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Nativ american VINDECARE by Gary Null de Gary Null copyright, 1996

drepturile de autor, 1996

Native Americans Speak Out on Sacred Healing and Transformational Rituals Native
americanii Speak out pe Sacru Vindecarea i transformational Ritualuri
Note: The information on this website is not a substitute for Not: Informaiile de pe acest site nu este un substitut
diagnosis and treatment by a qualified, licensed professional. diagnosticarea i tratamentul cu majoritate calificat,
liceniat profesionale.

According to Lakota [Sioux] lore, a long time ago, during a time of famine, a woman appeared,
wearing white buffalo skin, and carrying a sacred pipe. Potrivit Lakota [Sioux] Lore, cu mult
timp n urm, ntr-o perioad de foamete, o femeie a aprut, poart pielea alb de bivol, i care
transport o conduct sacru. She explained that the wooden stem was for the trees, and
everything growing on earth, the red bowl symbolized the flesh and blood of all people, and the
smoke was the breath of their prayers going to Wakan Tanka, the Creator. Ea a explicat c provin
din lemn a fost pentru copaci, i totul n cretere de pe pmnt, bol rosu simboliza carne i oase a
tuturor oamenilor, i de fum a fost suflare de rugciunile lor de gnd s Wakan Tanka, Creatorul.
The woman showed the people the pipe ceremony, where offerings were made to the four
directions, while drums were played, and sacred songs were sung. Femeia a artat poporului
eava de ceremonie, n cazul n care s-au fcut oferte de la cele patru directii, n timp ce tobe s-au
jucat, i cntece sacre au fost cntate. The people learned of the connection between the sky and
the earth and the unity of all life. They learned that offering thanks to Wakan Tanka with the pipe
would yield many blessings here on earth. Oameni aflat de legtur ntre cer i pmnt i unitatea
tuturor vieii. Ei au aflat c, datorit oferindu-se s Wakan Tanka cu eava va ceda
binecuvntrile multe aici, pe pmnt. Before leaving, the woman said that she would return
when the time was ripe. nainte de a pleca, femeia a spus c va reveni n cazul n care timpul a
fost coapte. Then she turned into a buffalo, changing colors several times. Apoi, ea a transformat
ntr-un bivol, schimbnd culorile de mai multe ori. Finally, she changed into a white buffalo calf,
and disappeared into the distance. n cele din urm, ea a schimbat ntr-un viel bivol de culoare

alb, i a disprut n deprtare. The people followed her teachings and were hungry no more. De
persoane au urmat invataturile ei i nu mai era foame.
In the summer of 1994, her promise of return was fulfilled with the birth of a white buffalo in
Jamesville, Wisconsin. n vara anului 1994, promit ei de ntoarcere a fost ndeplinit cu naterea
unui bivol alb, n Jamesville, Wisconsin. White buffalos are rare, but this one is unique because,
as prophesied, the white buffalo has changed its colors since birth, going from white to black to
red to yellow and back to white. Bivoli alb sunt rare, dar asta este unic, deoarece, astfel cum a
profeit, bivol alb-a schimbat culorile sale de la natere, care merge de la alb la negru la rosu la
galben i napoi la alb. Since each color represents one of the four directions--north being white,
black representing west, red symbolizing south, and yellow depicting east--this buffalo has great
symbolic significance to Native American tribes, who respond to it as a Christian would respond
to the second coming of Christ. Deoarece fiecare culoare reprezint una din cele patru directii nord a fi alb, negru, reprezentnd vest, sud simboliznd rou, galben i reprezentndu-est - acest
bizon are o mare semnificaie simbolic pentru a nativ triburi americani, care au rspuns la o ca
pe un cretin ar rspunde a doua venire a lui Hristos. It signifies a time of profound change upon
the planet and a new level of responsibility for mankind. Aceasta nseamn un timp de schimbare
profund asupra planetei i un nou nivel de responsabilitate pentru omenire. One Native
visionary interpreted the birth of the white buffalo calf to mean that the four energies--the black,
white, yellow, and red--will realize that there is only one race, the human race, and join together
in peace. Un nativ vizionar interpretate de natere al Buffalo alb viel s nsemne c cele patru
energiile - negru, alb, galben, rosu - vor da seama c exist doar o singur ras, rasa uman, i s
adere mpreun n pace.
Not many people outside of Native American culture understand the significance of the white
buffalo. Nu muli oameni din afara nativ culturii americane neleag semnificaia Buffalo alb. In
fact, very few people know much about Native Americans, their customs and traditions. De fapt,
foarte puini oameni tiu multe despre amerindieni, obiceiurile i tradiiile lor. Historically, theirs
has been an oral heritage, causing white historians to mistakenly imply that Native Americans
have nothing to say. Punct de vedere istoric, a lor a fost un patrimoniu pe cale oral, cauznd
istorici alb pentru a sugera greit c americanii nativi nu au nimic de spus. Today, most people
still have stereotypical images of Indians, the result of movies, television programs and history

texts. Astzi, cei mai muli oameni au nc imaginile stereotipe ale indienilor, rezultatul de filme,
programe de televiziune i texte de istorie. A further lack of understanding stems from a different
view of the world. Native Americans believe nature is divine; they are only a part of nature, and
not here to dominate it. O lips de nelegere n continuare decurge dintr-o vedere diferite ale
lumii. Nativii americani cred c este de natur divin, ele sunt doar o parte a naturii, i nu aici
pentru a domina aceasta. Their ceremonies are for the regeneration of Mother Earth, a direct
contrast to western beliefs and policies. Lor ceremonii sunt pentru regenerare a Mamei Pamant,
un contrast direct la convingerile de vest i politici. What knowledge Native Americans have to
offer is therefore disregarded or silenced through government segregation and control. Ce
cunotine Amerindienii au de oferit, prin urmare, este luat n considerare sau reduse la tcere
prin separare de stat i de control. In fact, Native American ceremonies were prohibited by law
before the passage of the Indian Freedom Act in 1978. De fapt, nativ ceremonii americani au fost
interzise prin lege, nainte de trecerea Libertatea indian Actul n 1978. In addition, many
Americanized Indians have long forgotten the traditions of their past, and the few who still
remember tend to be secretive about their customs, which they have been forced to hide so long
from the dominant culture. n plus, multe americanizat indienii au uitat lung tradiiile trecutului
lor, precum i civa care nc mai amintesc tind s fie secretos cu privire la obiceiurile lor, care
le-au fost forate s se ascund, att timp de la cultura dominant.
Never before has the world been in such dire need of these understandings. Niciodata nu a fost n
lume nevoie de astfel de cumplit a acestor nelegeri. As the twenty-first century approaches,
our natural resources dwindle, and diseases brought on by technology rise. n ceea ce douzeci i
abordrile din primul secol, a resurselor noastre naturale se micora, i boli introdus la natere
de ctre tehnologie. Many are beginning to realize that another way of life is essential for
survival and well-being on a personal and global level. Muli au nceput s realizeze c un alt
mod de via este esenial pentru supravieuire i bunstare la un nivel personal i global. As
one Lakota medicine man, George Amiotte, notes, "The general population are starting to wake
up to that fact that we, as human beings, have a responsibility, not only to our own societies, but
also to the earth." Aa cum un singur om medicament Lakota, George Amiotte, note, "populaia
general sunt incepand de a se trezi la faptul c noi, ca fiinte umane, au o responsabilitate, nu
numai pentru societile noastre proprii, dar i pe pmnt."

We look to the continent's first inhabitants, as they have been able to live harmoniously with
nature for thousands of years. Privim cu locuitorii continentului n primul rnd, aa cum au fost
capabili s triasc n armonie cu natura de mii de ani. As an alternative to self-destruction, we
offer an insight into Native American sacred practices, and the visions they offer. Ca o alternativ
la auto-distrugere, v oferim o imagine asupra practicilor de nativ american sacre, precum i
viziunile pe care le ofer.
The Ghost Dance Dans Fantoma
The ghost dance is a ceremony for the regeneration of the earth, and, subsequently, the
restoration of the earth's caretakers to their former life of bliss. Dansul fantom este o ceremonie
pentru regenerarea de pe pmnt, i, ulterior, de restaurare a ngrijitori Pmntului de a vieii lor
de fosta de fericire. Not surprisingly, the religion experienced its height of popularity during the
late 19th century, when devastation to the buffalo, the land, and its Native American guardians
was at its peak. Nu este surprinzator, religie experimentat nlimea sa de popularitate n timpul
la sfritul secolului al 19-lea, atunci cnd devastarea la Buffalo, terenuri, i tutorii ei nativ
american a fost la apogeu. Between 1888 and 1990, various tribes sent emissaries to a man
named Wovoka , who claimed to be a visionary, and who was hailed as a Messiah by many
desperate Indian nations. ntre 1888 i 1990, diverse triburi a trimis emisarii la un om pe nume
Wovoka, care a pretins a fi un vizionar, i care a fost salutat ca un Mesia de multe natiuni
disperate indiene. Wovoka maintained that Spirits had shown him certain movements and songs
after he had died for a short period of time. Wovoka a susinut c Alcoolice a artat el anumite
micri i cntece dup ce a murit pentru o perioad scurt de timp. In a manner reminiscent of
Christ, Wovoka preached non-violence, and most tribes abandoned their war-like ways in
preparation for future happiness. ntr-o manier care amintete al lui Hristos, Wovoka predicat
non-violenei, i de cele mai multe triburi abandonat de rzboi lor-ca modaliti n curs de
pregtire pentru fericirea viitoare.
The dance quickly spread to various American Indian nations, and as it spread, it took on
additional meanings. Dans sa rspndit rapid la diferite naiuni indian din America, i, ca sa

rspndit, a fost nevoie de semnificaii suplimentare. While performing the ghost dance, it was
believed that you could visit relatives who had left their bodies. Pe durata ndeplinirii dans
fantoma, se credea c ai putea vizita rudele care au prsit trupurile lor. As so many Native
Americans had lost friends and relatives, this aspect of the ceremony was particularly healing. n
ceea ce att de muli americani nativi au pierdut prieteni i rude, acest aspect al ceremoniei a fost
deosebit de vindecare. The Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho expanded its meaning further after
being told in dreams that wearing certain designs on clothing would protect them in battle.
Lakota, Cheyenne i Arapaho extins sensul n continuare a acesteia dup ce a fost spus n vise
care poart anumite modele de mbrcminte ar proteja-le n lupt. These beliefs served to ward
off fears of imminent danger from suspicious and sometimes hostile white onlookers, but proved
futile in the end. Aceste convingeri servit pentru a ndeprta temerile de pericol iminent de la
suspecte i, uneori, ostil privitori alb, dar s-au dovedit inutile n cele din urm.
The ghost dance unified Indian people, even tribes with a tradition of conflict. Dance fantom
unificat de oameni din India, chiar i triburi cu o tradiie de conflict. The solidarity of these
groups frightened government officials, whose worst fears were realized years earlier when the
Arapahoes, Cheyennes and Sioux came together to defeat Custer. Solidaritii dintre aceste
grupuri speriai oficiali guvernamentali, cele mai grave ale cror temeri s-au realizat ani mai
devreme n cazul n care Arapahoes, Cheyennes i Sioux s-au reunit pentru a nvinge Custer. As
mentioned earlier, most ghost dancers did not embrace warlike behavior. Aa cum am menionat
mai devreme, cele mai multe dansatori fantoma nu au mbriat comportament rzboinice. Yet,
the government reacted to this outburst of Indian behavior by gunning down ghost dancers at
Wounded Knee during a peaceful ceremony. Cu toate acestea, guvernul a reacionat la aceast
izbucnire de comportament Indian, prin tragere n jos dansatori fantoma la genunchi rnii n
timpul unei ceremonii panic. Even women and children were shot in the back as they were
trying to escape. Chiar i femei i copii au fost mpucai pe la spate aa cum au fost ncearc s
scape. Many say this was in retaliation for the massacre at Little Big Horn, since the seventh
cavalry was again involved. Multi spun acest lucru a fost, n represalii pentru masacrul de la
Little Big Horn, din moment ce cavalerie saptea a fost din nou implicat.
Perhaps the government was also frightened of the dance's spiritual power. According to a
historian of that time, James Mooney, during one investigation of the ghost dance, US troops

