Ghosts, Silence and Talk of Many Things

In an unimaginative bistro of this overpriced tourist hotel I saw the double of an ex who has been lost to all of us.
I thought I had seen a ghost.
There they were again, vibrant, where they left off before being taken over by the alcohol spirit.
I didn't take a photo. I remembered why I fell in love.

Heard a few panelists on Tillie Olsen. A tribute. Silences. Yes, I understand silences. What happens between event and word? Between ancestor and grandchild? Between now and now?
It might look something like this:

Back in the room.
Talk of the island of trash, mostly plastic, that is larger than the state of Texas (or is it State of Texas) and has been floating around the Pacific, from China; the number of native women writers who have worked for Mary Kay Cosmetics; thinking of all the names of those who are being left out of the story of native american literature (the silences), hearing of how one of our beloved native poets teaching in a Wisconsin university is being undermined and openly attacked by a colleague who believes that native or black poetry is inferior, or non-existent, and a native woman professor? How do you put that in your images of Indians? And the waters are full of drugs, chemicals, and

I am thankful for the laughter and love of good friends, for the persistence of poetry, despite the silencing by the greedy ones who have found no way to make billions from it.

"May it be beautiful above us, may it be beautiful below us, may it be beautiful inside us, may it be beautiful all around us..."
from the Navajo

So, reporting here, from the thirty-third floor of the Hyatt Regency, downtown Chicago, the end of another end.

Photos c Joy Harjo 2007 11/12th's


MNN Column: The New Year

And this column either will or will not be in the January 2008 Muscogee Nation News. I sent it, didn't hear back. Squeezed in within minutes of the deadline. So, here it is.

Tonight, I went down to Hui Nalu Canoe Club for a late afternoon paddle. The winds have been up, carrying squalls of rain. The ocean, like tears, carries away sadness, anger, and fears. And, as I have many times before, entered into the ritual of gathering together, carrying the canoes out to the water's edge, lining up for seats, getting in, acknowledging the canoe, the water, each other and setting out, together. We didn't paddle far, nor were we in race training mode. Because of the winds instead of going out we headed up into the marina. We went for a while, then turned around and came back out in time to see the sun disappear into water. This is part of the ritual. Then we headed in. We carried the canoes back up, gathered together for the closing chant, then we parted into the dark. When I arrived I was in my cluttered mind. When I left I was back in my ocean mind. Tonight the ocean mind reminded me of forgiveness. And told me to be kind, even to those who test me. I am also reminded of our people’s tradition of going to the water every morning. The water cleans us, not just physically. The ritual marks a new beginning.

January marks the beginning of a new year, in the ‘na-hvtke tradition. Each sunrise marks a new beginning, so does each breath. Each marks a renewal. So as we begin again why not let ourselves shine with joy, kindness, the resolve to do the best we can in all things?

There’s a Hawaiian story that says it like this: we have a bowl of light. Each stone of anger, each stone of jealousy (we have lots of these in the nation) each stone of fear, of envy, of greed fills up the bowl, obscures the light. We can turn the bowl over, empty out the stones and restore the light.

The bowl is our fekce, where our spirit lives.

So, let it shine. Thanks to Rosemary McCombs Maxey for this version of
Kul-ku-ce cv-na-ke, or This Little Light of Mine.

This lit-tle light of mine, I’m gon-na let it shine.
Kul-ku-ce cv-na-kē, hv-ya-yi-ca-res,

This lit-tle light of mine, I’m gon-na let it shine.
Kul-ku-ce cv-na-kē, hv-ya-yi-ca-res,

This lit-tle light of mine, I’m gon-na let it shine.
Kul-ku-ce cv-na-kē, hv-ya-yi-ca-res,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Kul-ke-kvs, kul-ke-kvs, kul-ke-kvs.

The stanzas in the hymnal continue:
Every where I go….
All-through the night …

This love I have… 
This hope I have… 
This faith I have…
This peace I have…

I want to acknowledge two young Mvskoke filmmakers who are doing good work out there. Jason Asenap’s short film “Two Hearts” was just featured in the Santa Fe Film Festival. His mother is Marsha Asenap, her maiden name is Marsha Deer. His Creek grandparents are Alfred and Munna Deer. His father is Comanche. And Sterlin Harjo came to the University of New Mexico from Tulsa to speak to show his wonderful full-length feature film, “Four Sheets to the Wind”, which also featured one of our citizens, Richard Ray Whitman. Harjo’s film was featured at Sundance and is getting some deserved critical acclaim. He is both Creek and Seminole. His grandfather was Arthur Brunner on his mother’s side. His parents are Brownie and Nan Harjo.

Let it shine, Jason and Sterlin. Let it shine everyone. May it be a good year, full of fresh beginnings.


c Joy Harjo 2007 iPhone image

About to venture out into crazy two-days-before Christmas holiday traffic.
So I will keep this image in mind.
And how beauty can be present despite the wreck of culture.


Getting the News in Indian Country

When word gets around fast in Indian country it does so via the "moccasin telegraph". Maybe it's not the "moccasin telegraph" anymore, but the "moccasin satellite".

Hawaiians call it the "Coconut wireless."

Moccasin wireless?


Ocean Mind

Tonight I went down to Hui Nalu for a Monday late afternoon, a few hours before sundown, paddle. The winds have been up, carrying squalls of rain. It's been too long since I've been out on the water. The ocean, like tears, carries away sadness, anger, fears. And, as I have many times before, entered into the ritual of gathering together, carrying the canoes out to the water's edge, lining up for seats, getting in, acknowledging the canoe, the water, each other (there are six to an outrigger, and tonight we had a double-hull, and three single six-man canoes) and setting out, together. We didn't paddle far, nor were we in race training mode. Because of the winds instead of going out we headed up into the marina. We went for awhile, turned around and came back out in time to see the sun disappear into water. This is part of the ritual. Then we headed in. We carried the canoes back up, gathered together for the closing chant, then parted into the dark. When I arrived I was in my cluttered mind. When I left I was back in my ocean mind. On the drive back I remembered how many of my blogs were derived from what came to me out there, in the water. Tonight the ocean mind reminded me of forgiveness. And told me to be kind, even to those who test me. Every thought is a wave.



More on Floyd Red Crow Westerman

Thanks to Candy Jones for forwarding this.

Dec. 13, 2007 - Renowned musician, activist, and elder, Floyd Red Crow
Westerman passed on to the spirit world at 5:00 a.m. PST this morning
at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles after an extended illness and
complications from Leukemia as reported today by the Native American
Times and News From Indian Country.

Floyd Red Crow Westerman participated and performed in the First
Annual Native American Music Awards in 1998, was the recipient of
NAMA's Living Legend Award in 2002, and was recently awarded Best
Country Recording for his recording, "A Tribute To Johnny Cash" at the
Ninth Annual Native American Music Awards in October 2006.

With music as his first love, Westerman left his home on the Lake
Traverse reservation in South Dakota with a suitcase and an old guitar
as a young man. He traveled across the country playing country music
and his own original songs.

In 1969, he signed his first recording contract and released his first
album, the highly acclaimed, "Custer Died for Your Sins" which
captured the Indian movement's pathos and ethos during its formative
years. In 1970 he released his second recording, "Indian Country".

As a member of the American Indian Movement, and spokesman for the
International Indian Treaty Council, he traveled around the world to
improve social conditions for indigenous peoples. In 1982, he
reflected those sentiments in his third recording, "This Land Is Your

In 1996, he attended the first Native American Music Awards and
performed with Joanne Shenandoah in a tribute performance for Hall of
Fame Inductee, the late Buddy Red Bow.

In 2002 he was awarded the NAMA Living Legend Award at the Fifth
Annual Native American Music Awards with Keith Secola accepting on his

In 2006, he was won Best Country Recording at the Native American
Music Awards for his last full length recording, "A Tribute To Johnny
Cash" released by Henhouse Studios.

During his music career and before his entrance into many films and
television shows, he played and collaborated with a number of notable
musicians, including; Willie Nelson, Kris Kristopherson, Buffy St.
Marie, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelsonm Jackson Browne, Harry Belafonte,
and Sting.

Westerman's film and television appearances include the role of the
Shaman for Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's "The Doors" and a Ten Bears
in "Dances With Wolves" His television roles have included playing
Uncle Ray on "Walker, Texas Ranger", One Who Waits, on "Northern
Exposure" and multiple appearances as Albert Hosteen on the "X-Files".

Westerman has received numerous other awards including; a
Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition, the Award for
Generosity by the Americans for Indian Opportunity, Cultural
Ambassador by the International Treaty Council, Lifetime Achievement
from the City of Los Angeles and the Integrity Award from the
Multi-Cultural Motion Picture Association.

The Native American Music Awards has been honored by Floyd Red Crow
Westerman's participation and contributions over the years and he will
always be remembered with great fondness, admiration and respect.

The Native American Music Awards & Association


Services for Floyd Red Crow Westerman

will be held at Tiospa Zina School Gym in Sisseton, South Dakota.

Wake on Saturday and Sunday, December 15 and 16.

Funeral services Monday, December 17, at 10:00 a.m.

Flowers may be sent to the Sisseton Flower Shop,

Sisseton, South Dakota.

