Manataka™ American Indian Council



February 2014


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. 


 Formula for Peace

Dear Grandfather Standing Bear and Manataka:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to receive the Smoke Signal.  It arrived today, New Years Day.   It is quite a pleasure to read the content of this issue as a start of a new year.   Your words regarding the meaning of Peace - Formula for Peace were exceptional.  Also, the comments in the January Smoke Signal Chaplains Group related to proselytizing really focuses on what was and is a problem that has caused great harm in the world.  Best wishes to you and MANATAKA. ~Matthew Maley


Truth is...

Dear Manataka,

The Manataka message is a good thing. As much as I'd want truth to prevail without having to hope it does, it doesn't seem that simple - I guess really how truth prevails is dependent on my own effort for truth to prevail. I suppose it's my own fault that in my mind for truth to exist and prevail one should hope for it to. No building takes place without man insisting it shall, I suppose. ~peacelovespirithonor



Truth always prevails.  No need to hope. Truth only requires faith.  We as individuals listeners and seekers are ‘independent’ of truth.  Truth is not dependent on our own meager efforts or through whatever prism we view it.  Truth does not prevail simply because we search or wish for it.  Truth is carefully sifted through the sands of time and becomes an everlasting gem when love glows from its essence and it speaks with wisdom and balance. Have some fun, read:    The Truth Star ~Editor



Another Form of Bigotry

Dear Manataka.

I was surprised at the strong stance against proselytizing taken by Lee Standing Bear Moore in the January issue of the Smoke Signal News, but I must say that I couldn’t agree more.   Whether in Sudan, Brazil, Tibet or right here in the Midwest –

...Worship along side of your brothers and sisters of different faiths. But, do not attempt to change the way they see God. Your way is not the only path...”

Insistence that the doctrines of one religion are superior to those of another is just another form of bigotry and intolerance.  While I do believe that there is ONE LOVE expressed in justice, tolerance and compassion, many many paths have been developed to assistance us in living these ideals.  I am reminded of the wampum belt that represented the federation of nations:  two canoes traveling one river. Well said Standing Bear.  ~Linda Bear Heart Woman Speaks

Hawk is My Totem...

Dear Manataka,

I know the hawk is my totem and could relate many stories of it’s communion in my life, yet I do not understand some of the symbols, such as when a hawk flies across in from of me ,from left to right, or right to left. Sometimes a hawk will swoop at me from head on. I know it is trying to tell me something, but I don’t know what it is. Can you help me to better understand my totem spirit? I am not Native American and have no one else to teach me. Thank You. ~Winifred Miller


Hello Winfred,

First, exercise patience with yourself.  Second, BECOME the Hawk to better understand.  BE the Hawk.  Third, Pray each time Hawk comes.  Give thanks.  Wait for an answer.  If YOU get out of the way long enough, the answer will come.   YOU must get out of the way and put yourself last.   Fourth, a totem-being is an Angel. It is the spirit of God sending you a message.  Seek out a quiet place, silence and wait for the answer. It will come if you stop long enough from being confused and distracted with modern life.  The answers you are seeking is a life long pursuit.  So you must keep trying and be patient with yourself.  If you ever give up trying, the hawk will not come anymore. Hope this helps you. ~Editor


Use of the term "Judeo Christian"

Hello Manataka Editor:


Thank you, learning about indigenous culture in the "Americas" has been hugely enriching and rewarding. Your story adds to this knowledge.

I would like to comment on your use of the term "Judeo Christian". Although both Jews and Christians live in Europe and contribute to that society, the two cultures and belief systems are distinct.  So distinct actually, that the name "Judeo Christian" is misleading and unhelpful.  Judaic culture has parallels to Native American culture which Christianity doesn't.  There are distinct laws and traditions in Judaism, for example, concerning the land and its ecology. There  are also specific laws about sharing and about the rights of everyone to food and hospitality.

Historically the Christian religion is of Roman/Greek origin, and its use of Judaism is colonial. Christianity is the only religion I know of that is based on the wrongness of another religion, and that uses the texts of another religion as its own.   The Roman Christian use of the Jews and its assumption of authority over Israel seems to be the starting point for the ideology behind the mass  colonization of later centuries.   I think it would be more accurate if you wrote "Christian", since I'm sure the Jews had no part in converting your tribes or in sanctioning the colonization process, and that no one was converted to Judaism, which Christians actually and actively oppose.

