Manataka American Indian Council






January 2012





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.  


Helping the Mohawk People

Dear Editor,

We would like to take this opportunity to express our utmost gratitude to Ward Stone for all that he has done to help the Mohawk people. He has been a strong advocate for the health of Mohawks, especially at Akwesasne. In the 1980’s, a midwife from Akwesasne, a Mohawk reservation located not far from Massena NY, named Katsi Cook got in touch with Ward Stone and expressed concern about the effects of industrial pollution on the health of the people who reside there. Stone found extremely high levels of PCBs, insecticides and other toxins in area fish and wildlife. His work led to irrefutable proof that the dumping of contaminants by nearby factories was responsible for the high level of PCBs found in mother’s milk at Akwesasne. As a result, the people at Akwesasne are benefiting from the awareness of what needs to be done to maintain a healthy environment for the generations to come.

Ward Stone has worked tirelessly not only as a strong and dedicated spokesperson for the animals, insects, fish, birds, water, air and Mother Earth, but he has also spoken up for the health and welfare of the people of the Northeast. Niawenko:wa (thank you), Ward Stone.  Sincerely, Tom Sakokwenionkwas Porter, Bear Clan Mohawk Kay Ionataiewas Olan, Wolf Clan Mohawk


A Dream Necklace Given In Another Realm


Hello Manataka,

I wanted to mention something interesting from just over a year ago. I received my Thunderbird necklace and have been thinking on it for a couple weeks. I thought it looked very familiar, but I couldn't figure out why. Yesterday, I dug out an old journal. In that journal, I found something I had forgotten about - a sketch with notes from just over a year ago.


A dream of a necklace I was given in another realm, I was given this necklace by Someone with much power and authority.

I had sketched the necklace and written some notes about it. In the dream, the necklace gleamed so much, radiated - I thought maybe it was metal, even as that didn't make sense to me.


Looking at it yesterday, and thinking back - now I understand why.  The sketch, and the actual (physical) necklace - are identical.  This amazes me.


The date that I received it, and the date of the dream, are almost a year to the day. A lot had to happen for that to come about. Another point of interest .... no one knew of this dream or the sketch I had made of it - except for me. Most experiences of this nature, I do not share. I let it simmer.

That the necklace is identical (well, it doesn't radiate, but it is natural materials) - that speaks to me of its authenticity and its meaning in my path.

And that Debi Redhawk is amazingly gifted ....  with love & respect, ~ Kim Summermoon / Shemandoah


Fry Bread Recipes

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I haven't tried it yet but have been searching for years to find the way my Grandmama made her "fried bread" every day. The French bienet recipes are close, but Grandmama Sally did not have yeast so I knew they weren't right. We always had ours with her homemade cane syrup. I can't wait to see if these work & call my little brother (age 64) to come eat. Thanks again, ~Betty O'Steen


White People Who Emulate Native Styles

Dear Manataka,

Lately, it seems like some of the younger, very, very, very educated Indians are very focused on white people who emulate Native styles of dress, jewelry, fashion, etc. I find that argument interesting—that white people should not emulate any of “our” fashions—because, if you go to any of the fancy Skin conferences, I guarantee you that you will see a couple of thousand Indians dressed up as if they were honorary white people, suits and bolo ties galore. In fact, if you go to many rezzes in the western United States (almost a redundant statement), you’ll find many of the Indian men dressed as cowboys. Are those appropriating Indians making a mockery of cowboys???

Um, no.

In either event, if any particular Indian believes that a white person should never adopt any Indian practices, then that particular Indian is probably mortified, James Arthur Ray-style. They’ve gotta be thinking, “Those darn white folks are always stealing from us—is nothing sacred!?!?!?”


See, Indian people created the “Meet Each Other a Large Retail Shop and Get Married or at Least Shacked Up” romance many, many moons ago—it is traditional to the northern plains!! Many a child was conceived as a result of meeting in the checkout line—heck, some children were actually conceived in the checkout line; that is our style, Indian style romance!! The only thing that these white cultural-appropriators changed was the store—Indian peoples’ great singles bar is Wal-Mart—the nerve of these people!!


Obviously nothing is sacred and these white folks will steal anything of ours that is not nailed down. I have not been on the appropriating front lines until this—this is the last straw. Sign me up—I’m ready to go to war. ~Gaysi Ross

Understanding A Spiritual Walk

Hello Manataka,

I just want to say "thank you" for understanding and respecting a person's personal spiritual walk - quietly and gently. It's a rare blessing today.