reported seeing approximately 125 people at the beginning of the dance, and twice that number
at the end, with no one new coming into the circle. Poate c guvernul a fost, de asemenea, speriat
de puterea spiritual de dans. Potrivit unui istoric de atunci, James Mooney, n timpul o
investigare a dansului fantoma, trupele SUA declar c au vzut de aproximativ 125 de persoane
la nceputul dans, i de dou ori c numrul de la la sfritul anului, cu nici unul nou care intr n
The ghost dance is indeed magical, according to Gabriel Horn, author of Native Heart: An
American Indian Odyssey . Dans fantom este ntr-adevr magic, n funcie de Gabriel Horn,
autor al nativ Heart: o odisee indian din America. Horn, also known as White Deer of Autumn,
says the spirits of ghost dancers are ever present: "The Minneapolis Institute of Art put on the
first and only exhibit of ghost dance shirts and dresses worn by men, women, and children. The
room was black and the clothes were suspended in two circles. You could even see the bullet
holes and the blood stains on the shirts from the slaughter of ghost dancers at Wounded Knee
under the orders of the government. Horn, de asemenea, cunoscut sub numele de cerb alb de
toamna, spune ca spiritele de dansatori fantoma sunt mereu prezent: "Institutul de Arta
Minneapolis pus pe expune prima si singura de dans fantoma camasi, rochii purtate de brbai,
femei i copii. Camer a fost negru i hainele au fost suspendate n dou cercuri. Ai putea vedea
chiar i guri glon i pete de snge de pe tricouri de la sacrificare de dansatori fantoma de la
Wounded Knee sub ordinele guvernului.
"Several Native Americans went to the exhibit, elders as well as young people. The museum
would keep it open at night, just for us. We would sit in a circle, surrounded by these ghost dance
shirts and dresses, and pass a sacred pipe. We were listening to hear what we could hear, and
watching to see what we could see. We wanted to get in touch with those people, those spirits,
those ghosts of the past, to reconnect, and to show them that we still carry this love for the earth.
"Mai multe americani nativi sa dus la expozitie, btrnii, precum i a tinerilor. Muzeu s-ar
menine deschise n timpul nopii, doar pentru noi. Ne-ar sta ntr-un cerc, nconjurat de aceste
cmi dans strigoi i rochii, i se trece o conduct sacru . Am fost de ascultare pentru a auzi ceea
ce am putut auzi, i este atent pentru a vedea ce am putut vedea. Ne-am dorit s intre n contact
cu acele persoane, aceste spirite, cele fantomele trecutului, s se reconecteze, i s le arate c noi
nc mai au aceasta dragoste pentru pmnt.

"I will never forget the night that an elderly Ojibwa, Old Man Bill, said to me, 'There were only
14 of us when we went in to sit among the ghost dance shirts and dresses. Look at all the people
now.' "Nu voi uita niciodat c o noapte Ojibwa n vrst, Old Man Bill, mi-a zis, 'Nu au fost
doar 14 din noi atunci cnd am fost in a sta printre cmi de dans i de rochii de fantoma. Uitate la toate persoanele acum." I looked up and saw what he meant. An hour later, we were sitting
down at a table, looking at each other. Who were all those other people? It became very crowded.
M-am uitat n sus i au vzut ceea ce a vrut. O or mai trziu, am fost edinei n jos, la o masa,
cutai unul la altul. Cine au fost toate aceste alte persoane? Ea a devenit foarte aglomerat.
"Another time a student of mine came to the exhibit. She was crying by a ghost dance shirt. I
looked in the shirt to tell her its story because each one told a story. The shirt wearer's last name
was there, and it turned out to be the shirt of her grandfather. There was no way she could have
known that when she went in." "O alt dat cnd un student de-al meu a venit la expozitie. Ea a
fost plns de o cma fantoma de dans. M-am uitat n tricoul pentru a spune povestea ei sale,
deoarece fiecare dintre ele a spus o poveste. Numele utilizatorului camasa ultimul era acolo, i sa
dovedit care urmeaz s fie camasa de bunicul ei. Nu a existat nici un fel ea ar fi putut s tie c,
atunci cnd ea a intrat in "
The ghost dance is practiced today, but privately. Dans fantom este practicat n prezent, dar n
particular. "It is performed for the same reasons," White Deer of Autumn says, "because we are
losing a lot of our relatives to cancer and alcohol, and the earth is in dire need of healing." "Este
efectuate, pentru aceleai motive," White Deer de Toamna spune, "pentru c suntem pierde o
mulime de rudele noastre de a cancerului i alcool, i pmntul are nevoie cumplite de
The Pipe Ceremony Ceremonia de tevi
The pipe ceremony is a sacred ritual for connecting physical and spiritual worlds. "The pipe is a
link between the earth and the sky," explains White Deer of Autumn. Ceremonia de decernare a
conductelor este un ritual sacru pentru conectarea lumi fizice i spirituale. "eav este o legtur
ntre pmnt i cer", explic cerb alb de toamna. "Nothing is more sacred. The pipe is our prayers
in physical form. Smoke becomes our words; it goes out, touches everything, and becomes a part

of all there is. The fire in the pipe is the same fire in the sun, which is the source of life." "Nimic
nu este mai sacru. eav este rugciunile noastre n form fizic. Fumul devine cuvintele
noastre, ea iese, tot ce atinge, i devine o parte din toate exist. Foc n eava este acelai foc la
soare, care a este sursa de via. " The reason why tobacco is used to connect the worlds is that
the plant's roots go deep into the earth, and its smoke rises high into the heavens. Motivul pentru
tutun este utilizat pentru a conecta lumi este c rdcinile plantelor mergem adnc n pmnt, i
fumul sale se ridic de mare n ceruri.
There are different kinds of pipes and different uses for them. Exist diferite tipuri de evi i
utilizri diferite pentru ei. There are personal pipes and family pipes as well as pipes for large
ceremonies. Sunt tevi personale i evi de familie, precum i conductele pentru ceremoniile de
mari. The particular stone used depends upon the tribe's location, and various symbols are added
to attract certain spiritual energies. Piatra special folosit depinde de locaie tribului, i simboluri
diferite se adaug pentru a atrage energiile spirituale anumite. Also, the type of tobacco used
depends on tribal custom. De asemenea, tipul de tutun folosit depinde de Custom tribale. But
despite these differences, there are certain important similarities: The ceremony invokes a
relationship with the energies of the universe, and ultimately the Creator, and the bond made
between earthly and spiritual realms is not to be broken. Dar, n ciuda acestor diferene, exist
anumite similitudini importante: Ceremonia de decernare a invoc o relaie cu energiile din
univers, i n ultim instan Creatorul, i face legtura ntre trmurile pmnteti i spirituale
nu este de a fi rupt.
Ed McGaa (Eagle Man), an Ogalala Sioux, and author of Mother Earth Spirituality: Native
American Paths to Healing Ourselves and Our World , says that most pipe ceremonies have the
same intention: to call upon and thank the six energies: "All of our Sioux ceremonies beseech to
the four directions, the earth and sky, and ultimately the Great Spirit. We see our Creator through
nature, and we try to emulate what the Creator has made. This has worked out well, as you can
see from the track record of Native American people. The old time Indians were honest, ethical
people, and they had an unblemished environmental record. When the Pilgrims first landed, they
kept them alive, and they took in black slaves. They were extremely humanistic. That's one of the
main reasons that I believe in the natural way." Ed McGaa (Eagle Man), un Sioux Ogalala, i
autor al Mamei Pamant spiritualitate: Ci nativ american sa Vindecarea noi nine i lumea

noastr, spune c cele mai multe ceremonii de eav au intenia de acelai: de a solicita i
mulumesc celor ase energiilor: "Toate Sioux nostru de ceremonii implor la cele patru direcii,
pmntul i cerul, i n ultim instan Duhul Mare. Vedem Creatorul nostru, prin natura, i vom
ncerca s imite ceea ce Creatorul a fcut. Acest lucru a lucrat bine, dup cum putei vedea din
istoric de nativ poporului american. timp vechi indieni au fost cinstii, oameni etice, i au avut un
record impecabil de mediu. Cnd pelerini a debarcat prima dat, le-au inut n via, i-au luat n
sclavi negri. Ei au fost extrem de umaniste. Asta e un dintre principalele motive pentru c eu cred
n mod natural. "
Eagle Man begins a ceremony by beseeching the West power, while thinking about the life
giving rains and the ever present spirit world. Eagle Omul ncepe o ceremonie de rugtor puterea
de Vest, n timp ce gndesc la viaa care ploile i lumea mereu prezent spirit. Next, he beseeches
the north power, the source of endurance, strength, truthfulness, and honesty, which are qualities
needed to walk down a good path in life. Apoi, el a beseeches puterea de nord, sursa de
anduranta, forta, veridicitii, si onestitate, care sunt calitatile necesare pentru a se plimba pe un
drum bun n via. Then, he will look to the east power. Apoi, el va cuta s puterea de est. The
east is where the sun rises, and the sun brings us knowledge, the essence of spirituality. Est, este
n cazul n care soarele rsare, i soarele ne aduce de cunotine, esenta de spiritualitate. Without
knowledge, we become ignorant and cause harm to ourselves and others. Fr cunoatere, am
devenit ignorani i duna noi nine i de alii. The fourth energy is the south power, which
brings us bounty, medicine, and growth. De energie patrulea este puterea de sud, care ne aduce
Bounty, medicina, i a creterii. Next to be acknowledged is the earth spirit. nainte de a fi
recunoscut este spiritul pmnt. Eagle Man touches the pipe to the ground, and says, "Mother
Earth, I seek to protect you." Eagle atinge Omul eava de la pmnt, i spune, "Mama Pmnt,
am s ncerce s te protejez." Since Mother Earth depends on the sun's life giving energy, the
pipe is then held up towards the sky. Din moment ce Mother Earth depinde viaa soarelui dnd de
energie, conducta este apoi a avut loc pn spre cer. Lastly, the pipe is held straight up to the
Great Spirit, the Great Mystery, the unexplainable source of all life. n sfrit, conducta este
deinut direct de pn la Duhul Mare, mare mister, sursa inexplicabile de toat viaa. These
words are then spoken: "Oh Great Spirit, I thank you for the six powers of the universe." Unlike
many westerners, Eagle Man explains that the person reaching out to the spirit world has no fear:

"Most of us are not afraid of the Great Spirit. We don't fear something that has given us our life."
Aceste cuvinte sunt apoi vorbita: "Oh, Marele Spirit, eu v mulumesc pentru cele ase puteri ale
universului." Spre deosebire de muli occidentali, Eagle Omul explic faptul c persoana
ajungnd la lumea spiritelor nu are nici o team: "Cei mai multi dintre noi nu se tem Duhului
Mare. Noi nu se tem de ceva care ne-a dat viaa noastr. "
It is unimaginable for an Indian to break his word after smoking the pipe. Este de neimaginat
pentru un indian de a sparge cuvntul su, dup fumat conducte. In the past, the signing of
treaties was always accompanied by pipe ceremonies because Indians believed that smoking the
pipe would secure the arrangement. n trecut, semnarea de tratate a fost ntotdeauna nsoit de
ceremonii eava de indieni, deoarece credea c fumatul eava ar asigura aranjament. No one
would be foolish enough to lie or go back on their word once the pipe was smoked because the
pipe was the vehicle for carrying their word up to the Creator. Nimeni nu ar fi stupid de ajuns s
mint sau de a reveni pe cuvntul lor a fost o dat pe eava de fumat, deoarece conducta a fost de
vehicul pentru care cuvntul lor de pn la Creator. And in return, a blessing would descend from
the Creator to the individuals smoking it. i, n schimb, o binecuvntare s-ar cobor de la Creator
pentru a indivizilor fumat.
Of course, we all know that the United States government did not share in these understandings,
and sent representatives to the Indians to use the pipe as a means of deception. Desigur, tim cu
toii c guvernul Statelor Unite nu a mprtit n aceste nelegeri, i a trimis reprezentani la
indieni de a utiliza eava ca un mijloc de nelciune. As White Deer of Autumn explains:
"You've heard of the peace pipe. There is no such thing, in a sense, because that came about
when the government sent emissaries to the Native Americans. At that time, we were still the
lords of the land; we still held the power. The US government had to deal with that. They
understood that the pipe would allow peaceful transactions because no Indian would ever lie
once spoken on the pipe." Ca Deer albe din toamna explic: "Ai auzit de pipa pcii. Nu exist un
astfel de lucru, ntr-un sens, pentru c a venit atunci cnd guvernul a trimis emisarii la americanii
nativi. La acel moment, noi am fost nc Lords a terenului; avem nc deinea puterea. Guvernul
SUA a avut de a face cu asta. Au inteles ca eava ar permite operaiuni panice, pentru c nimeni
nu indian ar consta vreodat o dat vorbite pe eav. "


