~I Say No More~

Cherokee Books & Things of Intrest

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Seven Ceremonies


This article represents a brief introduction to the seven sacred ceremonies of the ancient Cherokee. For the most part, this information comes from Tribes that Slumber Indians of the Tennessee Region. It is never a good Idea to present information from a single source, especially with such a complex subject; however, time limited the ability to do more research.

Undoubtedly, each ceremony deserves several pages. Hopefully, in subsequent articles more in depth research will be possible, and details from a variety of sources can be included.

Two numbers are sacred to the Cherokee. Four is one number, it represented the four primary directions. At the center of their paths lays the sacred fire. Seven is the other and most sacred number. Seven is represented in the seven directions: north, south, east, west, above, bellow, and "here in the center" (Lewis & Kneberg, p. 175), the place of the sacred fire. Seven also represented the seven ancient ceremonies that formed the yearly Cherokee religious cycle. Six of the ceremonies took place every year, the seventh was celebrated every seventh year. They were held between March and November, based on the phases of the crescent or new moon. The First New Moon of Spring Ceremony was the first.

The First New Moon of Spring Ceremony took place "When the grass began to grow and the trees send out their pale new leaves..." (Lewis & Kneberg, p. 176-77), around the first new moon of March. This festival initiated the planting season and incorporated predictions concerning crop success or failure. It lasted seven days and included dancing and the re-lighting of the sacred fire by the fire maker. The ceremony included sacrificing a deer tongue in the fire. All the home fires were extinguished and rekindled from the sacred fire’s coals.

In August came the Green Corn Ceremony. It was performed when the new corn was ripe enough to eat. New corn was not to be eaten until after the ceremony took place. Messengers were sent to notify the towns of the nation about when the celebration would take place. Along the way they gathered seven ears of corn, each from a field of a different clan. After the messengers returned, the chief and his seven councilors fasted for six days. The ceremony began on the seventh. Again, the sacred fire was extinguished and rekindled. As with the First New Moon Ceremony, a deer tongue was sacrificed in the sacred fire. Kernels from the seven ears of corn that had been gathered from the clans were also sacrificed. A powder made from tobacco was sprinkled over the fire. Afterward, the Chief offered a prayer, dedicating the corn to the Creator. Food that was made from the new corn was brought to the townhouse and everyone was fed. The Chief and his councilors could only eat corn from the previous year’s crop for another seven days.

The Ripe Corn Ceremony was held in late September. It was the only ancient ceremony that survived into the 20th century. It celebrated the maturing of the corn crop and was held outdoors in the square ground. In the center of the ground a leafy tree was set. The celebration lasted four days and was also marked by feasting. During the ceremony a special dance was performed by the Chief’s right-hand man, as he danced he carried a green bough. A man’s dance was also performed in which each man carried a green bough. While it was taking place women were excluded from the square.

The third ceremony in the cycle was the Great New Moon Ceremony. It took place in October when the new moon appeared. Since autumn was the season when Cherokee stories say the world was created, it represented the new year celebration. Each family brought some produce from their field to share, such as corn, beans and pumpkins. Ceremonies included dancing, purification by immersing seven times in water, called "going to water" (Mooney, p. 230). The purification ceremony included predictions of health for the coming year by the "priest" using the sacred crystal.

Ten days after the New Moon Ceremony "Atohuna" was held, the reconciliation or "Friends Made" ceremony. The ceremony dealt with relationships between two people of the same or opposite sex. According to Tribes that Slumber, "these relationships were bonds of "eternal friendship in which each person vowed to regard the other as himself as long as they both lived." (p.183) It was a ceremony that was a pledge of universal fraternal or paternal love. It also "entailed reconciliation between those who had quarreled during the previous year." (p. 183) It symbolized the uniting of the people with the Creator and purification of body and mind. The New Moon Ceremony was said to have been the "most profoundly religious" (p. 183) of all the ceremonies. As with other observances, it also involved the rekindling of the sacred fire.
The sixth ceremony in the cycle was the Bounding Bush Ceremony. Few details are now known about this ceremony. Apparently, it was non-religious in nature and was celebrated by feasting and dancing. In the dance, men an women alternated in pairs. Two male leaders carried hoops with four spokes, each with a white feather at the end. The remainder of the dance is described as follows: other pairs in the center and at the end of the dancing column also carried hoops. All of the remaining couples carried white pine boughs in their right hands. The dance movement was circular, and in the center was a man with a small box. He danced around within the circle, singing as he did so, and as he passed by the dancers, each dropped a piece of tobacco in the box...(Lewis & Kneberg, p. 185)