Gwen Westerman Griffin

A note from Adriana Lisboa,re Brazilian natives

Hey, Joy, I never met Floyd but your post is beautiful and I’m sure he will travel well.
I just wanted, as a Brazilian (citizen, writer), to say that I never heard of such a thing as businessmen engaging hunting expeditions to kill native people.
Native Brazilians were killed mostly during the Portuguese colonization. They died from disease, slavery, massacre, were banished, exiled and “assimilated”. There were 5 million of them back in 1500. Today they are less than 300,000 – living in pieces of land that the government established for them. 60% of these are in the Amazon region.
They have a miserable life and struggle to keep alive traditions that are fading away (including their 165 different languages).
Sometimes fights occur between farmers and some of the tribes, concering the possession of lands, and many of these native Brazilians die. But, again, I never heard of businessmen expeditions to hunt and kill these people.
All the best,

Adriana Lisboa

Floyd Red Crow Westerman

Floyd left us this morning.
He left a trail of music, friendship, support for Indian people, inspiration--
Charlie Hill reminded me this morning, that every time Floyd spoke into a mic, he stood up for us.
When I taught at UC Boulder in the mid-eighties, Floyd agreed to visit my class. He had just come from Brazil where he had heard that business men often engaged hunting expeditions to kill native people.
He was generous, funny and always there when you needed him, his words, his songs.
Travel well.
Don't forget us.
We won't forget you.

December 13, 2007


Blue Star Hopi Kachina Prophecy

Thank you Skydancer for this link that gives a fuller sense of the prophecy:


Does anyone out there know of other prophecies, from other tribes, peoples?


On Walking Through Fire

There is no "self"-destructive behavior.
It touches everyone.

Demonstrations in Oklahoma for the Truth of Oklahoma History

From: "First Peoples Human Rights Coalition"
Date: November 28, 2007 5:48:56 PM PST

Native people from Oklahoma demonstrate, exercising their human right to the truth of their own history. Their actions also guard “against the development of revisionist” versions of what actually happened.

From the article below: “The state needs to hear some of our views – the treaties, the deceit, the lies told by the people who created the state,” Les Williston, Choctaw, said. “There is a serious lack of memory when it comes to the true history of the state.”

Two general principles in international law of the right to know are:


Every people [including Indigenous peoples] has the inalienable right to know the truth about past events concerning the perpetration of heinous crimes and about the circumstances and reasons that led, through massive or systematic violations, to the perpetration of those crimes. Full and effective exercise of the right to the truth provides a vital safeguard against the recurrence of violations.


A people’s knowledge of the history of its oppression is part of its heritage and, as such, must be ensured by appropriate measures in fulfilment of the State’s [the federal government’s] duty to preserve archives and other evidence concerning violations of human rights and humanitarian law and to facilitate knowledge of those violations. Such measures shall be aimed at preserving the collective memory from extinction and, in particular, at guarding against the development of revisionist and negationist arguments.

Hundreds oppose centennial celebration at Capitol
At: http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/News/News.aspx?StoryID=2659

More than 500 Native Americans march near the state Capitol for the Oklahoma Indians Survival Walk to remember the sacrifices of their ancestors. (Photo by Sherniec Scraper)
By JoKay Dowell
Cherokee Phoenix staff writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Saying it was a time to remind and remember that statehood was not a celebratory event for all, more than 500 Native Americans rallied at the State Capitol with dancing, singing and calls for an end to land run re-enactments inOklahoma schools.

Native Americans, some wearing traditional cultural clothing, and their supporters began to gather four blocks south of Oklahoma’s Capitol building with banners, signs, drums and bullhorns while police looked on from their vehicles.

Within an hour the crowd of nearly 200 adults, elders and children began moving north toward the Capitol shouting in unison and carrying signs reading, “This Land is Our Land,” “The Land Run was Illegal Immigration,” and “Stop Racial and Cultural Inequality.” At the front of the procession several people bore a banner that read, “Why celebrate 100 years of theft?”

Muscogee Creek Nation citizen Brenda Golden, an organizer of the Oklahoma Indians Survival Walk and Remembrance Ceremony, said she wanted to make a statement that not all Oklahoma Indians feel like celebrating what they see as an affront to the true history of how Oklahomawas legislatively stolen from the people to whom it was promised.

We want to remember where our ancestors came from and what they sacrificed,” she said. “When our ancestors were moved here, they were told this was going to be Indian Territory forever.”

Oklahoma became the 46th state on Nov. 16, 1907. Governor Brad Henry and the legislature celebrated Friday with a parade and re-enactments of the original statehood announcement in Guthrie, the state’s first capital. Organizers of the Survival Walk intended to have their event coincide with those in Guthrie.

On reaching the south Capitol steps, the crowd grew to more than 500. Welcoming speeches were made before a Creek elder sang a traditional Muscogee song. Then another, described as being from the American Indian Movement, was sung before the group proceeded to a small park in front of the Capitol. Tribal elders recalled stories of hardships endured by their parents and grandparents when they were marched by the thousands to what was then Indian Territory more than a century ago.

“It was hard in those days. We were separated from our families and sent off to boarding schools,” said 84 year-old Delaware elder Marvene Watkins. “We were punished for speaking our own language.”

Some speakers related past history to present concerns.

Casey Camp-Horinek, a Ponca from Marland, Okla., cited the Ponca Tribe’s lawsuit against Continental Carbon Company for polluting Ponca tribal lands as an example of how Native communities in Oklahoma still deal with contemporary issues related to colonialism like industrial defilement of Indian lands.

“Our people continue to deal with racism,” she said. “In our part of this state it includes environmental racism.”

A host of speakers representing several Oklahoma Indian nations addressed many areas of concern. Illegal immigration was related to both groups of state founders, the “Boomers,” early advocates of settlement in the “unassigned lands” who began what is referred to as the “Boomer movement,” and the “Sooners” or those who entered illegally to lay claim to lands before the designated entry time.
Speakers pointed to education and how history is taught in Oklahomaschools. Many participants said they are offended by the land run celebrations in elementary school settings.

“For starters those who develop Oklahoma history curriculum should remove re-enactments of the land runs that opened Indian lands for white settlement,” she said. “It’s demeaning to American Indians for that to be re-enacted annually in the schools. I just tell my children go sit in the middle of the lawn and let the other kids run over you because that’s what happened to our ancestors.”

Many who attended wanted to ensure that the untold story leading to statehood was remembered.

“The state needs to hear some of our views – the treaties, the deceit, the lies told by the people who created the state,” Les Williston, Choctaw, said. “There is a serious lack of memory when it comes to the true history of the state.”

Non-Indian participants understood why the event is important.

“We’re all in this thing together. We shouldn’t deny the truth of what really happened,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Oklahoma City Peace House. “It is stolen land. And it continues around the world today.”

Most, like Dwain Camp, a Ponca from White Eagle, said he was never interested in participating in the state’s celebration and vowed to remain a constant reminder to the official version of history.

“We’re not going to do-si-do with the white man today,” Camp said. “We’re going to do this as long as they celebrate stealing our land.”

Copyright © 2006-2007 Cherokee Phoenix All Rights Reserved


A Blue Star in our Solar System Bigger than the Sun. Does this relate to prophecy?

The following was sent to me--I haven't had a chance to look into it (or should I say, up at it). But when I read that scientists are breeding mentally ill mice, using schizophrenia genes from a family in Scotland, that you can buy designer water for $55 a bottle, and see that medicine seems to be more about selling drugs than healing....then we know something's up.
I welcome any comments.

Ancient Hopi prophecy states, "When the Blue Star makes its appearance in the heavens, the Fifth World will emerge"

A spectacular explosion caused comet 17P/Holmes to increase in size and brightness on October 24. The comet is now a half a million times brighter than before the eruption began. It continues to expand and is now the largest single object in the Solar system, being bigger than the Sun. The eruption continues at a steady 0.5 km/sec (1100 mph) rate. Holmes is still visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy star anytime after dark, high in the northeast sky. It is faintly visible from cities, and from dark country locations is truly remarkable.

This is an astounding story. When an object suddenly, unexpectedly, appears in our solar system THAT IS BIGGER THAN THE SUN, and can be seen with the naked eye, and is BLUE, it could be one of those heavenly events like the Star of Bethlehem that foretell coming events. I would also call your attention to the seven seals in Revelations (I'll write more about that when I have time.)
From the Hopi:
"The return of the Blue Star (also known as Nan ga sohu Katchina) will be the alarm clock that tells us of the new day and new way of life, a new world that is coming. This is where the changes will begin. They will start as fires that burn within us, and we will burn up with desires and conflict if we do not remember the original teachings, and return to the peaceful way of life.

"Not far behind the twins will come the Purifier the Red Katchina, who will bring the Day of Purification. On this day the Earth, her creatures and all life as we know it will change forever. There will be messengers that will precede this coming of the Purifier. They will leave messages to those on Earth who remember the old ways.

" The messages will be found written in the living stone, through the sacred grains, and even the waters. (these could be the crop circles which have been found even in ice) From the Purifier will issue forth a great Red Light. All things will change in their manner of being. Every living thing will be offered the opportunity to change from the largest to the smallest thing."

