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


Peggy said...


I, too, have rescued a few turtles, especially local ones called Painted Turtles. I hope you don't mind (and I won't mind if you don't post this)if I share what a particular turtle, who represents a few special people, inspired me to write.


A Painted Turtle scrapes downhill
between parked cars and flattened soda cans,
snout raised high to catch the scent of water.

As I snatch it up
the head retreats, but not before
its black eye blinks
and its mouth gapes
as if being suddenly airborne
took its breath away.

I breathe its mud breath
as we walk to the river.
I cradle it as if its top might blow off,
one hand under, the other covering the carapace,
the ridges, the sun-warm roughness
under my palm.

Mica shimmers in the shallows,
the river caresses,
the turtle swims,
from my hands.

We blink.

marcie said...

Relly enjoyed this post, how true about animals. A few weeks back you posted this turtle and the photography is great. It is like she is "showing her best". Her little face has continued to come to me and even opened up a inner spaciousness that has remained within. We have so much to learn from them. Namaste little box turtle.