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Author Topic: Any good books on medicine wheel and Native American shamanism out there?  (Read 14124 times)
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« Reply #15: November 16, 2007, 11:28:53 am »

I'm a beginner in this subject, have only read a few books which were generally on shamanism, but would like to have something about Native Americans that doesn't toss different tribes together as if it was just one 'Native American religion'. Overview books appreciated though.
I'd like how-to-do-it books as well as anthropological ones. Even neopaganic ones, but please nothing where you can't tell what the author invented and what he/she took from various tradition. (Nothing against eccleticism, I just want everything labelled.)

As I'm now shocked about my long wish list myself, let me say that I appreciate every suggestion, even if the book isn't perfect in any way. Just give me a warning so I know what I'm getting. Smiley
Anything By Sun Bear is good. also this is one I just was given by a friend an I find it very good Secrets of Shamanism, Tapping the Spirit Power Within You by Jose Stevens, Ph D & Lena S Stevens One thing I have found over the years is that there are as many kinds of Shamanis as there are Shaman, Druids, or Wiccans. A book I wish was still i n print that dealt with South American Shamanism and included interveiws with a bunch of Shamans was Earth's Highest Altar and I don't remember the author. And a good book to develop your own way, not specifically a book on Shamanism that deals with life passages and rites is called Betwixt and Between, Patterns of Masculine and Feminine Initiation Edited by Louise Carus Mahdi, Steven Foster & Meridith Little
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« Reply #16: November 16, 2007, 11:30:03 am »

Gosh, don't know if these have been mentioned but thought I'd toss them out here before I Run off for work lol.

Dancing with the Wheel a Sun Bear book


I've looked at that one a couple times, but I've had issue getting past the authors names, "Sun Bear and Chrysalis Mulligan"

What is their approach to the medicine wheel?  I'm kind of having raised eyebrows at the reviews/ listings of the main sections.

Quote
The main sections include The Dance Begins, Ceremonies and Respect, The Center Circle and Spirit Keeper Stones, The Moon and Spirit Path Stones, Building Medicine Wheels, Traveling the Wheel, The Thirteenth Moon, Creating Medicine Wheel Tools, Healing with the Wheel, The Mineral Wheel, The Plant Wheel, The Animal Wheel, and The Color Wheel.

It makes me wonder if they are blending the concepts of labyrinths, Pagan quarters and Medicine Wheels.

What did you find to be the most useful parts?
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« Reply #17: November 16, 2007, 11:52:25 am »


 Just give me a warning so I know what I'm getting. Smiley

This page is a good place to look for warnings.  Some of the people mentioned have developed decent systems, but their claims of authenticity and their marketing strategies make them less than worthwhile.  You might want to check the rest of the site as well, since this page has a fairly narrow focus.

http://shameons.bravepages.com/index.html

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« Reply #18: November 16, 2007, 05:18:23 pm »

This page is a good place to look for warnings.  Some of the people mentioned have developed decent systems, but their claims of authenticity and their marketing strategies make them less than worthwhile.  You might want to check the rest of the site as well, since this page has a fairly narrow focus.

http://shameons.bravepages.com/index.html

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Thanks, that is a good place to check. I also saw the author of 'Seven arrows' on it. The book might still make an interesting read though.


And thanks to everyone for all the other recommendation as well! Smiley
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« Reply #19: November 17, 2007, 12:35:20 pm »

I've looked at that one a couple times, but I've had issue getting past the authors names, "Sun Bear and Chrysalis Mulligan"

What is their approach to the medicine wheel?  I'm kind of having raised eyebrows at the reviews/ listings of the main sections.

It makes me wonder if they are blending the concepts of labyrinths, Pagan quarters and Medicine Wheels.

What did you find to be the most useful parts?


Sun Bear was a Chippewa holy man, the founder of the World Earth Fund and Medicine Chief of the Bear tribe. He was one of the very first of all Native Medicine People who came forward, against the opposition and criticizm of his own people, to speak openly of and educate others in the Sacred Ways of his people.  The other two people whom I don't recognize appear to be other followers of Sun Bears vision of this Medicine Wheel that he was given to share with us; Non-Natives, those not raised in these Teachings.
Here is a site that details Sun Bear's vision and Wheel...