What follows are two longer expositions of Hopi prophecy. Note that the events listed below were predicted many centuries ago and have been passed down. They were also all carved into Prophecy Rock at Hopi many, many years ago:

The Nine Signs of Hopi Prophecy
From White Feather, Bear Clan, Hopi Tribe

"These are the Signs that great destruction is here: The world shall rock to and fro. The white man will battle people in other lands -- those who possessed the first light of wisdom. There will be many columns of smoke and fire such as the white man has made in the deserts not far from here. Those who stay and live in the places of the Hopi shall be safe. Then there will be much to rebuild. And soon, very soon afterward, Pahana will return. He shall bring with him the dawn of the Fifth World. He shall plant the seeds of his wisdom in our hearts. Even now the seeds are being planted. These shall smooth the way to the Emergence into the Fifth World."
The Fourth World shall end soon, and the Fifth World will begin. This the elders everywhere know. The Signs over many years have been fulfilled, and so few are left.

First Sign: We were told of the coming of the white-skinned men, like Pahana, but not living like Pahana -- men who took the land that was not theirs and who struck their enemies with thunder. (Guns)

Second Sign: Our lands will see the coming of spinning wheels filled with voices. (Covered wagons)

Third Sign: A strange beast like a buffalo but with great long horns, will overrun the land in large numbers. (Longhorn cattle)

Fourth Sign: The land will be crossed by snakes of iron. (Railroad tracks)

Fifth Sign: The land shall be cris-crossed by a giant spider's web. (Power and telephone lines)

Sixth Sign: The land shall be cris-crossed with rivers of stone that make pictures in the sun. (Concrete roads and their mirage-producing effects.)
Seventh Sign: You will hear of the sea turning black, and many living things dying because of it. (Oil spills)

Eighth Sign: You will see many youth, who wear their hair long like our people, come and join the tribal nations, to learn our ways and wisdom. (Hippies)

Ninth and Last Sign: You will hear of a dwelling-place in the heavens, above the earth, that shall fall with a great crash. It will appear as a blue star. Very soon after this, the ceremonies of the Hopi people will cease.

The following is an excerpt from LAST CRY Native American Prophecies & Tales of the End Times, by Dr. Robert Ghost Wolf © 1994-2004:

"The story of the Blue Kachina is a very old story, very old. I have been aware of the story of the Blue Kachina since I was very young. Frank Waters also wrote about Saquasohuh, the Blue Star Kachina in The Book of the Hopi, The story came from Grandfather Dan, Oldest Hopi.

"It was told to me that first the Blue Kachina would start to be seen at the dances, and would make his appearance known to the children in the plaza during the night dance. This event would tell us that the end times are very near. Then the Blue Star Kachina would physically appear in our heavens which would mean that we were in the end times.

"In the Final days we will look up in our heavens and we will witness the return of the two brothers who helped create this world in the birthing time. Poganghoya is the guardian of our North Pole and his Brother Palongawhoya is the guardian of the South pole. In the final days the Blue Star Katchina will come to be with his nephews and they will return the Earth to its natural rotation which is counter clock wise.

"This fact is evidenced in many petraglyphs that speak of the Zodiac, and within the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids. The rotation of the Earth has been manipulated by not so benevolent Star beings. The twins will be seen in our North Western skies. They will come and visit to see who still remembered the original teachings flying in their Patuwvotas, or flying shields. They will bring many of their star family with them in the final days.
"The return of the Blue Star Katchina who is also known as Nan ga sohu will be the alarm clock that tells us of the new day and new way of life, a new world that is coming. This is where the changes will begin. They will start as fires that burn within us, and we will burn up with desires and conflict if we do not remember the original teachings, and return to the peaceful way of life.

" Not far behind the twins will come the Purifier The Red Katchina, who will bring the Day of Purification. On this day the Earth, her creatures and all life as we know it will change forever. There will be messengers that will precede this coming of the Purifier. They will leave messages to those on Earth who remember the old ways.


Thanksgiving Or Thanksgiving

The following is some useful info to consider for the upcoming national holiday of Thanksgiving. The images of Indians and stories of the first Thanksgiving that proliferate around the holiday are mostly constructions of rumor, lie, and fairy tale. For those who teach, please read the following before sending students home with construction paper war bonnets. Your intent might be a tribute, but what you are doing is reinforcing stereotypes that have nothing to do with Indians at all. There is often a tremendous gulf between real Indians and the images of Indians. Would you like to have people think of Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny when they think of your cultural or racial group? That is how disparate the distance between image and human in Indian country.

My first singing performance in school for in kindergarten when we had to perform for our parents. Because I was Indian I had to sing a Pueblo corn grinding song and pretend to grind corn on my knees. The Pueblos weren't anywhere near the Pilgrims. I still remember that song.

My thanks to Gary Hopkins,writer and Andre Cramblit (fellow Mvskoke, and Karuk) for the following:

Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 17:08:43 +0000
From: andre cramblit
Subject: The First Feast (holidaze)

The first feast was held in 1621 to which Massasoit and 90 Indians came
with food (see first two links below), however the last link is about
the proclamation of 1676 which includes: "The Holy God having by a long
and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the
present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, ... It certainly
bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure
disappointed or destroyed..."


Are You Teaching the Real Story of the "First Thanksgiving"?
Are you teaching the true Thanksgiving story or is the version you're
passing on to your students a blend of fact and myth? Ready to set the
record straight?

"I propose that there may be a good deal that many of us do not know
about our Thanksgiving holiday and also about the 'First Thanksgiving'
story," says Chuck Larsen in the introduction to Teaching About
Thanksgiving. "I also propose that what most of us have learned about
the Pilgrims and the Indians who were at the first Thanksgiving at
Plymouth Plantation is only part of the truth."

"When you build a lesson on only half of the information, then you are
not teaching the whole truth," Larsen adds.

Larsen seems to know of what he speaks. As a public school teacher, a
historian, and an American of Indian heritage, Larsen has always had a
difficult time teaching about the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Every year I have been faced with the professional and moral dilemma of
just how to be honest and informative with my children at Thanksgiving
without passing on historical distortions, and racial and cultural
stereotypes," Larsen says in his introduction.

"The problem is that part of what you and I learned in our childhood
about the 'Pilgrims' and 'Squanto' and the 'First Thanksgiving' is a
mixture of both history and myth," Larsen continues. "But the theme of
Thanksgiving has truth and integrity far above and beyond what we and
our forebearers have made of it. Thanksgiving is a bigger concept than
just the story of the founding of Plymouth Plantation."

Larsen goes on to try to sort out the myth from the true history in his
introduction to "Teaching About Thanksgiving," a project of The Fourth
World Documentation Project of The Center for World Indigenous Studies.
The project includes an accurate telling of "The Plymouth Thanksgiving
Story" along with study and discussion questions, ideas for enrichment,
art projects, and authentic recipes -- all intended to enable teachers
to accurately portray the events surrounding the first Thanksgiving.

In closing his introduction, Larsen provokes with a question: "What
started as an inspirational bit of New England folklore soon grew into
the full-fledged American Thanksgiving we now know... But was [that
'First Thanksgiving'] really our first Thanksgiving?"

"There really was a true Thanksgiving story of Plymouth Plantation,"
Larsen says. "But I strongly suggest that there has always been a
Thanksgiving story of some kind or other for as long as there have been
human beings. There was also a 'First' Thanksgiving in America, but it
was celebrated thirty thousand years ago
Every last Thursday in November
we now partake in one of the oldest and most universal of human
celebrations, and there are many Thanksgiving stories to tell."

"Teaching About Thanksgiving" offers a handful of the "old stereotypes"
that are often reinforced in classrooms across the United States.
According to the article, "If you enact the story of the first
thanksgiving as a pageant or drama in your classroom, here are some
things to consider:

"Indians should wear appropriate clothing. NO WARBONNETS! A blanket
draped over one shoulder is accurate for a simple outfit.

"Squanto and Samoset spoke excellent English. Other Indians would have
said things in the Algonkian language.

"These people were noted for their formal speaking style.

"Indians in the Woodlands area did not have tipis or horses, so these
should not be part of any scenery or backdrop.

"Any food served should be authentic. The following would be
appropriate: corn soup, succotash, white fish, red meat, various fowl
(turkey, partridge, duck), berries (including whole cranberries), maple
sugar candies, corn starch candy (believe it or not, candy corn is
almost authentic except for the colored dyes), watercress, any kind of
bean (red, black, green, pinto), squash."

Larsen has detractors...

Caleb Johnson, creator of the MayflowerHistory.com Web pages, claims
that Larsen's "Teaching About Thanksgiving" contains many factual
errors. (See A Factual Rebuttal to a Popular Thanksgiving Lesson Plan.)
Among the facts above disputed by Johnson is the idea that "Squanto and
Samoset spoke excellent English." They spoke broken English at best,
Johnson writes.

In Thanksgiving on the Net: Roast Bull with Cranberry Sauce, Jeremy
Bangs makes an effort to sift through the "more than two hundred
websites that 'correct' our assumptions about Thanksgiving" and set the
record straight. "Setting people straight about Thanksgiving myths has
become as much a part of the annual holiday as turkey, cranberry sauce,
and pumpkin pie," he writes.

"Young children's conceptions of Native Americans often develop out of
media portrayals and classroom role playing of the events of the First
Thanksgiving. That conception of Native Americans gained from such early
exposure is both inaccurate and potentially damaging to others," says
Debbie Reese in "Teaching Young Children About Native Americans," an
ERIC Digest (May 1996).

For example, a visitor to a child care center heard a four-year-old
saying, "Indians aren't people. They're all dead." "This child," Reese
says, "had already acquired an inaccurate view of Native Americans, even
though her classmates were children of many cultures, including a Native
American child."

"By failing to challenge existing biases we allow children to adopt
attitudes based on inaccuracies," Reese continues.