The dance ended at midnight and was repeated on three successive nights. On the fourth night there was a feast before the dancing. Dancing resumed at midnight. This time people dropped pine needles into the box. At the end of the dance, near daylight, the dancers formed a circle around the sacred fire: "One by one, they advanced three times toward the fire, the third time tossing both tobacco and pine needles into the flames." (Lewis & Kneberg, p. 185)

Every seventh year the Uku Dance replaced the Great New Moon ceremony. In this dance the Chief, or Uku, led the nation in a ceremony of thanks giving and rejoicing. At the conclusion of the four day observance, the Chief was "reinvested with his religious and civil powers by his right-hand man. "Uku was one of several titles conferred upon him. During ‘Friends Made’ ceremony, for example, his title meant ‘one who renews heart and body.’ " (Lewis & Kneberg, p. 185) Before the chief performed his dance, he was ritually bathed by his councilors with water warmed by the "Honored Woman." He wore special regalia for the occasion and performed a dance around a specially prepared circle in the center of the square ground. Prior to dancing, the Chief was carried from a specially prepared throne, painted white. His feet were not allowed to touch the ground until he was brought to the circle. As he danced, he moved slowly around the circle, inclining his head to each spectator. Each spectator bowed in turn to the Chief.

As was stated at the start, this is only a brief description of the ancient Cherokee ceremonial cycle. There were also a number of other dances performed for special purposes throughout the year. It is hoped that more information on these, and Cherokee cosmology in general, can be presented in the future.

by Rob Wood
Sources:Lewis, Thomas M. N. and Madeline Kneberg. Tribes that Slumber Indians of the Tennessee Region. Knoxville, Tennessee: The University of Tennessee Press, tenth printing 1994; 196 pp.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cherokee Removal Forts

The Trail of Tears is a tragic tale of force winning over decency and power winning over justice. While the focus today remains on the route traveled and the journey itself, for eight years prior to the event Cherokee were confronted with their future on a daily basis. Illegal stockades were built on Cherokee land, intended to house Cherokee people long before their forced journey on "The Trail of Tears."

"Cherokee Forts are built "

Earliest of the forts in Georgia, known as Camp Hinar Sixes, was built in September, 1830, shortly after the Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This camp was used to house members of the infamous Georgia Guard who took it upon themselves to brutalize the Cherokee even though at this time the settlers were illegal immigrants. In one instance in 1830, during the construction of the camp the Guard, without provocation, destroyed equipment that Cherokee miners were using to extract gold. The Georgia Guard did not officially exist until December of that year.
After Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, in which the Supreme Court refused to hear a case about Georgia extending its laws on the Cherokee, construction on the forts sped up. A year later the settlers were stunned when the Court ruled that Georgia could not extend its laws on a sovereign nation such as the Cherokee, but were again heartened by Andy Jackson's rumored statement (he probably never said it), "Well, John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it."

"Georgia Settlers and Removal "

Settlers were greatly divided on the issue of removal. Families that had lived in the Nation before the Georgia Gold Rush tended to be more supportive of the Cherokee. One reason for the strong bond was the acceptance of them by the tribe. White settlers were easily accepted into Cherokee society. The reverse was not true. In general, Georgians viewed the Cherokee as somewhat higher on the social level than slaves, but not much. Another reason that settlers were greatly divided was the support Cherokee had given struggling early settlers in their time of need.
Some settlers would taunt the Cherokee, telling them the forts were to be their new home. With great concern, Principal Chief John Ross and Whitepath, among others, journeyed to Washington to meet with Jackson. Jackson hypocritically told them "You shall remain in your ancient land as long as grass grows and water runs." In early 1835, before the Treaty of New Echota, work began on road improvements to move the Cherokee to the starting point for their removal.

