Manataka™ American Indian Council



JUNE 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.  The opinions expressed below and all information provided is for informational purposes only. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of the opinions express below and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Manataka does not necessarily endorse or support the opinions expressed below. 

United Methodist Church General Conference


Dear Brothers and Sisters of Manataka:


The General Conference of the United Methodist Church is meeting in Florida. Some of the Muskogee Tribe offered a Purification Ceremony. May the healing smoke of sage and the presence of Eagle feathers illuminate and purify the workings of the Conference and honor all indigenous people all over Mother Earth. The United Methodist Church has had its share of negative thoughts and actions. My prayer is that unity, harmony and peace will prevail.

May the Red Road be always under our feet.
May the Great Spirit guide us and give us sleep.
May we offer Manataka to all we meet.

In Spirit,
Rev. Tom Haley


I do dream of coming to you and being at Manataka


Hello Manataka,

I am called Marta and I wrote to you many years ago when I first found the Manataka site. At that time, Lee Standing Bear Moore wrote me a very wonderful letter which inspired me greatly.  Today, I read the story of Manataka again, and saw that you wrote "why the elders visited Manataka can only be answered person-to-person".

I used to think that it was sad that the other cultures and "ruined" everything the native Americans held sacred. Sometimes I still do, and sometimes the anger still comes a bit. BUT, I also see that if we believe in the plan of the Great Creator, then we must know that all is for the best, and actually, when the caves and hot springs are closed up, then, we are forced to look within to find them again. And through your stories and legends, you remind all of us and help all of us find the inner Manataka that is hidden under the metaphor of "cement and silly societal restrictions" and that this hot, sparkling Fountain and Water of Life is still flowing and warm.

In this sense, I am glad that I had to pilgrim to Manataka in my heart since it only exists symbolically now - perhaps that is the reason? If I actually could go there, then perhaps I would be more attached to the nature and that specific place and not bother to look myself. Perhaps I would wait for some place or ritual to "liberate" or to "empower" me instead of seeing it as a force that guides me on the path to myself - behind the glistening warm waterfall. Do you know that as a child, I dreamt of being there often? That is why your story resonated with me so well and helped me by affirming something I already knew as true. I was so happy to find it. It was like going home.

For this, I must say, I am very grateful to the universe for having things come exactly the way they did - because it is all as it should be when you see the big picture. And you all helped me very much to see the big picture.

Someday, I do dream of coming to you and being at Manataka - but then, not because I need or expect something, but because I just want to give my thanks and hug you all (which I do in my heart anyway, but that's why we have this great body, eh? so, we might as well have some fun hugging with it too! hee hee!)

And so, that was my message to you today. Since I am not planning to come anytime soon (gotta make the moola!), I guess I will have to wait for the eye-to-eye answer, but that is OK. Everything comes as it should. I am happy and thankful that I have your newsletters. Please give my regards to Standing Bear - he is a very good teacher and I love his way.  ~Love, Marta Guida


Author Thanks Manataka

Hi Everyone at Manataka:

I want to thank you all for your contribution to my research while writing this book over the past three years. Your advice, notes, references, and photos ensured my enthusiasm for this story never faltered. ok there were times . With your help I was able to tell the story of the Canadians, Custer, and the American native peoples.  Dundurn, Toronto, is publishing my book; it should be in book stores by mid-September. It will also be available on  I will keep you informed.  Thanks again. ~Mary Thomas