"Most of the commercially prepared teaching materials available present
a generalized image of Native American people with little or no regard
for differences that exist from tribe to tribe," Reese adds. "Many
popular children's authors unwittingly perpetuate stereotypes. Richard
Scarry's books frequently contain illustrations of animals dressed in
buckskin and feathers, while Mercer Mayer's alphabet book includes an
alligator dressed as an Indian."

A number of positive strategies can be used in classrooms, writes Reese.

• "Provide knowledge about contemporary Native Americans to balance
historical information. Teaching about Native Americans exclusively from
a historical perspective may perpetuate the idea that they exist only in
the past.
• "Prepare units about specific tribes rather than units about "Native
Americans." For example, develop a unit about the people of Nambe
Pueblo, the Turtle Mountain Chippewa, the Potawotami. Ideally, choose a
tribe with a historical or contemporary role in the local community.
Such a unit will provide children with culturally specific knowledge
(pertaining to a single group) rather than overgeneralized stereotypes.
• "Locate and use books that show contemporary children of all colors
engaged in their usual, daily activities (for example, playing
basketball or riding bicycles) as well as traditional activities. Make
the books easily accessible to children throughout the school year.
Three excellent titles on the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico are Pueblo
Storyteller by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith; Pueblo Boy: Growing Up In Two
Worlds by Marcia Keegan; and Children of Clay by Rina Swentzell.
• "Cook ethnic foods but be careful not to imply that all members of a
particular group eat a specific food.
• "Be specific about which tribes use particular items, when discussing
cultural artifacts (such as clothing or housing) and traditional foods.
The Plains tribes use feathered headdresses, for example, but not all
other tribes use them.
• "Critique a Thanksgiving poster depicting the tradtitional,
stereotyped Pilgrim and Indian figures, especially when teaching older
elementary school children. Take care to select a picture that most
children are familiar with, such as those shown on grocery bags or
holiday greeting cards. Critically analyze the poster, noting the many
tribes the artist has combined into one general image that fails to
provide accurate information about any single tribe.
• "At Thanksgiving, shift the focus away from reenacting the 'First
Thanksgiving.' Instead, focus on items children can be thankful for in
their own lives, and on their families' celebrations of Thanksgiving at

"Besides using these strategies in their classrooms, teachers need to
educate themselves," Reese continues. "Stereotyping is not always
obvious to people surrounded by mainstream culture. Numerous guidelines
have been prepared to aid in the selection of materials that work
against stereotypes."

"Much remains to be done to counter stereotypes of Native Americans
learned by young children in our society," writes Reese in the
conclusion to her ERIC Digest. "Teachers must provide accurate
instruction not only about history but also about the contemporary lives
of Native Americans."

For activities and a long list of Web sites related to the Pilgrims,
Native Americans, and the "First Thanksgiving" be sure to see this
week's Education World LESSON PLANNING articles:

Classroom Activities for Exploring Native Americans?Blast stereotypes
with across the curriculum activities for students of all ages.

The "First Thanksgiving" -- A Feast of Activities?Looking to cook up a
feast of across-the-curriculum fun? The table is set with a plentiful
selection of ideas. Dig in!

It's Turkey Time! "Gobble, gobble, gobble...."?Increase your students'
knowledge and skills when you use TURKEYS as a teaching theme.

Article by Gary Hopkins?Education World ® Editor-in-Chief?Copyright © 2006 Education World
Originally published 11/24/1997
Last updated 10/04/2006

Naming the Days, and the Rainbow Trail

I have been giving every day a name. A name reveals itself either early on or after a long tribulation. One day last week after we feel ill from a meal at a local Mexican restaurant and discovered our tongues were black was called: The Black Tongue Stomach Disaster Day.
Sunday morning under a blue sky and strangely warm November weather I walked with three others: E.W., D.W. and J.C.from the hotel in downtown Denver to the Denver Art Museum for a meeting on the formation of the Native Arts and Culture Fund(working title). They helped with my bags as I was heading out directly after the meeting. We had a surprise. Bunky Echohawk and his arty-cultural crew were there, including Sterlin Harjo,Walter Echohawk's family members including an elder of the Palouse, Carrie Schuster. We had quite an opening with introductions which became an inspirational meeting. When Carrie Schuster spoke I heard the voices of the ancestors--we all felt and knew in that moment there was a direct link. I felt as if she were speaking to my soul and she answered all the questions I had been wrestling with the night before in the hotel room as I attempted to write past my failures. Then Walter sang two songs, with his son and acquired sons. One for the Pawnee items that still carried spirit and memory who were housed in the museum, and one for the veterans. That day is now known as the Mvto Carrie Schuster and Her People Who Carry Forth Knowing Day.
Another day last week started out at the Plains Indian Museum in Cody, Wyoming with a generous tour by Emma H____, a Pawnee woman from Oklahoma. She felt like home. Then shopping and walking about the main drag with my guitar player Larry Mitchell, and our guides Robert Stothart and Linda ____. Larry, Robert and I landed at the Irma Hotel and sat at the rosewood bar for lunch that Buffalo Bill had carted in piece by piece and reassembled in the hotel. We talked with a feisty blonde waitress about the ghost who hung out at the bar. Then drove to Powell to Northwest College. On the way we stopped to acknowledge those who were kept during World War II at the Japanese internment camp, Heart Mountain. It was one of the largest camps. A heavy sadness there that the constant winds could not blow away. Then to Northwest College for the Buffalo Feast and our gig. Robert and his colleagues treated us very well. They made a welcoming place. We were welcomed by a most impressive music department and listened to some young, talented singers perform in the jazz vocal class. By the time we played our show we were full of good will. We wound up jamming, singing, and speaking for over an hour and a half. Robert drove us back under a dark new moon sky full of stars. His wife Margot had seen a bear running across a field, a pheasant, and a deer on her way over to the college earlier. That day I call the: Even Though We Have Buffalo Bill to Blame for the Prevailing Indian Stereotype, Indians Break through the Image with Saxophones and Guitars. We Find Goodwill On the Road and Can Still See the Stars in Night Sky and Will Not Forget Those Japanese Interned at Heart Mountain.

And a gift from Andre Cramblit's list this morning:

Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2007 17:05:23 +0000
From: andre cramblit
Subject: Rainbow Trail (musings)

"Walk on a rainbow trail, walk on a trail of song, and all about you
will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow
-Navajo Song


Oklahoma Indians Survival Walk and Protest

Date: November 16, 2007
Place: Oklahoma State Capitol
Oklahoma City , Oklahoma
Time: 9 am to 12 pm


Oklahoma City , 11/4/07 – The Oklahoma Indians Survival Walk and Protest is scheduled for 9:00 am on November 16, 2007 .
This activity will counter the Oklahoma Centennial Celebrations because we, as Oklahoma American Indians, do not want our people to forget what happened to our ancestors nor can we let others across the nation lose sight of the real history of Oklahoma Indians and Indian Territory . We cannot sit quietly while the only mention or acknowledgement of the victimization of Indians is a re-enacted Land Run and Mock Wedding Ceremony.
“Our part of the story, the part where our lands are invaded and stripped away from us, and the part where our cultures are attacked, the part where our peoples' lives are trampled and forever altered by this encroachment of land hungry invaders is always conveniently neglected or overshadowed,” says Gerald D. Tieyah (Comanche).

Glenda Deer (Kickapoo), co-organizer of the protest says, “I think it's important for our children and grandchildren to understand how Oklahoma was really acquired...it's important for them to know the truth....”
“I remember a story a Sac and Fox elder told me some years ago. She said that her grandfather told her the Sac and Fox people had to remove the bodies of white people from the Deep Fork River before they could use the water, people killed by the ‘settling’ of Oklahoma” recounts Dr. Johnny P. Flynn, Department of Religious Studies, IUPU, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Earlier this year, Richard Ray Whitman (Euchee), an Oklahoma City artist, actor and activist, said, "Native Americans know the importance of celebration, but renewing the vows of Indian Territory and Oklahoma territory, what does that entail? Have they met? I think we've been in sort of an abusive marriage up to this point - not the ideal relationship. It's like the dominant husband and the submissive wife. We need to examine those things and say....what's the role of this today?"
Visit www.myspace.com/mvskoke_lady or www.myspace.com/thunderclanwoman for further details, or contact Brenda Golden at (405) 570-7752 e-mail musccreekgrl@msn.com, Glenda Deer in the evenings at (405) 275 4059 e-mail of thunderclanwmn@yahoo.com, or Cornell Tahdooahnippah at (405) 701-1823 e-mail of chieftain8@hotmail.com.


Appearing Thursday and Friday, November 8 & 9

Thursday, November 9 Northwest College, Powell Wyoming
Joy Harjo and Larry Mitchell will be performing at Northwest College's Annual Native American Heritage Month Celebration and Feast. The activities begin at 10 a.m. on Nov. 8, and includes a library display presentation by Harjo. Harjo and Mitchell will have lunch with the Writing and Literary Guild (a student club), and then visit selected classes on the NWC campus. At 5 p.m. the Buffalo Feast dinner takes place in the DeWitt Student Center Lounge. Harjo, the guest speaker will discuss the significance of Native American Heritage Month and the Buffalo Feast. 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. is the writer's series presentation in the NPA Auditorium, where Harjo will read poetry, followed by Harjo and Mitchell giving a musical performance. Following this performance, Harjo and Mitchell will be signing books and their cd and will have one-on-one discussions.