Christianity is a newer religion, which claims to complete, or supersede, Judaism and to make the practice of Judaism obsolete, and it assumed a similar superiority over native spiritual practice.  Thanks, ~Nick Bassett


Hello Nick,


Because of your excellent suggestion, the Story of Manataka was changed for the first time in many years.  We edited out the word Judeo. We are most grateful for your insight. ~Editor



Christian Doctrine of Discovery Disputed


First, let me tell you that I support your effort. But I have been watching this effort on national news for years, by different churches. In each and every case, they make a good public statement. But in reality, defying the "Doctrine of Discovery" does little or nothing in the churches, unless they have internal political payoffs they can match to it somehow.


The reality of the situation is that much of Disciples leadership has no interest in the real message they need to accept-- their Salvation through, and the Lordship of, Jesus Christ.


I will make one small comment on your writing of the resolution. It is named (in part) "Reflection on Christian Theology," yet you don't mention the name "Jesus." Not once. This resolution asks the Disciples to explore how the church might reflect, research, pray, and educate. But the Lordship of Jesus Christ is never mentioned. My point is, unless the Disciples fix this very basic, they won't do anything about this.


As it is, "the weight of our peers' actions" actually adds up to near zero.


Polls indicate some very sad truths about the "mainline" denominations. A 1998 poll showed that only about 25% of Disciples ministers accept Jesus' physical resurrection as a fact. Fewer believe in his birth to a virgin. Only 67% believe the Bible in general to be true in facts. Add 15 years to that, and all those numbers have gone down, not up.


The Disciples had 1.6 million members in 1968. Today, membership is 625,000, and declining. They generally make a point never to mention those little truths.


I believe you are doing a good thing in attempting to pull us away from Doctrine of Discovery. But it is much deeper in the Church than anyone understands. I support what you are trying to do. But you must realize that unless the Church is turned back to the belief in the physical resurrection and Lordship of Jesus Christ, there is little hope that anything like you have proposed will ever have any accomplishment.


I raise this up to you just for your realization of Disciples reality, which I have watched for nearly 40 years. I also know from my area of the country (Midwest), that Disciples have almost zero understanding about ministering to native Americans. Why? Because they don't want to. And they don't want to, because they have almost zero concept of evangelism through the Lord Jesus Christ. (I give thanks for the small church in Oklahoma Region that I served years ago, which did not fail to reach out meaningfully and lovingly to Cherokee and Creek in their area.)


Me?  I am the Disciples' only ordained minister specifically ordained Evangelist. My core Gospel message is quite unpopular among denomination leadership.  My 4- or 5-Great grandfather was Rice Haggard.   I am Cherokee ancestry, raised in white world. Called Spirit Leader by leaders in many tribes. Spirit name revealed through a prayer meeting by multiple Sioux spirit leaders, so that is the language I know it in.   After launching of outreach for 3rd-world widows, returning to Church pastoring this year.  Wambli Wakan Wicasa, belonging to Spirit-Man Jesus ~David Haggard


Hello David,

Thank you for your message.  As editor of the Manataka Smoke Signal News, we are happy to see articles by churches who renounce the Doctrine of Discovery.  We are not concerned with the theology, dogma and doctrine of the various Christian churches who profess remorse.  We are most concerned with the ugly treatment of American Indians at the hands of Bible-thumping Christians.


Your letter is a example of how some Christians always find a way to drop the main issue of discussion at mid-sentence and launch into an attack against others.   Your theology or that of the Disciples of Christ is not the topic of discussion. 


Your attack against your brothers and sisters is far out of line and not worthy of being published in the Smoke Signal News. However, we will publish it as an example of wrong-thinking.  Your attack does not show love and respect for your brothers and sisters, but instead mocks and belittles them.  Shame on you!


