RETURN BTTB HOMEPAGE
The end of the year draws upon us, and it is always a time of reflection for me, a time for a quiet look back at the road we walked as another Circle is completed.
It seems like only yesterday that everyone was in aflurry about the Y2K that was going to destroy computers, crash cars and planes and set of raids on supermarkets. Everyone was warned to stock up on food and to prepare for Armageddon. There were warnings from kindly intentioned friends to "leave the city!"
Evergreen and I did stock up on water, but otherwise we just lived our lives. It was hard for me to believe that the Creator would let us succumb to some man-made disaster that would affect the poor more than the wealthy. My real worry was that the constant doomsday predictions from TV would trigger a crisis by those millions of people who had nowhere to run to; who lived on fixed incomes and could not stockpile three months of food. I worried about those who were stockpiling weapons to use against their neighbors who they expected to be raiding them when the food ran out. But at the stroke of midnight, all was well. My family went downstairs, and watched the stars in the clear night sky, and burned some sage in thanksgiving.
At the end of the year, I also think of those who have walked on ahead of us, and made their transition to the Spirit World. This year my Dad walked on. My mother made her transistion in 1984, too young, from a stroke, like so many of our people do these days.
It leaves a big spae in your heart to realize there is no one who will remember your birth, your first tooth, your first steps, someone who remembers all of the successes and failures that made us who we are. Someone who sees us "in context".
Brothers and sisters remember many things; to a certain extent, but they were living their own childhood dramas and see you either as the elder or the younger, even if you are a twin. But they can't look back from the same perspective as a parent.
No matter how old you get, there's something comforting about taking your troubles or plans to parents for comments or advice. No matter how old we get - they've been around longer. They know our strengths and weaknesses; they can acurately measure our long-term progress.
So, for all you folks that still have your parents, no matter how crotchety and obstinate they are; take a moment and remember the good things. That is what you will remember most when they have Walked On.
Did any of you come to New York for the Leonard Peltier March? Did you go to the Sunrise Ceremony early Sunday morning in Battery Square Park? Evergreen, Little Horse and I were there. I had on a turquoise blue blanket coat; and we stood near the Eastern Gate of the circle.
Walk In Harmony, Day Starr
For the new readers, last fall I was caught in a spray of the pesticide malathion that was used to kill mosquitos, even though it is known to be toxic. The city was sprayed again and again and again. I was one of the thousands of folks who had severe reactions to the spray. And since I'm the one who does most of the writing for BTTB... well, it looked bad for the home team!
The first thing tht happened when the spaying began was thougsands of crows began to die. This hurt me deeply, because I have a special connection with Koga (crow). There was one in particular who would stand on the roof across from my window and caw at a certain time each morning to wake me up. We would often hold conversations, Koga would caw twice, I'd caw three times, Koga would caw four; and so on.
I never saw a crow again in our neighborhood after they began spraying the malathion pesticide. The very next day, they just disappeared. I did not know if they died, or if they warned each other that there was a danger and they needed to leave.
I felt a deep sadness in the morning when Koga was no longer there to awaken me. At the same time, I began to cough, first just a little, then a lot. Then constandtly. I became allergic to any type of pollution, from cigarette smoke to car exhaust; to dust raised when the heat comes up. We spent the winter bundled up inside the apartment because I would cough even more when the heat came up. It was especially hard since I do not take any medicinal drugs, and only use natural healing methods. But this time, I would cough so hard that I could not keep the herbal teas down!
At one point I was feeling especially down, and I burned some sweetgrass and did some praying and meditating. I took it as a good sign that the sweetgrass did not make me cough.
And I got the message that I would get better when the crows came back.
I want to thank all of you who said prayers for me, and sent out good energy. I am about 85% better, and getting stronger every day. You can't keep a Wolf Clan person down forever. Still, I could use a lot of help from you poets and writers out there, and even those who just want to drop a few lines to tell us what is happening in your neck of the woods -- Native events, pow-wows, personal accomplishments, family history or if you have any questions about Cherokee culture or history we can hlep you with.
So, forward every, backward never! Keep me in your prayers.
For the Chinese, the Year of the Dragon, (4600 I think), will begin on February 5th. The Hebrew year is 5760. The Hindus have their own year, the Mayans theirs.
To Native people, time is relative. Indigenous peoples of the world did not see time as a line that began here and ended there. We were not, as the group Pink Floyd once sang, "ticking away the minutes that make up the dull day™Èhorter of breath and one day closer to death."
Life, and time, came in cycles, like the seasons. Even in places where there were no four seasons, there was a rainy season, a dry season. Plants grew, they blossomed, they matured, they withered and died. Then the cycle began all over again.
The thin new moon appeared in the sky, it grew larger and larger, it became full, it became thinner, it disappeared. It returned.
Our celebrations were rooted to the Earth Mother and her seasons, and influenced by Father Sky and his patterns. Watching the orderly movement of the night skies, living in harmony with the rhythms of nature gives us a sense of infinity and transformation. We did not see ourselves as a people born as sinners, with someone keeping a ledger of our trespasses. In fact, we did not think about sin at all.
What we were concerned with was maintaining harmony, among ourselves, and between ourselves and the Earth Mother. We have ceremonies to celebrate the bountiful harvests we receive from the Earth, celebrations to harmonize ourselves with the Earth's cycles, such as the First New Moon of Spring. The Adahuna festival was a time of reconciliation among our people, which served to harmonize relationships within the clan, village and nation. There was a ceremony of purification and cleansing, old fires were put out and new ones kindled, old angers erased and special friendships made.
This "Friends Making" doesn't seem to have an equivalent in Yonega society, but something similar existed in traditional Chinese culture. How many of you have seen the old Chinese movies where two warriors swear to become brothers, and the bond is so strong they would even give their life for one another? This is similar to our Friends Making ceremony. Men and women could also swear to friendship at these rites. The couple could never marry, and no sexual relations could ever be allowed, but they could spend time together and confide in each other as if they were the closest of blood relatives.
How unfortunate that instead of using the New Year as a time of unity as we passed together into a New Age, the propaganda media at the behest of the occupation government, tried it's best to fill us with the fear of terrorism and bomb threats. Tried to keep us locked into the same sense of division and hatred that we should have left back in the 1900's!
Hatred and fear sold more papers and TV time, in the 1900's, and made (some of us) willing to accept more infringements on our freedom. If we weren't deathly afraid of someone attacking us, we might demand money for housing, healthcare and education instead of stealth bombers and nuclear weapons. We might start planning according to how our choices will affect the future of our seventh generation to come. Well, the millennium is still young - it can still happen! We can change our minds, change our hearts! We can begin to live as if we believe that we are Ani Yunwiya, Real People, Ikce Wicasa, free natural human beings and not a little dv-gi , going around in circles, waiting for the fly swat to mash us down.
Don't let someone else tell us who our friends and enemies are. I recently received some troubling statistics from brother Sam Beeler, that Indians were far more likely to be victims of violent crime than any other race, and the rate of violent crime against Indian women is nearly 50% higher than that against Black males! And folks, this violence against us had nothing at all to do with Arab or Islamic terrorists.
I'm not singing "happy days are here again". There are some very real problems that are affecting us, but they are challenges that we can rise to meet. Our ancestors, grandparents and parents all faced challenges, many of them during harder times than we are facing. We can do this. We can overcome - and thrive!
We're living in a year that ends in zero. Doesn't that give you a sense of a new beginning, a fresh slate?
Get ready for the Roaring Twenties and the Swinging Sixties!
Walk In Harmony,