Friday, November 9 at 7 p.m.
Native American Student & Community Center, Portland State University, 710 SW Jackson St., Portland OR
Celebrating the anthology-- We Begin Here features
Joy Harjo, Kathy Engel, Alexis DeVeaux, Elmaz Abinader.


Muscogee Nation News Column for October 2007

We’ve had our elections and here we are again. May we move forward with inspiration and remember to honor the source of breath. And use our breath for good words as they make a path forward. Our words do create our road, singly and collectively. The manner in which we travel is determined by our attitude, by the attitude carried in our words.
I am inspired and have been inspired by many as I travel about throughout this world. Sometimes inspiration is as simple as a stranger’s smile when I’m dragging bags and I think I just get can’t on another plane. Or it’s dignity, like the dignity of this este -lucv or turtle person I met at the grounds during our new years celebration this summer. He was walking along headed in the direction of the creek when my grandchildren discovered him. He humored them once he found out they weren’t brandishing sticks or rocks. We all gathered around to visit with him.

I’m beginning to think that the worst thing imparted by western education and religion is the hierarchy of value as it pertains to all persons. As a child, and as someone who was raised up within the borders of the mind and dreams of the Creek Nation I knew este -lucv as someone walking about the earth as myself. We were the same size spiritually. This was the same with other creatures, like dog, deer or the birds that shared the air. And as I went about on the earth I came to know that the plants, stones and other elements occupy consciousness and space and have a dignity of as much weight as human-people have accorded themselves. When I went to public school in Tulsa, a very good public school with many of our tribal citizens, and began to spend more time in that system of books and thinking, I began to forget.
Seeing este -lucv this summer with my grandchildren I terribly missed my older cousin John Jacobs of Holdenville. He always had such tenderness for the este -lucv citizens of our lands. Once while traveling near his home we picked up a turtle who was about to get hit in the middle of the highway. The turtle’s beaked mouth was stained with berry juice. I won’t forget that spirit of vnokeckv as John lifted up the turtle, talked to him and carried him off the road. John Jacobs was one of my teachers of vnokeckv.
Another teacher of vnokeckv is my Navajo son-in-law, Tim Chee. My daughter Rainy Dawn Ortiz wrote about him in her myspace blog:

“ My husband is always giving out change. He says all he expects in exchange is a little conversation. But sometimes this drives me crazy. We will be in a hurry at the gas station or at the store and its always a given that some one comes up to him to ask for change. He always asks them questions, and tells the ones he sees over and over again to go home, most of them Native. They used to come here to our house to ask for stuff. We are near a church that feeds the homeless so our house is a high foo traffic area. But after you help a few it becomes more and more, and soon we had a group of people hanging out on the side of our house waiting for him to come out. We have even had people knock on our door all hours of the night. So he had to tell them to stay away from our house. Its one of the reasons that I love him so much, because even if he has only a few dollars, he will give it away to some one who has less, as long as they stay around to talk to him. And thats the key. They have to talk to him, and answer his questions. Its a small price to pay, but for some its too much. Krista always laughs and says he'll talk to any one. So if you are out there and in need of some change, or even some conversation, you have your man but please dont get him started on floors or the building of something, or cars please because I want to get home. PS he does this on the phone too : )”
Because it’s four in the morning and I have to catch a plane to Oklahoma in a few hours, I will close with these wise words from a person whose being and words I have come to respect, Faithkeeper Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation:

“I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for the eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior. But we are after all a mere part of creation and we must consider to understand where we are. And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the ant. Somewhere and only there as part and parcel of the creation."

Mvto Oren Lyons for reminding us of our humble place here.
Mvto John Jacobs,Tim Chee, and este-lucv

May we all continue to travel together well.

September 26, 2007 Wednesday morning


New Zealand Police Use the Terrorism Suppression Act to Lock Down Maori Social Activists

From: karaka [mailto:tepaatu@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 12:17 PM
To: karaka
Subject: FW: URGENT APPEAL: Maori plea for support

------ Forwarded Message

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Family,
It is in great distress that I am urged to write this appeal and to inform
our international community of the recent events that are happening within
Aotearoa (New Zealand) social justice, environmental justice and indigenous

For the past 60 hours Aotearoa activists have been subjected to home
invasions,raids and interrogation under threats of terrorist activities
against the state.The Crown has decided to employ its recent Terrorism
Suppression Act to lockdown on social justice activist, movers and shakers
and this is now world widenews with many of our close friends and families
houses (mine included) being invaded, possessions confiscated and charges
being threatened which will allow for solid activists to be charged under
the Terrorist Suppression Act that carries sentencing for life.

The ages of people currently under custody range from 18 ^ 64. Many of us
being implicated in this investigation are young people trying to do good
things for our communities.We are headed into an election year and these
events are the largest scale operation headed by special operations from the
head of states office. We have difficulty in understanding the timing for
these invasions of our privacy except for political campaigning off of our
backs.The indigenous movement for self - determination is what is being
blamed by the media for instigating acts of terrorism.

The Police showed up at my house with files of my activities over years,
my phones have been tapped for years, my house under surveillance and
everything subject to their review. We have not been involved in any
activities that could allow the police to make these claims and the distress
they are causing for our families and children is devastating.

Right now we are fighting for friends in Police Custody to make bail. A
number of these requests have been denied. A number of people are now been
moved between prisons and I will be liasing with them and their families.

Court costs, travel costs, food costs and lawyer costs are above the heads
of many of our people and we are asking for support from our communities
both national and international to come to our aid in this time of
need.'Terrorism' world wide has become a cause for unjust state intervention
into the lives of many peoples committed to change and now we are seeing
that reality play out here in our own backyards within our own community.

Please support us in anyway specifically: Sending your concerns against
state interventions to Annette King, Minister of Police (aking@...) and to
your local New Zealand Embassy's;- By sending financial support towards the
Family Support Network to assist with food, travel expenses and Court costs
and; By sharing our stories with your own networks.We have had some
international support by indigenous brothers and sisters by way of protests
on the streets outside the NZ Embassy's, we encourage any of you to organize
and do the same. Thank you all for taking the time to hear what is happening
for us here in Aotearoa, these are very troubling times.

For further information please refer

Most of our Internet sites have been taken down also in relation to these
chain of events however all responses and correspondence can be made through

Kiritapu Allan Co ^ Director, Conscious Collaborations
HYPERLINK "http://www.conscious.maori.nz/"http://www.conscious.maori.nz/
HYPERLINK "http://www.conscious.maori.nz/"http://www.conscious.maori.nz/


Because I Heard the Oklahoma Centennial Parade Just Happened

From an interview I did to be published by the Humanities Council in Oklahoma, conducted by Harbour Winn. I hope he doesn't mind if a bit appears here:

Many of have dreaded the celebration of the Sooner State centennial. I can understand the organization of the state wanting to celebrate it’s incorporation. Not everyone in the state has cause to celebrate. The state as an entity represents theft and second-class citizenship for many of us. The state came about over land grabs, over broken promises, and in the relatively fresh wake of Cotton Mather’s hatefulness--which is born out again in the Bible belt fundamentalism. And the motto “The Sooner State” has always bothered me. Why is that the state motto? “Sooner State” honors those who jumped the line for first dibs on land claims. They were the quicker thieves. Statehood is really more about gun power, and the ability to takeover and control. We also have a state now that encompasses many communities, many times. There’s a genealogy of sorts. We’re all here. At the center of Mvskoke philosophy is a term: vnvketcv, which is, compassion. You look for the best in any situation, and keep moving about with grace, no matter the trial. We were uprooted from our homeland and moved to Indian Territory, were promised to be left alone, and then here it is again, and not only that, oil is discovered on our allotted lands. It doesn’t end. Now there are genetic patents on our plants, our medicines. Still, we’re dealing with gun power. So it seems to me that to celebrate the centennial means that we celebrating a takeover. The best possible outcome is perhaps a conversation between the citizens of Oklahoma. Has this come about from the centennial? One day there will be that conversation that needs to be had where everybody sits down at the table: Cotton Mather and his people, my people, the eagle, stones, the plants, the winds, all of us. And we will be equal. And everyone’s voice will have a place.


No, I'm Not Selling Viagra!

However, a Viagra seller is using my blog list to spam.
We're taking care of it.


Juggling Satellites, Freeways, Emails...

These days I am an air traffic controller or a juggling fool. This morning as I broke from my other knowing to this one I decided I could not get up yet one more day and abandon my spirit. We are spirits, after all. In order to "get things done" I've been jumping immediately into the straightaway of the mental freeway with emails, electronics, tasks, no end of tasks....In the mental freeway there is no room for ambiguity, for the breathing of the mythic. You cannot hear the stories unwind, enjoy them, know them, utterly. You cannot know yourself, and knowing yourself allows you to begin to know and understand others.

So I took a different door, the one of subtlety (this door is subtle against the field of metal, electrical appliances, the whiz of satellites, of ringing phones in everyone's hands), the one of listening and being within the full spectrum from the first to the seventh layers of the senses. There are probably more layers than those. And there are more than five senses.

Now I can hear poetry. Now I can hear the songs. Now, I feel like a human being.


I deleted yesterday's post. I was running too hard, thinking too much and revealed too much.


Possible email list hack by a trickster

I have been alerted by a few of you out there that you are getting a string of messages that say something like: all books and CD's 74% off. Guess it's somebody's idea of a joke. We're looking into it.