"Military Operations begin "

After Major Ridge and other members of the Treaty Party sign the Treaty of New Echota, The Principal People hoped their leaders would get it modified so they might stay on their ancestral land. Even while a Cherokee delegation was in Washington Governor George Gilmer of Georgia and Secretary of War Joel Poinsett were plotting the invasion.
Local operations began on May 18, 1838, mostly carried out by Georgia Guard under the command of Colonel William Lindsey. The first Cherokee round-up under orders from United States General Winfield Scott started on May 25, 1838 with General Charles Floyd in charge of field operations.
General Scott was shocked during a trip to inspect Fort New Echota when he overheard members of The Guard say that they would not be happy until all Cherokee were dead. As a result, he issued meticulous orders on conduct and allowed actions during the action. Troops were to treat tribal members "with kindness and humanity, free from every strain of violence." Each Cherokee was to receive meat and flour or corn regardless of age. Scott's orders were disobeyed by most troops that were not directly under his control.


"Occupying the Forts "

Some Cherokee reported to the forts, not knowing the fate that awaited them, simply because John Ross had told them this is what they should do. Others stayed and were working in the fields when the soldiers came. The Georgia Guard had identified Cherokee homes. Aided by troops from Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee, Georgia militia would typically approach a home and enter the house. The resident(s) would then be forced to leave. The amount of time given residents to collect belongings varied greatly.

Some were forced to leave immediately while others had enough time to sell valuables to local settlers at bargain rates. There are numerous instances where settlers attempted to intervene when the Guard was being particularly rough on a family.

Conditions at the forts were horrible. Food intended for the tribe was sold to locals. What little the Cherokee had brought with them was stolen and sold. Living areas were filled with excrement. Birth rates among the Cherokee dropped to near zero during the months of captivity. Cherokee women and children were repeatedly raped. Soldiers forced their captives to perform acts of depravation so disgusting they cannot be told here. One member of the Guard would later write, "During the Civil War I watched as hundreds of men died, including my own brother, but none of that compares to what we did to the Cherokee Indians."

"Towards the Trail "

For a number of reasons nothing seemed to go right during the removal. The round up that began in mid-May was completed on June 2, 1838. Some Cherokee were forced to live in these conditions for up to five months before the start on the journey whose name is "Nunna daul Tsuny (Trail Where They Cried)."
As many as one-third of the 4,000 deaths as a direct result of the removal can be attributed to conditions in the prisons. Unfortunately, many of the Cherokee Removal Forts are unmarked and lost to time.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Legend of the White Buffalo


One summer a long time ago, the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Sioux came together and camped. The sun was strong and the people were starving for there was no game.
Two young men went out to hunt. Along the way, the two men met a beautiful young woman dressed in white who floated as she walked. One man had bad desires for the woman and tried to touch her, but was consumed by a cloud and turned into a pile of bones.

The woman spoke to the second young man and said, "Return to your people and tell them I am coming." This holy woman brought a wrapped bundle to the people. She unwrapped the bundle giving to the people a sacred pipe and teaching them how to use it to pray. "With this holy pipe, you will walk like a living prayer," she said. The holy woman told the Sioux about the value of the buffalo, the women and the children. "You are from Mother Earth," she told the women, "What you are doing is as great as the warriors do."

Before she left, she told the people she would return. As she walked away, she rolled over four times, turning into a white female buffalo calf. It is said after that day the Lakota honored their pipe, and buffalo were plentiful. (from John Lame Deer's telling in 1967).