By dishonoring the meaning of this sacred practice, treaties were broken and land was taken but
the benefits were short-lived, as White Deer of Autumn explains, "When the Europeans started to
use tobacco, they saw it as a market, and thus corrupted its function. Now it is being misused,
and you see what happens when a gift that has been given is misused." Prin dezonorant sensul
acestei practici sacre, tratatele au fost rupte i terenuri a fost luat, dar beneficiile au fost de
scurt durat, ca Deer alb din toamna explic: "Cnd europenii au nceput s foloseasc de
tutun, au vzut ca pe o pia, i, astfel, corupt funciei sale. Acum este utilizat n mod abuziv, i
vei vedea ce se ntmpl atunci cnd un cadou care a fost dat este utilizat n mod abuziv. "
Yet, to those who understand its true significance, the pipe ceremony holds great power, White
Deer of Autumn continues, "When a stem and bowl are disconnected, you have two sacred
objects. When a stem and bowl are connected, you have a living being. And the pipe is addressed
as a living, breathing being. A Catholic priest traveling down the Mississippi observed men
laying down their arms in conflict before the pipe. They would not fight in its presence. He said
that by carrying the pipe you could pass from one end of this land to the other, without being
harmed. A great holy man, named Lame Deer, said that as long as one Indian holds the pipe and
prays to the Great Mystery, we will live. That's how powerful it is." Cu toate acestea, pentru cei
care neleg semnificaia ei adevrat, la ceremonia de eava deine mare putere, cerb alb de
toamna continua, "Atunci cnd o tulpin i castron sunt deconectat, avei dou obiecte sacre.
Atunci cnd o tulpin i castron sunt conectate, avei o via fiind. i eava se adreseaz ca o vie,
fiind de respiraie. Un preot catolic care cltoresc n jos Mississippi observat oamenii de
stabilire a unor arme lor n conflict, nainte de conducte. Ei nu s-ar lupta n prezena sa. El a spus
c prin realizarea conducta de ai putea treci de la un capt de acest teren la altul, fr s fie
lezat. Un mare om sfnt, numit Lame Deer, a spus c atta timp ct un indian deine evi i se
roag la mare mister, vom tri. Asta e ct de puternic este . "
The Purification Ceremony Ceremonia de purificare
The purification ceremony is commonly referred to as the sweat lodge, but this is a misnomer,
says William J. Walk Sacred, a Cree medicine man: "When you come out of a purification lodge,
you don't feel the same as when you come out of a sauna. The ceremony is a rebirthing process.
There's something that happens in a spiritual sense that is powerful and uplifting." Ceremonia de

purificare este denumit n mod obinuit transpiraie Lodge, dar acesta este un termen impropriu,
spune William J. Walk Sacra, un om medicament Cree: "Cand vii dintr-un purificare depune, nu
te simi la fel ca atunci cnd provin dintr-o sauna. Ceremonia este un proces rebirthing. Nu e
ceva ce se ntmpl ntr-un sens spiritual, care este puternic i nltoare ".
The Indian word for the purification ceremony is oenikika, which means the breath of life.
Cuvntul indian pentru ceremonia de purificare este oenikika, ceea ce nseamn suflare de via.
It is a process of renewal through the integration of the spiritual and physical. Walk Sacred
explains, "Just think of this as a marriage ceremony that takes place within yourself. The
ceremonial leader is the medicine man. He is a representative of the spirits, who works within the
invisible realm, in order for you to become aware of the healing process within yourself." Este
un proces de rennoire, prin integrarea spirituale i fizice. Walk Sacra explic, "Just gndesc la
acest lucru ca pe o ceremonie de casatorie care are loc n termen de tine. Lider de ceremonie este
omul medicament. El este un reprezentant de buturi spirtoase, care lucreaz n cadrul trmul
invizibil, pentru ca dumneavoastr s devin contieni de procesul de vindecare n termen de
tine nsui. "
The lodge itself is made of branches, usually willow saplings, but varying according to what's
available in the region. Depune n sine este fcut de sucursale, puiei de obicei, salcie, dar
variind n funcie de ceea ce este disponibil n regiune. Blankets or tarps are used as coverings to
hold in heat. Ptura sau tarps sunt folosite ca acoperitoare de a organiza n cldur. The circular
shape of the lodge is often described as being like a womb or a protective bubble. Forma
circulara a depune este adesea descris ca fiind ca o pntecele sau un balon de protecie.
The nature of the ceremony differs from tribe to tribe; Walk Sacred explains the many facets of
preparing for a Cree ceremony: "When you want to begin, you find a medicine man, and you
offer a pouch of tobacco. Tobacco represents a person's Spirit. Offering tobacco is how you ask
the medicine man to work on your behalf in the spiritual world. It's not like a payment of money;
this is his obligation. Once you have taken upon yourself the role of medicine man, it is
incumbent upon you to do this healing work when someone comes to you with this offering. So,
you bring tobacco to the medicine man. You also come to him with your specific desire. You tell
him if it's a broken leg you want worked on, or if it's an alcohol or drug problem, or something in

the non-physical world. You bring your request to the medicine man. Natura de la ceremonia de
difer de la trib la trib; Walk Sacru explic multe aspecte de pregtirea pentru o ceremonie Cree:
"Cnd dorii s ncepei, vei gsi un om medicament, i v ofer o hus de tutun. Tutun
reprezint Duhului unei persoane . Oferirea de tutun este modul n care cere omul medicament s
lucreze n numele dumneavoastr n lumea spiritual. Nu e ca o plat de bani; acest lucru este
obligaia. Odat ce ai luat la tine rolul de om medicin, i revine tine Pentru a face acest lucru
vindecare atunci cnd cineva vine la tine cu aceast ofert. Deci, te aduce tutun la om
medicament. Putei, de asemenea, vin la el cu dorinta dvs. specifice. Spune-i daca este un picior
rupt pe care dorii lucrat pe, sau daca este o problem de alcool sau de droguri, sau ceva n lume
non-fizice. Ai adus cererea dvs. de a omul medicament.
"At this point, he will give you your responsibilities; he will tell you how to set up the ceremony
and what you need to do. You might have to prepare food. Once you ask for a ceremony, anyone
who knows about it can come and request a specific healing within the ceremonial function. You
never know how many people are going to be there, so you have to prepare food for 30 or 40
people, depending upon the size of the medicine man's lodge. You might be asked to prepare a
specific type of food, like buffalo soup. The people who work in the spiritual world tell the
medicine man what they need. This is an offering, and it represents the humbling of our spirit.
"n acest moment, el v va da responsabilitile dumneavoastr, el v va spune cum s setai
ceremonia i ceea ce trebuie s faci. S-ar putea s pregteasc alimente. Odat ce ai cere o
ceremonie, orice persoan care tie despre ea poate veni i de a solicita o vindecare specifice n
cadrul funciei ceremoniale. Nu se tie niciodat ct de muli oameni vor fi acolo, deci va trebui
s pregteasc alimente pentru 30 sau 40 de persoane, n funcie de mrimea omului
medicamentului Lodge. S-ar putea s vi se cear s pregteasc un anumit tip de produse
alimentare, cum ar fi supa de bivol. oamenii care lucreaz n lumea spiritual spune omul
medicament ceea ce au nevoie. Aceasta este o ofera, si reprezinta njosire a spiritului nostru.
"Then the medicine man will give you specific amounts and colors of what we call tobacco ties.
These are little pieces of cloth representing the six directions, white being north, yellow being
south, red being east, black being west, above being blue, and the earth mother being green. He
may tell you that you need 75 yellow ties and 50 blue ones. The colors represent who he is
working with in the nonphysical world, and the number of ties represent a specific amount of

prayers that are requested by the spirits in order for them to come in and work with you. You
prepare a pouch with tobacco, and you direct your prayers into each one before closing them
with a tie. Your prayers carry the gift of your heart to the spirits so they know what you're
looking for and they can see the sincerity of the heart. That's where they look because they know
the truth is there." "Apoi omul medicament va va oferi sume specifice i culori de ceea ce numim
legturi de tutun. Acestea sunt bucele de pnz, reprezentnd cele ase direcii, nord fiind alb,
galben fiind de Sud, rosu fiind la est, vest negru fiind, de mai sus fiind albastru, i mama pmnt
fiind verde. El poate s v spun c avei nevoie de 75 legturi galben i 50 cele albastre. culorile
reprezint cine este el lucreaz cu nonphysical n lume, precum i numrul de legturi reprezint
o anumit sum de rugciuni care sunt solicitate de spiritele, pentru ca acetia s vin i s
lucreze cu tine. s v pregtii, cu o pung de tutun, i tu direct rugciunile voastre n fiecare o
nainte de a nchide-le cu o cravat. rugciunile dumneavoastr s darul de inima ta pentru a
buturilor spirtoase, astfel c tiu ceea ce cutai i pot vedea sinceritatea inimii. Asta n cazul n
care se uita pentru c ei tiu adevrul este acolo. "
The beginning of the ceremony is a time of prayer and contemplation. La nceputul ceremoniei
este un timp de rugciune i contemplare. Walk Sacred explains, "The medicine man begins by
setting up an alter. Usually, the alter has some type of antler to hold his pipe. Then he sends up
sacred herbs in the four directions. There are four sacred herbs in the Native culture. One is sage,
which purifies a room of negative energies. Another is sweet grass. A medicine man told me,
'This is what brings in the heavy guys.' Walk Sacra explic, "omul medicament ncepe prin
nfiinarea unui modifica. De obicei, modifica are unele tipuri de corn de a deine pipa. Apoi, el
trimite pn plante sacre n cele patru direcii. Exist patru plante sacre n cultura Native. Una
dintre ele este salvie, care purific-o camer de energii negative. O alta este de iarba dulce. Un
om medicament mi-a spus, "Aceasta este ceea ce aduce n baieti grele." Sweet grass brings in
big, powerful beings from the other side to heal you. The third is cedar. Cedar is for purification.
It sets up an atmosphere for the spirits to work. It's a sweetness they like and it's attractive to the
energies of the invisible world. The fourth is tobacco, which has always been sacred to Native
culture. It is used in ceremonies of smoking the pipe. It is used to bless the earth. Whenever we
harvest herbs or cut barks off of trees, we always offer tobacco to the four directions and to the
sky father and earth mother. And we plant tobacco as an honoring of that plant, tree, or substance


that is giving its life, or part of its life, to help our life." Iarb Sweet aduce n mare, fiine
puternice din partea cealalt s te vindece. Treia este cedru. Cedar este pentru purificare. Ea
creeaz o atmosfer de bauturi alcoolice la locul de munc. Este o dulcea le place i este
atractiv pentru energiile lume invizibil. patrulea este de tutun, care a fost ntotdeauna sacru la
cultura nativ. Este utilizat n ceremoniile de fumat conducte. Este folosit pentru a binecuvnta pe
pmnt. Ori de cte ori am recolta ierburi sau tiate latr off de copaci, ne ofer ntotdeauna de
tutun la cele patru direcii i la tatl cer i pmnt pe mama. i noi plantei de tutun, ca o onorarea
acestei plante, copac, sau substan care d via, sau o parte a vietii sale, pentru a ajuta la viaa
noastr ".
Specific types of rocks, called grandfather rocks, are gathered and placed in a pile. Primarily lava
stones from volcanos are used, because ordinary river rocks could explode. A fire is built, and the
stones are heated. Anumite tipuri de roci, numite roci bunicul, sunt adunate i introduse ntr-un
teanc. Pietre vulcanice primar de la Vulcanii sunt folosite, deoarece roci ru obinuite ar putea
exploda. Un incendiu este construit, iar pietrele sunt incalzite. When the stones are white hot,
they are brought into the lodge. n cazul n care pietrele sunt de culoare alb la cald, care sunt
introduse n Lodge.
"We honor our relations as we enter the 'womb' and again as we leave," Walk Sacred continues.
"Am onoarea relaiile noastre aa cum am intra in uter" i din nou, aa cum am lsa, "Walk
Sacred continu. "We crawl around until we form a circle around the center. The center of the
center is where a little pit is dug for the grandfather rocks. These are brought in, one at a time,
and the first four are placed in the north, south, east, and west directions. They they're sprinkled
with a little sage and sweet grass and whatever the medicine man might be using. The medicine
man offers prayers to each of the four directions, to honor his ancestors, and to honor those in the
nonphysical as well as the physical worlds. This is a sacred time. It is a time of prayer,
introspection, and healing. "Noi, pn cnd vom accesa cu crawlere n jurul a forma un cerc n
jurul centrului. Centrul de la centru este n cazul n care o groap de putin este sapat pentru rocile
bunicul. Acestea sunt aduse n, una la un moment dat, precum i primele patru sunt plasate n
nord, sud, est, vest i direcii. Ei acestea sunt stropite cu un pic salvie si iarba dulce i oricare ar
fi omul medicamentul ar putea fi folosii. Omul medicament ofera rugciunile la fiecare dintre
cele patru directii, pentru a onora stramosii sai, precum i pentru a onora aceste n nonphysical,