After the Fact...and Ancestral Multiplication

....of course, good-looking warriors on horseback riding with the wind with hard, bronzed shoulders, backs,abs, --as they say in the business "sexy"--add to that, ditto, cowboys...and so the story goes. We're so many peoples, builds, ups, downs and crossovers from the press of the stereotype, from the story pool.

We are human beings.

And a little something to think about from HIGH PINK, TEX-MEX FAIRY TALES, by Franco Mondini-Ruiz (artist extraordinaire) Published by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.NY,NY 2005:

"I couldn't sleep last night. I started thinking about something I just can't figure out. It boggles the mind. And I wasn't stoned, I promise. It goes like this: You are one person. It took two people to create you. It took four people to create your parents. And it took eight people to create your grandparents, and sixteen people to create your great-grandparents. And to create them, 128. And before them, 256; 512; 1,024; 2,048; 4,096; 8,192; 16,384; 32,768; 65,536; 131,072; 262,144; 524,288; 1,048,576; 2,097,152; 4,194,304; 8,388,608; 16,777,216; 33,554,432; and so on. Wouldn't that mean that a few thousand years ago almost everybody alive had to have been your ancestor?
My friend Rudy always thinks everyone he meets reminds him of one of his cousins. I guess he's onto something." p.118


Dignity and the Power of Stories

No. I haven't been blogging much, not much at all. I'm writing stories, poetry and music. Some of it finds its way here. Some not---it's being born, learning how to walk, to run, to fly.

Today took a break and went with my daughter and the children to the Halloween store. We took a look around at all the gore and cute. Strange how it's all together. You can be a ghoul, a murdered soul, a monster coming back with a chain saw, or a princess or cheerleader for Halloween. What irked me is that you also be an Indian, either a warrior (comes with tomahawk) or princess (brown fringe cotton dress and headband), or you can be a Mexican man with a huge sombrero for lazing in the sun.

Now, what's wrong with this? Proves to me how we natives exist in the American mind (not imagination, I'm becoming convinced there is none or almost none left. "Civilization" has killed it), and we can only be bought and sold in these images. Why? Because they sell. No one wants a Mexican attorney or an Indian opera singer. (Jim Pepper would have made it if he'd played flute. Instead he had to go to Europe with his saxophone to make a living.) (I almost forgot, I saw "Hawaiian" grass skirts.) We are not wielding our power to create images that supersede the ridiculous. Instead, we're fighting each other over diminishing dollars of government programs, casinos, blood quantums and skin tone. We keep giving in and playing cowboy and Indian, warrior or princess because we have to make a living, don't we? Otherwise they won't buy our movies, books, art...

What did we buy? Some rubber spiders, flashing light rings, a couple of remote control fart machines, two warrior costumes for my grandsons (not the fake Indian warrior kind, the fake Star Wars kind.) My granddaughters are still looking.

And me, I'm just trying to find a way to break through the gore of history, the savagery of fake images. We have some good stories,incredible stories. I'll never forget Bruce Miller's story artistry in the Evergreen College Longhouse. His stories were magic and carried light forward from the ancestors. We have stories that illuminate, they massage open our eyes, they purify our ears. We have stories that unlock the imaginations of our children so we can get beyond the ruin.


Every Step a Prayer

One of our old, old holy men said, "Every step you take on earth should be a prayer. The power of a pure and good soul is in every person's heart and will grow as a seed as you walk in a sacred manner. And if every step you take is a prayer, then you will always be walking in a sacred manner."

- Charmaine White Face (Oglala Lakota)


Where is Frank Poocha?

I'm looking for Frank Poocha who used to sing with my band Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice.
Anyone know where to find him?

Let me know.

Mvskoke Nation News Column from Harjo for September 2007

On Monday I watched the sun set over Battery Park, as we gathered in front of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York for a concert/performance series sponsored by the NMAI in a partnership with the Lincoln Center. The Las Casita stage, with a colorful tarp “house” of brightly painted murals shimmered in front of the steps of the old Customs House. The rush of going-home traffic swirled around the tip of the island. “There used to be a wall here”, a singer told me. “The Dutch erected it to keep British settlers out.”

An indigenous dance and music ensemble from Ecuador opened the set. One of their most poignant tunes was a song in honor of the Amazon and the rainforest. I closed my eyes to listen. I was back in the Amazon listening to the symphony of insects and animals singing at dusk. The river winds through the immense rainforest. It is a huge and complex being. When I was in elementary school in Tulsa I used to do most of my reports on creatures and the place of the Amazon. In 1990 I was present at a hemispheric gathering of native peoples from North through South America in a village outside Quito, when people from the Amazon walked up to the meeting in their brilliantly colored feathers with their spears (their equivalent of a grocery cart). They came to ask for alliances in their struggle against U.S. oil companies who were taking over and destroying their lands. Though our Muscogee people had to deal with some of those same oil companies, and still do, I didn’t know what to offer them in the way of advice. The force of the destroyers, those who take more than they need without even asking, appears overwhelming. What can stop them? Will greed one day be listed as an illness, like alcoholism?

I finally made it to the Amazon a few years ago. For years I had a recurring dream. I would arrive at Iquitos and a particular man would meet me at the boat that would take me up the river. Sometimes he spoke Navajo. The day I flew into Iquitos from Cuzco the plane was late because we had to make an emergency landing in Pucallpa. (The same plane went down in an accident there a year later. Not everyone was killed. Some people walked home!) Because I was late I missed the scheduled boat to my camp. A smaller boat was rounded up and I was introduced to the man who was to drive me. He looked nothing like the man in my dreams. He and others loaded in the baggage, some bananas and a few other things. Then, another man got in, turned around to say we were leaving. He was the man I had dreamed! He didn’t speak Navajo but he looked similar to my Navajo relatives. We drove for three hours up the river. I was absolutely alive every moment as we moved up the river.

I especially enjoyed the night paddles into the Amazon to look for caimans (a kind of alligator) and other nocturnal creatures. Every night we’d paddle out were greeted by a vast orchestra of singing voices of insects and other creatures. I was reminded of Oklahoma in the summer, and being at the ceremonial grounds, just as I was, standing in the noisy drone music of five o’clock traffic in New York City, as I listened to the Ecuadorian troupe making that beautiful tribute to the spirit of the Amazon. I would like to go back to that giant of a river, and would like to take some of our Muscogee people down that way. We might meet some of our old relatives there.

One of the other performing groups that late afternoon in front of the steps of the museum was Pamyua. They’re from Alaska and perform traditional songs. Some keep their forms. Some they contemporize. They call their music: tribal-jazz-funk. Two brothers, Stephen and Phillip Blanchett, who began sharing the ancient stories of their people through music and dance, started the group. The brothers are Yup’ik Inuit and African American. The third member, Ossie Kairaiuak grew up dancing traditionally in Chefornak, Alaska. Later they added Karina Møller, a Greenlandic Inuit singer. They travel internationally in Europe, Asia, North and South America. They performed at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards in March of 2003. They’re the ones you want to hang out with before, during, and after the party. Good people with good stories.
With groups like this out there representing natives here in North America, there’s no reason anyone should cling to worn out images created by a showman who wanted to make money in the 1800’s. We aren’t just powwow, either, though powwow might be part of the mix. It’s not just tourists or strangers who cling to these images; it’s often our own people.
And before I forget, recently I was contacted by a couple of people looking for Harjo relatives. A Ken Andersen wrote: “In October 1962 while in Navy boot camp, another young man named Joe Harjo was stationed there with me. At the end of boot camp we were sent different directions. Today…I heard the name, for the first time since 1962. Would you know of this person? He would be about 62-64?”

And another from John Harrington: “In 1967-68, I was in Central Thailand with the United States Air Force. One of my friends there was Billy Harjo, an American Indian from Kansas or Oklahoma. He was there as a technician with a contractor to the U.S. government. Is there any chance you are related to him? If he is still alive, he would be in his mid to late 60s, I would be interested in getting in touch with him.”

If anyone knows either Joe Harjo or Billy Harjo or their whereabouts please email me at mekkopoet@earthlink.net and I’ll pass the information along.

We’re now in the heat of election fever. I understand that everyone is running for office or the council this election year. Keep a few basic things into consideration when voting: how does the candidate treat their parents? How do they treat their husbands, wives or significant other(s)? Are they familiar with the Mvskoke culture? Can they listen and are they open to more than one point of view? Do their words and actions have integrity? Are they in it to take care of the people or is something else driving the need to run for office? Are they judgmental or are they compassionate? Do they have a string of debt and excuses behind them, or are they followed by the words of people who remember their kind acts?
These positions are about taking care of our people. The story of our people will be carried forth by those we elect. Are we making a story of justice, honesty, with a vision of caring for all within the tribe?
Each of our lives is meant to inspire each other, no matter what we do, no matter if we are a stay-at-home mother, a mechanic, a teacher, a student, in the military, or an engineer working in California. If I remember the story correctly, in old times we had no need for jails, for bureaucratic systems or any institution that perpetuated judgment or bigotry. We had everything we needed. We took care of each other.
What a story.

Joy Harjo August 29, 2007 Albuquerque, NM


Action Alert!

Please Write the California Coastal Commission
To Stop the Proposed Foothill South Toll Road

Dear Tribal/Community Leaders:

As a grassroots coalition of Acjachemen people devoted to the protection of our sacred sites, the United Coalition to Protect Panhe requests your support. The Transportation Corridor Authority has proposed to build a toll road through one of our sacred sites and burial grounds and we need your help to defeat their proposal.