Many believe that the buffalo calf, Miracle, born August 20, 1994 symbolizes the coming together of humanity into a oneness of heart, mind, and spirit.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

North America's Native People


The Great Plains (sometimes called the American prairies) fills the very center of the North American continent, stretching some 1,500 miles north to south (from the north central regions of Texas to the southern prairies of Canada) &more than 1,000 miles east to west (from the Mississippi-Missouri Valley to the Rocky Mountains). And while the Plains landscape appears to many to be a vast unbroken treeless &uniform grassland, it is in fact broken by ranges of hills &wooded river valleys, and consists of two subregions, the more humid eastern plains with tall-grass prairies &the drier western plains or steppe, where short-grass prairies dominate.

The valleys and hills were home to deer, elk, bear, antelope, and beaver, while in the mountains at the western edge lived mountain sheep. In the rivers were fish, and waterfowl were seasonally abundant during their annual migrations. But it was the bison who were the principal inhabitants of the grasslands. Up until the middle of the 19th century, more than 60 million of them lived in the region.

They provided the plains people (both the nomads &the cultivators) with meat for eating, fat for cooking, hides for house-covers &winter coats, bones &horns for a variety of tools, stomachs were made into carrying &sometimes cooking devices, even the tails found a use - as fly swatters.

Historical Overview
Before the Europeans

My heart is filled with joy when I see you here, as the brooks fill with water when the snows melt in the spring; and I feel glad, as the ponies do when the fresh grass starts in the beginning of the year. My people have never first drawn a bow or gun against whites. There has been trouble on the line between us, and my young men have danced the war dance. But it was not begun by us. It was you who sent out the first soldier and we who sent out the second. The blue dressed soldiers and the Utes came out from the night when it was dark and still, and for camp fires they lit our lodges. Instead of hunting game, they killed my braves, and the warriors of the tribe cut their hair for the dead. So it was in Texas.

They made sorrow come in our camps, and we went out like the buffalo bulls when the cows are attacked. When we found them we killed them and their scalps hang in our lodges. The Comanches are not weak and blind, like pups or a dog when seven sleeps old. they are strong and farsighted, like grown horses. We took their road and we went on it. The white women cried and our women laughed. But there are things which you have said which I do not like. They are not sweet like sugar, but bitter like gourds. You said that you wanted to put us upon a reservation, to build us houses and make us medicine lodges.

I do not want them. I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them I lived happily.Spoken by the great Yamparikas Comanche Paruasemena (Young Bear) at the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty.

COMANCHE, CHEYENNE, and SIOUX - names well-known to millions of fans of westerns (books, TV programs, movies). And for many non-Indians, it was the life-style of these &other Plains people that represents the very concept of "Indianness": nomadic, tepee-dwelling, horse-mounted buffalo hunters; warriors wearing eagle-feathered warbonnets &wielding lance &shield while attacking their enemies; young men subjecting themselves to days and days of isolation &starvation in search of a vision. While such features did exist among some Plains nations, neither were they universal nor, in the case of hunting buffalo from horseback, were they of any great time depth. It wasn't until the 17th century, following the arrival of the European-introduced horse to the Great Plains, that the "stereotypical" Plains culture of books, movies, &TV emerged &people began to live across the Plains. Before that, the area was nearly empty of human life, with two exceptions:

Along the river bottoms of the Mississippi-Missouri river drainage system in the eastern &middle plains lived sedentary village dwelling farmers (such as the Hidatsa, Mandan, Omaha, Kansa, Missouri, &others)

Scattered in various other plains locations lived foot nomads, such as the ancestors of the modern Blackfoot, Comanche, Kiowa, and various Shoshonean speaking nations.

Other Plains hunters, such as the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, &Dakota were latecomers to the Plains, abandoning their settled agricultural way of life for one of nomadic buffalo hunting and, as was the case on the southern Plains dwellers, raiding the towns of the native peoples of the Southwestern Culture Area.