I have tried a few times to write (share) about what has gone on with me since the summer, but have found that "too many words muddies the waters."  Short version is that I went into a vicious spiritual war within myself - not by choice - and I learned a lot about myself. I can't say that I won, but I did fight.


I also changed - I am not who I was, but I can't quite say what I emerged as in the fall. People have noticed the changes in me ....

Veils fell away, masks fell away .... I confronted some of my inner demons. I saw different sides of myself. I fought alone. I don't like thinking about this past summer. I don't call it "war" lightly.


People still ask me "Are you okay?" It's not that anything is wrong, I'm just different now. I just got asked again tonight if I'm okay.

I don't know how to answer that question. Yes, I'm okay - okay as I can be. I am handling issues, people, situations particular to my spiritual path.  But most people I know aren't familiar with this stuff - if I talk about lightning, dreaming, language, Reiju, and music, I sound like a nut.

They tell me that I'm too quiet and I think too much when I'm listening to people or helping others. But it is a process that I have gotten used to trusting and "flowing" with.


They call it "being out of sorts" or "lost in thought" or "being far away." I call it listening and watching. So I don't talk about it. I just help others quietly. I can't explain what happened to me this summer (my "war within") - I don't try to. I am what I am now. There's nothing wrong with me. I am my self.


I also spent some time learning about American culture, media, government ..... this country is twisted and toxic. I also learned about North Korea.  My spiritual walk is a dream and spirit world that is hidden in plain sight, so many people never notice it. There is no direct route, but an "irrelevant" sign can be the best way in .....

I know that Manataka has always understood and respected this, and I am grateful for that. I know that Manataka has blessed others in this way also.  ~ Kim Wilson


Manataka is an Amazing Site

Dear Manataka:

While studying about the rainbow of the bible I came across your site.  It is an amazing site. Rainbow represents covenant keepers.  I would love to share this with our people who can not read.  May I have your permission to read Manataka to share with my people along with a print out of your incredible story.  Thank you!  ~Rabbi Flora Williams


Canadian Boarding Schools

Dear Dr. Lynda, et al.

if one goes to the main link from the link I sent, there is an hour long interview regarding this issue of boarding schools in Canada. The death rate according to what I am hearing at this one location may be as high as 50,000 children. has the video up with a large background photo of the school.   It appears that Canada, Britain, and the Anglican church in Canada will eventually answer charges of genocide against the Mohawk nation.  Thanks for watching.  ~Gary Price

Hi Gary,

We all were deeply moved by the stories of the boarding schools. And there is so much to do regarding the healing process. White Bison now has a training program called Mending Broken Hearts that helps people heal from unresolved grief. You might want to pass that on to the Manataka American Indian Council as well. They are doing these trainings all over the country. ~Dr. Lynda


Dear Editor:

In South and Central American ancient cultures there was a teacher known to the many groups or tribes of people. To the Olmec and later the Mayans he was known as Kukulcan, to the Aztecs as Quetzalcoatl, and to the Incas as Viracocha. He was believed to be one of the “original beings”. In each of these cultures he became worshiped as a God, when he only desired to teach them ways to live. He taught them about civilization, agriculture, medicine, and the stars. By all cultures the description was very similar. He was believed to be about six foot tall, he was Caucasian by all accounts, with white hair, a white beard, and with blue eyes. He, by description, looked very European. He came from the sea and returned to the sea with a promise to one day return.

My question to you is… ancient North American cultures does any such myth, legend, or deity exist similar in nature? Was there one who was known by all tribes that came to the people to teach? He or she could have looked very different and remembered very differently, but was known at different times by different means and names to all the tribes of people? If it is so, do you know the name(s)?

A very unrelated question. Have you seen or touched the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull yet? I think that the 13 crystal skulls will come together upon the alter of the Crystal Cave.  The caves are soon to be revealed.  The 13 skulls represent the true and original 13 tribes of man, 12 of which are represented here on Earth, the 13th are the ET's and the first tribe of man.
I know I sound like a fool, but I have a feeling that we may also agree.   The search for these skulls must also include Egypt, Tibet, Africa, and other places from where mans earliest beginnings can be found.  ~J. Ken Welch


Hello Dear Brother Ken,

Blessings on this wonderful day the Creator made for you.

