy
 
Dear Editor,
 

The Cherokee Nation based out of Tahlequah, Oklahoma has decided to strip “Freedmen” of their Cherokee rights and to expel them from their nation. Freedmen are African American descendants of slaves. The decision to expel them is based purely on the fact that they cannot prove their Native American heritage. The United States government openly disagrees with this issue and has already suspended more than $33 million in funding to the Cherokees and declined to recognize their appointment of a new Tribal Chief that is to take place later this month.

The issue with their decision is that they are basing this purely on race which is promoting segregation from a people who have fought with and supported them in their struggle to remain in existence throughout history. The issue of racism and segregation are pivotal points that the American people have worked so hard to overcome throughout the years. It is also known that some of the Freedman do actually have Native blood, but cannot prove this simply because they were listed as Black on the Dawes Roll. The Dawes Roll was created with the intent of separation and succeeded in that goal to the extent that it is still now affecting the fair and balanced treatment of Cherokee Nation citizens. At the time of the Dawes Roll creation, many governments operated under the idea that if you possessed one drop of Black blood in your veins you were considered Black and nothing else, which was an example of racism in its purest and most malicious form. Because of this incompetent type of thinking, children born in unions between former slaves and Native American Tribal members were recognized and listed as Black on the Dawes Roll.

If the Cherokee Nation chooses to go this route, the perception of Native American culture will drastically change.

 

 In recent online news articles I have already begun to observe comments from readers referring to Natives as “racist” and “egocentric.” As a Native American descendant who is also African American and a descendant of slaves I resent this passionately and am almost ashamed to say that I am of Native blood. I have been taught throughout my life by my Grandfather Joe Homer, who is Choctaw, that being Native American is something to be very proud of. My Grandfather fought his whole life to prove that he is a Native American and died fighting to a court system that dishes out the same racism that the Cherokee Nation is forcing upon its loyal people (“Loyal” being the keyword here not BLACK). As someone who has always been proud of my Choctaw heritage, I am hoping that the Cherokee Nation will rescind this hateful act against the people who have long fought with them and not turn into a replica of the very people who they fought from expelling them, simply because they were different.

 

Sincerely, Kimberly Horton

 

Kimberly Horton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and is of African American and Native American descent, with ties to the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. She is a college student working towards her Bachelor’s of Science in the Journalism field and aspires to have a career in communications. Kimberly is motivated by her passion to make a change and adheres to the quote by the philosopher and writer John Lilly that, “our only security is the ability to change.”

 

Selling of American Indian Spirituality

 

Hello,

 

I have spoken with you about the upcoming pilgrimage of Mayan elders with 13 of the ancient crystal skulls.

 

As you may have noticed, I was a bit excited about the entire concept, especially the thought of attending such a powerful ritual. However, the more I looked into things the more I began to question the integrity and validity of the pilgrimage and those involved. In my search I came across an article that you may or may not be interested in reading. Not only does it relate (though not directly, but to individuals involved) to the pilgrimage, but it also relates to things taking place right here in our community. Take it for what it is worth. At the very least it is a call, a reminder to trust your own intuition and hone your discernment.

 

So, it is with mixed emotions I send this email. I am saddened, that all is not as it seems. I'm embarrassed to have almost been taken in. And I'm pissed that this crap is going on...all because we are in changing times and people are looking for answers. So, sure enough, the "money changers" are more than happy to sell you an answer. Truth is, you cannot buy the answer. Truth is, if you quiet your mind, go to your heart, trust what you hear, you'll find the answer...your answer...not the answer of a Mexican janitor posing as a Mayan elder.

 

Please excuse my rant. I guess I'm a little bothered at the moment. Maybe I should have waited to write this. Then again, maybe this is what is needed. Either way, it is what it is and what it is, is my truth. Use your discernment. It does not have to be your truth. However, do yourself a favor and click on the link. I do believe the article is worth reading. If you look beyond the article, their publication is worth reading too.

 

By the way, in case you had not gathered, the road trip to the Serpent Mounds has been called off. I should also note that it was not solely based on this single article or the reply I received, that I've had my change of heart (I would be glad to share other findings with any wanting them). However, I felt their few words in their reply were to the point and say it best.  If you made it this far, thank you. I appreciate you putting up with my rant.  Blessings, Michael

 

Gifting of Eagle Feathers

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

Hau, My relatives and friends, I want to talk about the controversy over the eagle feathers, which were awarded to the two slain police officers of Rapid City, South Dakota and buried with them. I was raised by my grandparents in Porcupine on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This is how I was told about how awarding eagle feathers is done, and whom to give them to and whom can receive them.
 
