Manataka American Indian Council

Proudly Presents







by Rev. Thomas M. Haley, Manataka Elder


So many Christmas Days have passed. I can even remember some of them. Now, at sixty-three years old, I often sit outside on my deck and reminisce about days gone by.


One Christmas morning I recall opening only one gift. Only one. This was strange because I was spoiled into expecting several gifts. I did have a stocking filled with all sorts of fireworks, pens, and of course large oranges, and Red Delicious apples.


Back to my one present. As I opened the boxes, what I found was a homemade plaid shirt made by my mother. I was disappointed because I really didnít expect a shirt of any kind.


After many years passed I discovered the reason why I had one gift that Christmas morning. It had been a lean year financially for my parents.


The life lesson had been set into motion on learning to be thankful for what we have, Grateful to Great Spirit who always gives us all what we need.


We are given what we need so itís our responsibility to put this truth into practice as if it is second nature to us.


But wait Ö I am receiving an early Christmas gift. By the time you read these words, I will have the gift. My new gift is having knee replacement surgery which means I have a brand new knee. It was a gift I didnít ask to receive. The Great Spirit knew I needed a new knee before me.


Creator is sending a special gift to the world - a new HEART. This one pulsates with love and peace. This one can not break.


So now, this Christmas, may all of us receive the many gifts and blessings from Creator. May we ourselves be a blessing and a gift to others.





(origin unknown)


"Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,

Whose breath gives life to all the world.

Hear me; I need your strength and wisdom.


Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice

Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.


Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me.

Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf & rock.

Help me seek pure thoughts & act with the intention of helping others.


Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy - Myself.

Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.


So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame. 


Peace, Tom Haley