But long before that, the Great Plains region was home to some of the earliest settlers in North America. Archaeological evidence for the first use of the Plains dates to about 12,000 years ago when the Clovis people, broad-spectrum big game hunters of the Paleo-Indian tradition, moved onto the Plains seeking a variety of large game. They hunted gigantic mammoths, a relative of the elephant, and other large game such as the ground sloth, musk-ox, reindeer, elk, brown bear and primitive horses.

By about 9000-8500 B.C., the broad-spectrum big-game hunters had begun to focus on a single animal species, the bison (an early cousin of the buffalo). The eariest known of these bison oriented traditions is Folsom. Folsom people moved around in small family groups for most of the year, returning yearly to the same springs &other favored locations on higher ground. There they would camp for a few days, perhaps erecting a temporary shelter, making &amp/or repairing some stone tools, or processing some meat, then moving on.

After 8000 B.C., hunter-gatherers on the Great Plains were not numerous &population densities were quite low. Although some Paleo-Indians continued as open plains bison hunters, hunting traditions became more varied and bison procurement methods more sophisticated. Additionally, some groups took to supplementing bison meat with other food resources (antelope, deer, bearn, small mammals, fish, &seasonally available wild vegetable foods).
Between about 5500 B.C. &0 B.C./A.D., regional adaptations became the norm with relying less on bison &more on a mixed economy of small game &gathered plant foods. In the western plains, groups moved toward the mountain valleys &shifted from nomadic hunting &gathering to more fixed base hunting, while the eastern groups turned to a mixed economy with far more dependence on vegetal foods &small game (deer, rabbits).

Between 1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D. a lifestyle emerged on the edges of the eastern Plains which set the stage for the sedentary horticulturalist tradition which existed at the time of European contact. Farmers from the Eastern Woodlands culture area began moving westward up the valleys of Mississippi tributaries, penetrating the Plains between 250 B.C. &950 A.D, &bringing with them features new to the Plains:

cultivation of indigenous plants (such as sunflower, goosefoot, pigweed, &others) as well as maize &beans (originally introduced to the Eastern Woodlands from Mexico)
burial of the dead in or under earthen mounds
the manufacture of pottery

The first Plains farming communities may have been inspired by &perhaps dervied from Hopewellian cultures,were up to 3-4 hectares in size, and participated in Hopewell trade networks, perhaps supplying Ohio Hopewellian communities with obsidian from Yellowstone Park &high-quality chalcedony from western North Dakota. The subsistence system included the cultivation of several species of indigenous plants, perhaps along with primitive strains of maize. In the northeastern Plains earthen mounds were built, including linear earthworks and conical burial mounds.

Often the burial mounds covered log-covered pits containing human burials, often along with bison skeletons &amp/or skulls, a decidedly Plains addition to typical Hopewellian burial mound patterns. Some anthropologists have suggested that these northeastern Plains mound-builders were ancestral to the historically known Dakota, Assiniboin, &Cheyenne people. It was also during this period that the bow &arrow, an Athapascan Subarctic Culture Area weapon, was introduced on the Plains.

The period between 1000 - 1850 A.D. witnessed the introduction of multi-family houses (semi-subterranean earth lodges) grouped into fixed villages. This new wave of eastern influence &colonies had its origins in Mississippian developments. Over time, the smaller villages of earlier times were abandoned in favor of fewer but larger, more consolidated &permanent settlements, usually equipped with numerous underground storage pits. Some of these new communities were fortified for defense purposes with ditches &stockades.

Farming was restricted to the alluvial bottomlands of larger rivers and although these new agricultural villagers continued to grow various local plant species, the subsistence system was improved with the introduction of advanced strains of maize &beans (possibly intrduced from Mexico). When the first European fur trappers &traders moved up the Mississippi-Missouri river system, they found flourishing farming nations with rich &elaborate cultural traditions. These nations were the direct ancestors of modern Plains people - the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Pawnee, Wichita, Omaha, Oto, Ponca, &Kansa.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Native Shaman and Medicineman

"Medicine man" is a western term used to describe Native American religious community figures. The meaning of the term is similar to that of "shaman". The word "medicine man" has been widelycriticized by Native Americans, and various scholars The term "shaman" is believed to have originated among the Siberian Tungus and the translation of shaman is "he (or she) who work with spirit helpers to returning the individual to a state of harmonious balance both within himself and in relationship to the outer world.