http://www.starspiderdancing.net/StarSpiderDancing/

What have I found most useful? Hmmmmm, I'd have to say Direction lol or Frame of Reference? It's hard to know quite how to put it. This Wheel, like others, is a frame upon which all Life, Creation, All Our Relations... hangs. Everything is Connected and everthing is in constant motion, as we must be to Dance with the Wheel. To think of the North Wind as bringing Cleansing, Purification, or Healing into your life because those are things found in that Direction on the Wheel... as is Sodalite a cleansing stone, Sweet Grass which brings peace, Grandmother energy, White Buffalo, the element Earth, the color White, peridot, red clover, echinacea, trilliums, birch, alabaster, Dolphin, Raccoon, and Earthworm... each of which has their own Wheel full of lessons, duties and gifts waiting for us... to consider all the World as well as your Self in every decision you make and knowing which Direction on the Wheel to move to for which purpose, when to move... all these things are life long pursuits and highly individualized. Basically, if you want to learn any Native Tradition the very best places to start are Within, and  with All Our Relations by studying the World around you...

Dancing with the Wheel is a wonderful introduction into this Way of thinking and living. Sun Bear believed this was a time of Prophesy and these are the tools he offered those not raised in these Traditions to help us find Balance with the Earth. Hmmm, would you say I found this book most useful because it clearly illustrates a Way In?  Smiley ~sigh~ Many of these things I have believed/done/lived since I was a tiny girl without any Frame of Reference, Direction or clear Way In... so that is what I find useful.

You speak of Labyrinths, Pagan quarters, and Medicine Wheels as if they are separate things. Putting aside the fact that Native spiritual Traditions go back thousands of years... these are all simply Ways In to the Teachings and Truths that the World, with All Our Relations and their many inter-connecting Wheels, hold for us. Just because one person is called more loudly or clearly by one Way over another does not mean it is separate or the only way for All, this is key to all Native Teachings. Whether you are a Tibetan monk, a Native Medicine Person, a devout Christian, or an Eclectic white chick from L.A. with kids and pets selling books at a store to make a living... all of our Wheels interconnect just as surely as they exist. A circle has no beginning and no end, it simply is.

Wishing you laughter
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« Reply #20: November 17, 2007, 01:33:56 pm »

You speak of Labyrinths, Pagan quarters, and Medicine Wheels as if they are separate things. Putting aside the fact that Native spiritual Traditions go back thousands of years... these are all simply Ways In to the Teachings and Truths that the World, with All Our Relations and their many inter-connecting Wheels, hold for us. Just because one person is called more loudly or clearly by one Way over another does not mean it is separate or the only way for All, this is key to all Native Teachings. Whether you are a Tibetan monk, a Native Medicine Person, a devout Christian, or an Eclectic white chick from L.A. with kids and pets selling books at a store to make a living... all of our Wheels interconnect just as surely as they exist. A circle has no beginning and no end, it simply is.


I was thinking this too. The site that was posted listed a lot of groups, ideas and people that were extremely eclectic, and labeled them "nuage", and whenever I see derogatory terms like this,  or "fluffy",  I usually find it means the person speaking has a personal bias towards some other group or idea. I don't find this remotely useful. Also I don't get it about judging others based on "how" NA they are, I guess this is about pure blood, or some other vaguely racist idea. It is very hard for me to understand making these kinds of distinctions about people, unless they are out and out lying to make money.
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  The power of Fire,
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  The power of Air,
  for the ability and wisdom to know the difference.

  And the power of Earth,
  for the strength to continue my path.

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« Reply #21: November 17, 2007, 01:45:11 pm »



You speak of Labyrinths, Pagan quarters, and Medicine Wheels as if they are separate things. Putting aside the fact that Native spiritual Traditions go back thousands of years... these are all simply Ways In to the Teachings and Truths that the World, with All Our Relations and their many inter-connecting Wheels, hold for us. Just because one person is called more loudly or clearly by one Way over another does not mean it is separate or the only way for All, this is key to all Native Teachings. Whether you are a Tibetan monk, a Native Medicine Person, a devout Christian, or an Eclectic white chick from L.A. with kids and pets selling books at a store to make a living... all of our Wheels interconnect just as surely as they exist. A circle has no beginning and no end, it simply is.

Wishing you laughter

I'm glad this works for you.  I don't think I would find it as effective for me personally.  I'm not really into the 'every thing's connected' thing so much.  I know that I am capable of connecting on multiple channels, and that I have the ability to create connections, but whether those were the connections of the people who came before, I'm just not sure.