Our people have called the coastlands of southern California home for ten thousand years. Panhe is an ancient village, ceremonial site and burial ground located on San Onofre State Park land in southern California. Many of the Acjachemen/Juaneno tribal members can trace their lineage directly back to the Village of Panhe, which is estimated to be at least 1,000 years old. Panhe is listed on the Sacred Lands Inventory maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission and is part of the San Mateo Archaeological District which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The TCA claims “there are no areas within the disturbance limits that are currently being used by living Native American representatives of the Juaneno,” yet our members have always used Panhe and continue to gather for ceremony, community events and to pay respect to the Ancestors buried there. Panhe is one of the few remaining Acjachemen sacred sites where the people can still gather for ceremony in an area that is secluded and exists in a pristine, natural state.

Construction of the toll road would pass within feet of our village and cemetery, drastically interfere with traditional ceremonial uses, and severely and irreparably damage the sacred site. In addition, the toll road would increase public access to the village and surrounding cultural and archaeological districts, and consequently increase the potential for looting and vandalism. According to the toll road’s own EIR, impacts to the San Mateo Archeological District “will be adverse, and cannot be mitigated to below a level of significance.”

On Thursday, October 11th the California Coastal Commission will hear public testimony and determine whether or not to certify the toll road’s application for consistency. If you can’t attend please write the Coastal Commission today and tell them to support the Acjachemen people and save our sacred site!

Letters should arrive by Thursday, September 27th at the latest.
FAX is (415) 904-5400.

Emails should be sent to the following special address:

Please distribute this alert, so the Commission knows how many people stand in support of the Acjachemen peoples’ right to access the site and practice our religious ceremonies free from interference! For more information contact Angela Mooney D’Arcy at angela.ucpp@gmail.com or Rebecca Robles at rerobles5@yahoo.com

Sept. [ ], 2007

Patrick Kruer, Chair
ATTN: Mr. Mark Delaplaine
California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219

RE: Foothill-South Toll Road CZMA Consistency Certification (Hearing Date, Oct. 11, 1007) – OPPOSITION

Dear Chairperson Kruer and Members of the Commission:

The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) protects cultural, historical and habitat resources along the coast, which are of great importance to me. Due to severe impacts to these resources from the proposed Foothill-South toll road, the Commission must find inconsistency with the CZMA.
The toll road would have devastating consequences for the Native American sacred site, burial ground and ancient village Panhe and would seriously impair the ability of the Acjachemen people to practice their traditional cultural and religious ceremonies. Panhe is one of the few remaining Acjachemen sacred sites where the people can still gather for ceremony in an area that is secluded and exists in a pristine, natural state.

Specifically, the toll road would:

• Come within feet of the Acjachemen village and cemetery, thus severely and irreparably impacting the ceremonial use of the site. Currently the site is in a pristine natural state, the stars are easily visible at night and the noise level is generally low. However, if the toll road is built, the integrity of the site will be compromised and it will be difficult for Acjachemen people to engage in traditional religious practices at the site.

• Increase public access to the village and surrounding cultural and archaeological districts, and consequently increase the potential for looting and vandalism. According to the toll road’s own EIR, impacts to the San Mateo Archeological District “will be adverse, and cannot be mitigated to below a level of significance.”

The impacts of the proposed toll road on the sacred site and traditional cultural district of Panhe should not be examined in a vacuum. By its own study the toll road will not significantly alleviate traffic between San Diego and Los Angeles. The long term impact of the toll road will not be decreased traffic, it will be increased development. If the toll road is built, it is only a matter of time before more and more of the land within this traditional cultural district will be developed, leaving the Juaneno people with fewer and fewer places to engage in traditional cultural practices.

Please protect Panhe and San Onofre State Beach by opposing the Foothill South Toll Road.

[Your Name, Tribal or Organizational Affiliation]

There are Many Kinds of Humans

“I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for the eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior. But we are after all a mere part of creation and we must consider to understand where we are. And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the ant. Somewhere and only there as part and parcel of the creation."

Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, Onondaga Nation


This Morning I Remember to Pray for Enemies

And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It's the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.

JH 9/21/07 ABQ, NM


Our Heart

"When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast and limitless..."

- Pema Chodron


When Your People Have Been Uprooted

Photo c Joy Harjo 2007

When your people have been uprooted from a land that carries your stories and history
You learn to carry that land in your heart.
And then you learn the depth of that heart, and know that it is deep enough to carry
the land that you imagined, and the imagining of the land of those who were forced to leave.
Any strife and pain from that tearing away ebbs away here.
A regenerative love is struck and rooted here.
And no matter the twist and turn of rough fate, we exist here, in this heartland
with our stories and the spirits of those stories, still guiding us along the way.
And these stories grow, just as we do. They live, they die, they are reborn again in the spring.

September 17, 2007


The Arctic Ice Cap Has Collapsed

"Scientists from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center at Colorado University are saying that the Arctic ice cap has collapsed at an unprecedented rate this summer, leaving sea ice levels in the region at record lows.

Mark Serreze, an Arctic specialist from the center, said "It's amazing. It's simply fallen off a cliff and we're still losing ice." Serreze and others now feel that if the increased rate of melting continues, the summertime Arctic could be totally free of ice by 2030, which is much earlier than the estimates of 2070 to 2100 they made a couple of years ago.

According to the article from the Guardian Unlimited, the Arctic has now lost about a third of its ice since satellite measurements began 30 years ago. BTW, I did a piece on that story a few weeks ago.

Sea ice usually melts in the Arctic summer and freezes again in the winter, but according to Dr. Serreze, that would be difficult this year."

Now why are Brittany Spears or Lindsay Lohan's escapades more important? Maybe because they are distractions.
Might the companies representing them have an interest in distracting us?
Now why would they want to do that?


Cherokees flee the moral high ground over Freedmen 8-07

by Robert Warrior Reprinted from INDIAN COUNTRY NEWS
Thanks Robert

Cherokee Chief Chad Smith is wrong and Representative Melvin Watt (D-North Carolina) is right. As those who follow the American Indian political world know, earlier this year an overwhelming majority of Cherokee voters decided to deny descendants of the Cherokee Freedmen, freed slaves who trod the Trail of Tears with their Native American owners, rights to political enfranchisement guaranteed to them in an 1866 treaty the Cherokees signed with the United States in the aftermath of the Civil War.

In June, Chief Smith campaigned on this popular issue and won a new term as elected leader of the largest Native nation within the border of the United States.

Watt is among a group of Congressional Democrats that also includes Maxine Waters and Diane Watson who are responding by calling into question whether or not United States taxpayers ought to be funding Cherokee programs. Most recently, the House Financial Services Committee decided to give the Cherokees a month to clear up the Freedmen issue before voting on Rep. Watt’s amendment to an affordable housing bill that would exclude the Cherokees until they are in compliance with the 1866 treaty. Smith and the Cherokees must respond by the time Congress comes back from its current recess.

Morality, however, has been the missing topic in the wrangling thus far, and I would argue is the basis for why it is important for everyone, especially American Indian people who have been silent thus far, to support efforts like those of Representative Watt.
The politics of this issue are certainly interesting—the embarrassingly low number of Cherokees, for instance, who participate in their nation’s electoral process (less than 8000 in a group of well over 150,000), the predictable way that this decision by one group exposes all American Indian nations to alienating people who have been important, reliable friends (the Congressional Black Caucus most visibly). Morality, however, has been the missing topic in the wrangling thus far, and I would argue is the basis for why it is important for everyone, especially American Indian people who have been silent thus far, to support efforts like those of Representative Watt.

The moral case against the Cherokees is straightforward. As a duly constituted nation in the nineteenth century, they legally embraced and promoted African slavery, a position they maintained after Removal to Indian Territory in the 1830s. The vast majority of Cherokees could not afford slaves, as was also the case throughout the American South, and historians of Cherokee slavery have demonstrated that some aspects of the Cherokee social world gave a different, less negative character to being enslaved by wealthy Cherokees rather than wealthy whites. Make no mistake, though. No one is on record as having volunteered to become a Cherokee slave. History records plenty of Cherokee slaves attempting to escape to freedom, as well as Cherokee slave revolts.

The institution of slavery was for Cherokees, as it has been for all people who practice it, morally and politically corruptive, and many citizens of this Native slaving nation knew it. Stories like that of the children of Shoeboots and Doll, a Cherokee slaveowner and his black concubine/wife, whose father risked his reputation as a war hero in petitioning for their recognition as Cherokees provides a picture of this ambiguity, but the cruelty, sexual violence, and physical degradation of modern slavery under Cherokees like James Vann is just as unambiguous (both are captured magnificently by University of Michigan scholar Tiya Miles in her 2005 book Ties that Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom).

The Cherokee Nation officially emancipated all slaves in 1863. The 1866 treaty that subsequently enfranchised these former slaves resulted in an amendment to the Cherokee Constitution that same year. That amendment reads: “All native born Cherokees, all Indians, and whites legally members of the Nation by adoption, and all freedmen who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owners or by law, as well as free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months from the 19th day of July, 1866, and their descendants, who reside within the limits of the Cherokee Nation, shall be taken and deemed to be, citizens of the Cherokee Nation.” All of this was as a moral victory for those Cherokees who understood that institutionalizing slavery created moral implications that could only be addressed on moral grounds. That is, formal slaves need not just freedom, but also the protection of citizenship. How else, after all, can those who have lost so much expect to gain their lives without a context in which they can rebuild their lives?

