Tag Archives: Native American

How Reconciliation With Native America Can Save Us

By Neenah Payne

Native American Day: Learning The Way of Earth explains that  Dr. Zach Bush warns we are in the Sixth Great Extinction and human survival depends on the urgent restoration of our soils (earth).  So, the world — led by the West — is in very grave trouble now.  However, we are facing not “just’ an ecological crisis. America is facing constitutional, political, and economic crises so severe there are growing predictions of a second Civil War. How did we get this far off course? Is there a principle that can unite us?

If so, where and how can we find it? Perhaps it’s with the guidance from Native American nations that our Founding Fathers sought to follow — but failed to go deep enough.

Capitalism ignores that endless growth is not possible on a finite planet. Where will we find the inspiration to change our relationship to the Earth on which we depend for survival?

Philip P. Arnold, a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) and associate professor of indigenous religions at Syracuse University, says:  “How we in the larger society regard indigenous peoples — who have an ongoing relationship with the living earth — will determine our ability to survive.” The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry of Native Americans.

Iroquois Chief Canassatego Advised US Founding Fathers

How an Iroquois Chief Helped Write the U.S. Constitution explains:

“There was nothing inevitable about 13 separate colonies becoming a single, united nation. In fact, one generation before Thomas Jefferson put his pen to paper to declare independence from Great Britain in 1776, the idea of such a union was all but unthinkable. For decades before the American Revolution and for at least 13 years thereafter, the colonies squabbled with one another, in some ways just as they had with the British Crown.”

How the Iroquois Great Law of Peace Shaped U.S. Democracy explains that Canassatego (c. 1684–1750) was a leader of the Onondaga nation, one of the then five nations in the Iroquois Confederacy. He was a prominent diplomat and spokesman of the Confederacy in the 1740s. Chief Canassatego is now best known for a speech he gave at the 1744 Treaty of Lancaster, where he recommended that the British colonies emulate the Iroquois by forming a confederacy.

Chief Canassatego addressing Continental Congress members including Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock and Patrick Henry in Philadelphia on June 11, 1776, promoting peace and friendship as advocated hundreds of years earlier by Hiawatha and Deganawida.

The Origins of the Idea of a Democratic Confederacy says:

“Canassatego became a prominent diplomat and spokesman of the Iroquois Confederacy in the 1740s. He served as the speaker for Onondagas at another conference in 1742.

Near the end of the conference, Canassatego gave the colonists some advice: ‘We have one thing further to say, and that is We heartily recommend Union and a Good Agreement between you our Brethren. Never disagree, but preserve a strict Friendship for one another, and thereby you as well as we will become the Stronger. Our wise Forefathers established Union and Amity between the Five Nations; this has made us formidable, this has given us great weight and Authority with our Neighboring Nations. We are a powerful confederacy, and, by your observing the same Methods our wise Forefathers have taken, you will acquire fresh Strength and Power; therefore, whatever befalls you, never fall out with one another.’”

What US Founding Fathers Forgot

The Secret History Of The United States 🇺🇸 | Chief Oren Lyons

We Can’t Live Without This | Chief Oren Lyons

Haudenosaunee: World’s Oldest Living Democracy

Two great Native American leaders named Hiawatha and ‘Peacemaker’ united five tribes, changed America. “Peacemaker” Deganawida and Hiawatha convinced five tribes to stop fighting and live in peace with one another, forming the Iroquois Federation.

Bill Moyers interviewed Chief Lyons on the Haudenosaunee land in 1991. Chief Lyons explains that despite 500 years of opposition, the Haudenosaunee and their traditions are still intact. The Haudenosaunee are a sovereign a nation and travel on their own passport.

Chief Lyons tells the story of the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy. He explains how over a thousand years ago, the Peacemaker taught the five warring tribes how to cooperate for survival. These are lessons America needs to hear now as we are so divided that there are growing predictions of a second Civil War. Will we be wise enough now to listen and learn again from our Native American neighbors?