I really don't even know if I buy into the "Native Teachings go back thousands of years" thing.  WHile I'm sure for thousands of years, native spirituality has been practiced by the people of any given land, whether there is anything unbroken about it or that translates to modern day situations, I'm just not sure.

The paths that I put most of my primary source work into (Aztec/South American Indigenous) can't even definitively decide where the Mexica came from, for example, the Florentine Codexes has glyphs that talk about the bands packing up house, and moving and some of the struggles and rest stops along the way, but where they moved from, outside of the most commonly agreed upon 'North' is still as far as I've gathered pretty obscure.

I don't see this as implicating any North American tribes as their source origin, since one really can't ascertain how far exactly they traveled. 

I run into the same difficulty when researching the history of the East Coast tribes that I have an affinity for.  Before about 1400 there is very little source material to gauge whether migrations from the North, the South, or the West brought them to Massachusetts.  While there is a lot of cross unit similarity, and I make the mistake myself of doing this at times in my frustrations at the challenges of putting back together what is in many ways shattered and buried.

I try not to let my desire for a complete picture obscure my desire for recapturing a picture of the past.  Blurred and obscured as it may be in places.  What I'm looking for is the connection to the past, rather than a connection to an all possible present.

I don't knock what you do, it's your thing, it works for you and you're good at it.  It provides food for inspiration.  I just don't think it would work for me.

The name that squicked me the most was "Chrysalis Mulligan"  I think it comes from an association related to golf.  A Mulligan is like a do over. 
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
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And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #22: November 17, 2007, 01:49:16 pm »

I was thinking this too. The site that was posted listed a lot of groups, ideas and people that were extremely eclectic, and labeled them "nuage", and whenever I see derogatory terms like this,  or "fluffy",  I usually find it means the person speaking has a personal bias towards some other group or idea. I don't find this remotely useful. Also I don't get it about judging others based on "how" NA they are, I guess this is about pure blood, or some other vaguely racist idea. It is very hard for me to understand making these kinds of distinctions about people, unless they are out and out lying to make money.

From what I've read on the site, most of the people on the site ARE trying to make money.  Hundreds of dollars to go to a sweat held by someone who has no more credential to present themselves to others as holding a 'legit tribal experience' sweat is a bit offensive to my pocket.

It doesn't mean that you can't hold your own sweat lodge in the privacy and comfort of your own circles, but to label it something it is not 'passed down from the elders of the blah de blah' is a bit dishonest.

If someone is willing to be a bit dishonest in the name of making a buck, then where else are they being less than honest?  At what point are they rewriting Starhawk, painting her brown and selling her to blue people?

I like truth in labeling.  If nu-age fits, what's wrong with it outside of a persons desire not to be labled nu-age?  Call it something else if it suits.  Neo-native-amalgamism... who knows.
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #23: November 17, 2007, 01:55:09 pm »

I like truth in labeling.  If nu-age fits, what's wrong with it outside of a persons desire not to be labled nu-age?  Call it something else if it suits.  Neo-native-amalgamism... who knows.

I guess I just disagree that labeling in general fits. It certainly is a great way to let others know what our own opinions and biases are. Otherwise I just don't find it useful, like I said.
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  The power of Fire,
  for the energy & courage to change the things I can.

  The power of Air,
  for the ability and wisdom to know the difference.

  And the power of Earth,
  for the strength to continue my path.

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« Reply #24: November 17, 2007, 05:27:31 pm »

I guess I just disagree that labeling in general fits. It certainly is a great way to let others know what our own opinions and biases are. Otherwise I just don't find it useful, like I said.

It's also a great way on knowing who and what you're talking to and about. Without labels, there's little to no meaningful conversation. So, if you want to have a discussion with someone, you're going to use labels.
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« Reply #25: November 17, 2007, 06:04:06 pm »



If someone is willing to be a bit dishonest in the name of making a buck, then where else are they being less than honest?  At what point are they rewriting Starhawk, painting her brown and selling her to blue people?



Hmm, well, I'm not knocking anybody's Way either... just speaking up on the topic. No, people should not be charging for ceremonies of any sort.... however it is also the obligation of those attending a ceremony to support those involved in conducting it in some manner. There is a give and take in life. I can only tell you that Sun Bear faced opposition, and like every other Medicine Person real or duplicitous who has stepped forward since, they are the center of much controversy. I think a person, whatever their walk in life, ultimately has to be judged by their actions, and that's really an individual mark of separation. Another point to consider is that just because individuals have sought to deceive or make a profit from someone's vision doesn't make the vision any less worthy.