precum i lumile fizice. Acesta este un timp sacru. Acesta este un timp de rugciune, introspecie,
precum i vindecare.
"When the water hits the rock, it goes up in steam, fills the air, and unifies everyone within the
'womb.' "Cnd apa hit-uri de rock, se urc n abur, umple aerul, i unific toat lumea n
pntecele". " Everything is united, as we say, all of my relations. At that moment we are
connecting ourselves to the basic elements of life, and that brings out the greatest good in people.
We are connecting to the movement that is all around us, that we are part of, and never separate
from. Totul este unit, aa cum am spus, toate relaiile mele. In acel moment suntem noi nine
conectarea la elementele de baz ale vieii, i c scoate cel mai mare bun in oameni. Suntem
conectarea la circulaie, care este tot n jurul nostru, pe care facem parte, i niciodat nu separat
"As we sit in the circle, we each go around, one at a time, and we offer prayers of thanksgiving
and praise for the Almighty, the great spirits, the great mystery, the sky father, and the earth
mother. The medicine man sits by the entrance, and is the first to offer his prayers. Each person
then takes a turn. Eventually you come to the end and the medicine man blends all the prayers.
It's kind of like weaving a tapestry. It's a mystical, magical process, an altered state that goes
beyond the physical form. It takes you into the reality of the nonphysical world, where the real
healing takes place." "Aa cum am stau n cerc, fiecare dintre noi mergem n jurul, una la un
moment dat, si oferim rugciuni de mulumire i laud pentru Cel Atotputernic, spiritele mare,
mare mister, cerul tatl, mama i pmntul. Medicament om sta de intrare, i este primul de a
oferi rugciunile sale. Fiecare persoana, apoi ia un viraj. n cele din urm sa ajuns la finalul i
amestecuri de medicina omul toate rugciunile. E un fel de esut o tapiserie. Este un mistic,
proces magic , un stat modificat, care merge dincolo de forma fizic. Este nevoie de tine n
realitatea lumii nonphysical, n cazul n care are loc reale de vindecare. "
After the purification ceremony is the wopela , which, broadly interpreted, means giving thanks:
"Now, we bring in the soup and foods and the gifts for the medicine man," continues Walk
Sacred. Dup ceremonia de purificare este wopela, care, n linii mari interpretat, nseamn a da
mulumesc: "Acum, aducem n sup i produselor alimentare i cadouri pentru om medicina,"
continu Walk Sacre. "It might be a blanket, whatever your spirit leads you to bring the medicine

man or to offer directly to the mystery. People sit around the medicine man in a circle. Once
everyone is in, the windows are closed up. The medicine man's blanket is laid out on the floor, in
the center of the lodge. On top of that is a mat of freshly cut, beautiful sage. The medicine man
covers himself with a blanket, and goes into a prayerful state. He takes the prayer ties and sets
them up in the north end of the center in a specific fashion. They are laid down on a special type
of earth, on top of the sage, which carries the great aroma energy up to the Great Spirit. The
prayers are carried up in a good way, so that the Great Spirit will receive them and hear the
pitiful cries of his children. After the prayers, the candles are blown out, and it is pitch dark. "Ar
putea fi o ptur, indiferent de spiritul dumneavoastr v duce pentru a aduce omul medicament
sau de a oferi direct la misterul. Oamenii se aeze la om medicamentul ntr-un cerc. Dup ce
toat lumea este n, ferestrele sunt nchise n sus. Ptur om medicamentului este stabilit pe
podea, in centrul Lodge. Pe deasupra, care este o saltea de proaspt tiate, salvie frumos. omul
nsui medicament acoper cu o ptur, i merge ntr-o stare de rugciune. El ia legturile de
rugciune i de seturi-le pn la sfritul nord de centrul ntr-un mod specific. Acestea sunt
stabilite pe un tip special de pmnt, pe partea de sus a salvie, care transport energia mare
aroma de pn la Duhul Mare. rugciunile sunt realizate pn n o metod bun, astfel nct
Duhul Mare le va primi i auzi strigtele mil de copiii si. Dup rugciuni, lumnri sunt stinse,
i este ntuneric bezn.
"There are specific songs that are sung for bringing in spirits, for talking to spirits, for constantly
giving praise and gratitude, for constantly giving acknowledgment to the great mystery for all the
gifts of life. This includes the pain and suffering as well as the good times, recognizing that all
things flow from the one source, and all things return back to that one source. It's an
acknowledgment. Very holy and sacred songs might be sung for an hour. It depends. It's all under
the direction of the medicine man, although he might not speak a word. A lot of it is done
telepathically, through the communication of energy waves. "Exist melodii specifice, care sunt
cntate pentru a aduce n buturi spirtoase, pentru a conversa cu buturi spirtoase, n mod
constant pentru a da laud i recunotin, pentru care n mod constant confirmare la mare mister
pentru toate darurile vieii. Aceasta include durerea i suferina, precum i melodii good times,
recunoscnd c toate lucrurile fluxul de la surs, i toate lucrurile ntoarce napoi la faptul c o
singur surs. Este o confirmare. Foarte sfnt i sacru ar putea fi cntat pentru o or. Depinde.


Totul e sub conducerea medicament om, cu toate c el nu s-ar putea vorbi un cuvnt. O mulime
de acesta este done telepatic, prin comunicarea de valuri de energie.
"We go around to each individual, just like we did in the purification ceremony, and we give
prayers and thanks and ask for specific healing. Now is the time to verbalize our requests. After
everyone has given their prayers, the medicine man calls the spirits in. The medicine man is in
the center. This isn't just the center of the lodge; it is the center of the universe. It represents the
center of life. And that center exists within each of us. Honoring that center brings the
nonphysical world into the physical one. So, the medicine man represents the spirit of the God
source, and by so doing, he creates an energy that allows the nonphysical world to interact with
the physical world. "Mergem n jurul la fiecare individ, aa cum am fcut n cadrul ceremoniei de
purificare, i ne dau rugciuni i mulumesc i s cear pentru vindecarea specifice. Acum este
momentul pentru a verbaliza solicitrilor noastre. Dupa ce toata lumea a dat rugciunile lor, omul
medicament apelurile spiritele in Omul medicament este n centru. Aceasta nu este doar centrul
depune, ea este centrul universului. Ea reprezinta centrul vieii. i acest centru exist n fiecare
dintre noi. Onorarea c centrul aduce lumea nonphysical ntr-o fizic. Deci, omul medicament
reprezinta spiritul surs de Dumnezeu, i prin aceasta, el creeaz o energie care permite lumea
nonphysical de a interaciona cu lumea fizic.
"Amazing things happen. I went for healing because I was struck by lightning. While I was
standing there, all of a sudden, this rattle came out of the air and started pounding me on the
chest, hitting me all over the chest and head. Then eagle feathers were all over my face. There
was stomping on the floor that sounded as if it came from beings 20 feet high. And you could see
lights and colors." "Lucruri uimitoare se intample. M-am dus pentru vindecare pentru c am fost
lovit de fulger. n timp ce eram n picioare acolo, dintr-o dat, acest pritoare ieit din aer i a
nceput s m lovesc pe piept, lovindu-m peste tot piept i capul . pene de vultur Apoi, au fost
toate peste fata mea. Nu a fost stomping pe podea care suna ca si cum ar venit de la 20 picioare
fiine de mare. i ai putea vedea lumini i culori. "
While these experiences are phenomenal in that they shift our perception of reality, Walk Sacred
reminds us that the essence of healing is in the work of each participant: "The medicine man
helps us remove the veils that prevent us from seeing life as it really is: unified and sacred. His

approach is to help individuals resolve problems by the work they do themselves. They prepare
food, make prayer ties, sing, chant, and drum. These remove blocks within the physical structure
so that the person is receptive to impulses from the non-physical world." n timp ce aceste
experiene sunt fenomenale, n sensul c trecerea de percepia noastr asupra realitii, Walk
Sacred ne amintete c esena de vindecare este n activitatea de fiecare participant: "Omul
medicament care ne ajut s eliminai voaluri care a ne mpiedica s vad viaa aa cum este ntradevr : unificate i sacre. Abordarea sa este de a ajuta persoanele fizice rezolva problemele de
munca pe care o fac ei nii. Acetia pregtesc mncare, vor avea legturi de rugciune, canta,
chant, i tambur. Aceste blocuri elimina n cadrul structurii fizice, astfel nct persoana este
receptiv la impulsurile de la lume non-fizice. "
Working with spiritual energies is a sacred and powerful process when performed for the right
reasons by an experienced person. Lucrul cu energiile spirituale este un proces sacru i puternic
atunci cnd sunt efectuate pentru motive de drept de ctre o persoan cu experien.
Unfortunately, the purification lodge has become trendy in recent years, and the right atmosphere
is not always present. Din pcate, de purificare a depune a devenit la mod n ultimii ani, iar
atmosfera drept nu este ntotdeauna prezent. Native Americans, therefore, warn people to take
certain precautions before entering into a purification ceremony: First, if a person is charging
money, people need to think about the type of energy this will attract and the effects it will have
on the people in the lodge. Amerindienii, prin urmare, populaia este avertizat s ia anumite
msuri de precauie nainte de a intra ntr-o ceremonie de purificare: n primul rnd, dac o
persoan se ncarc de bani, oamenii au nevoie s se gndeasc la tipul de energie acest lucru va
atrage i efectelor pe care le vor avea asupra oamenilor, n Lodge. This is a Gift from the spiritual
world that cannot be compensated for by material gifts. Acesta este un dar de la lumea spiritual
care nu pot fi compensate prin cadouri materiale. Someone who charges for the purification
ceremony is not working in the traditional way of the pipe. Cineva care tarifele pentru ceremonia
de purificare nu funcioneaz n modul tradiional de teava. Second, one must look into the
character of the person leading the rite. n al doilea rnd, trebuie s se uite n caracterul persoanei
de conducere rit. White Deer of Autumn suggests, "Look into a medicine man's background the
way you would approach finding any new doctor. Find out the person's track record. Who are
they? What are their experiences? And understand your responsibilities of going into the


ceremonial process. Then the blessings received will be beyond your wildest imagination." Deer
albe din toamna sugereaz, "Uit-te n fundal un om medicament de modul in care s-ar abordare
a gsi nici un medic nou. Aflai de nregistrare a persoanei pist. Cine sunt ei? Care sunt
experienele lor? i de a nelege responsabilitile dumneavoastr de a intra n procesul de
ceremonie. Apoi, binecuvntrile primite vor fi cele mai slbatice dincolo de imaginaia ta. "
Today an increasing number of Indians are victims of cancer and other diseases of the modern
world. Astzi un numr tot mai mare de indieni sunt victime ale cancerului si a altor boli ale
lumii moderne. Native Americans tend not to rely solely on western medicine for help. However,
White Deer of Autumn notes that since traditional medicine is best at curing diseases brought on
by nature, and since new sicknesses are brought on by technology, some technological medicine
may be required. Amerindienii tind s nu se bazeze numai pe medicina de Vest pentru ajutor. Cu
toate acestea, cerb alb de note de toamna c, din moment medicina tradiional este cel mai bun
la boli introdus la vindecare prin natura, iar din boli sunt aduse la noi prin tehnologie, unele
medicamente tehnologice pot fi solicitate . Here White Deer of Autumn talks about his wife's
quest for healing through a combination of old and new medicine: Aici Deer alb de discuii, de
toamna despre cutarea soiei sale pentru vindecarea printr-o combinaie de medicamente vechi
i noi:
White Deer of Autumn on Spiritual Healing through Purification Deer albe din toamna pe
spirituale vindecare prin Epurare
"When my wife found out that she had breast cancer, and a doctor, without any sensitivity, told
her that she needed to have her breasts cut off, she immediately rejected this approach. She knew
it was unnatural for her body to deal with radiation. Instead, my wife went through a process of
cleansing through sweat lodges and meditation. She returned her body to a more natural form
that brought her closer to the earth, and that healed her spirit, which had been hurt as a child
through molestation, boarding school, and racism. "Cand nevasta-mea a aflat c ea a avut cancer
de sn, precum i un medic, fr nici o sensibilitate, ia spus c ea avea nevoie pentru a avea snii
ei tiate, ea a respins imediat aceast abordare. Ea a stiut ca este nefiresc pentru corpul ei s se
ocupe cu radiaii . n schimb, soia mea a trecut printr-un proces de purificare prin loji sudoare i
meditaie. Ea a revenit corpul ei ntr-o form mai naturale, care a adus-o mai aproape de pmnt,