The US Founding Fathers studied with Native Americans for 30 years. It was only enough time to scratch the surface of these profound cultures. We must integrate this study into our curriculums at every level now to understand and adopt the values of Native America. Nations that have survived thousands of years have much to teach us — if we will only listen now.

Values Change For Survival

Values Change For Survival shows that Chief Lyons said in his report to the United Nations the West must shift our values now to survive. Reconciliation can guide us in adopting those values. Chief Lyons warned, “You’re either going to change your values or you’re not going to survive!”

We were told we would see America come and go — and in a sense, America is dying from within because they forgot the instructions of how to live on Earth.” – Floyd Red Crow Westerman.

November is Native American Heritage Month, an opportunity to learn from the many rich traditions of Native Americans.  There are 500 Native Nations in this hemisphere — many of which have been here tens of thousands of years. Can these ancient wisdom keepers guide us now? Many Americans seem to think so as they flock to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca with shamans. However, although many of our states, cities, and rivers carry Native names, most Americans ignore Native America and know little about these cultures. We were told that Europe had a “Manifest Destiny” to take over this hemisphere because it brought a civilization vastly superior and Native American cultures were “primitive”.

Mikki Willis is the creator of Plandemic: The Hidden Agenda Behind COVID-19 and Plandemic: Indoctornation that when viral in 2020. He said that Plandemic 3 which is coming out this year will recommend that we adopt the Native American system of counsels. However, without a shift in values, that would lead us to repeat the mistake the US Founding Fathers made — copying just a part of the form of the Native American systems. We must now understand the spirit of these cultures.

Reconciliation With Native America Is Key To Our Own Survival

We need to learn the truth of our history now to ensure our own survival.

Truth and Reconciliation is a form of restorative justice, which differs from adversarial or retributive justice. Retributive justice aims to find fault and punish the guilty. Restorative justice aims to heal relationships between offenders and victims. Those involved in Reconciliation seek to uncover important facts to establish the truth. The process allows for acknowledgment, public mourning, forgiveness, change, and healing for all. These are steps to end 500+ years of colonialism.

Several countries have implemented Reconciliation:

  1. South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 1996.
  2. Reconciliation Australia established in 2001.
  3. Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commissionestablished in 2008.

What Is Reconciliation?

Two Rivers Film: Inspiring Reconciliation In Washington State

Two Rivers is an award-winning film about an American couple in Washington state who initiated reconciliation with the Native Americans who had been pushed off the land there. Within five years, many more people had joined, and together they launched social and political reconciliation initiatives that changed their community and race relations across the Northwest. See the trailer.

The Story explains that Glen Schmekel was taking a walk on his property in Washington State in 1999.

I felt like I heard a word in my heart that was asking two questions,” recalls the school district executive.  “The first question was, ‘Have you considered my host people?’  And the second question was, ‘Have you been planting any seeds that would grow up to a harvest?’”

Schmekel was living with his wife Carolyn, an interior designer, in the small, upscale, predominantly White town of Twisp, located at the confluence of the Twisp and Methow rivers in Washington. Schmekel knew the first question referred to the original inhabitants of the valley — The Methow Indians, a Plateau Indian tribe which had been decimated by historical White policies and practices.  The few Methows who had survived had been shut out of their valley for decades, shunted onto the nearby Colville reservation and forbidden to fish, hunt, or harvest their sacred food and medicinal plants.

Glen thought the second question referred to a feeling he and Carolyn had that something was missing in their community.  The idea of initiating something that might expand and enrich community life in Twisp was exciting to the Schmekels. Through a series of coincidences, the couple met Spencer Martin, a spiritual leader of Methow, Squaxin, and Colville Indian descent.  As they came together and drew in other Native and White Americans from the Methow Valley, a remarkable journey unfolded.  Two Rivers,  a 60-minute documentary, traces this moving journey of discovery, connection, reconciliation, and lasting social change.

By 2003, the two groups felt it was time to take their private reconciliation process to the larger community — and the community was excited to receive it.  The first Two Rivers Powwow, held that August at the confluence of the Twisp and Methow rivers, was a public reconciliation ceremony acknowledging the changes that had occurred between the local Native and White Americans.  A ripple effect begins as other White townspeople and reservation Natives are drawn to the ceremony.