The eagle is a great, scared bird. The one who carries the messages and prayers for the Lakota People and other tribes in all ceremonies. These ceremonies are conducted by the holy men, medicine men and spiritual leaders only and if any individual who is not authorized to award eagle feathers wishes to do so, he or she always asks for assistance from these individuals. and songs are always used during these ceremonies.
 
Back in my grandfather’s days, the one who received an eagle feather did a great deed for his people. .
 
Like in the military, only the higher ups can award medals, etc. Not any private or civilian could award these. To the Lakota, whoever carries eagle feathers received these through ceremony.
 
There are ceremonies conducted in which eagle feathers are awarded, such as the Naming ceremony, or the Making of a Relative ceremony and other ceremonies as well and these feathers are like the guardians, the wowanglakis. These feathers are to be are kept in an honorable way. They are not to be disrespected or mistreated or displayed improperly, such as being hung on a rear view mirror. My grandfather told us that the ones, who were awarded eagle feathers among my people, wore them proudly and bravely against the enemy.
 
Whoever the enemy may have been.
 
An eagle feather must not touch the ground. If this happens a ceremony must take place. The only time this might happen is the
warrior is killed in battle. That’s the only time the eagle feather touches the ground and, when this warrior is buried, the spiritual leader awarded the fallen warrior’s feathers to his father mother wife or to a family member.
 
Never bury an eagle feather or the canunpa. If an eagle feather or a canunpa is buried, this will cause a curse to the family of the deceased. Some family member will die in a mysterious way. These natural laws of God existed before man-made laws or any treaty laws.
 
It is sad what has happened to the two police officers and to the young Lakota man who also died as well. And it is sad for all of us: Lakota, and our white brothers and sisters and all my relatives. We pray for both sides, and may their spirits go into the spirit world like an arrow shot into the sky.

 

I share this with you. This knowledge has been passed down to me through my grandfathers and their grandfathers over many generations.

 

O hechetuelo, I have spoken.
 
Wowita Uha Mani
 
David Swallow, Jr. Lakota spiritual Leader,
Headman of the Porcupine District, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Pine Ridge, SD
Po Box 286
Porcupine SD 57772
605 –867-1961

Powwow Cancellation

Dear Manataka,

My best regards to all the elders and volunteers of this Powwow. I loved the article sent in the September Manataka News letter because:  It showed how right you run a Powwow when you can. That is is not a fund raising event.  Everyone is a volunteer to share, not to profit. That you are not interested in the ego competition that so prevails in the current society of "sleeping" people. It is a sad devise that further hinders someone from waking up to being a real human being, a part of the "All", harmless to all of its other parts.  I hope the best for all the elders, that peace resides in their hearts for all their remaining days, whether in health or sickness. And that the rest of us who are interested in "awakening" can continue in our awakening to becoming and fulfilling our purpose.   Life is happing now, and that is the real celebration.  ~Ferrell Gale

Powwow Cancellation

Dear Manataka,

Congratulations on having the courage to stand up for your convictions. In today's world it is rare to see. Greed for money. I am sad to say, has become the norm. Good luck and may the Great Spirit Bless you all. ~Elizabeth Tuning

Powwow Cancellation

 

Brother and Sisters, Greetings from the Indian River in Micco, Florida. "I am Bear"

I have been concerned about what was happening with the Pow Wow cancellation. I suspected Standing Bear was not in the best of health. Please give him my Blessings. The recognition that a commercial event is not necessarily a good event speaks volumes of our spiritual awareness. I am proud to be associated with Manataka and stand behind your decision.  I will rejoin as I have allowed my membership to lapse. I will also try to become more involved as I am resigning my duty as Keeper of the Wisdom for the Bear Medicine Clan in October of this year. I will retain My activities as a Sacred Circle Elder with the Bear Medicine Clan but pass all other responsibilities on to the younger folks and continue the research and study I am now conducting.  Old Bear and Myself have dreamed of a journey to see you all and to pray at the Sacred Mountain. I hope we can make such a trip next spring and camp and stay awhile.  May the fresh wind of the Creators' breath blow gently across your path clearing the vision of Peace for you all.  I remain, Mark (Bear Claw) Lloyd, Keeper of the Wisdom, Bear Medicine Clan

 

Dear Editor,

This is so awsome! I actually forwarded this to many people that don't understand my spiritual belief. I have never been comfortable with the different denomanations. I have tried many churches, they didn't work for me. Thank You for this article!
Elizabeth Romine, Indiana