This holistic approach seeks to create a change not only in pathology, but also in the patient's understanding, a change towards healthier self-concept and greater appreciation of the world around him. Such growth supports the patient in necessary behavior modifications. The healer's intention is that the person be not simply cured of a disease, but transformed through the experience of disease.

In Lakota traditions, Wakan Tanka is a term for "The Great Spirit" which resides in every thing. Every creature and object has a wakan, such as wakan tanka kin, the wakan of the sun.


Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump


In addition to its massive size the buffalo also had a keen sense of hearing and smell. Before the advent of horses and guns, the Blackfoot tribe, along with other Plains Indians, developed effective hunting techniques involving hundreds of people. The evidence of one such method can be seen today at a site just outside Fort Macloed, Alberta. In the picture to the right are the 10 meter high cliffs known as Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. It is one the oldest, largest and best preserved buffalo jumps in North America. The name refers to a young Piegan brave who stood below the sandstone cliffs to watch a hunt and was later found under a pile of buffalo with his skull crushed in (Corbett 1997).

The jump is rich in prehistory; bone and tool beds nearly 11 meters thick lie beneath the cliffs. Radiocarbon dating of the bones establishes that the site was first used as a buffalo jump over 5,700 years ago, more than 500 years before the Stonehenge was built in England. There is also evidence from two 9,000 year old spear points that man visited during early prehistoric times, thought it is uncertain if the jump was used by these hunters (HSIBJ Official Site 1997). Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is just one part of a communal kill site complex. The buffalo would graze in the basins above the cliffs where the young men would disguise themselves under wolf and buffalo calf skins to lure and then push the herd into narrow drive lanes marked by stone cairns (heaps of stones), some of which are still evident.

A long the way hunters hidden behind brush piles would jump up and wave buffalo robes to keep the animals going on course. There was a visual deception that made the land above and below the cliff appear unbroken; the buffalo, usually galloping at full speed, were unable to stop or veer away once they saw the cliff. After the drive hunters used spears to finish off the buffalo as the 10 meter fall didn't always immediately kill the animals (Corbett 1997). The carcasses were then dragged to the nearby campsite for butchering and skinning, a task shared by the hunters. The meat was divided accordingly to the need of each family while special allotments were made for the sick and elderly. Communal hunts took place in June, July, and August when the buffalo fat and their meat prime.

Out of respect of kinship with the buffalo and the sense of eating their own flesh the Blackfeet describe the hunt as leading the buffalo and calling to them, not driving or chasing them to their death. It was a good life that sustained itself for thousands of years, but it all ended in less than a century with the arrival of the horse and gun in 1730.

Today the Blackfoot tribes reside on four reservations. Over 6,000 Indians, mostly of Piegan decent, live on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana (also known as Pikuni); fewer than 20 percent are full blood. In addition, there are more than 9,000 Indians living on the Blackfoot, Blood, and Piegan reservations in Alberta (Britannica Online). (According to the 1990 census by the U.S. Department of Congress there are 32,234 Blackfoot Indians comprising 1.7 percent of the current Indian population.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

mythical White Buffalo (A Legend)

One summer a long time ago, the seven sacred council fires of the Lakota Sioux came together and camped. The sun was strong and the people were starving for there was no game.

Two young men went out to hunt. Along the way, the two men met a beautiful young woman dressed in white who floated as she walked. One man had bad desires for the woman and tried to touch her, but was consumed by a cloud and turned into a pile of bones.

The woman spoke to the second young man and said, "Return to your people and tell them I am coming." This holy woman brought a wrapped bundle to the people. She unwrapped the bundle giving to the people a sacred pipe and teaching them how to use it to pray. "With this holy pipe, you will walk like a living prayer," she said. The holy woman told the Sioux about the value of the buffalo, the women and the children. "You are from Mother Earth," she told the women, "What you are doing is as great as the warriors do."