i c vindecat spiritul ei, care a fost rnit ca un copil, prin molestare, internat colar, i a
"My wife took chemotherapy at the end, and it did prolong her life for a few months. But she
reacted horribly to the chemotherapy. Of course she would. She's a native woman, a natural
woman. Putting something so unnatural into her body is going to cause her to react in that way.
"Soia mea a luat chimioterapie la sfritul anului, i a prelungi durata de viata ei pentru cteva
luni. Dar ea a reacionat oribil la chimioterapie. Desigur, ea ar. E o femeie nativ, o femeie
naturale. Situarea aa ceva nefiresc n corpul ei este mergi la a provoca o s reacioneze n acest
"While taking chemotherapy, my wife continued to attend our ceremonies where she would sit in
the center surrounded by loved ones. We would offer the pipe, and use rattles and drums and sing
for her, trying to create peace and healing. "n timp ce luai chimioterapie, soia mea a continuat
s participe la ceremonii noastre n cazul n care ea ar sta in centrul nconjurat de cei dragi. Ne-ar
oferi eava, i suntoare utilizarea i tobe i cnt pentru ea, ncercnd s creeze pace i
"She died just after Mother's Day. I will never forget how she invited the children onto her bed
and asked for the pipe. The last act on this earth that she wanted to do was to smoke the pipe
with her children. Even though the cancer destroyed her physical body, the healing of her Spirit
allowed my wife to make a remarkable, wondrous transition into the next world." "Ea a murit
imediat dup Ziua Mamei. Nu voi uita niciodat cum a invitat copiii pe patul ei i a cerut pentru
conducta. Ultimul act de pe acest pmnt c ea a vrut s fac a fost de a fuma pipa cu copiii ei.
Chiar dac cancerului a distrus corpul ei fizic, vindecarea spiritul ei a permis soia mea de a face
o remarcabil, de tranziie minunate n lumea cealalt. "
The Vision Quest Vision Quest
Those of us on a spiritual path believe that we are put on this earth for a special reason, but that
reason is not always clear to us. Aceia dintre noi pe o cale spiritual cred c ne sunt puse pe acest
pmnt, pentru un motiv special, dar acest motiv, nu este ntotdeauna clar pentru noi. We want to
know what we need to accomplish in life for our highest benefit, and, in turn, the benefit of the

world. Vrem s tim ce avem nevoie pentru a realiza in viata cel mai nalt pentru beneficiul
nostru, i, la rndul su, n beneficiul lumii. The vision quest can reveal our life's purpose, but it
is an arduous journey into the core of our being that we should only embark upon with sincerity.
Cutarea vizibilitate pot dezvlui scopul vieii noastre, dar este o cltorie dificil n miezul
fiinei noastre care noi ar trebui s se angajeze numai la cu sinceritate. William Walk Sacred
cautions, "It's very important for people to realize that this is not fun and games. Going into the
spiritual world is very serious. If the intent isn't clear, the spirits will not give the vision. The
most important thing is being clear in your heart as to what you are seeking for yourself and the
people of the world." William Walk Sacra avertizeaz, "Este foarte important ca oamenii s
realizeze c acest lucru nu este distracie i jocuri. A intra n lumea spiritual este foarte grav.
Dac intenia nu este clar, spiritele nu va da viziune. Cel mai important lucru este n curs de clar
n inima ta cu privire la ceea ce vi se caut pentru tine i oamenii din lume ".
How to embark on a vision quest varies greatly from tribe to tribe. Cum s se lanseze ntr-o
cutare viziune variaz mult de la trib la trib. Walk Sacred's experience, as a Cree Indian,
involved a long period of preparation, which he says is designed, in part, to weed out all but the
most committed. Experiena Walk Sacred lui, ca un indian Cree, a implicat o lung perioad de
pregtire, care spune el este conceput, n parte, pentru a elimina toate, dar cele mai multe comise.
Walk Sacred describes this procedure in great detail: Walk Sacred descrie aceast procedur n
William Walk Sacred's Vision Quest William Walk Sacred's Vision Quest
"The first thing a person must do is to pray. Sometimes we do this for months or a year. I prayed
for a year and a half before my vision quest to make peace with the beings who had touched me
with lightning. One of the most powerful prayers we say is, 'The most important thing is my
relationship and my dependence upon the Creator and the spirits. Everything they show me is for
my spiritual growth and the peoples' welfare. I know that with the help of the spirits I can do and
I will do. Oh, Grandfather, I am so weak and pitiful. Help me for the sake of your people.'
"Primul lucru pe care o persoan trebuie s faci este s se roage. Uneori facem acest lucru pentru
luni sau un an. M-am rugat pentru un an i jumtate nainte de cutare viziunea mea de a face
pace cu fiine care au atins de mine cu fulgere. Unul dintre cele mai multe rugciuni puternic

spunem este, "Cel mai important lucru este relaia mea i a dependenei Meu asupra Creatorul i
spiritele. Tot ce-mi arate este pentru creterea mea spiritual i bunstarea popoarelor". tiu c,
cu ajutorul spiritelor I poate face i voi face. Oh, Bunic, sunt atat de slab i jalnic. Ajut-m de
dragul poporului tu. "
"There are certain items a person needs in order to present themselves to the medicine man
properly. The most important is the pipe. If you think of a pipe stem, it is hollow. It's a
representation of us being hollow, to allow that breath of God, that vibration, that force, to move
through us without any restrictions. Our prayers through the pipe are carried on the wings of the
spirit directly to the source, the Great Mystery, to be heard properly. This isn'ta pipe you can buy
in a pipe store. It is something that you are given or that you make yourself. It is holy and sacred.
"Exist anumite elemente o persoan care are nevoie pentru a se prezenta la om medicament n
mod corespunztor. Cel mai important este eava. Dac credei c o eav de pip, este goal.
Este o reprezentare a ne fi goale, pentru a permite ca respiraia lui Dumnezeu, ca vibratie, c
vigoare, pentru a v deplasa prin noi fr restricii. rugciunile noastre prin eava sunt
transportate pe aripile a spiritului direct la sursa, marele mister, de a fi audiat n mod
corespunztor. Aceast eav isn'ta te poate cumpra ntr-un magazin de eav. Este ceva ce vi se
ofer sau pe care le faceti singuri. Acesta este sfnt i sacru.
"Once you have your pipe, you find a medicine man, the person who is to be connected to you
spiritually. This person is responsible for you. Though not in your presence physically, the
medicine man will be with you when you are up on the hill. You take your pipe to the medicine
man, and you offer it to the four directions. You point it to the north, south, east, and west. Then
you direct it to the sky father above and the earth mother below. If the medicine man is willing to
accept it, he will extend his hands. Normally, the pipe is presented four times. You present it
once, touch his hands, and then bring it back prayerfully. If he accepts it the fourth time, he is
accepting the responsibility for your going in to talk to these spiritual beings. "Dup ce ai eava
de dumneavoastr, vei gsi un om medicament, persoana care urmeaz s fie conectat la tine
spiritual. Aceast persoan este responsabil pentru tine. Dei nu n prezena ta fizic, omul
medicamentul va fi cu tine atunci cnd suntei pe deal. Tu iei de eav dumneavoastr la om
medicament, i tu oferi la cele patru direcii. Tu l spre nord, sud, est i vest. Apoi ndruma ctre
tatl cer de mai sus i mama pmnt de mai jos. n cazul n care omul medicament este dispus s23

l accepte, el se va extinde minile lui. n mod normal, conducta este prezentat de patru ori. Tu de
fa, o singur dat, atinge minile sale, i apoi ao aduce napoi rugciune. Dac el o accept a
patra oar, el a este de a accepta responsabilitatea pentru dumneavoastr, n merge s vorbesc cu
aceste fiinte spirituale.
"After he accepts the pipe, he will give you specific directions on what needs to be done.
Normally a person needs prayer flags, and a piece of flannel cloth for making the altar. Then you
have to cut choke cherry. If choke cherry is unavailable, any fruit tree will do. But normally we
use choke cherries because they represent the bittersweet nature of life. They are the blood of
life, the blood that ties us together and unifies the world family. The cherry itself actually
represents the pituitary gland, which allows us to go from the physical into the spiritual world,
and back to the physical world, so that we can walk in a good way, so that we can help bring
peace into our heart, and help everyone on this planet. "Dup ce a accepta eava, el v va da
indicaii specifice asupra a ceea ce trebuie fcut. Mod normal, o persoan care are nevoie de
steaguri rugciune, i o bucat de pnz flanel pentru a face altar. Apoi trebuie s taie sufoca de
ciree. n cazul n care sufoca ciree este indisponibil, orice copac de fructe se va face. Dar, n
mod normal, pe care le folosim sufoca ciree, deoarece ele reprezint natura amruie de via.
Sunt de snge de via, legturile de snge care ne mpreun i unific familie lume. ciree n
sine reprezint de fapt glanda pituitara , care ne permite s mearg de la fizic n lumea
spiritual, i napoi la lumea fizic, astfel nct s putem merge intr-un mod util, astfel nct s ne
poate aduce pace n inima noastr, i de a ajuta toat lumea pe aceast planet.
"You also have to prepare tobacco ties on a continuous string using specific colors in a special
order. Exact instructions are given to you by the medicine man after the spirits tell him exactly
what they want. A lot of people want things, but they don't want to do what they need to do in
order to get them. So, it's a very strong commitment. I was asked to make 405 ties, and it took
me eight hours to do this. "De asemenea, avei pentru a pregti legturi de tutun pe un ir
continu folosind culori specifice ntr-o comanda speciala. Instruciuni exacte sunt administrat de
ctre om medicament dup spiritele-i spun exact ceea ce doresc. O mulime de oameni doresc
lucruri, dar ei nu Nu vreau s fac ceea ce au nevoie s fac pentru a lua pe ei. Deci, este un
angajament foarte puternic. mi sa cerut s fac 405 legturi, i mi-a luat opt ore pentru a face
acest lucru.

"You also need an eagle feather, a peace of a conch shell that is cut in a specific fashion, and a
blanket. In Native culture, the eagle is the one who carries our prayers and soars to the highest
heaven, who can see great distances, and who can communicate between the physical and
spiritual worlds. The conch shell represents the ocean, which is the salt of life, our beginnings.
The blanket is for your protection. When you go to the hill, all you have is your nakedness and
the blanket to protect you. You are presenting yourself before the Great Spirit and saying, 'Here I
am. I am pitiful. I am naked.' It's just like when you were born. You are saying, 'Everything I
have is yours. I am nothing without you. Without you I have no breath; I don't even exist.
Without you, I am nothing but the mere dust of the earth. Now I am coming back to you in a
good way, in a humble way. I am not perfect. I am not the best. But I am coming in the best way
that I know how. And I am asking for these blessings today.'
"Once you gather all these things that you will need, you go back to the medicine man. Before
sunset, they put seven stones in a fire. You gather seven large stones and on each one you make a
circle with a special type of clay paint. The circle represents the hoop of life; it has no beginning
or end. The circle is the beginning of cellular consciousness. It represents the light that enters
into that cell. There are many meanings to the circle. Those stones are placed in the fire, and the
fire burns the whole time you're on the hill. It represents all the elements: the earth, fire, water
and air.
"When the stones are heated, you go into the purification lodge. This is the beginning of the
quest. Once inside, you smoke with the medicine man, and everything is good. You go out and
come back with your pipe again, but now it is empty, except for a little sage. You always keep a
little sage in your pipe so that nothing gets into it, physically or spiritually. The medicine man
has the lodge ready, and he has helpers that are going to sit in the lodge with you. Everyone is
tied together, moving in one direction. The person going on the quest always sits on the west end
of the lodge, opposite the medicine man. The west represents the spirits, the thunder beings who
control the wind, the rain, the lightning, the thunder. These are being of great power, and
especially important in my case because of being hit by lightning. Prayers are said in the lodge.
You are there in complete darkness, with the fire, the water, the rocks and the air. All the
elements are there so that all the spirits can enter.


"When you come out of the lodge, you do not speak or look at people. The medicine man takes
you to the position of power that he is seeking for you so that you can have the quest you are
looking for. Medicine men have many different sacred spots. He is directly connected to the
Great Spirit and he knows what people can handle. Some people can handle 12 volts, others can
handle 24. He puts you in a specific area that is strong enough for you as you face the spirits and
go naked before God.
"Then you get to the hill. He takes out the prayer flags that you prepared ahead of time, and puts
one in each direction. Then he takes the tobacco ties and puts you in the center of these four
flags. He starts unwinding these along the ground. It's a protected area. We know that once we
are in the center, nothing can come into the center in a bad way. Only good things can come in
there. You might see all kinds of horrific things dancing around you, but nothing can come into
the center except the good things from the Great Spirit.
"Once you are in the center, he finishes the ties, sets up your alter with the choke cherry branch
and the red flannel, the conch shell and the eagle feather. The medicine man tells you to remain
in the center for one, two, or three days, and sometimes longer, whatever is necessary. In my
case, I was told to pray hard for my life on the first night, and to pray for my direction on the
second. So, I was up there two days and two nights. This is all done as the sun is starting to set.
You are holding your pipe the whole time with all your might because this represents the Great
Mystery. You never let it down, never let it come apart. You pray and pray and pray. You pray
until it hurts.
"During this period of time, you have no food or water. You have nothing but your nakedness,
your blanket, your pipe, and your prayers. You're down to the nitty gritty of who you are.
"At this time, you will get direction in your life. The spirits will come and talk to you. In my
case, they taught me dances, and they taught me ways of communicating with the thunder beings
for helping with lightning, for helping with rain, for helping with specific directions. They taught
me ghost medicine and gave me specific knowledge because as a doctor, medicine man, sun
dancer, pipe carrier, my direction is in healing.