For example, if somebody steals bibles and then sells them on the street, the bible itself isn't corrupted... it is still a valid spiritual work; a tool, highly subject to interpretation, that is intended to help others live in harmony with the World. I understand that the concept of Inter-connectedness doesn't work for a lot of people. Heck, people of today are so Dis-connected from the World is it any wonder?! But I do agree with Sun Bear, and many others, that it is important, vitally so, for us as a People to find Ways to achieve this harmonious living with our World. Mea Culpa for just throwing up a site that gave everyone a frame of reference for Sun Bear's vision without checking it out. But hey it not only gave us a frame of reference it also created great conversation lol.

Labels, well, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish lol. They are useful but they are deceitful too. All things in moderation for even nectar becomes poison in excess. We, as Westerners (another convienient label lol), often move under the mistaken assumption that something has to be Either/Or. We seldom consider that it can be both or neither at any given time.

Native Traditions Do go back thousands of years... not uniterrupted or "unbroken", for the very nature of them is fluid and adaptable. Although they certainly seem far more "intact" than say Celtic Traditions. But when you look at the Spiritual traditions and histories of the cultures around the World, you can certainly see a Lot of similarities, and Truth begins to be revealed... again, a life-long individual study. Much of what is found in Native American Trads, for example, can also be found in Indo-European cultures which influenced everything from Asia to England.

All that being said... I had a really good laugh about poor Mulligan's name too. But you know, the "Do Over" may be one of the ultimate methods of learning lol. A friend and I were chuckling today about how when you burn yourself, you Really learn and aren't likely to repeat that particular lesson. lol The book stands as a good source of reference   

wishing you laughter
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« Reply #26: November 17, 2007, 06:12:20 pm »

I guess I just disagree that labeling in general fits. It certainly is a great way to let others know what our own opinions and biases are. Otherwise I just don't find it useful, like I said.

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." Buddha  Smiley

Again, just because person A believes something doesn't make it true for person B lol.... but it doesn't make it untrue either. lol Life is so funny like that.
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« Reply #27: November 17, 2007, 06:28:19 pm »

Hmm, well, I'm not knocking anybody's Way either... just speaking up on the topic. No, people should not be charging for ceremonies of any sort.... however it is also the obligation of those attending a ceremony to support those involved in conducting it in some manner. There is a give and take in life. I can only tell you that Sun Bear faced opposition, and like every other Medicine Person real or duplicitous who has stepped forward since, they are the center of much controversy. I think a person, whatever their walk in life, ultimately has to be judged by their actions, and that's really an individual mark of separation. Another point to consider is that just because individuals have sought to deceive or make a profit from someone's vision doesn't make the vision any less worthy.

For example, if somebody steals bibles and then sells them on the street, the bible itself isn't corrupted... it is still a valid spiritual work; a tool, highly subject to interpretation, that is intended to help others live in harmony with the World. I understand that the concept of Inter-connectedness doesn't work for a lot of people. Heck, people of today are so Dis-connected from the World is it any wonder?! But I do agree with Sun Bear, and many others, that it is important, vitally so, for us as a People to find Ways to achieve this harmonious living with our World. Mea Culpa for just throwing up a site that gave everyone a frame of reference for Sun Bear's vision without checking it out. But hey it not only gave us a frame of reference it also created great conversation lol.

Labels, well, that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish lol. They are useful but they are deceitful too. All things in moderation for even nectar becomes poison in excess. We, as Westerners (another convienient label lol), often move under the mistaken assumption that something has to be Either/Or. We seldom consider that it can be both or neither at any given time.

Native Traditions Do go back thousands of years... not uniterrupted or "unbroken", for the very nature of them is fluid and adaptable. Although they certainly seem far more "intact" than say Celtic Traditions. But when you look at the Spiritual traditions and histories of the cultures around the World, you can certainly see a Lot of similarities, and Truth begins to be revealed... again, a life-long individual study. Much of what is found in Native American Trads, for example, can also be found in Indo-European cultures which influenced everything from Asia to England.