I too have a slim opinion about the effectiveness of church proclamations because an apology without sacrifice there is no change, there is no remorse.  Regardless, we are happy to read about the attempts of well-intended people of all faiths who seek to bring attention to the Doctrine of Discovery.  Thank you for caring enough to write.  ~Smoke Signal News Editor


Grandfather Roy I Wilson, Spiritual Leader for Life


My spiritual leader is Grandfather Roy I Wilson, Spiritual Leader for Life of the Cowlitz Tribe of SW Washington state. I will tell you a short story. Grandfather is now 87. As a young man he had vivid detailed visions of a medicine wheel. His people were not very interested as he began to teach it, because most NW Natives believed medicine wheels to be cultural heritage of only the plains tribes. So Grandfather wrote the book Medicine Wheels and continued to teach whoever showed up to learn. This lead him to Seattle urban Indians, then eventually to creating more than 50 clans mostly in Washington, embraced by white people, mixed blood people, and many natives who had not been raised connected to their heritage. All wanted to learn. Then something more amazing happened. Someone found a very ancient medicine wheel on a mountaintop on private land and knew to take Grandfather there. He then took some Cowlitz People and some Medicine Wheel People up that mountain. That wheel shows medicine wheels to be in the cultural tradition of many many more tribes than Plains Tribes! This story is not widely known even by NW Coastal Tribes. I am ridiculously happy to have been around when this was found. Feeling it is a small piece in the healing of the broken Native History. May there be much more healing! Aho! Regards to you, ~Margo Bear Woman, Otter Clan, Roy I Wilson's Medicine Wheel Tribe




Things Most People Do Not Know about Squirrels


Squirrel pee is a compliment, it a squirrel wets on you it means he is marking you and likes you…  If you happen to pet a dog, cat, or any other animal. When the squirrel sees you next time, chances are you will be marked.   Pee is a form of ownership in the animal kingdom. It means I was here, and you are mine. They have a keen since of smell.  Squirrel poop can also be used, but is much more seldom, it is used when pee is in short supply.


Most squirrel poop is considered an insult in the squirrel community, it is a way of saying I do not like you here, or you are in my territory. For instance if you find squirrel poop on your bedroom pillowcase, it means some one is mad at you for something.  Better find out what  is, or a squirrel can make you life a living hell.  


Squirrels are very loving and intelligent creatures, they like to hug people.  Usually they will grab your first and second finger, put their head between the two fingers and squeeze you for dear life. They love to hug, and like to be scratched behind the ears.  Squirrels bond to one person only, and find any other person an intrusion.  They are very, very picky about making friends with humans.  Perhaps they learned that from Native Americans, who were shot at most of their lives as well in the olden days.  You really have to be truthful and honest with a squirrel, it they think that you lied or steal something from them, you will receive their wrath.


NEVER try to tame a Squirrel in the wild, they can only be taken in as babies and usually do not make it thru the first year. They have a body temp. of  98.6 (just like humans) and must be kept warm when they are young. They are very frail, not unlike a human baby when they are very young.


Squirrels do not make good house pets, you will have to be very patient and not mind it when they chew the heck out of everything you own.   When they are older they like to sign their name to everything they like, they do this by one scratch from the their teeth to mark a strip on whatever they want. This lets other squirrels know that this is their property and you best leave it alone.   They are ADHD and have an attention span of approximately two seconds.  They love constant movement, and have many tail signals to alert each other of their surroundings. If you scratch a squirrel it expects your fingers to keep moving and it they do not it will nip you to keep things going.    When it comes to entertaining a squirrel stuffed toys are best, but you have to keep them moving or they lose interest.  A sock with a knot in the bottom is one of their favorite toys to play tug of war and swing from.  They have been known to steal stuffed toys right off peoples drive ways.


Communication is key, a waving of the tail up and down is a gentle hello” to others, they can see this for almost two blocks away.  If the tail goes to the side, it means there is a change in the environment.  For instance it you move furniture while the squirrel is asleep and he wakes up to the changes, he will automatically go into caution mode, and that tail will flail to the side.   Watch out if that tail is jerking in a circular motion that means they are fight or flight mode, there is no talking to them, and DO NOT TOUCH THEM, they WILL bite. Razor sharp teeth grow long all through their live and they need hard things to chew on to keep the teeth from getting to long.   Soft TV Remotes are a favorite thing for them  to bite on. The best thing is to get them a deer horn.


Squirrels chuff like a Lion when they are happy, many times I have petted one while sleeping in his blanket, and he would start chuffing.  It takes a long time for this to happen, they are slow to react to humans. You have to have lots and lots of patients.  Now I use the chuffing myself to talk to squirrels in the trees, they really find that interesting. Squirrels will do their best to avoid confrontations, so give them some space in the wild and enjoy their beauty.