"You cannot go off the path at that point because you are now owned by the spirits. They watch
you continuously. There is no hiding. Someone once said to me that people live their lives as if
God can't see around corners. God can see around corners. We don't get away with anything,
especially once we've made a commitment in our hearts. That's why before going on a quest, it's
important to pray for months, sometimes a year or longer, to make sure that you're clear in your
heart about the direction you're seeking.
"I sat there and I prayed all night and all day. I stood there, and faced the eagle feather and the
conch shell on the alter, and I prayed and prayed and prayed, and asked for direction. The spirits
came as sparks of light, and they came as beings that I have known before. My father, who had
died, came to me at one point. There is no way to know they are coming. But if you pray in a
good way, they will come and give you direction. They will tell you what it is you are seeking,
and what you need to do to become an active participant in your own life. It is up to you to be
able to do that.
"Once the helpers and the medicine man leave the hill, they go back to where the sacred fire is
burning, and they pray for you, continually. They are up on the hill with you, so to speak,
experiencing everything that you are experiencing. The fire is kept burning the whole time you
are up there. Even if your quest is for four days, the fire is keep going 24 hours a day. It
represents the fire of life that carries your prayers up to heaven.
"After you have been up there for a specific amount of time, the medicine man and the helpers
come for you. This is rough. When you are standing there for two, three, or four days, your joints
are stiff, and you are feeling pain, hunger, and thirst. You have endured 100 degree weather
during the day and freezing cold at night. The experience takes you beyond the physical. It isn't
trying to see how much torture you can endure. It takes you to the point of realizing your
potential, of seeing what you can do, what you can go through, and still come out in a good way,
with your heart and mind clear, and your body still able to function. The power of the experience
is difficult to communicate in words.
"As they gather up the tobacco ties, the prayer flags, and the alter, your head remains downcast
and you continue to pray because you are still in ceremony. Then you come down the hill and go

back to the sacred fire. You re-enter the lodge, where you pray and sing sacred songs. Again, you
are sitting opposite the medicine man on the west side with your back to the center. You share the
vision that has been revealed to you, and what you share is not allowed to leave the lodge. In my
case, I was given gifts of vision for each person there.
"To conclude, you participate in the wopela, which is a way of saying thank you. This is an
honoring time. It is a time of giving things away. You give a gift to the medicine man and to the
helpers. You give gifts to the children. There's always play and laughter. Usually, the blanket
you've worn is given away to someone who has been a great helper to you. This is a time of great
celebration as the Great Spirit has allowed you to come back into this world. There's a big feast
where a traditional buffalo soup is made. Unfortunately, the person who has been on the hill can't
eat to much. The body is kind of stiff and you have to get used to it. It's like birthing again.
You're learning how to reuse the body, and how to assimilate food into your system. It's good to
take gentle things into the system, maybe some broth and fluid with a little lemon.
"For a period of time after that, you begin to integrate all this wonderful knowledge that has been
given to you. This is a time to be prayerful, to allow all the information to come in, to integrate
it, in order to help you on your path. This is also a time to readjust. You are getting used to a
whole different vibratory rate, so to speak. You've been in this spiritual way, and all of a sudden
you're coming back into the physical world. The medicine man will talk with you and say, 'As
you come back into this world, you will see hate and jealousy in people's eyes, and all sorts of
things. Remember your commitment. Remember what you have done in your heart. Your mind
can trick you into saying anything. But your heart knows the truth. You cannot lie when you go
into your heart of hearts. When you're in that center, you will know what is truth. You will look
at these people and know that we are all pitiful creature. Just pray for them. When somebody
comes at you with anger, hatred, prejudice, and all these things, look at it and say that everything
is in control of the spirits. Just as when you were in that center, and nothing of a negative nature
could hurt you, you can enter that center again. Know that you are walking in a good way.
Whatever the Great Spirit brings you is coming in a good way."
Sometimes going on a vision quest is not as elaborate or detailed in terms of preparation. Still the
experience can be a powerful one when the intention for a vision is strong. Eagle Man, an

Ogalala Sioux, shares what his immersion into nature taught him, although he says the
experience is too powerful to fully express in words:
Eagle Man's Vision Quest
"One time, I had a medicine person put me up on the hill. Another time, I had two very powerful
medicine people as my mentors. They simply said, 'Go up on this place, and vision quest.' They
never accompanied me, nor did they have a sweat lodge waiting for me. They just took me up on
the hill and placed me. They told me to do it and I just did it.
"I went to the mountain, and I parked my car down below. I took my peace pipe, and I simply
walked up to the top of the mountain. In those days, believe it or not, when you went to Bear
View Mountain, there was nobody there. Now it's quite crowded because Native spirituality has
become so popular. But when I used to go there, I would be the only one on the whole mountain.
So, I'd walk way up there and I'd fast. I'd drink no water. I'd simply take four little flags--red,
white, black, and yellow--and place them around me, in a square. I'd stay in the square. If I had
to go to the bathroom, I'd go away, of course, and then come back. But that's it. I'd sit in my
square, and watch the sun come up in the morning, and set at night. I'd see the moon come up,
and I'd see all the phases of the earth. When you're fasting, your mind becomes more alert. You
simply contemplate your life. And when you fall asleep, your dreams become more vivid.
"As each day goes by, the phases of life go through their cycles. At night, the stars come out.
Pilades will actually dance for you if you're a vision quester. They light up, almost like a neon
sign. I know people find that hard to believe, but that's just the mystery of the ceremony. An
eagle will hover right over you knowing that you're in ceremony. Thunder and lightning come by,
and you just endure it. It's no problem. Lightning can be flashing all around you, and you'll
laugh. The Great Spirit is not going to take your life up there while you are vision questing. And
if it does, who cares? You're in a good state. But you don't fear nature or God. The Great Spirit
made you. Why should you fear it? You become more confident once you follow this natural
"So, this is a vision quest. It's performed by you and it's for yourself. You don't have to go
through anybody. You can communicate to the Great Spirit through observation. Of course, it's

nice to have a medicine person there to help you interpret the experience. When I came down
from the mountain, the medicine man asked me, 'What did you see?' I said that I didn't see too
much. 'This eagle just came and hovered over me, and lightning cracked close to me.' 'Were you
afraid?' he asked? 'No, I wasn't afraid. In fact, I laughed. And I saw four horses before I went up
the mountain. But they were real, live horses.' 'What color were they?' he wanted to know. He
was even interested in these pre-vision quest scenes, as well as my dreams."
Eagle Man suggests that most people attempting a vision quest go into the mountains for one or
two days at most, as the majority aren't stronger to go up for long periods of time. Also people
should take their medication, and drink water, if this is a necessity.
Oliver Pahdopony - Healed on a Vision Quest
Oliver Pahdopony was the last medicine man of the Comanches. Between 1980 and 1985, a
graduate anthropology student, by the name of Robert Vetter, was doing his field work in the
southern plains, and had the good fortune of being taken into Pahdopony's family, where he
developed a close relationship with his adopted grandfather. Vetter was interested in religion,
spirituality, and healing, and learned much from a Native American perspective, which he shared
with me.
Ten years before their meeting, Pahdopony was very ill and hospitalized. The doctors exhausted
all their tests and treatments, and finally told their patient that they could do nothing more for
him but ease his pain. Pahdopony had terminal cancer.
Pahdopony discussed his situation with his wife and son, and they decided that since the doctors
could do nothing, he would heal himself in the tradition of his elders. He would fast and go into
the hills on a vision quest. Pahdopony went into the Wichita mountains on the night of a new
moon, and brought along an eagle feather, a blanket, and some tobacco. This was the fall when it
was just starting to get cold.
Pahdopony reached his spot, a rise facing Mount Scott, one of the taller peaks in the Wichita
mountains, he sat down and waited. For a long time, nothing happened. Then, near morning, he
could hear the rustling of leaves from out in the distance. Looking up, he saw something that

appeared to be a flame. Whatever it was started getting closer and closer. Then he realized that
this was a creature spitting fire out of his mouth, and it was getting closer to him. Pahdopony,
who referred to this creature as a visitor, soon realized that it was coming after him. Pahdopony
sat frozen, unable to move, and the visitor, directly in his path, shot a flame at him. Now
Pahdopony couldn't move, talk, or breathe. His heart completely stopped and he was totally
Then the visitor spoke, and Pahdopony returned to normal. He could move, breathe, and talk
again. The visitor said in Comanche, "Son, what are you doing here?" And Pahdopony replied
that he was sick. "There's nothing the matter with you," the visitor replied. "You're going to be
alright. But they sent me to take care of a man who's real bad off." With that, this visitor started
to take off to the west. But just before disappearing, he turned around to Pahdopony and said,
"Son, did you know that this whole world that we live in comes to a complete standstill for a
short time, just before morning? That's the time when things like me can enter into this world."
With that, the visitor disappeared into the west, which is often considered to be the direction of
Some time later, his son came back for him. Running up to his father, he asked, "How did you
make it through the cold night? Pahdopony replied, "What do you mean? Where I was, it was
like springtime." Leaving the rise, everywhere had frost on the ground, everywhere but where
Pahdopony had been.
Pahdopony returned home, his cancer now gone. He never had problems with that again. But he
knew something else had happened as well, and he really didn't know what to do about it until
sometime later. In a nearby town, an old Comanche lady walked up to him and asked, "Son, what
happened to you?" Pahdopony asked the old lady what she meant and she told him that
something changed about him. He explained the story of his vision quest, and she said,
"Something like that doesn't happen to you without your receiving a gift. You've got a gift, and
you don't yet know what it is, but some time soon, you're going to find out. Whatever healed you
is going to give you the power to heal other people."


Pahdopony started to think about what had happened to him on the hill. Putting it all together, he
began to remember the traditional medicine people of his childhood. And he had remembered
some of the ways they had doctored people.
Word about what had happened to Pahdopony got out in the Indian communities of Oklahoma.
And people from the different tribes started coming to him for help. Pahdopony began to realize
what he was supposed to be doing and how he was supposed to do it.
Since fire had healed him, Pahdopony used this element to treat other people. He would build a
fire, and let it burn until the coals in it were red hot. Then he would take a piece of the hot coal
out of the fire with his fingers, and place it into his mouth. This would activate the power to heal
others. Pahdopony saw sickness as fire, and would say that you have to fight fire with fire. But
you have to understand what that fire is, or else it will burn you.
Different medicine men and women specialize in treating different illnesses. Pahdopony's
specialty was Bell's palsy, a facial paralysis where one half of the face become paralyzed. He had
the ability to take the person's face in his hands, and reshape it the way that it was supposed to
be. Pahdopony would explain that it was like taking wet cement. You could move it around any
way you wanted. But once it was dry, it would stay in one position.
The Sun Dance
The sun dance is the predominant tribal ceremony of Great Plains Indians, although it is
practiced by numerous tribes today as a prayer for life, world renewal and thanksgiving. On a
personal level, someone may dance to pray for a relative or friend, or to determine their place in
the universe, while on a larger scale, the sun dance serves the tribe and the earth. Indigenous
people believe that unless the sun dance is performed each year, the earth will lose touch with the
creative power of the universe, thereby losing its ability to regenerate.
The sun dance was outlawed in the latter part of the nineteenth century, partly because certain
tribes inflicted self-torture as part of the ceremony, which settlers found gruesome, and partially
as part of a grand attempt to westernize Indians by forbidding them to engage in their ceremonies
and speak their language. Sometimes the dance was performed when reservation agents were lax

and chose to look the other way. But as a rule, younger generations were not being introduced to
the sun dance and other sacred rituals, and a rich cultural heritage was becoming extinct.
Then, in the 1930's, the sun dance was relearned and practiced once again. Michael Fitzgerald,
an adopted member of the Yellow Tail family of the Crow tribe, and author of Yellow Tail Crow
Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief related this amazing story to me. A man by the name of
John Trojillo was walking in the mountains while on a vision quest when he was struck by
lightning. At that moment, the Spirit of the mountain came to Trojillo and carefully explained to
him different healing ceremonies and medicines.
Three days later, Trojillo noticed himself walking through a rock, and then saw himself lying on
the floor of the cave. He laid down in his body and awoke, realizing that he had been in his Spirit
all this time, not his physical body.
Trojillo was given explicit instructions to follow for a year's time. He was told to pray, to go on
vision quests, and not to practice his medicine power. Afterwards, Trojillo was able to call upon
the Spirits of the medicine fathers, whenever someone was in need of help, and was the vehicle
for many miraculous healings. The first healing was especially dramatic, involving a man who
had been shot twice, just above the heart. The doctors of this time were not skillful enough to
perform such a delicate operation, but Trujillo prayed for the man, and sprinkled the wound with
a sacred powder, called lightning root. The next day, the bullets worked themselves out and were
lying beneath the man. The patient fully recovered and lived many more healthy years. While the
herbs played a role, Trujillo credited the man's survival to the Spirits who had responded to his
Trujillo became prominent in his tribe as a result of this incident and was asked to reinstate the
sun dance on the Shoshoni reservation. Then in 1941, he was invited to the Crow reservation to
teach the sun dance, which had also been lost due to generations of US government Indian
policy. Since this new version differed from the original dance, the Crows called the ceremony
the Crow Shoshoni sun dance.
The tribes learned that the sun dance consisted of various elements. There was the ritual of the
sacred pipe, the purification ceremony, monthly prayer ceremonies, and a yearly ritual. The sun

