Manataka American Indian Council
Manataka: Place of Peace -
Myth or Reality?
National Park Service Hate Campaign - Part II
By Linda VanBibber
Recently we became aware of new efforts on the part of the National Parks Service to discredit the Manataka American Indian Council and the stories of the Grandfathers which we preserve.
A few years back they added a mention of Manataka and the Rainbow Woman in the new Parks Service historical display in the observation tower on Hot Springs Mountain where the stories of the Grandfathers are cited as ‘myth’.
But the Grandfathers of many tribes still tell of this sacred ground which held great meaning for all First Nations people; a place where pilgrimages were made to seek the favor of the Lady of the Rainbow. Here sacred leaders of all Nations gathered to pray and perform sacred ceremonies. This place may be called “the Place of Peace” or “the Place of the Rainbows”.
The Parks Service claims this never happened. In the history display, they claim there is no evidence that the Indians ever used the hot springs for medicinal purposes. Yet on the Parks Service web site, they note that in 1771 Jean-Bernard Bossu, during a stay with the Quapaw, reported: “The Akancas country is visited very often by western Indians who come her to take baths,” for the hot waters “are highly esteemed by native physicians who claim that they are so strengthening.” (Hot Springs Park Service web site, “American Indians at Hot Springs National Park”.)
They go on to say: The Quapaw still consider the park area to be culturally significant. They continued to visit after Bathhouse Row was established, enjoying baths at the dome edifice bearing their name. . . . The Caddo lived in the Hot Springs vicinity for many centuries prior to Quapaw influence here. Members of a least one confederation of Caddo (the Natchitoches) still lived in this region during the early 1800s, and would probably have visited the springs.
You would think that they could keep their story consistent, to say the least. Their undisciplined approach to ‘history’ and the contractions they present are frankly insulting to the intelligence of their visitors. Yet not many visitors compare the little historical ‘blurbs’ scattered in Parks Service tourist information, which we are sure they count upon.
After our last report, which concerned the mutilated ‘history’ being presented by the Park Service in their new booklet, All the Indians Came Here, Didn’t They? we found a mention of the Hot Springs by Arkansas Senator Copeland on April 29, 1932, page 9206, which further refutes the Park Service’s recent stance that the springs were not used by the Indians. In this report, Mr. Copeland states:
The Indians knew of the curative properties of Hot Springs. They believed that the Great Spirit was present in the waters. This tradition attached to the springs long before the time of their discovery in 1541 by De Soto. Hostile tribes are said to have fought for their possession. Finally their value to humanity was recognized by the Indians and by reason of a truce made and an agreement entered into between the various tribes they were finally dedicated to humanity as a whole. Because of that truce the blessings of Hot Springs were made available to the sick of all the Indian Nations.
Mr. President, if you ever visited one of the healing springs, particularly one of the hot springs of America, you no doubt have been greatly interested in the evidence of Indian occupation of the ground about the springs. . . .
Chief of all these medicinal springs was the Hot Springs. As I have said, the virtues of the waters were recognized and the Indians form all the tribes went there in order that they might have the blessings of the healing waters.
Here is recorded, as a matter of record in United States history, that “the Indians from all tribes” (italics mine) came to the Hot Springs to receive “the blessings of the healing waters”, of Nówâ-sa-lon. So in answer to the Parks Service’s question “All the Indians Came Here, Didn’t They?”, we say, ‘Why, yes. As a matter of fact, they did.’
Yet Nation Parks Service seems intent on erasing the sacred history of the Place of Peace -- even in the face of documentation from the United States government! But the stories will continue to be honored and preserved by the Manataka American Indian Council (MAIC).
The people of the land are returning. The day when the tribes of many nations will again journey to the sacred grounds of Manataka has come. They come as brothers and sisters seeking healing and guidance; they show reverence and faith in the Great Spirit who dwells in this sacred place.
Together, we can awaken the great forces of all indigenous peoples by rekindling the fire in The Place of Peace. The hot springs are still here. The medicinal herbs, quartz crystal, precious stones, and beauty are still here. And the beautiful waters of Nówâ-sa-lon still flow abundantly.
The Spirit of the Rainbow Woman welcomes all who come in peace and healing.
Manataka™ American Indian Council is a non-profit, 501(3C), tax-exempt, educational, multi-cultural and religious organization made up of American Indian and non-Indian people dedicated to sharing our understanding of the Spiritual way of Native peoples. Manataka also offers a variety of community services and sponsors several public educational events throughout the year. For more information on Manataka American Indian Council visit www.manataka.org.
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