Your description of Kukulcan includes more detail than found in antiquity. Regardless, the physical description has little to do with your question.

What Central American civilization preceded the Aztec (1400-1500 BC); the Toltec (700-1000 BC); A Toltec king found them in 900 BC.

What Central American civilization preceded the Olmec (1500-500 BC); They are the oldest civilization as some say?

What Central American civilization preceded the Maya (1800 BC-400 AD);

What Central American civilization preceded the Inca (1000 AD – )?

What people predated them all? Who were the teachers of the Maya and Olmec? Among what people was this legend first shared?  Therein lays part of an answer to your question. It was these people who sent emissaries to live among tribes in the North. But no material evidence exists that their teachings about a Kuku were understood and accepted. It was these people who taught the most profound understandings of mankind at that time from a central location and the elders of many tribes came to them and their teachings were spread among people of the North – but nothing of the mysterious traveler.  Here is a hint:


“A Toltec king, the founder of Tula in about 950, is a priest of Quetzalcoatl and becomes known by the god's name. This king, described as fair-skinned and bearded, is exiled by his enemies; but he vows that he will return in the year 'One Reed' of the 52-year calendar cycle. In 1519, a 'One Reed' year, a fair-skinned stranger lands on the east coast. The Aztecs welcome him as Quetzalcoatl. He is the Spanish conquistador Cortes.”
Read more:


Closer examination will reveal similar cultures bearing the same name also appeared in Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa.

Who were these people?

******** ******* ********

We are not aware of a deity in North American cultures who fit the description, however, the Iroquois knew a man called the Peace Bringer, De-ka-nah-wi-da (De-kah-a-wee-da)


We are not aware of any images, idols or stories among people in the North that would lend evidence of the traveler. There are no temples or shrines among us save those of nature.


We are aware of the Mormon story about Jesus who is alleged to have visited America in 33 AD. According to Mormon belief, an Israelite named Lehi journeys with his family from the Middle East to the Americas. Lehi's descendants divide into two tribes, the Nephites and the Lamanites, named after two of Lehi's sons. The Nephites, initially more prosperous and religious, become corrupt over time and are locked into centuries of warfare with the nomadic Lamanites, whom Mormons consider the ancestors of Native Americans.

******** ******* ********

Sorry, but our opinion of the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull is shared by these researchers:

The particular type of crystal block used to carve the skull comes from only one place in the world.

******** ******* ********


The Story of Thanksgiving

Hello Manataka,

I am a curriculum developer for the Scott Bordeaux Leadership Institute, here at Sinte Gleska University, Mission, SD.

I would just like to say thank you for writing history as is should be told. No one invited them and look now, they promised to take the land and they did just that. There are so many arrogant people in the legislature who don’t stop to think that this whole land was very much guarded and with the best intention. So that their young would be given the opportunity to live and prosper.  Again, I appreciate the appropriateness. ~Jacqueline White Bird, MA, Scott Bordeaux Leadership Institute, Sinte Gleska University,

Mission, SD


The Story of Thanksgiving


Dear Manataka,

A dear friend of mine send me your page on the Thanksgiving stories for which I was very thankful.  I so much so forwarded it to some friends, who were not so pleased with what they were reading.  They were questioning if this was really true and if I really really believed it. I told them yes, however in Susan Bates story their are no references or bibliography of what she writes. Is there by any chance any of the claims she makes a record in history books? I would greatly appreciate it so I can show my friends that there is a lot more to the Thanksgiving story. I did send them the link of your website so they can read more. I did send a similar question to Susan Bates email address that was given, but it came back to me as undeliverable. Thank you for giving me more information.  ~Yvonne van Eijk



Susan Bates writes her opinion, but the two articles below hers by Chuck Larsen are full of references. All three articles agree with each other, therefore, indirectly Larsen provides references for the Bates article. Most all American Indians know the true story of Thanksgiving, but white society prefers to believe a fantasy that wipes away the ugliness of their ancestors.  More than likely your friends even believe the story of Columbus is true as well. The error of white society is not so much what is in the history books – it is what is not in the history books that reveals their fantasy world. ~Editor


The Story of Thanksgiving

Thank you for providing some insights into the truth behind the ‘commercial’ Thanksgiving story. As a black South African who has had to endure a distorted history of my own country, it is good to see that the alternate histories of other countries are also being revealed.  Thank you. ~Clive Newman


The Story of Thanksgiving

Dear Editor:

Nice site. I new the pilgrims were problematic and that England was more than happy to see them go. I didn't realize how atrocious the pilgrims actually were towards native Americans. Plus I didn't realize that Thanksgiving was actually celebrating massacres.