dance chief offers the prayers from the sacred pipe to the four directions, as well as the earth and
sky, on a daily basis. The purification ceremony is performed before the sun dance and again
afterwards. Monthly sun dance prayer ceremonies take place 12 times a year, at the time of the
full moon. During this ceremony, two medicine bundles are opened, and ritual objects are taken
out and placed on an elk's skin in the middle of the floor. Heated coals are brought into the lodge,
incense is placed on the fire, and special songs are sung to help carry the prayers of the smoke to
a subtler world.
At the end of the ceremony, people in the audience come forth to be healed. Animal instruments,
such as eagle feathers and otter skins, are used. Fitzgerald notes that a great spiritual leader,
Yellow Tail, used a hollowed out horn of a spiked horn elk as his primary method of healing.
Blowing on a patient's back with the horn created a terribly shrill sound, but resulted in many
miraculous cures and protection against danger. In one instance, a prominent American Indian
was sent to Viet Nam and shot at close range by the Viet Cong. Although the bullet tore through
his tee shirt, it did not penetrate him.
During the healings, the medicine man prays over the patient, touching him or her with the
animal instrument. The bad spirits are taken into the prop, and then cast into the wind.
Sometimes herbs are given to the patient to alleviate simple symptoms, but as mentioned earlier,
the essential cure is through prayer. The medicine man calls forth spiritual entities to enter the
physical world in order to cure the patient.
In addition to the 12 monthly ceremonies, there is a three to four day sun dance that takes place
each summer, usually in July. The preparation is too detailed to describe here, but involves
building a lodge from a large cottonwood tree, with a forked branch in the middle. Twelve
upright poles are placed about 13 paces from the center pole in a circular fashion, with rafter
poles connecting the outside of the circle to the inner pole. From an aerial view, this appears as a
wagon wheel with a hub in its center. This symbolizes the tribe (on the outside of the circle)
trying to find their way straight to the center.
Fitzgerald told me about the preparations for the Crow sun dance, where the dancers greet each
sunrise with sacred songs. Then the medicine man prays on behalf of the tribe, the world, and all

creation. Throughout the day, 100 or more tribe members may dance to a drum beat, which
represents the heart of the universe. The dancers fast for the duration of the ceremony. All their
time is spent praying to the Creator and dancing toward and away from the center pole. The
ceremony is brutal and causes many dancers to collapse, what Indians call taking a fall. This is
followed by a vision, similar to what happens on a vision quest, only here many people are given
guidance for the good of the tribe. In a sense, this is a community vision quest to renew the
people and the bioregion.
On the second day, spectators from the tribe enter the lodge to be healed, bearing gifts of tobacco
and incense. This is exactly the same process that takes place during the monthly prayer sun
dance ceremonies, where harmful spiritual and physical manifestations are taken into an animal
instrument and cast off to the wind, while prayers are said to heal the person.
Sun dance ceremonies typically end with a purification ceremony so that tribe members can reenter the world refreshed and regenerated. Fitzgerald notes that this ritual is as concrete as it is
symbolic, and related to me a time when he was in a purification lodge with Yellow Tail. While
praying, Yellow Tail suddenly threw a scoop of water onto the very hot volcanic rocks. The force
of the 212 degree steam knocked Fitzgerald down. He equated the feeling to that of an egg that
sizzles when dropped onto a skillet. Yellow Tail continued to pray, and then asked Fitzgerald if
he was alright. Fitzgerald leaned up onto his elbow to assure Yellow Tail that he was fine, feeling
too embarrassed to admit that he was thrown onto the ground. At that moment, Fitzgerald
realized that this was more than a symbolic death; there was an element of pure suffering
accompanying this ceremony of death and renewal.
The dual meaning of this ritual is also expressed by Yellow Tail, who says, "When water is
thrown onto the rocks, the heat does not merely cleanse us from the outside. It also goes all the
way into our hearts. We know that we must suffer the ordeal of the heat in order to purify
ourselves. In that way, we re-emerge from the sweat lodge at the end of the ceremony as new
men who have been shown the light of the wisdom of our spiritual heritage for the first time.
This allows us to participate in all of our daily tasks with the fresh remembrance of our position
on earth, and our continuous obligation to walk on this earth in accordance with the sacred

Sandra Frazier - Healed Through the Sun Dance

Sandra Frazier, from the Cheyenne River Reservation attributes her recovery from cancer to the
power of traditional ceremonies: "In 1990, the doctors told me that I had female cancer. By the
time it was diagnosed, the doctors thought that it had spread, and they scheduled me for surgery.
"I have a good friend, named Dorothy, living at Standing Rock Reservation. She asked me if she
could sponsor, a sweat lodge ceremony for me, and I said that she could. So, she had a sweat
lodge ceremony and prayed for me.
"Right after that, there was to be a sun dance on the Standing Rock reservation. Dorothy asked
the sun dance leader if I could be taken to the tree. He said that I could, since my bleeding was
not from a regular menstrual period. So, I went to the sun dance, and they took me up to the tree,
where I prayed for my health. I prayed that I would be able to raise my children, and not be taken
from them. I prayed that I would be able to be with my grandchildren.
"Afterwards, I went through the surgery, and there were no problems at all, absolutely none. I
really believe it was because I had gone to the sweat lodge and that I had gone to the sun dance
where the sun dancers prayed with me.
"A year later, I went back to the sun dance and did what we call a wopela, a thanksgiving. What I
did was feed the people with traditional food.
"The next year, my youngest daughter was pregnant. She had a normal pregnancy, and delivered
a baby girl. But the next day she had terrible, terrible pain in her chest, and was taken to a
hospital, where she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The placenta cells traveled and
grew in her body cavity, her female parts, and her lungs, but fortunately, they hadn't grown in her
brain. She immediately started on chemotherapy.
"As soon as the cancer was diagnosed, I contacted my family, and they immediately went into
ceremony. All the time that she had cancer, there were ceremonies for her. At the same time,
there were prayers all around the world for my daughter. I sincerely believe that my daughter


was cured of that cancer because of prayer and medicine. I sincerely believe in these ways. I
know they work."
The Naming Ceremony
Legal names are given, but Native American names are earned. Gabriel Horn gives a personal
account of why and how his Indian name was chosen: "By the time I graduated from college, I
had already done my battles for the people. I had protested against stereotypes of Native
Americans, I had fought for a Native American literature course on campus, and I had asked for
participation in the United Nations. My immediate family believed that I had earned a name. The
name came to my uncle, a traditional Cherokee man, who had a vision of a white deer coming to
him and singing my name. He knew it was to be White Deer.
"My godmother, my uncle, and some close friends attended the ceremony. A pipe was filled with
tobacco, and offered to each direction, as they called out my name. They called it out to the east,
the south, the west, and the north. They called it out to the sky and to the earth. They called it out
to the plants. They called it out to the animals. In other words, I was introduced to the universe as
White Deer. That was my rebirth. In a sense, I was a born again Indian at that point." Receiving a
new name was a healing experience. I was now completely comfortable with my Indian identity,
whereas before I felt fragmented, not totally in touch with who I was."
Name changes can be physically as well as psychologically healing. Some time later, White Deer
became ill, and a longer name was the solution: "I had gotten very sick, and was near death. A
very old Ojibwa medicine man from Canada came down to Minnesota. I believe he was over 100
years old, and he didn't speak any English. During the ceremony of healing for me, a
manifestation appeared in the room. At that point, the medicine man said that the entity wanted
me to also be called Autumn. I was now White Deer of Autumn. The ceremony ended, and my
sickness was healed.
"The name, of course, bestows certain powers and responsibilities. The power of the deer is its
awareness, its keenness, and its protective nature. The white is purity, purity of heart, mind, and
words. Autumn, I was told, is a time when change is most visible. It's a time when change is at
its most powerful. And so, I was named for that season."

Indian names can be passed down, as western names often are. The distinction is that you are not
stuck with one name all your life. This represents different beliefs about human potential, says
White Deer of Autumn: "Crazy Horse passed on his name to his son, who took the name Worm
as he got older. So, we can pass on names, too. The idea is that you're not stuck with the name
you were given at birth. In western society, it's almost as if you can't change; you can't evolve;
you can't grow. From a native perspective, your name reflects who you are. White Deer of
Autumn reflects what I've done. But as I go on in life, I may want to let go of that and take
another name. I have that right. So, naming is the ability to evolve and change in your identity. I
think this is healing, both physically and emotionally."
Smudging is a common practice among Native Americans for the cleansing of energy through
the burning of sage, tobacco, and sweet grass. John Joseph says these substances emit certain
smells that are pleasing to the Great Spirit: "Sweet grass grows high in the Rocky Mountains,
and is known as the grass that never dies. It is a gift from the Creator, and one of the great smells
for reminding us of the mountains and the open air. Sage is the cleanest smell of the desert, and
is also given to us by the Creator. Tobacco is yet another gift. Our thoughts and prayers are
carried on its smoke. It is a visual representation of our thoughts and prayers being carried, more
so because it carries the two great smells of the mountain and desert."
The smudging itself is performed by mixing the sweet grass, sage, and tobacco in a bowl, usually
an abalone shell, burning the ingredients, and then blowing or fanning the smoke over a person.
Often, an eagle feather fan is used, as Native Americans believe that the prayers and thoughts
contained in the smoke are carried to the Creator on the wings of eagles, which fly the highest
and are in direct communication with the Creator.
Smudging plays a central role in traditional healing ceremonies because it is believed that once
negative energies are cleared out, a sense of peace and relaxation take over, putting spiritual
difficulties to rest. Joseph explains why this aspect of healing is so important: "Western medicine
primarily looks at physical causes, and often does not consider the spiritual well being of the
individual. You have to understand that there's a big difference between healing and curing.

Curing is a quick fix and will only be long-term if the spiritual site is fixed." Smudging is often
combined with other modalities that get to the root of illness, such as talking to a shaman, taking
long walks, fasting, praying, and engaging in purification ceremonies.
The Winter Dance
The winter dance is a ceremony for the renewal of the earth that is performed by the Salish
people on the Colville Reservation, north of Spokane, Washington. John Grim, a religious
historian, an adopted member of a Crow Indian family, and the author of The Shaman Patterns
of Religious Healing Among the Ojibway Indians, attends the winter dance each year, and
explained the ritual to me. Grim states that the dance for renewal is not an abstract notion.
Rather, it is performed to invoke heavy rains so that root crops will grow to provide sustenance
for humans, and to keep animals alive for man to hunt.
The winter dance is performed for four days, from eight in the evening until nine the next
morning. The first day of the winter dance is usually for family. Then intimate friends of the
family are invited. It grows from there, and by the fourth day, there may be as many people as s
100 or 150 people in attendance. The location of the ceremony is chosen by a Shaman. It is held
in a single room; the windows are covered, and there is a pole made of pine in the middle of the
room that extends from the floor to the ceiling. This pole is referred to as the old man, and is a
symbol for our relationship with the Spirits that created and gave meaning to this world.
During the winter dance itself, Spirits call out in the form of songs. Those who can hear the
songs will sing them. This exchange between the Spirits and human beings is called Samish in
the Salish language, a word which implies that a special sound is being imparted to a person by
the creative presence of the world. No one touches the pine pole except for the singers, who
begin to sing very slowly, one at a time. There is no set order regarding who will sing when. The
singers are believed to be in trance, although this word doesn't fully capture the experience of
what actually takes place. A translator is usually present to give the English interpretation, or if
the words are already in English, to project the message loud and clear for everyone in the room
to hear. These are personal statements about ethical and moral life, about community, about