A Deer Story

Dear Editor,


Did I ever tell you about my grandson and I with the deer? It was at the beginning of Jays journey thru illness. Before he retired. He came home one day worn out and in pain. Work kept calling him and he wasn't able to rest. So he, I and our grandson got in the car and drove up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It seems to be a natural instinct of mine to seek healing in nature. Anyway we came to one of the stone houses (rest stop) It was still closed for the winter. I saw a deer just behind it. Jay said he didn't feel like getting out of the car but that I should take Jeremy to see it. As I got Jeremy out of the car I cautioned him to be quiet, walk softly and to talk to the deer silently in his mind. "Tell the deer you mean no harm and thank you for the honor of seeing it," I whispered to Jeremy. As we walked around the back corner of the building much to my surprise there was a large herd of deer. I put my finger across my lips slowly signaling Jeremy for silence. We took several steps slowly beside the deer we first saw. Then I thought about there had to be a buck somewhere. I looked up on the slight hill and there he was beautiful, large rack and looking straight at me. We stood as if time had frozen and we had too just looking at each other. After a minute or two (I was silently talking to the buck and saying we meant no harm] The buck nodded his head, started grazing and very slowly began to walk away. Jeremy and I walked with the deer for about 10 minutes. The deer by then were walking all around us as if we had become with them. The deer kept going and we hurried back to the car to tell Jay. Later someone told me I was crazy that we could have really gotten hurt. I never felt threatened. Actually it was as if I had been told to walk with them. Jeremy and I will always remember that magical time. This the honest truth. ~Ruth King


A Squirrel Story


Dear Manataka,


I emailed you a few years ago about a very vivid dream I had had where I followed a squirrel through the woods and it spoke to me. It showed me a cage of tiny zebras who tried to climb out of the cage. I thought that maybe the zebras were trying to tell me something, but you pointed out that the squirrel spoke to me and guided me. So you thought that the squirrel was likely my totem animal and I should watch for squirrel and listen for squirrel in my dreams.


Quite a while went by, when yesterday I walked onto my patio to find a young squirrel trapped there and scared. It had been blown out of its tree by a strong gust of wind. Luckily, my pets are away for the week while I am preparing to move, so he was safe on my patio (he would have been in grave danger had my dogs or cat been home). I am graduating from medical school in May and am relocating to start my residency in Internal Medicine. I tried to catch the squirrel in a box, but the squirrel didn't want to go into the box. Instead, it ran up my leg. I actually tripped and fell in surprise when it ran up my leg, but the squirrel stayed on my back. I got up slowly and the squirrel scampered up my side to sit on my shoulder. It stayed on me for about 15 minutes and seemed quite comfortable and happy, before I got up the courage to lift him off my shoulder and put him safely in a box. I took him outside and put him on a tree with squirrels (including young ones) on it and he ran right up the trunk seemingly happy to return to his natural environment. I just found it interesting that the squirrel would seem so comfortable on me, especially since it is a wild animal. I thought you might be interested in this follow up story to what you had advised me on before. :)  Thank you,

~Michelle Gonsalves


Why Should We Keep Tribal Languages Alive

Hello Manataka Editor,

I cannot stress enough the importance of retaining our tribal languages, when it comes to the core relevance or existence of our people. Our languages can teach us many things through daily use. Language can teach us respect, for ourselves and each other, our elders, women and most importantly, the things that allowed us to exist. Our children deserve nothing less than to have inherited their own language. You could argue that when a tribe loses its language, it loses a piece of its inner-most being, a part of its soul or spirit. That is how important and meaningful our languages are to us as the original inhabitants of this hemisphere.


Historically, our ancestors relied on our language to communicate with each other and sister tribes, and when we met other tribes, we utilized sign as an alternative language to communicate. Symbols or icons were also a source of documenting our history on stone surfaces or skins, known as Winter Counts, but languages were our main source of communicating with each other. You could lay blame for the loss of some of our languages on the Boarding Schools, where we were severely punished for speaking them, but that seems a weak excuse.


The truth is, it is our own fault and no one else’s. Today, most tribal nations continue to struggle to retain their native tongues due to attrition, assimilation and lack of use, and sadly, some have lost them forever. Our tribal colleges and schools are our only line of defense or hope, when it comes to saving our languages at this point, because we have for the most part, refrained from speaking our languages fluently at home or amongst each other. Immersion classes have sprung up in some of our communities—but is it too late ?