I have a very small 3/32 I think Native American blood but you would have to see my mother and great grandmother to see the line at all.


I did add a Happy Thanksgiving notice to my FB page but immediately after, a link to your site. Didn't have time to read it all yet but will take my time and absorb it all later.  Thanks for your contribution to smartening up America's children.

I like history and am studying some to go along with my sociology major but so much of it is hype, it is hard to wade through. Like the battle of the Alamo being fought to free Texas when in reality it was so the Texans could own slaves. I am 61 and single and decided to commemorate my Thanksgiving with Woodstock the movie. Take care and thanks again. ~Mike Smith



Women Cannot Touch My Drum!


Greetings Manataka Sisters,
I very much enjoyed reading your web page "women cannot touch my drum". I am about to go into a bit of a life story, but I simply must write this as these thoughts weigh heavy on my heart. You see, my name is Kai and I am originally from Texas and so was my great grandmother Mimi (before that not sure but we are white skinned). My father wasn't much to speak of and my mother raised me and my elder brother on her own. I always knew a woman could do everything that a man could because my mother proved it to me. Partially because my biological father and I don't have much of a bond I adopted a father figure, his name is Steve. Steve is white too and about 20 years ago he went to his first peyote meeting and kept coming back to pray in the peyote way. I didn't know about his participation in the NAC growing up and peyote revealed itself to me when I traveled to Hawaii to find myself -- and on the journey I took my drum with me. So I slowly started becoming more involved and seeking out meetings and learning to pray. When I found out that Steve also prayed in this way I was very excited to share our common spiritual life. I love to drum. There is no other way to say it. No way to change it. I cannot change my love for drumming just like I cannot change my sex. But, as you might have predicted, I have been excluded from drumming in the ceremony because I am female. At first I didn't try to buck the system. I still considered myself a guest and wanted to honor the norm. But my bones throbbed with the fast heartbeat of the meetings and I yearned to play. By this time I had noticed that women didn't play. The first time I asked about the inequity I was told that women in our teepee were actually liberated compared to others because they could sing and shake gourd. Again for a while I didn't push it but I maintained my curiosity and began reading about the peyote music and digitizing peyote records from the Library of Congress and sharing them with the group.

A big moment came when I and a group of people got together casually one evening to tie up drum and practice songs. For me this inclusion was a mark of my acceptance into the group, not to mention that the majority of the group were people I'd sat up with. Before this time I had made my desire to drum clear enough by asking about the marbles, their significance, how to tie it, when to tie it, I never want to mistreat the drum in anyway. I only want to make the good beat for Creation, keep that heart beat steady to keep the ceremony steady. So that night, at the house of the daughter of the water woman, the drum went around several times. I sang a few songs and worked on some new ones. Then everyone was tired but me. The drum we were using belongs to Emerson bout the only "real Indian" we hang with (besides the roadman). Steve had the drum and was making a gesture around the circle (apparently not to everyone in the circle) to indicate that it was open and he was offering it to the group. So I asked if I could play it. The room fell to a very uncomfortable silence. The answer was no. Emerson said that he used the drum to heal people at meetings and he implied that if I played it I would make it spiritually unclean. He said, but with the guys it's different. Everything he said was very quiet and my friend Cooper, who is my peer in age and a sometime fire chief full time woodcutter (another activity I am not permitted to participate in) said that from across the circle he couldn't hear most of what Emerson said. In explanation Emerson alluded to a legend that you mention on your site about women giving the drum to men so that he could feel a stronger connection to creation. He did not mention that the gift came with conditions (but Steve had told me as much previously, I asked him many questions over the years. Yet Steve implied that it would be a fight to take back the drum. Even if man has grown lazy with his care of the drum he will be reluctant to give up its power, he said. He too drums). Emerson tried to let me down easy by handing me a gourd and saying, we'll see. Really one of the most heartbreaking parts is that a man who has less knowledge of the ceremony we perform was easily given the drum, given a lesson, given encouragement, actually asked if he wanted to play, and when I -- someone who is curious and mindful and a woman who knows several songs and their meanings -- was excluded. Excluded by the people who sit in teepee and sweat with me and pray with me and say that we are relations. I don't feel protected or honored in my exclusion. Steve once said that the trick is not to get women to be able to drum but to simply get someone to sing who is brave enough to ask you to drum for them. But I have a sneaky suspicion that such a request would be denied by either the owner of the drum (and only one drum can come into the meeting -- I asked about that too) or the roadman. After that night I talked to Cooper about the drum. He had come into the church kinda like me, a westerner enjoying the prayers. He proclaimed that if he had a drum (which he does now) that he wouldn't let any woman play it because it somehow represented a bond between a man and a woman and the only woman who could play his drum would be his wife. He speculated that a woman playing a man's drum is like being cedared off together. When I responded with the question of why he didn't think he was getting married with every man who played the drum, he replied, well guys are different. Heartbreaking, totally heartbreaking. My peer in age and someone who entered our fireplace about the same time as I rejecting my obvious hope to play, and play for the group and be appreciated. At this point I don't know what to do. Even if I play I don't know if it would be appreciated. All of that made me cry a few times but I still bought a drum stick from crazy crow (while their products might be foreign made, they ship to anyone who pays) and I beat it on my palm, like I see others doing, to practice. But no one knows I have this arm.

