Manataka American Indian Council




Song of Life
By Lee Standing Bear Moore andTakatoka

It is said by the Elders that every person has a song.  A Song of Life.  This is a story about a long forgotten custom among our people that begs to be revived.   

Noquisi was a young and beautiful Indian woman who was married during a fall gathering of the nations by the waters of Nowasalon at the sacred of mountain of Manataka.   After returning to her home lands, winter came and past as Noquisi happily informed Grandmother Wilnota and other women of the tribe that she was heavy with her first child.

The women and everyone in the tribe were joyous and began to make gifts and other preparations for the baby.  Grandmother Wilnota announced one day that it was time for the women to go into the forest to find a Song.

The next morning all the women gathered at the edge of the village and began a journey deep into the wilderness.  As they arrived at a stream near a waterfall, they made camp and a sacred circle in the clearing.  The women then prepared special foods and placed them in baskets around the circle. At last, Grandmother called shy Noquisi to come forward and sit in the middle of the circle.  The women gathered around as Grandmother announced the purpose of their meeting. 

"We gather here to learn the Song of Life for the baby inside Noquisi.  We shall pray to the Great Mystery, the Creator of all things and listen carefully to Mother Earth to learn the Song.  We know every soul has a special vibration that knows its purpose and bears the unique character of its ancestors.  Let us begin."     

As everyone's eyes were closed deep in meditation and prayer, a small brown chipmunk sitting on a nearby stump smelled the wonderful food and slowly crept to one of the baskets nearest Grandmother.  Nervously looking from side to side the Little Chipmunk carefully slid into the basket and began to eat to his hearts content.   Noquisis saw the little chipmunk climb into the basket but was afraid to say anything during the prayer ceremony.

After many hours of prayer and silent visions, a strong wind began to blow across the camp.  The women became attuned to the unique vibrations and light surrounding Noquisi. Grandmother Wilnota then called for Noquisi to stand and hear her baby's Song of  Life. 

The women began to loudly sing in one voice, one song of life for the unborn baby.   As Noquisi stood in the middle of the sacred circle, she could feel the Song of Life coming into her, giving strength and joy.

Loud voices outside the basket startled the sleepy little brown chipmunk but he was afraid to move.   Peaking out the top of the basket, Little Chipmunk decided  he must escape before he was discovered.   But, it was too late,  Grandmother reached into the basket as she announced it was time for everyone to eat.

Grabbing a small round ball of fur, Grandmother exclaimed, "Ah ho, what do we have here?  It looks like we have a little thief in our basket!"  With a smile, she placed her hand to the ground and let Little Chipmunk scamper away.

During the course of many weeks to follow, Noquisi quietly sat alone in her lodge or walked in the forest as she sang the Song of Life to the unborn child.

Many weeks later when Noquisi's baby was born, the entire community gathered and sang the Song of Life to the new baby boy.   At the time of the full moon, the entire village again gathered to sing the baby's Song of Life during his naming ceremony.  The boy was named Uwetsi Ganolvvsgv (Wind Song), but not surprisingly, The boy was given another name, Giyuga Usti (Little Chipmunk).

Years later, the boy grew and after successfully completing his first hunting trip, the tribe again gathered in the circle around Little Chipmunk and chanted his Song of Life.  After he passed all the necessary requirements to enter adulthood, the people once again gathered to sing his Song of Life.

At the time of his marriage, Little Chipmunk heard his Wind Song, his Song of Life sung during ceremonies. Finally, when his soul was about to pass from this world, all the people gathered around his bed to sing his Song of Life.

Each of us know we have a song.   A beautiful vibration within as a reminder of our eternal purpose.  Those we love must sing that Song to us throughout our lives.  We all yearn to be loved, acknowledged and accepted for the person we are.

There is another event when the tribe gathers to sing the Song of Life to an individual.   Whenever a crime or a serious anti-social offense is committed, the person is called to the center of the circle and expected to  admit  to the transgression.   Then, the village sings their Song of Life to the child within the person.

In this way, poor behavior was corrected by reminding the individual of who their real self in the Creator's eyes.   After the Song of Life is sung by ones family, friends and neighbors, there was no desire to do anything to disrupt the wonderful blessing given by the Song. 

Our people did not have jails, prisons and insane asylums because there was not a need.   Punishment  was the extension of love in remembrance of the true identity within the person.

A friend and those who love you know your song and sing it when you have forgotten its vibration.  People who love you do not care about the dark and ugly things you sometimes become.   They hear the beauty of your song, they remember your light and know the sweetness within you.  

If  your mother was not given a special Song of Life  before your birth, then you must begin to search for it now.  Do not wait for the milestones of life to pass without this special recognition.  Walking the good Red Road means knowing your Song.  You can no longer be confused, lost, alone and depressed.  You must give your Song of Life a strong voice.  

When you know your Song of Life, you have two obligations:  The first is to find people who have a similar song, similar vibrations, and sing it to each other.  The second is to pass this wonderful custom down to the next generation.   In this way we support our brothers and sister in their walk and we provide future generations with peace and happiness.



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