There is so much to learn, that is unknown about these wonderful animals, after spending 15 years with them, and watching them I have learned more than I can write here. They get a bad rap, most people like birds a bit better, which is fine, but live and let live.  I have learned that if you feed the squirrels first, then there is plenty left over for the beautiful birds, they prefer nuts and corn over seeds.   Long live the squirrel, which in the wild is about three years, in captivity about seven, but with great care and a lot of love the record has been 21 years! I hope this info. Is useful to you and you have learned something new about these terrific animals.   PLEASE  give em a break,  don’t hit them, they think they are faster than they are, which is plenty fast in the wild but not so on the road.  We are losing our wild life and all animals need to survive.  IF they do not, then neither will we.


Thanks for reading this and taking it to heart. We should love and cherish all animals, as for me, I love squirrels.  My squirrel, Bucky, is going to be 14 years old this year. He is a very wise ole boy. God bless the Beasts and the Children.  Blessings,  Daniel Rearing Horse Beatty - Squirrel Man Dan



You are really squirrelly!

Federal Eagle Feather Confiscation Case

Dear Manataka Friends:

I pray all is well and that the blessings of the Lord are upon you. I have been wanting to sit down and write a few thoughts concerning our continuing fight for the right to use our eagle feathers, and I apologize for not writing sooner. This is a journey that started back on March 11, 2006 when a few federal agents or spies came into our family pow wow, taking pictures and video of our pow wow and everyone who was using eagle feathers. At the end, they ended up taking forty-two of our eagle feathers. I think it is important to know that thirty-six of the feathers taken from us were given to me back in 1971 and used to be my old set of fancy dance bustles; four of the feathers taken away from us were given to me by an elderly Native lady from Oklahoma for helping her through her final days of life, and two of the feathers taken from us were given to my brother-in-law Mike by a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan as a token of thanks for praying for him during his time at war.


I must confess, this issue has brought a lot of us together but at the same time, it has also divided us. I'm sure everyone has an opinion on whether the taking of our feathers was right or wrong. I am also sure that years from now, the debate will continue. I wish I had the time to share with you all I have learned through this experience. One day when I write a book, I will have to write a chapter or two on the subject. But I feel that our religious rights as American Indians were violated the moment they came in and took our feathers in the middle of our family gathering.


If you did not already know, we lost our case in the lower courts back on February 21, 2013. I must confess that I was a little disappointed. But at the same time, I was warned by a retired lawyer who had presented cases before this judge many times that we were going to lose. He told me, "The judge loves to make you think he is interested in your case. You might even win a couple of hearings. That is the way he works. But when he has to decide between you and your opponent, he will always rule for the government." Because I was warned, I did not lose heart over the decision. At the end the judge said something like this: "I know what you are saying. I understand how you feel. But I have to go with the Department of Interior on this one."


So, as I've been asked several times since then, "Is this it?" The answer is no. I told my lawyers that I was in on this for the long haul. I told him I would fight for this case all the way to the Supreme Court if allowed. So the ruling on February 21, 2013 was not the end. A few weeks later we filed an Appeal to the District Court. A few weeks later we got an answer that our appeal was accepted and would go to court at a later date. I asked if I needed to be present and was told no. I was told that the judge would review the case and decide yes or no. I was told if there was a problem, they would call our lawyers to discuss the issue and maybe even me. So I am here to tell you that a hearing has been scheduled and that our lawyers have been summoned to court in New Orleans Louisiana on January 8, 2014. I am writing to ask you once again to pray for our lawyers as they pursue our case in the higher courts. Pray for attorneys Milo Colton and Marisa Salazar as they go before the district court, not just to fight on our behalf but for all American Indians, for whatever is decided in this case will affect not only us down here, but every American Indian all over the United States. With each case lost comes changes in the laws to the advantage of the federal government.


The sad thing is that these laws and so-called violations could be charged against any American Indian, whether you are recognized by the federal government or not. I will say that I am not fighting only for my right to use these feathers. I am fighting to change ridiculous laws that would cause an outcry of discrimination if any other ethnic group was cited with them.