After the first annual “Heart of the Methow” Powwow in 2003, local ranchers and farmers ceded 300 acres so Indians could harvest their sacred medicine plants and foods, Methow teachings were integrated into the school curriculum, and 2.5 acres were donated for the Methow Valley Interpretive Center for a permanent place to honor the Methow people.

Methow Valley Interpretive Center

The Methow Valley Interpretive Center provides lots of videos and other information.

The video below discusses the 2017 book Lost Homeland: The Methow Tribe and the Columbia Reservation. There are several other videos on the site.

We’re All Tribal Peoples

The Shamanic Odyssey: Homer, Tolkien, and the Visionary Experience by Robert Tindall explains that the West faces a choice between two paths. The one we are on leads to death. The other is reconciliation with our own indigenous roots which leads to transformation of consciousness and a new Garden of Eden. Time is very short now to make this choice. Reconciliation leads to a communion with ourselves, all peoples, all species – and Spirit.

What Happened to the Tribes of Europe

Spencer Martin: In this universe, all things are connected: “The Whites from the Methow Valley….[their] ancestors back in Europe were once indigenous—and they were exterminated, just as we were exterminated. How much of the genocide that  was inflicted on us was the result of the nature-worshiping religions of Europe being destroyed before us?

If Europeans couldn’t keep their indigenous ways, how were they going to allow us to keep ours? Without dealing with their own anger, they keep projecting it onto other people….Most of the people who settled this country weren’t all that popular in the countries they left.…They were persecuted, abused, they weren’t treated with respect. Most of them don’t remember why they’re angry; they’re just angry.”

National Day of Transformation

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Meade

“Decolonization Starts Inside of You”: Colonization is about creating separation—separation among people and separation from spirit and our connection to the Earth. Humans have been taking more than we need, and we haven’t been giving enough back.

I’m Dreaming About a Modern World That Doesn’t Erase Its Indigenous Intelligence
In over 80 nations, oppressive domination has been dismantled.

Why We Must Be Honest This Thanksgiving shows that Thanksgiving is a Day of Mourning for many Native Americans. Just as “Columbus Day” has become “Native American Day” in a number of cities and states, Thanksgiving may become a “National Day of Transformation” that allows Americans to reconcile with Native Americans and create a more enlightened world.

The National Day of Transformation Flip Book provides an easy way to get started.

The National Day of Transformation site is designed to assist Reconciliation by providing information on topics not covered in the media or our educational system.

This App Can Tell You the Indigenous History of the Land You Live On

Whose land are you on? Find out at native-land.ca.

Shift Of the Ages explains “It’s about time”.

Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze

Veterans With PTSD Find Relief in Native American Rituals

Originally Published @ VOA NEWS
By Cecily Hilleary, March 22nd, 2018

WASHINGTON — 

“I wasn’t the kind of guy you’d want to meet in a dark alley.”

That’s how U.S. Army veteran Michael Carroll, 39, from Spokane, Wash., described himself after coming home in 2004 after serving 18 months in Iraq.

He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and given an honorable discharge.

“The transition from military to civilian life was definitely unpleasant,” he said. “I was extremely temperamental and hostile, and I lashed out a lot. Anything could trigger me — sounds to smells to seeing trash on the side of the road,” a reminder of explosive devices used against coalition forces in the Iraq war.

Over the next few years, he underwent the standard treatment for PTSD — psychotherapy and medication — which he said did him more harm than good.

In 2009, while undergoing therapy at the Spokane Veterans Center, he heard about an outdoor recreational retreat for traumatized veterans, organized and funded by a group of Spokane Valley firefighters.

“And that’s where I encountered my first sweat lodge,” Carroll said. “It blew my mind. And it saved my life.”

Bringing veterans home

Since ancient times, Native American and Alaskan Natives have held warriors in high esteem and have developed a wide variety of prayers, ceremonies and rituals to honor returning soldiers and ease them back into community life.