Before she left, she told the people she would return. As she walked away, she rolled over four times, turning into a white female buffalo calf. It is said after that day the Lakota honored their pipe, and buffalo were plentiful. (from John Lame Deer's telling in 1967).

Many believe that the buffalo calf, Miracle, born August 20, 1994 symbolizes the coming together of humanity into a oneness of heart, mind, and spirit.


"American Legend is made flesh"

No longer mythical White Buffalo a beacon to Plains tribes......
from the Houston Chronicle, Sept. 24, 1994

Miracle stands in her mother’s shadow, her champagne coat, ghostlike against the chocolate-colored herd. She is a mat of fuzz on a newborn frame. Yet Miracle is rarely among land-roving beasts. She is the mythical White Buffalo - symbol of hope, rebirth and unity for the Great Plains tribes.

Searching for Miracle will take you down long gravel path on the Heider family farm in south central Wisconsin. Three thousand pilgrims made the walk down the coarse stones earlier this month hoping to catch a glimpse of Miracle. Every day more come from all corners of the country. One man came from Ireland.

If all of this sounds a little crazy to you, consider this: The chance of a white buffalo being born makes your odds of winning the lottery look good, Miracles likelihood, according to the numbers from the National Buffalo Association, is somewhere in the range of 6 billion. Consider also that the only other documented white buffalo this century died in 1959. His name was Big Medicine. He lived for 36 years.

Now, there is Miracle, the infant calf born to a 1,100 -pound mother and now deceased father on Dave and Valerie Heider’s farm on the banks of the Rock River. She is a beacon for believers.
"The arrival of the white buffalo is like the second coming of Christ, says Floyd Hand, a Sioux medicine man from Pine Ridge, S.D., who was one of the first to make the pilgrimage. It "will bring about purity of mind, body and spirit, and unify all nations, black, red, yellow, and white."
There are countless stories about the White Buffalo, a different tale for every tribe.

"Many years ago, says Tony Ironshell of the Rosebud Sioux tribe in South Dakota, three hunters encountered a white buffalo calf. The white buffalo turned into a woman and instructed the hunters to return to their village and prepare for her arrival. When she came four days later, she carried the sacred pipe. With that pipe she brought Sioux laws, and many things changed. The pipe from the White Buffalo Calfwoman is still kept in South Dakota.

In their ancient White Buffalo Dance, the Fox Indians of Wisconsin shadow the vision of a legendary hunter, who could turn himself into a white buffalo at will after the beast appeared to him in a dream. A white buffalo with red eyes and horns, says the Fox, gave the hunter the power to single-handedly turn back an army of attacking Sioux.

Before the white buffalo’s birth, the Heiders had never known an Indian and knew little about Indian culture.

Now they are careful to say, "Native American," quickly correcting their tongues when they slip. And they readily recount the white buffalo stories they have heard.

"I am told, " says Valerie, "that Miracle’s birth means the rebirth of the Native American culture and a new peace with the whites.... I know that you have never been bear-hugged until you’ve been bear-hugged by a Native American."

Susan Shown Harjo cried at her Washington D.C. office when she heard about the birth of the white buffalo calf. "It filled me with joy that had to spill over," says Harjo, who is Cheyenne and Muskogee. "The white buffalo is an important symbol for a lot of Plains Indians because they are messengers of creation. It is an important sign of well being on the verge of an awakening."
Harjo, president of the Washington based Morning Star Institute, which works to preserve native culture, says the birth of Miracle should make "all people pause the world over."
Heider had never even heard of a white buffalo when he went out at 6:00 am on Aug. 20 (1994) to check the buffalo cow who seemed ready to give birth. Instead of the reddish-brown calf he expected to find, he had a shock.

"She was white. I couldn’t believe it," he says, still shaking his head. "That kind of thing only happens in fairy tales - and, now I know, in Indian tales too."