We have no choice; we have to assume it is not too late, but it is an ongoing struggle to keep our languages alive. My personal hope is that our present efforts will set the template for tomorrow, and that we can save our languages for those present today and those yet to be born. We need to retain and pass our tribal languages on to the next generations if we are to remain relevant as a people. We can make the comparison of losing our language to an explorer having lost his compass—and we cannot afford to lose our cultural compass, that which so clearly defines us. Speak your language if you know it, or learn it if you can, but do not let it go due to neglect. That is not who we are, or what we do, as a people. Now is the crucial time to protect and embrace your mother(‘s) tongue.


When it comes to native languages, the situation is simple: Use it or lose it. Aho. ~Sonny Skyhawk


Fry Bread Recipe


Hello Manataka,

I am so excited that I found your website with recipes for fried bread. It is a true accomplishment for me as I am not young anymore and quite computer illiterate on top of that. Many years ago, when the dinosaurs were still around, a friend of mine of American Indian heritage shared her bread recipe with me. I used to make it all the time! Then I stopped. When my friend moved out of state we lost touch and I lost the recipe as well. The other day my children took me on a stroll down memory lane and they told me how they loved " Aunt Wendy's fried bread ". Thanks to your recipe collection I will be able to make the bread for them again. It'll be interesting to see if their children will like it, too.  Thank you! Best regards, ~Ragna Zarrin

Honors Lee Standing Bear

Dear Manataka,
I know it may seem silly, but you Lee Standing Bear Moore have made a huge difference and influence in my life, and I do miss you dearly! I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to have your support and kindness at my grandmother's funeral all those years ago, much less all the life lessons and knowledge of life you bestowed upon me with just an utterance or kind hand. You are greatly appreciated and it has always been the greatest honor to know you and learn from you Grandfather!"  ~Wesa Stone


To accomplish his "Green Environmental" goals, Obama must first KILL the environment

Dear Manataka


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a division of the Interior Department, is considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources.


A draft regulation first filed in April would allow businesses to apply for 30-year permits allowing them to kill bald eagles in the course of other legal activities. The length of those permits would be a six-fold increase over the five-year window allowed under current law.  The USFWS explains at


We have reviewed applications from proponents of renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar power facilities, for programmatic permits to authorize eagle take that may result from both the construction and ongoing operations of renewable energy projects. During our review, it became evident that the 5-year term limit imposed by the 2009 regulations (see 50 CFR 22.26(h)) needed to be extended to better correspond to the timeframe of renewable energy projects.


Current law allows permitting for “programmatic” killing of bald eagles, which “is recurring, is not caused solely by indirect effects, and that occurs over the long term or in a location or locations that cannot be specifically identified.”


The USFWS notes that permits “may authorize lethal take that is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity, such as mortalities caused by collisions with rotating wind turbines.”


According to the regulation, measures will be taken to attempt to minimize bald eagle mortalities, and additional actions may be authorized if mortalities exceed “anticipated” levels. USFWS began investigating numerous bald eagle deaths associated with wind turbines in early 2012.


Without the proper permit, the killing of a bald eagle is a federal crime. ~Carmel Miller




Dear Editor,

I am a Christian myself and have learned that the God to whom I serve does not reign as dictator but as a loving Father. Being a gentleman as Rev. Billy Graham's daughter called God during an interview after one of the school shootings here in the states, He respects us and the free will He has given us.

As it is you and all the Tribes, Nations and Peoples native to North America honors my God a lot more than most Christians do. Why? Because you take care and protect the earth, only using what you need and protecting the rest. I am sure that given the chance we could learn so much from your traditions and natural healing (herbal and such). It has always been one of my dreams to see and visit one of the reservations where traditions are kept as close to the olden days as possible.

Please do not confuse the One True God with the one these so called Christians portray! ~Sonia N. Canovas, Houston, TX




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