One of the most common is the “sweat,” a ritual steam bath believed to have originated among Plains Indians that is practiced today by many tribes, with variations according to individual tribal cultures and traditions.

This 1898 photo by an unknown photographer shows a group of Dakota tribe members posing for the camera inside a sweat lodge. The raised coverings indicate that a sweat ceremony is not underway. Courtesy: National Archaeological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
This 1898 photo by an unknown photographer shows a group of Dakota tribe members posing for the camera inside a sweat lodge. The raised coverings indicate that a sweat ceremony is not underway. Courtesy: National Archaeological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

The U.S. Veterans Administration has recognized the value of sweats to Native service members, and since the 1990s, has allowed them to conduct sweats at several VA medical centers across the country. It was only a matter of time before non-Native veterans began to take notice.

“In college, I was a sociology major, and I learned about the importance of the sacred, the ritual and the ceremony,” said Darrin Coldiron, a Spokane Valley firefighter and president of Veterans Community Response (VCR), an all-volunteer group that hosts several retreats a year. “I learned that in so many societies, when you send a warrior off, there’s a ceremony, and you bring them home with ceremony.”

Craig Falcon, a member of the Blackfeet tribe who conducts ceremonies at VCR retreats, explained how the sweat has been used in his culture to help warriors readjust to civilian life.

Photo shows cultural advisor Craig Falcon (R) blessing Roger Vielle, both members of Blackfeet tribe, during a Vietnam veterans retreat on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, September 2017. Courtesy, Wingspan Media Productions.
Photo shows cultural advisor Craig Falcon (R) blessing Roger Vielle, both members of Blackfeet tribe, during a Vietnam veterans retreat on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, September 2017. Courtesy, Wingspan Media Productions.

“You come back from war with things attached to you,” he said. “And some of those things may not be good. They could be memories. Or It could be somebody you killed, and that person attaches himself to you and comes home with you. Ceremonies help wash those things off, send them back to where they came from and get you back to who you are.”

Roger Vielle, also Blackfeet, serves on VCR’s board as cultural adviser. At first, he wasn’t sure how non-Natives would handle the sweat.

“Some of the stories they share afterward and some of the things that have happened to them during the sweat are like —” He paused to find words.

“They say something happens there,” he said. “They’ve gotten in touch with something. And I tell them, ‘I’m not the one doing it. I’m just facilitating it. You did the work. You did the prayers.’”

VCR retreats are funded entirely by donors and cost the participants nothing. That’s because no legitimate tribal healer would ever charge money for a ceremony.

Private and sacred

Carroll admitted to being skeptical — and a little fearful — of his first sweat.

“But then you go inside the sweat lodge, and of course the herbs are dropped on the rocks, and the drum is starting to play,” he said. “Then you pray and you begin to feel the toxins pour out of your body. And a lot of time, there’s a sense of another presence, something in that lodge besides you and the other people gathered there.”

Iraq War veteran Michael Carroll, assisting in building the frame for a sweat lodge under the direction of Blackfeet Indian cultural advisors. Courtesy: Michael Carroll.
Iraq War veteran Michael Carroll, assisting in building the frame for a sweat lodge under the direction of Blackfeet Indian cultural advisors. Courtesy: Michael Carroll.

Vielle and Falcon were reluctant to share too many details about the ceremonies, which are sacred to their culture.

“Non-Natives are really exploiting our way of life and our ceremonies, grabbing them and selling them,” said Falcon, recalling the 2009 deaths of three people at an Arizona sweat ceremony conducted by non-Native, New Age guru James Arthur Ray.

Medical staff are on hand at every VCR retreat.

Sometimes, he said, veterans come out of sweats wanting to build sweat lodges in their own backyards.

“I tell them, ‘I can’t stop you if you want to go and build one. But it won’t be done in the right way,’” Falcon said. “And once I tell them that, they are very respectful and say, ‘I’ll build a sauna instead.’”

Editor’s note: Originally, VOA published a photograph showing the interior of a sweat lodge. That photo has been removed at the request of Blackfeet Nation cultural advisers, who explained that such images violate the sacredness of the sweat lodge ceremony.