 

Hi Manataka,

These writings are a gift to all who thoughtfully wish to see mankind united in peaceful understanding. What beautiful insight and knowingness.  Thank you. ~Daphne Becker

 

 

Manataka,

 

From our Elders
By The Rev. Lewis Powell,
And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. (John 10:16)


It never ceases to amaze me how this passage from the Gospel of John has been used to foster an idea that there is only one path to having a relationship with the Creator. The concept that all people must think, worship, and honor the Creator in the same way has given rise to concepts that have been detrimental to the continual practices of traditions in indigenous communities, forced assimilation of cultures and the elimination of cultures. Two of those concepts are the Discovery Doctrine and Manifest
Destiny. Winter Talk 2011 had, in part, as its theme: “Its’ Our Time…To teach and learn our own history.” Most of our history in this country does not reflect how these concepts have influences on our lives and cultures.

The Discovery Doctrine is the foundational basis for treating indigenous peoples as though they do not exist within their own lands and societies. Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas on June 18, 1452, which gave the Portuguese the right to enslave “Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers.” He further issued the bull Romanus Pontifex on January 5, 1455
that gave all Catholic nations of Europe dominion over “discovered lands.”


These documents opened the door to the exploitation and forceful taking of indigenous lands. It also opened the door to the attempt to destroy and replace indigenous cultures with European models. To that end, title to land and property became a way to recognize the value of people. How many tribal communities actually hold title to the land on which their reservations in
the United States occupy? One could argue that we have land held in “trust.”


That is true for those tribal communities that have been recognized by the ones holding the land in “trust.” This type of recognition often places us in a perpetual state of dependency upon those who control the “trust.” That is one of the effects of the Discovery Doctrine. We lost our autonomy! Did we know this about our own history?

Manifest Destiny was a concept unique to the United States that proposed that this “land” was destined to be taken as a gift from “the Providence (God)” for the use and exploitation by the masses coming from Europe. It was implemented under the thought that more land was needed to support the economic needs of the country. It gave little or no thought to the fact that the land was already occupied by indigenous people. There was an idea that the “heathens” that occupied the lands would soon die out, be killed off, or be forcefully assimilated into the rest of the population. Residential schools were a part of this effort. Our own church ran some of these schools.

We do need to know this history so that we can begin to reclaim our relationship with the Creator and to recognize the strength and gifts that we have to share with each other. There are times when we may not seem to be members of the same fold, but we are members of the same flock. As members of the flock we have an infinite number of gifts from the Creator to share with the rest of the flock. Being indigenous and Christian is hard work. We too often have to explain to some of our own and to others that we are members of Creator’s flock even if our worship practices may seem to be different from the practices of others. We cannot let the influences of the Discovery Doctrine and Manifest Destiny separate us from the Creator. We do “hear his voice”!

Wado.  -- The Rev. Lewis Powell, Cherokee/Saponi, is Native American Missioner for the Diocese of Northern California.

 

 

Greetings,

Well you have attacked the problem head on but from the outside.


First the word "Christian" It contains more sects groups and religions than all of the Original Americans different spiritual beliefs combined and has became a word associated with good. A Christian man, a good man. However the general group of faith it in-compasses is not in any agreement among itself so it is difficult to generalize and compare to anything. The first and second century AD. term "Christian" meant to emulate or copy and follow Jesus Christ. ( a master purveyor of Love, Hope, Unity, acceptance and non-violence and forgiveness. with included everyone regardless of Race Creed Sex or Color of skin. The word surely has lost the Origins of it Sacredness. For year I called myself a "Christian" and I am a christian in its original meaning, However I became tired of explain what I was not and decide to describe myself in a different way, I am simply a Child of the Kingdom a term my Grand Mother taught me. I do get a few question. But it generally perplexes most folks who are not followers of Christ.


Secondly the sin thing is not Early Christian you may note that Paul in Romans says" It is if Sin did not exist " to a reborn Christian. So the Church which focus on sin is not from the same cloth as the early "Christian". My own personal thoughts on the matter is that the "SIN" thing has more to do with the Euro Male dominate white greed which needs Guilt and separation to derive a unjust profit.

Lastly, it is my belief that the Bible and the Medicine Wheel are both Scared, and minister to and console the spirit that resides in me. The Bear of my Clan is not an Idol but a badge of Honor for the Bear Medicine.

The recent "Truth Star Story" By (Standing Bear) has Wisdom for those who seek it, The small piece that I have found grows only when compared and shared with others.

