Manataka American Indian Council







The old Cherokee chief sat in his reservation hut, smoking the ceremonial pipe, eyeing the two US government officials sent to interview him.  "Chief Two Eagles," one official began, "you have observed the white man  for many generations, you have seen his wars and his products, you have seen all his progress, and all his problems."   

The chief nodded. The official continued, "Considering recent events, in your opinion, where has the white man gone wrong?"  The chief stared at the government officials for over a minute, and then calmly replied.  

"When white man found the land, Indians were running it.  We had no taxes, no  debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, women did the work, medicine man free, Indian men hunted and fished all the time..."  

The chief smiled, and added quietly, "White man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."  

The Coldest Winter Ever...

It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild.  Since he was an Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the weather was going to be. 

Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that
the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the
village should collect wood to be prepared.  

But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea.  He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is the coming winter going to be cold?"

"It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed," the meteorologist at the weather service responded.   

So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.  One week later he called the National Weather Service again.  "Is it going to be a very cold winter?" 

"Yes," the man at National Weather Service again replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter."   

The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find.  Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service again.  "Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?"  

"Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going to be one of the coldest winters ever."   

"How can you be so sure?" the Chief asked.   

The weather man replied, "The Indians are collecting wood like crazy."


Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender.  The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain.
He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter.  

Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the
cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter.
He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an
empty money bag.  Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.  

1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.  

2) If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.   

3) But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.   

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they
talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them
up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and
put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?
Careful analysis would produce three possibilities: 

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.  

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and
expose the money-lender as a cheat.  

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.  Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.  

What would you recommend to the Girl to do?

Well, here is what she did ....  The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag
for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked." 

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked
the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty,
the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely
advantageous one.

Most complex problems do have a solution. It is only that we don't attempt
to think.


In the old days and still today, the American Indian wears a medicine bag around his or her neck.  The bag is filled with small mementos, stones, hair, animal parts, ashes, herbs or other items - all having great meaning intended to bring good blessings to its owner.  

Today, the modern Indian has a wider selection of items to place in the pouch.  Therefore, without intending to be disrespectful to this time honored and sacred tradition, we were sent a few suggestions of things to add...

To remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's.

To remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday.


To remind you to stick with it - you can do anything.


To remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and it's OK.


To remind you to relax daily and go over that list of blessings.



To remind you that you are worth a mint!


To remind you to list your blessings everyday.






To remind you to be flexible, things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out.




To remind you to pick out the good qualities in others.


Borrowed from Shirley McClain



On the footprints of history

1                         2  



3         4 



EMAIL          HOME          INDEX          TRADING POST