Manataka® American Indian Council



Proudly Presents



MAY 2011




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.


Louis Riel, Canadian Métis Leader

Good morning Manataka,
I'm thinking of writing an e-book about Louis Riel, the Métis leader in Canada who founded Manitoba and was hanged for treason in another instance of injustice to Indians. I find very little written about him except a comic book and an out-of-print book. Although this indicates that there may be little interest in him, perhaps because he and his people lived in Canada, I feel he's worthy of more. Do you happen to have any information about Louis Riel, or do you know any Manataka member who may be able to provide facts or opinions about him, the Métis, or their rebellion?  John Anderson -


Fry Bread is gooood...

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the fry bread recipes on the website. I had some dough that I wanted to fry but didn't know how. I do now and the kids loved it. I have added several of the recipes to my personal cookbook binder so that we can make more! ~Amber


Christian Crees Tear Down Sweatlodge

Dear Manataka,

I tried to read the article about the Cree Sweat Lodge. I couldn't .... not all the details. 


Call it my overall disgust after years of watching this happen over and over again by organized religion. I wish I could say I was surprised by what I did read. I'm not.  I wish I could say that I respect all religions and their practitioners. I don't. Not anymore.

I have tried. I respect people individually - but practitioners of certain religions often seem to believe that they are better than others.

I try to give everyone a chance, and I hope they give me a chance also. So often, I find this is not the case - and I am judged, and others are judged, based on the color of skin, whether we wear a cross (or not), where we are on Sundays, what books we are reading, if we light candles, incense, or smudge (and what that signifies), what spiritual traditions we practice and what others think those practices mean. Even whether we believe in a devil or hell or anything else - who is anyone to judge our spiritual beliefs?? Certainly not other people!!

I have tried for years to "live and let live" - but still, we are judged by those who think they know better, by the "determiners of Hell."   The Inquisition continues, just in a different form. It is political, it is greed, it is still bent on wiping out anyone who thinks differently.   I think it is run by Tea Baggers now, but I could be wrong. I see them "at work" everywhere ..... changing the political landscape.  I hear this same intolerance in my own family, and elsewhere.


At my job, I work with people of many faiths. We had to sign an agreement upon hire - that we will accompany anyone to a mosque or temple without a problem, without harassment. At the time, I remember wondering - why would I have a problem doing this? Didn't bother me at all. I hadn't considered the political and religious climate of America - nor had I anticipated how things would get worse in this country. 

We are all ONE human race. There is ONE Creator - ONE Rainbow of many colors. Creator may take many faces for the many Creations that exist ..... but we all live, bleed and die the same way. We all start out as BABIES. For anyone to suggest or insist that their way is better than another is pure ignorance - and wrong. 

I saw this story in the Smoke Signal a while ago, and I really liked it. I think it's very appropriate:    Grandfather and His Grandchildren   

Perhaps they should read it also, since they are beating up on the Crees and their Sweat Lodge for no good reason other than power and politics.  Sorry for my rant, but I am so tired of the religious hypocrisy and bigotry in "America" ..... "land of the free"

I wish Mianscum luck and I hope things go well for them .... sounds like they are dealing with a nasty sort that are well-schooled in politics and mind-games - either that, or they have the backing of those who are. It's got nothing to do with "Christianity" - just politics and money, greed, power.  ~ Kim Summermoon Wilson, PA


Loves Manataka Flute from Down Under

Hello to all there at Manataka!

I just received the beautiful flute I ordered recently from you and was surprised how quickly it arrived here in Australia.  To Bonnie White Cloud... Thank you for your friendly words in accepting me as an honored guest to the Manataka  sacred circle. and explaining how I would be receiving the flute. I am a white Australian woman who enjoys learning about many cultures and am still learning about my own!  I assure you the flute you have sent will remain in my care and will be respected throughout its life and my own.  Here a few photo's I have taken and put together of my home. This is where my parents raised me, and after travelling eventually have settled. My husband son and I live in a beautiful place on earth. AND we never forget that it is to be respected.  Thank you all so very much.  Sincere words.  ~Jayne Healy-Wozniak


Schaghticoke Indian Reservation



To Whom It May Concern at the Schaghticoke Indian Reservation, Kent, CT:


My Name is Jean Bruce.  I live in Central Vermont. As a child I lived in Wassaic, NY, My grandfather was a very active member of the Schaghticoke Reservation. My grandmother and the rest of the family (at that time....I can remember....weren't all that supportive of him slipping out every summer to the Powwows.  He used to tell me that the most important thing he ever did was to "sign in" in the "big book."  That was very important to him.  Back the late 40's....I wouldn't have known what that meant or how important that was to Grandpa Walter King Cribley, who also used to bring Ginseng root to the reservation regularly.    He also use to bring me to the reservation to pick Hickory nuts.  The reservation always amazed me, but I hated the damned rattle snakes, but somehow Grandpa made me not to be afraid of them  and I just wasn't.  Anyway....I don't know what I can do for the reservation, except to support my family roots which I dearly love.  And I DO love craftwork so if there is anything I can do to promote the Schaghticoke crafts, please let me know and I'll get busy right away and donate them to you this summer.  With love and respect, Jean Cribley-Bruce, Berlin, VT 05663


Christian Crees Tear Down Purification Lodge

Dear Editor,


I read this article and was appalled. I fail to understand how any tribal council could ban sweat lodges or other indigenous spiritual beliefs and say that “do not conform with the traditional practices and teachings of our elders.”


My first question is, does this mean the traditional practices and teaching of our elders did not involve praying, or praying in a sweat lodge?


My second question is; where does this thinking come from? Are there non natives within the council that do not understand or respect religious freedom? Perhaps as stated, that indigenous people have suffered generations of “forced assimilation through religious and education institutions designed to ‘kill the Indian’ in us.”


If this is true, then I assume cultural education programs are in place? I know most reserves are teaching their own culture, but lack other teachings, such as history of Europe, Africa, etc. to give several views and awareness of other cultures and history. The history of the Spanish Inquisition and Indian Boarding Schools, I think would be enough to remind people what “religion” is all about.


The fact that tribal nations claim to be sovereign and also autonomous means that a nation is to act in the best interest of its "citizens" and the individual also has a right to act of their own choice. If tribal council denies individuals spiritual freedom then they are breaking their own law of being sovereign. It also fosters the attitude and practice they wanted to avoid, assimilation.


I don’t know of any elders or youth on any reserves I visited that would believe in such a ban. Is the next step some type of council ruling for individuals to practice their beliefs on or off the reserves?


I welcome any comment you may have and would like to keep up on this issue. Sincerely, Deborah Sanchez


"Open Letter" in February's Smoke Signal Draw Response

Hello John Outler, 

I saw the Open Letter in the Smoke Signal. That is a real shame - and a travesty. I don't have any questions, really. Mostly - I have a challenge for them. I was vaguely aware of badmouthing [of Manataka] a while ago, but I didn't know that it was still going on. Don't people have anything better to do than tear others down? 


There is so much hardship in the world, and Mother Earth is storming and writhing everywhere. Surely people can focus on helping others, and not fighting. The letter, when I realized the reason for it - I couldn't help feeling angered by it ...... so I thought about it a while.


We don't have to agree with everything - we are all unique. That's part of what diversity is about. Embrace it. Learn from each other.  We have enough anger, enough hatred, enough darkness. Do not contribute to it, do not strengthen it. Darkness is very hungry but can be hard to see.

Give yourselves, give your hands, share what you can. Creed doesn't matter, race doesn't matter, gender does not matter. We all walk this planet with what Creator gave us - One Planet. The only divisions that exist are the ones humanity chose to create.   Look at satellite images - there are no real boundaries. No state lines, no real borders, just clouds, storms, green, water - One Earth.   One planet, one people - and we all bleed the same color. A person dies, a person is ill, look into their eyes - you see a human being.

What difference does it make - if someone wants to learn how to live better, how to walk a good, peaceful way, let them learn. Show them how. 

Can we do any worse than what has been done already?


Can you go before Creator one day and be asked, what did you do to help your brothers and sisters, and how did you treat your Mother, and say "I turned them away because they were not like me." 

Can you do that?  I can't. I won't.

I cannot look at a person who needs help, who is a different color, a different religion, a different anything, and turn that person away.  If someone needs a coat, give a coat. Someone needs food, give food. Someone wants to learn, you share what you know.   What that person does - is up to Creator. Creator gives you people on your path for a reason ..... can you say "no" to Creator?  I challenge these nay-sayers to do what Manataka offers, and has been offering, for years .... then try to complain about helping others.  with respect, ~Kim Wilson, Philadelphia