Your Brother In the Kingdom, Mark (Bear Claw) Lloyd Elder Bear Medicine Clan.


 

 

Hello Manataka and David,

I've just read your article entitled reconciliation and wanted to tell you that I have not read anything in my life that is more needful at this time then what you've written.  I just felt compelled to write in hopes to encourage you to continue the path you're on.  ~Ron Sigler
 

 

Dear Manataka,
I found this webpage posted on H2H by Frank, and read your insightful and well-written article here. I sent just one paragraph to a friend in Calif. and she asked me if I could print this all out and send it to her son, who is serving time in an Arizona prison. I said yes, gladly. I just finishes printing it. Knowing how things usually are shared behind those bars, I imagine that others (and we won't know how many) will also take a turn at reading this printed copy. You are such a blessing and I thank you for making this available online! Keep expanding in the fruit of the Love that is your essence (and mine). I intend to offer this also to my 17 yr. old grandson).Gratefully, Pam.W.

 

Reconciliation Article

http://www.manataka.org/page2515.html

Hello Manataka,

Mr. David T’soi Gitli (Three Dogs) Armstrong,

I understand that you’re seeking dialogue about the reconciliation of Amerindian and Christian Theologies. It would be silly for me to give a simple answer because in fact no simple answer exists.

The way that people feel is imbedded into their physical body, belief systems, and emotional experience. This is embedded unless unlocked in ways only few have conscious access to (including me, various other healers that you know, and misc. others that you’d never know by looking at them). First I’d like to say that I was proud to read your Feature Story. You are very intelligent and hopefully you’ll make your parents and elders very happy throughout your life while preserving your heritage. Second I’d like to say that my views are mine and though it would be ok to share them with your family and those you know I don’t want them spread all over the world with the newsletter. A lot of the content in this letter to you are actively under fierce debate and though I have done change work and understand the clarity with which I speak many people will dismiss my understanding or demonize it due to their own belief systems.


I’m not sure that I agree that European ideologies have had little respect for earth. (Which may be a fallacy of thought considering that the Norse, Celts, and Irish had pre-contact with pure land natives and that various tribes in mythological (pre-Christian and post-Christian) days had various gods for the earth.) The Europeans have been strained on land and resource since the beginning of their fight away from medieval times and often embellished war as a way to misuse resources and justify it (much like what is going on today with oil and what went on with pure land natives for land).

There was a tendency for the Europeans to demonize the natives to justify the means with which they were dealt (this still exists today). This meant demonizing Animism, Pantheism, spiritual enlightenment in regards to calling ancestors, polytheism, holistic medicine, and in fact anything else the natives did that was considered to be foreign or strange to them. This is how any group acts when it assimilates another. They first ostracize the others beliefs, make them seem less than human, slaughter the men, and humiliate the rest of them and their beliefs (which allows for integration to take place).

I agree that “The Indian Medicine Way is in every way more successful at living up to this anointing which was upon Jesus Christ than [some of] the institutional European churches have] been” amongst many other things (living communally with each other, loving nature, using every part of an animal, etc) though this is a circumstantial and generalized statement. Some Europeans did incredibly awful things in the name of Christ. The incredible thing is that every nation on earth has done terrible things in the name of their god at one point or another in their history. So in fact it is not a religious condition but a human condition that brings people to an eternal heaven or hell.

Grandfather Lee Standing Bear Moore has great wisdom about religion when he said, “Indians don’t discuss religion together. It is like the pine tree telling the oak tree what is good for the pine tree.” Again, Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth was a man of god who lived and saved us all (because he died for us all) from the suffering man had created in the art of torture. He was awakened after his torture to become freed and serve as a king in this world. Most Christians do not believe this ether because they believe “the bible” instead of the teaching of Jesus and his awakening. Jesus came to the new world (Zarahemla) and established the new law of love here in Central America but after years and years of people taking advantage of his teachings they were sent into warring factions with one another (which is why natives were at constant war with other parties when Europeans came along to conquer) This is perhaps the only reason god had allowed Europeans to conquer was because of natives inability to work together and find black powder, horses, and naval supremacy before Europeans. Jesus was what god would look like in human form and this is why the Europeans could hold onto the logical argument that there couldn’t be any other. (Again back to beliefs)

The Indians were not meant to understand Christianity until there were so little of them left that it was a philanthropic effort. The Europeans lied to them from the beginning about the use of resources, raped the women, killed children, and disrespected them on every level fitting for war and for this their souls have and will be tortured on varying levels into eternity, though they may or may not be in the same European form in this life or any other. The book of Nephi was taken out of the bible before the time of the great conquest because it sparked the humanity of the believers in Jesus and he taught mercy and love. It also outlined the lineage to the people in Native America through Samoa and the pacific islands. There were also other libraries burned, books taken out of the bible, and it has actively changed throughout history to keep rulers in power. The bible is simply a compilation of books which contains the word of god (Jesus).