There was another incident recently that happened with an elder woman in our group (okay elder like 50) her husband was a sun dancer and she gave her first flesh offering after he died. She was going to bring JP's (her late husband) drum up to Steve's house and I misheard that she was going to tie it up. It was logical: JP was her husband, he is dead, surely now she can use his drum. At first she said that she had never been taught how to tie it up, I said that there were a few youtube videos we could watch and we could learn together some day. After that she flat out said -- girls don't play drum. Just like that, as easy as that. I said that it was a good thing that I'm a woman then. The she started laughing and remarked that it was the old meeting the new and that if I hung out with her and "the traditionals" (she's just as white as I am) I would understand more. She hasn't asked me to hang out with her.

Tomorrow I will sweat and I don't know what I will say. Gender exclusion is a hard topic to approach. I don't want to make a speech between doorways maybe because I am afraid, but I think that a speech might set everyone against me. It is not me against tradition, like you point out in your page, but it is me against the oppressive believes held by the people of the sweat I go to where my long time friend Steve pours water. Heartbreaking. Steve has a daughter and she has a love for fire and a strong curiosity for plants and animals. Will she flee from the way because it does not embrace her as she is? Will I? What has me thinking about it now is that, Steve doesn't know this, but I bought a pair of deer antler from a local guy and I have been practicing picking up stones in my backyard and setting them in the patterns that they are brought in inside the sweat. I assumed women were excluded from bringing in the grandpas but recently, once, a first-timer brought the rocks in, so I thought there was hope and that the position wasn't too sacred for me to fill. And I normally carpool to the sweat but this week I can't because my normal ride, a guy named Steve B, is leaving before I get out of class so that he can bring the rocks in.

I just don't understand the system of seniority. Will I always be overlooked because I have a vagina? Who asked Steve B to carry rocks Cooper or Steve? Either way, and I know I shouldn't take things personally, but it feels like a betrayal. Did they not even consider me, not even give me the slightest thought because I have a vagina? It's heartbreaking to think that they see me as so different that I cannot be considered for any kind of responsibility other than holding my seat. Steve thanks me all the time for coming because, besides new comers, I am one of the few women who come into the sweat. (The woman I was speaking of goes mostly to the one at the roadman's house to sweat.) In our lodge the north side is where the women sit, we are segregated, except for the man who brings the stones in. He too is on the north side. With the fairly strict coherence to the segregation of the sexes (sometimes it is just me holding the entire north direction and maybe six plus men in the south) wouldn't it make sense to have a woman bring the stones in?

I've often thought about buying a drum off ebay like Cooper and simply playing it. But then what do I do when the men want to play my drum? No, sorry you're a man. I can't say that, I can't subject them to the same gender exclusion that I am subject to. Are my ideas of gender roles incompatible with this group of people? I don't know if I can continue to pray with people who who exclude me and tell me its for my own good. Don't piss on me and tell me it's raining. But back to my quandary. I don't know what to do. I would be satisfied with some kind of compromise, some kind of exception. But I don't know what to propose or how to propose it or if it's worth the trouble.

So again thank you for your page and thank god for all my relations and for my identity as a woman, ~Kai Rowe, Texas


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