More, though, is going on here, which is the sometimes heart-stopping recognition on the part of leaders of a slave-owning nation that many of those slaves who are so easy to think of as being THEM are in fact US. To be blunt, a history of modern slavery is also a history of rape. To be a slave among the Cherokees was to be sexually available to those who controlled your life. By the 1890s, a legal distinction between the Freedmen and those who were Cherokee “by blood” emerged, but in the moral universe such a distinction was hard to make, and even today the claim of those in the Cherokee majority who say they are primarily interested in maintaining their nation for those who can verify that they have Cherokee lineage rings hollow alongside the murky history of violence that Cherokee slaves and their descendants have inhabited. Such claims fail to rise to the level of those earlier Cherokees who understood that the tragic absurdity of reconciling a nation to its history of slavery requires wisdom and compassion, not insulting and ridiculous appeals to faulty membership requirements and the poses of victimhood.

In spite of being egged on and provoked by the legislated racism of the Cherokee Nation, the vast majority of Freedmen descendants have reacted with impressive dignity befitting their proud history. Melvin Watt and other black members of Congress have likewise responded in a measured, but active way. It remains for more people, including Native American writers, scholars, and artists, not to mention elected leaders, presidents, and chiefs, to stand up and be counted on the right moral side of this question. Better yet, Chad Smith could save us all the trouble by following some of the best examples of Cherokee history rather than the morally corrupting and exclusionary ones he and his supporters have chosen thus far.

Robert Warrior’s most recent book is American Indian Literary Nationalism (co-written with Jace Weaver and Craig Womack). He is Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma.


What About the Right of the Fish and Other Relatives?

From Shigeru Kayano, Ainu man (the Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan) who was born and raised in Nibutani Village in southeastern Hokkaido. The Ainu suffered similar forces of colonization in Japan as the indigenous here in the Western Hemisphere. November 9th, 1994, he addressed the House of Councilor's Special Commission of Environment:

"Do they ever think about the right of the fish in the river? This reminds me of the Minamata Disease [mercury poisoning which started in the 1950's in a southern local village near the ocean caused by industrial waste]...the first victim was the fish. Who ever thought about the pains and mortification of the fish and the shellfish who could not appeal to, or have a charanke with humans? Did anyone ever apologize to them? If ever an angry fish decided to defy humans, I would fight with the fish. We should respect the rights of all the living things. Why don't you listen to the trees, the fish, and gods of water, as we, the Ainu people,do?"

(Thanks/mvto to Yoshiko Kayano, associate professor at Meisei University in Tokyo, Japan)

In Appreciation of the Cloud People

Photo: c Joy Harjo 2007

Comment from reader L.M. on yesterday's cloud blog: "I was noticing the clouds,too, both as I was flying into LA, then over O'ahu. They were beautiful. I told them hello and complimented them on how beautiful they looked today....They appreciate it when we appreciate them."


On Migrating Clouds and City Cancers

As far as migrating clouds....I have noticed differences in what clouds are traveling where these days, especially with all of my flights that crisscross the country. Here in Albuquerque I know the skies fairly well. We are now having monsoons with huge thunderheads every afternoon. This wasn't so before. And many of these clouds tended to live more towards the south and east. A few days ago this place smelled of the Sonoran Desert after the rain, in Tucson. And similar cloud movement in Hawaii. I think the clouds know more than we do about what's happening. They're preparing and working with Earth. They AND we are part of the process. 

Cities, from a cloud-view, look like cancers. No room for the earth to breathe.


Larry Mitchell, me and Alex Alexander in NYC

Photo credit: Lurline McGregor

Monday doesn't usually look this! 
It's New York City, in front of the National Museum of the American Indian (a joint program with Lincoln Center.) We're jamming on "This is My Heart". 

Posing Poets

Photo c Nadema Agard

John Trudell and Joy Harjo at the Lincoln Center Sunday August 26,2007 NYC

Hoax Post, Yet Much of the Info is True

I figured the previous (a deleted) post might be one of those email hoaxes. Nonetheless, some of the info I first heard from a Hopi healer who had no degrees from Johns Hopkins or any other such place of medical study. He used to heal people of cancer by first taking them off sugar, meat, dairy and other deleterious substances.


Muscogee Nation News Column from Harjo for August 2007

Every time I fly South I return with another piece of our collective Mvskoke story, another memory. In Peru a few years ago I was in the fekce of the western hemisphere, the place of many indigenous roots. Last week, after Green Corn, I flew from Tulsa to Medellin, Columbia in South America. Must of us here know of Columbia because of coffee, and Medellin because it was the battleground of the cocaine drug trafficking cartels. I have learned a different Medellin. I saw immense crowds of people come out to hear poetry. They love poetry as much as sports. They appreciated the whole spectrum of poetry as it was presented by the over 70 poets from all over the world. The poetry didn’t have to be hip-hop or over the top to catch attention. There were oral poets, classical poets, eyes-on-the-page poets, poets in Spanish, English and many other languages, including at least 8 indigenous languages. (They got to hear a little Mvskoke). The audience was the same audience you would have found at the Creek Nation Festival. Even the children sat in rapt attention and listened. The last night’s performance was in an amphitheater that held several thousand people. The seats overflowed and people sat out on the hills, for poetry. The performance went almost five hours. The highlight for me was the reading of the indigenous poets. We performed together: Hugo Jamijoy of the Putamayo Nation; Fredy Chicangara of the Yanacona Nation, Lindantonella Solano of the Wyuu, Jessie Kleeman, Greenlander Kalaait Inuit, Natalia Toledo, Zapoteca, Gregorio Gomez, Guarani Nation from Paraguay, Allison Hedge Coke, Cherokee, Sherwin Bitsui, Dineh, and me.
What I value most was the small moments of time we had together. It’s these small memories that make up the bulk of the content of all poetry, of our lives. We ate three meals a day together in the Gran Hotel and performed in various combinations with the other poets all over the city. We talked about family, about friends in common, joked, shared histories, talked about the extermination policies of governments, about world-wide earth changes and about what is always, and remains eternal. We compared stories.
Lindantonella’s people have been targeted for extinction by the paramilitaries. Right now in the northern part of her homelands the people are being massacred. The multinational corporations have discovered riches beneath the earth and are laying claim to oil, gas and other minerals. And this is going on in nearly all the tribal nations in the South. Sounds horribly familiar, doesn’t it?
Allison reported that she, Sherwin and Fredy saw a very poor native woman sitting on the sidewalk with an infant, not far from the hotel. The mother was feeding her baby orange soda in a bottle. It was all she had. Allison went to buy food and milk. When she approached the woman to give her the bag of groceries, the mother panicked. She grabbed her baby and ran. Fredy interceded and told her that Allison just wanted to give her food. She took the bag, said “bueno, ciao”, then disappeared in the street. Fredy said that there is a market for stolen children, especially for people in the north. She thought Allison had come to steal her baby.
For Fredy’s people coca is a beloved plant. It is good for circulation, for the blood. His people’s relationship with coca is similar to our relationship with ginseng or heles hvtke. Coca leaves carry the prime ingredient in the manufacture of cocaine. And cocaine in its refined state is highly addicting and surrounds itself with guns, greed and violence. The manufacturing process dehumanizes coca.
The beloved corn, of our people (and the people of the South) has also suffered dehumanization and is now, in its refined state, contributing to the diabetes epidemic. Corn processed as corn syrup appears in a very high percentage of refined foods. We become addicted to it. The essence and the meaning of corn, and our relationship to it gets lost and perverted in the process. Consider tobacco and how it has served us traditionally. It too has been dehumanized by process, by lack of respect in its use.
How much have we been dehumanized by the manufacturing process of a consumer culture that does not value our essence as a people? And what happens to any of us in a dehumanized state? Massacres, bureaucracies, racism, cultural-ism are all outcomes of dehumanization. We learn to do it to ourselves and learn to dehumanize each other. In the process we lose respect for ourselves, and for those plants and elements that have accompanied us since the beginning. We also lose poetry.
My understanding is that we have three minds, yet they make one continuum. One takes care of everyday details, is linear; it’s the organizer. It takes information directly from the five senses. The second is the gut-heart mind, or fekce. It’s the mind of memory, the carrier of the ancestral knowledge. It is the knowing mind. The third is the intuitive, the beyond-human-knowing mind. It doesn’t know time and space. It is beyond time and space. It is the compassionate mind. All things make sense here.
Dehumanization flat lines us to think and be in one dimension, or one mind. Think about it: most of our education in these times, and most of our presence is in the linear “buy-now” mind. Even language. Metaphor cannot happen in the linear. I’ve heard the Muscogee and Hawaiian language people speak about how we’re losing metaphor, the ability to address several levels of meaning at once in our expressions. Our old language is full of potent sayings. Language ripples with meaning.
Always something to consider….and I appreciate those who have carried forth the poetry of our ways. There we were in the middle of the sky of that summer night, dancing with the fire. Or as Natalia Toledo says in her poem “Origin”:
“We were a flake of God,/flower, deer and monkey./We were the torch that split the flash of lightning/and the dream told by our ancestors…”

(“Origin”by Natalia Toledo from revista de poesia Prometeo,numeros 77-78, 2007 XVII Festival Internacional de Poesia de Medellin)