The subjugation of the earth and sin are things that Christianity still struggles with because of belief systems. What is a sin to one person may be a relief to another and so on. This is why there are so many sects of Christianity. The only rule Jesus ever gave was the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “love each other as I have loved you.” Native Americans also have an idea of white vs black magic or life vs decay and this is all that is meant by good vs evil (sin). Thus the terms are the same they’re just interpreted differently by different people according to the time, place, and belief.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Is something that is very misunderstood and it is important to take into account the context for which it is said and the lack of ways to express feelings of love and elation that old Jews had 2000 years ago. To this line of the bible, which may translate properly in Latin or not, I’m not 100% sure - I would say that God will judge us all and that it is not up to us to judge one another. I believe that throughout time and culture the sun has been considered to have more male personifications and the earth more motherly personifications. There have been female degradation issues since the beginning of time because man is the stronger (physically), of the two, while women are emotionally stronger to bend to the will of men. I think women have this one figured out (subconsciously) though so no worries there. Some of the oldest civilizations have been traced back to female Monarchs. As men we need to be concerned with how to make our earth mother happy and how to reward the women in our lives without fighting and using our energy on war and destruction. Without judgment of others we free ourselves from internal struggle which allows our minds more room for peace and love. It is not up to us who burns in hell or who gets to go to heaven. Only god calculates this as part of a divine plan so whether Jesus was the truth to mankind or for mankind doesn’t matter. Our job is simply to love each other as he loved us.

The bible “which focuses on dogma and doctrine in theory rather than on relationship with the Person of God” was created to keep knowledge away from hostile pursuers (Egyptians, European pagans, and various others who originally hunted the Christians) and form another nation which was founded on the belief that Jesus was the first messiah (messenger of god). For this reason, the bible, and in fact the Quran and other “religious” books have served as historical accounts as to the lineage of man out of Africa (slavery) and into a new world of higher awareness. This is what these books represent: historical records. People fight when two belief systems clash. I would love to hear your opinion of the treasures that have been found in America and the book of Lehi. A book in particular that brings up an image in my mind for the treasures found in America is “Treasures of the Ancients” by Stephen B. Shaffer which mends the two traditions of Native/European/African life in a way that is quite magical. Feel free to give me your address and I’ll send you my copy. Everyone has always lived under the heart of god and there are two ways for growth: pain, suffering, decay & health, love, life. God offers both as ways to get to either him or our earth mother to be reborn unto eternity. Karma is real and there is no death to energy – it is what some call eternal heaven or eternal hell.

Ps: I have techniques that will allow for belief changes in a person but only if they’d like and it is used only for limiting beliefs if someone would like to change a limiting belief that is getting in their way of success. Beliefs are just experiences that have taught us to think that way. I hope all this makes sense to you. I saw your article and had to write because it is something that has been weighing on my heart as well. I believe that no one is truly white, black, red, or yellow, but that we are all shades of pink, gold, beige, and brown and part of the same earth mother and same father son (represented as Jesus at one point in time). We are only fractals of light here and our ultimate goal is to love, helping the ones we love overcome fear, and nourishment of our earth mother for future generations.

Pss: Feel free to write me back at any time. I threw this writing together in a few days and there may be things that get misunderstood or that you may not understand that I did not say properly. Feel free to keep the dialogue open with me.

I hope that this blesses your spirit, and my prayer to the Creator, the Great Mystery, our Heavenly Father, the All-Nourishing Mother (El Shaddai,) the God of the Heavens and the Earth, is that the rift be filled.


Regards,
Jules D.S.

 

Reconcilation Article

Dear Three Dogs,
Not too long ago, I sent this webpage to a friend in Calif. whose son is currently in prison in Arizona. She asked me if I could make a printed copy and send this to him. Before I even had it printed to send, she received a phone call from him and in it, he told her that he had mentioned your article/writing to the Chaplain of the prison there, and that he wanted to also read it. I sent it to them not too long ago (week or 10 days about), and have not heard back yet. Just wanted you to know how your love and wisdom in your gift of writing is spreading. Thanks for being you!  With gratitude and love, Pam W.

 

 

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