All that being said... I had a really good laugh about poor Mulligan's name too. But you know, the "Do Over" may be one of the ultimate methods of learning lol. A friend and I were chuckling today about how when you burn yourself, you Really learn and aren't likely to repeat that particular lesson. lol The book stands as a good source of reference   

wishing you laughter

Thank you
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #28: November 17, 2007, 06:32:04 pm »

I was thinking this too. The site that was posted listed a lot of groups, ideas and people that were extremely eclectic, and labeled them "nuage", and whenever I see derogatory terms like this,  or "fluffy",  I usually find it means the person speaking has a personal bias towards some other group or idea. I don't find this remotely useful. Also I don't get it about judging others based on "how" NA they are, I guess this is about pure blood, or some other vaguely racist idea. It is very hard for me to understand making these kinds of distinctions about people, unless they are out and out lying to make money.

I have to admit that I find it more than a little troubling that there appear to be people who are willing to so readily discount the opinions of Native American individuals regarding non-Natives appropriating (and, I would argue, usually misappropriating) their religious beliefs.

I think the First Peoples of this continent have been through more than enough at the hands of us Anglos (and continue to go through more than enough) to give them the right to speak up without charges of racism when they see someone disrespecting the faith and culture of one of their tribes by yanking it out of its context, with little regard or respect for those from whom it has been stolen.

Yes, harsh words.  And if the mods want to delete this, I'll take the hit with good grace.

That given, it needed to be said.  The Native American nations deserve more respect than I generally see them get from some in the Pagan community.
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« Reply #29: November 17, 2007, 07:30:57 pm »

I think the First Peoples of this continent have been through more than enough at the hands of us Anglos

Umm, no not harsh at all really... rather an understatement actually. Respect is always a good thin, no matter who you are. The notion of whether or not sacred Traditions should be shared is a matter of hot debate with Native circles, and justly so. It is not a matter to be taken lightly and I, for one, am eternally grateful for the Teachings and generous Teacher that have found their way into my life. Again, just because something is under extreme scrutiny, debate, or even passes through many hands so to speak, does not make it less valid or valuable. How many thought Jesus was wrong for claiming to be the Son of God? How many thought Mother Teresa was wrong for expressing Spiritual Doubt which marks every human life? Buddha? Heck, even His Holiness the Dalai Lama takes grief for his beliefs lol. Religion and Spirituality are vital pieces of our life and constantly under scrutiny and debate from every angle. They elicit strong and emotional responses.

Much as I regret what my personal Ancestors may have done to other People, those were not my choices. My People... and boy do I use the term reluctantly to refer to my modern day non-Native societal siblings- white or otherwise... My People are on a Death Path...they have been for a long time. If they do not, collectively, begin to right their imbalances and live in harmony with the World, a heavy toll will be taken. I choose not to follow that Death Path and have been making this choice since I before I was two years old. Do I believe that we need to find Ways to live in Balance with the World? Of course. Do I believe that the Native Traditions are the only Way? Of course not, but I am personally grateful for the many brave and generous Elders who defied the condemnation of their own People to make these Sacred Ways available to others at this crucial time.


The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people
when they realize their relationship,
their oneness, with the universe and all its powers,
and when they realize that at the center
of the universe dwells Wakan-Taka (the Great Spirit),
and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this.
The second peace is that which is made between two individuals,
and the third is that which is made between two nations.
But above all you should understand that there can never
be peace between nations until there is known that true peace,
which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.

Black Elk, Oglala Sioux & Spiritual Leader (1863 - 1950)

We do not want schools....
they will teach us to have churches.
We do not want churches....
they will teach us to quarrel about God.
We do not want to learn that.
We may quarrel with men sometimes
about things on this earth,
but we never quarrel about God.
We do not want to learn that.

Heinmot Tooyalaket ( Chief Joseph), Nez Perce Leader

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled
with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep
and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Chief Tecumseh (Crouching Tiger) Shawnee Nation 1768-1813

If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace...
Treat all men alike. Give them all the
same law. Give them all an even chance
to live and grow.All men were made by
the same Great Spirit Chief.
They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it....
Let me be a free man,free to travel,
free to stop,free to work,free to trade where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers,free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.

Heinmot Tooyalaket ( Chief Joseph), Nez Perce Leader

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
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.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

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.


(translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)
published in Native American Prayers - by the Episcopal Church.

The degree to which our (non-Native) People should be included/accepted/taught/etc by Native People has been a heated debate since we first met. There have been many Teachers from many Cultures who have promoted the same ideals, and suffered their share of criticism. This does not make them less respected or infallible...merely Teachers.

wishing you laughter
mitake oyasin
Logged

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." ~ Voltaire

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