Heider called a journalist friend to tell her he had a cute little story about a white buffalo being born. He had no idea of the importance of the White Buffalo in the Indian mythology. The next thing he knew, The Associated Press picked up the story, and what started as a trickle of curious visitors became a torrent.

The Heiders, who are about 12 years shy of retirement age, have taken refuge in their home. The attention has become too much. Still, they have turned down countless offer to take Miracle off their hands.

"Miracle is going to stay and be with the herd," says Valerie.

They see no end to the crowds, but have no plans to profit from Miracle’s birth. They’ve put out a bucket for donations from well-wishers to provide for security and are awaiting a $4,600 electric gate they hope will give them week-day peace.

"As far as we know, Miracle will be something people will want to see as long as she lives," says Dave. "But my life ain’t gonna stop."

Even as he speaks, two more pilgrims pull up and start to make the long walk to Miracle.

Monday, January 5, 2009



While working for the Menninger Foundation in 1971, Doug Boyd met Rolling Thunder, a spiritual leader of the Cherokee and Shoshone tribes. About the shaman, Boyd wrote, "Each day it was becoming clearer to me that Rolling Thunder was a teacher who could offer me insights that I could never achieve in the laboratory or discover in the library."

One day during lunch, Rolling Thunder explained the Indian's view of chaos through ecological imbalance.

"When you have pollution in one place, it spreads all over. It spreads just as arthritis or cancer spreads in the body. The earth is sick now because the earth is being mistreated, and some of the problems that may occur, some of the natural disasters that might happen in the near future are only the natural readjustments that have to take place to throw off sickness. A lot of things are on this land that don't belong here. They're foreign objects like viruses or germs. Now, we may not recognize the fact when it happens, but a lot of the things that are going to happen in the future will really be the earth's attempt to throw off some of these sicknesses. This is really going to be like fever or like vomiting, what you might call a physiological adjustment.

"It's very important for people to realize this. The earth is a living organism, the body of a higher individual who has a will and wants to be well, who is at times less healthy or more healthy, physically and mentally. People should treat their own bodies with respect. It's the same thing with the earth. Too many people don't know that when they harm the earth they harm themselves, nor do the realize that when they harm themselves they harm the earth...

"It's not very easy for you people to understand these things because understanding is not knowing the kind of facts that your books and teachers talk about. I can tell you that understanding begins with love and respect. It begins with respect for the Great Spirit, and the Great Spirit is the life that is in all things -- all the creatures and the plants and even the rocks and the minerals. All things -- and I mean all things -- have their own will and their own way, their own purpose; this is what is to be respected.

"Such respect is not a feeling or an attitude only. It's a way of life. Such respect means that we never stop realizing and never neglect to carry out our obligation to ourselves and our environment."

Rolling Thunder offers a philospohical or religious basis for contemporary ecological thought. His view is fundamental to understanding Native American belief systems. Certainly, there are sound scientific reasons supporting the various ecology movements, and for scientific minds that may be enough. However, integrating both views may ultimately prove more reliable and productive than choosing one or the other.


*more information


Pow Wow information of all kinds

Pow Wow information of all kinds
Pow Wow time is the Native American people’s way of meeting together

History of Native Indians, in video's

Douglas Blue Feather, Cherokee heritage,

Douglas Blue Feather, Cherokee heritage,
performer of contemporary Native American flute music.

ancient Hopi Indian prophecy

Spirit of the Bear Link

Spirit of the Bear Link
we are all related(much good info)


First People

Native for the Soul

Native for the Soul
wonderful site, native indian

Links for Mother Earth

The Rainforest Site

The Rainforest Site
The Rainforest Site is dedicated to the preservation of rainforests around the world

Plant a Tree

Plant a Tree
Plant a Tree

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity

Protect Wildlife

Protect Wildlife
ways and places to go , to protect mother earth & wildLife

Defenders of Wildlife

Feed The Children

Feed The Children
Feed The Children

Feed The Hungry

Feed The Hungry
Feed The Hungry