Manataka® American Indian Council
Grandmother Linda Two Hawk Feathers James, Choctaw
Healing to the Seventh Generation
By Tali Tawodi Tslunuhi
Inspired by the author of “Three Cups of Tea”
In Native American culture, any plan, any change, or any move has historically only been agreed upon after the elders consider the 7th generation. American culture has evolved into an individualistic, modernistic social mega-culture that ignores the legacy that a plan, a change or a move will affect the next 10 years let alone 7 generations in the future. A generation may represent 40 years of time as we count it now. So, the last seven generations is a longer period of time than the United States has existed as a country. The idealism of the “founders” of our country gave them high hopes of making a new nation that would benefit their children for all future generations. They were blinded, however, as to how their own use of slave labor and propensity to conquest would manifest itself in the next 7 generations. We are at the end of that time. Many people around the world are calling for change, for a new vision of indigenous peoples – even to the extent of formal apologies given to native peoples in Australia and Canada.
The truth is there have been tragic mistakes made through the use or misuse of religious fervor. We are suffering from the “fall-out” from all of these particular mistakes as well as thousands of general faux paux. Fortunately, all the debate and arguing in the world will not help. If every person who ever had a racial slur issue from their mouth stopped today, if every person who helps to denigrate native people stopped immediately and if all the bigotry and biases of mankind ended; we would not be instantly healed because there are injuries and wounds left gapping wide and bleeding.
Today can be a new beginning. We can begin to correct our thinking one person at a time. Think about the next seven generations when you make a decision. Think about that great, great, great, great grandchild when you look into the face of another person. Let me ask you a question. Would you build a house that would only last 20 or 30 years if you were considering the needs of the 7th generation? Would you use fossil fuel at a breakneck rate that will deplete the world reserves in less than the next century without seeking alternative power sources if you were thinking about the 7th generation?
Linda Two Hawk Feathers James, Choctaw, has been a member of the Manataka Elder Council since 2009 (presently serving as Ceremonial Elder) and a member of Manataka since 2003. This responsibility is not new to her, having been a Chaplain since ordination to that ministry in 1999 by Hanley Road Church, St. Louis. She and her husband, John, are also associated with the Mid American Indian Fellowship which has groups in Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. Having only discovered her native heritage around 10 years ago, Linda’s heart’s desire is to bring an understanding of native people to the Church. She feels a pull to follow her naming prophecy to be one who speaks words of warning in this troubled time. Two Hawk Feathers wishes to draw from the Navaho tradition of placing two feathers in a stand to help point others to a sacred place. She envisions reconciliation between native people (as we struggle to resurrect ancient traditions and ceremonies) may lead the way to other forms of healing. In the last year, the Episcopal Church recognized their role in colonizing and destroying the culture of many native tribes in the United States and Canada. By becoming more self-aware of our long heritage of worship to Creator, we will be able to more graciously accept the smallest gestures of apology from governments and church entities who are still actively seeking to colonize native people around the world (#1 is admitting the problem). Linda’s degrees include a Bachelor of Science dually granted in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education from Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville). Following a call into the ministry, Linda attended and received a baccalaureate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as Master of Arts in Christian Education. She has been in the pursuit of a Master of Divinity while attending Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Now, Linda is seeking admittance to Phillips Christian Theological Seminary, Tulsa, OK, as a continuation of her quest for a Master of Divinity. Her new motto is “Live Peace and Pray for More Who Live Peace.” II Corinthians 5:11-19
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