Thank you for your time and I ask that you remember our case on January 8, 2014. ~Robert Soto, Pastor


January 10 -- Today I received a call from Attorney Marisa Salazar to tell me that our hearing had gone great. This did not mean that we had won the case, but that it looked good for us. She also called on behalf of Attorney Milo Colton to thank us and everyone who prayed for them during this time. She said it was the prayers of many that gave them the wisdom to spell out clearly that on March 11, 2006, our rights as American Indians were violated when they came in with their silly laws that destroyed what we have called sacred which we felt had violated our rights as American Indians.



Dear Editor, 

For what you and your wise group continue to do.  We are here in Guatemala working on Guatemaya: the Unification of Wisdom.  That movie is about to become a reality, or so it is hoped.  The uncut version was just shown  in Rio Dulce and the writer/producer/director is on her way to Los Angeles for final editing.  The film's centers around Tata Pedro Cruz who postulates that the imposition of the Gregorian Calender changed our natural connectedness with nature and the cosmos.

My question is:  Did all ancestors share a different concept of time? If so, was there a central link?  i.e, was it the Mayan Calendar?  or something else?  What do our scholars have to say about this shift in perception of time? Did this take place about the time of the papal order to go forth and discover? ie the Conquest?  If so, the impact on native cultures must have been enormous.   The Mayan have kept their time through the time keepers, does this concept of keeping the old ie cosmic time exist in all tribes?

Am full of questions, it is such a wonderful world. ~Daphne Goldate


Hello Daphne,

Kant said that human concepts and categories structure our view of the world.  There is some truth to this notion.


Did all ancestors share a different concept of time?

Yes, history shows that people of the Earth did perceive time in different ways.  However, with the invention of various 'standardized’ time measuring devices and methods, and worldwide acceptance of the Gregorian calendar, we have sacrificed ‘some’ connectedness with nature, but that loss has been replaced with deeper understanding, explained in a plethora of scientific, religious and physical methodologies.  For example, we know that differences in human perception of time is regulated by individual metabolism – the heart beat.


In the absence of these newer inventions, different cultures employed their limited knowledge of nature and the cosmos to define their position in time and space.  It the same way, humans today define their position using inventions that are in themselves limited.


If so, was there a central link?

There are many “links” to varying concepts of time/space found in geo-political, religion, and scientific thought.  The Tula teachers of the Maya and other cultures around the world, taught concepts appropriate to their relative orientation and understanding and each interpreted that teaching according to their own ways. 


The common link is the phenomena of human need to define space and time.  Humans naturally want to know where they are at any given time.  This common trait is more than just an emotional compulsion and is, in our humble opinion, instinct-driven by an inner-clock telling us where the Creator wants us to Be.


...does this concept of keeping the old, i.e. cosmic time exist in all tribes?

At Manataka we continue to observe the ‘cosmic clock’ by participating in many seasonal ceremonies each year.  To the best of our understanding, all indigenous people around the world also observed seasonal markers in time.  Many observe larger markers of the cosmos that occur in cycles spanning small increments of time up to thousands of years.  We also observe various other calendars and ways of viewing time among indigenous and modern cultures.  Thus, we enjoy the best of both worlds.


It is this ‘best of both worlds’ that allows us to conjecture that only ‘some’ connectedness with nature has been lost.  Simply because the entire population of the earth does not enjoy both worlds, it does not mean that they have lost connectedness simply because the method of measurement has changed.  The lost of human connectedness with nature has occurred for many, many reasons, not just their perception of time.  However, it is my personal feeling that the world would be far better if everyone did observe seasonal ceremonies that remind us of God’s plan.



Hello Manataka,

Aside from a few peaceniks and environmentalists who are also outraged by this story (and some militant environmental groups that following it with diligence) .... there's a collective national apathy going on about the toxic water crisis .... just like few people seem to care or know about the fracking problem (serious problem) here in Pennsylvania and what it's doing to our water and land. 

People baffle me. I'm posting stories about it, including that the deadly mess is infiltrating the Ohio river (I'm no geologist, but waterways are connected - this is no isolated disaster, it never is). I'm no fan of CNN anymore (they are sensationalist corporate media), but I agree with this opinion piece:
"It's ok, the water is safe to flush" ..... 
~ Kim Summermoon




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