Spirit presence, and about the origin of the song. The singer begins to sing at a much faster pace,
and people get up to dance.
The four day ceremony attracts wet heavy snow, then a frost and a cold spell, followed by more
snow to get moisture down into the root crops. Grim notes how each time he attends the winter
dance, it snows.
The Rites of Passage Ceremony
George Amiotte, an Ogalala Lakota from Pine Ride, explains that the Rites of Passage ceremony
is performed for young people, about 14 or 15 years of age, who are traveling from adolescence
into young adulthood. The Indian word for this ritual is hablacia which means crying for a
vision. During the ceremony, a young person will leave behind the mundane problems of life,
and contemplate on his place in the universe. Similar to a vision quest, the individual will sit for
four days and four nights, without food or water, and contemplate the whys of his existence. A
person will ask, "Who am I?" "What am I doing here?" "What is my purpose?" Basically, this
ceremony helps a person get in touch with their spiritual being. In other words, they ask the
spiritual part of themselves to come to life, so that they may fulfill their part in the Divine Plan.
The Salmon Spirit Ceremony
The Salmon Spirit Ceremony is performed by the Skokomish people in order to thank the earth
for its supply of food. When salmon start to appear, the people hold a ceremony where they sing
songs and offer the first salmon caught that year back to the river. This ceremony is similar to
saying a prayer before eating.
The Uweepe Ceremony
This is a little known healing ceremony performed by only a few medicine people in South
Dakota. During the uweepe ceremony, the leader will travel into a spiritual dimension where the
past, present, and future are available to him or her. When working with a sick individual, this
allows the medicine person to make a diagnosis, and to see what needs to be done.
The Making of Relations Ceremony

Loneliness is one of the worst feelings we can experience, and, unfortunately, a common theme
of modern times. Native Americans use the Making of Relations Ceremony to overcome
alienation, and to create a sense of community and continuity among people. Ben First Eagle, a
Watatome and Choctaw Indian from the Black Hills of South Dakota explains how and why the
ceremony is performed: "This is a ritual that we have for making a new relation. To Native
Americans, the worst thing that you can call a person is an orphan. It means that the person is
disconnected, that they have no relations, that they have no blood line. These things happened in
the past. The mother and father would be killed or disease would take them. And they happen
"In this ceremony, another family or group takes in a young person who has been left alone. Or it
can be a middle-aged person or someone older. Age doesn't matter. Anyone who loses their
relatives can partake in this ritual. Another family will say, 'This one is pitiful. We need to help.
So, let's make this one our aunt, our brother, our sister, nephew, niece, grandson, or
granddaughter.' The Making of Relations Ceremony insures that no one is an orphan, no one is
"In this ritual, we use the pipe, we use blankets, and, these days, we use a chair. They used to just
sit people on sage and cover them with the blanket. Songs are sung. An eagle feather is tied in
the person's hair, complete with a medicine wheel, that could be made of rawhide and painted, or
made of porcupine quills. That's done to symbolize their connection to the four directions, and to
the hoop of life. Hair represents the person's life because it grows. It contains a person's wisdom,
and it contains their connection to the past."
Ben First Eagle says the Making of Relations Ceremony insures that no one is left to feel alone
in the universe, and that this is vital as we are social beings who depend upon each other. "A
person is taken in as a relative. That relative system is as strong as blood. It must be, because the
welfare of the group can sometimes hinge upon one individual. And if that person is feeling
disconnected, he or she may fail you."
Due to the rising numbers of death due to alcoholism among Native Americans, the Making of
Relations ritual is being conducted more and more today.

The (sounds like Aduha) Ceremony

This is a ceremony for giving away possessions of a loved one who has recently died. When a
husband, wife, or other close family member passes on, the living relative gathers together the
departed's belongings, and decides who can use what. This process takes approximately a year,
and is done with the help of others. At the end of this time, friends and relatives gather together
for the actual giving away of belongings. If a woman survives her husband, she may give away
her husband's fishing pole or gun to a nephew or brother-in-law who always admired that
possession, and who can use it. She will also give away items to the people who helped her
gather these belongings together.
Eagle Man explains that giving is a natural part of an Indian's nature: "In the old, old days,
Indians would always give things away. When we were out in the plains, hunting buffalo, we had
everything we needed, and we considered ourselves wealthy. Of course, wealth is just a matter of
how you see it. We thought you were quite wealthy if you were well fed and free, with a good
horse underneath you. If you were able to provide for your offspring and mates, you were
"In modern times, many Indians live in houses and accumulate certain things. They feel that they
can give these things away when a person dies. When you learn to live with less, you don't have
to worry about it. You learn to be unburdened with all the excess trinkets that are totally
irrelevant to living in this world."
Eagle Man adds that the (sounds like Aduha) ceremony has important psychological benefits for
the person in mourning, as gathering items occupies the person's mind, and gives the individual
something to do. Then, on the day of the actual giving away, the person who died is brought to
life in the sense that people get together and reminisce about the past. Usually, a hall is rented
where close friends and family of the departed gather together. A picture of the couple in their
earlier days may be there and people will comment on that. Then, when items are given away to
loved ones, each person will recall a memory about it. Say a widow gives her husband's friend a
fishing pole, he may remember a time he spent time with her husband's fishing in a stream. The
woman hears good things about her husband and this is healing.

The Earth Day Ceremony

According to Eagle Man, the Sioux nation take Earth Day very seriously and performs a
powerful ceremony in its honor. The ceremony is held outdoors, where the four directions are
invoked, as well as the powers of the earth and sky, to let these energies know that the people are
giving Mother Earth their full support and respect.
Acknowledging the directions is a common part of Native ceremonies, but here they are
connected to environmental talk. Eagle Man explains: "We talk about life giving rains coming
out of the west. We talk about clean waters. And we ask, 'How can we help make the water
clean?' We talk about less wasting of water. Also, we talk about fighting for the non-pollution of
water. Then we turned to the north and appreciate cleanliness and purity. We know that we have
an uphill battle, as most environmentalists have. But we beseech upon the north power to fortify
us and give us great strength to endure in our venture into environmentalism. We beseech the
east power and talk about knowledge, about educating children. We see that more today. Kids are
less apt to throw trash out of their cars windows. I just had three occupants in my car. One
dumped his water out from his paper cut, but he wouldn't think of throwing that paper cup out
there on the grass. Had he thrown out the paper cup, I would have stopped the car, turned around,
admonished him, and made him pick up the paper cup. It doesn't sound like much, but it all adds
up. So, we talk about knowledge. We go to the south power, and we beseech for bounty to be
taken away from these people that are wasting. All business executives care about is making
more and more money. They don't care about taking their bounty and applying it to Mother
Earth's needs. We beseech for the bounty to be distributed to people who will make use of it for
the Earth Mother, and for projects that will generate a myriad of environmental items that can
cause less pollution."
Ultimately, addressing the directions leads to communion with the Creator. But Indians do not
focus directly on the all-seeing Great Mystery. Rather, they speak to His Creation as manifested
in nature, represented by each direction.
The Medaweewan Ceremony


This sacred and secret ceremony is central to the (sounds Anishanobway) people of Wisconsin,
Minnesota, and Michigan. Non-Native people have never participated in this ritual. It is a
ceremony they preserve for themselves and it is integral to their identity as a people. In earlier
times, the ceremony was practiced by other groups, such as the Ojibway and Chippewa, but due
to oppression and persecution it became extinct in these cultures.
The purpose of the four or five day ceremony is to build institutional support and to bring
different shamans together to transmit the mythical understandings and symbol systems of the
Anishanobway people. As outsiders to the religion, this is all we can know, and perhaps all we
need to know.
Medicine Shields
Medicine shields were used by Native American men for spiritual as well as physical protection.
Physical safety was aided by the size of the shield, and the material used to make it, which was a
hard rawhide from the hump of the buffalo. The rawhide was cured, making it dense, so that no
arrow could penetrate it. Bullets from early flint rock rifles didn't always go through the rawhide,
although more powerful bullets did.
For spiritual protection, the shields were circular, and decorated with power symbols and objects
of personal significance. They might draw a picture of an animal or an insect that they felt close
to, for instance, a buffalo, an eagle, or an ant. This would come to the man in a vision or be given
to him by someone else. The animal or insect would give the warrior further power and
protection by allowing him to see where the enemy was. Sometimes parts of animals would be
attached as well, such as eagle feathers. Smaller shields, known as replica shields, were made by
the men too, and worn for spiritual protection from evil.
Native American artists Tchin explains the importance of medicine shields as power symbols: "I
think all people understand the power of things. We understand that we, as human beings, are
somewhat weak, and so we need other things to help us."


(Are medicine shields and medicine wheels the same?)

Medicine Wheel
To understand the significance of the medicine wheel, we need to go back to a time when most
Indian nations were constantly at war with each other. Tribes were obsessed with wiping out their
"enemies." Then a dramatic shift in perception occurred, and a peace was realized, which lasted
for a period of 150 to 200 years. This long truce was the result of a great Iroquois chief, (sounds
like Agonawila) , later to become Hiawatha, who urged the tribes to cease the madness of
brother killing brother, and formed an alliance, which came to be known as the Confederation of
Nations. The Confederation recognized that Indian peoples were more alike than different. Even
though they spoke different dialects, they had the same basic belief systems and followed similar
An important part of this transformation was the medicine wheel, which was placed in front of
every tepee, and decorated in special symbols, colors, and stones, to let people entering the tribe
know about its inhabitants. The medicine wheel was a reflection of an individual's strengths and
weaknesses, and it gave people guidelines to follow for personal growth. It told people what they
needed to learn and what they needed to teach. Everyone was ordered to work on themselves, or
else leave the tribe. After several generations of this work, people lost the concept of blame and
anger. This, in turn, resulted in the longest peace in modern history.
Brother Eagle Soaring, from Arizona, explains the powerful impact of the medicine wheel: "If I
said to you, 'Does anyone ever make you angry?' you would say yes. But in reality, this is totally
impossible. You choose to be angry by the way you process the event. This is something you
were taught to do as a child. If you could imagine not one person in all of New York City having
the concept of anger, that's what it was like during that time period of no wars before the white
man came."
The medicine wheel is a circle divided by a cross to create four directions--the north, east, south,
and west. A forerunner to astrology, each person is represented somewhere within that circle,
depending upon their birth date. That placement is associated with a special moon, power animal,
healing plant, color and mineral, as outlined below. Though more complex in actuality, here

Brother Soaring Eagle gives an overview of the special meanings the medicine wheel can have
for individuals:
North - Purity and Renewal
Spirit Keeper of the North : White Buffalo (Waboose)
December 22 to January 19
Moon: Earth renewal moon
Power Animal: Snow goose
Mineral: Quartz crystal
Frequency: 13.26 megacycles
Color: White
Plant : Birch tree
Clan: Turtle
Element: Earth
Characteristics: The snow goose is at the top of the medicine wheel, and represents the chief.
These people have an affinity for the earth, and might pick up rocks while vacationing. The bark
of the birch tree helps their digestive tract, and the new leaves and new ends of twigs help
deaden the pain in their knees and bones. Like the quartz crystal that is used in communications,
these people can send messages over long distances. Often just thinking of someone will be
enough to get the person to call them.
January 20 to February 18 :
Moon: Rust cleansing moon otter


Power Animal: Otter

Mineral: Silver
Frequency: 13.6 megacycles
Color: Silver
Plant: Quaking aspen
Clan: Butterfly
Element: Air
Characteristics: The otter sits on the right hand side of the chief in high counsel. Their job is to
advise the chief and to dissolve disputes. Otter people assume that everyone is their friend. They
are multifaceted and quick thinkers who are usually a step and a half ahead of everyone else.
February 19 to March 20 :
Moon: Big wind's moon cougar
Power Animal: Cougar
Mineral: Turquoise
Frequency: 14.6 megacycles
Colors: Blue and green
Plant: Plantain
Clan: Frog
Element: Water


Characteristics: Cougar people also sit in high counsel, but on the left hand side hand of the
chief. Their job is to give advice on running the tribe, as they are considered natural psychiatrists.
All people come to cougar people for advice. Being frog clan members, they are natural healers.
Cougar people do not jump into the center of the action. Rather, they are the elusive, shy ones
that stay behind, and watch things unfold.
East - Illumination and Wisdom
Spirit keeper of the East - Eagle (Wabun)
March 21 to April 19 :
Moon Phase: Budding tree's moon red tail hawk
Power Animal: Red tail hawk
Mineral: Fire opal
Frequency: 3.6 megacycles
Color: Yellow
Plant: Dandelion
Clan: Thunderbird
Element: Fire
Characteristics: Red tail hawk people look at the world with a sense of wonder. They have a
great flair for life and adventure, and are always open to learning something new. Being of the
element fire, these people are passionate about everything they do. They are also fearless, and
often act without thinking, which causes them to bump their heads a lot. These people cannot lie,
for if they do, they are either no good at it, or it makes them ill. So, they are straightforward and
not very tactful. If you ask a redtail hawk whether or not he likes your new dress, you are going
to hear an honest opinion.

April 20 to May 20 :
Moon Phase: Frog's return moon beaver; New waters moon beaver
Power Animal: Beaver
Mineral: Crysacola.
Frequency: 4.5 megacycles
Color: Blue
Plant: Blue commis
Clan : Turtle
Element: Earth
Characteristics: These are the architects of the shields. Beaver people are usually workaholics
who can focus on getting the job done. The results of their work can have great impact on people
far away. Beaver people don't like change in their lives, and must learn to embrace change and to
be thankful for the opportunities it offers, even when this is difficult.
May 21 to June 20 :
Moon Phase: Corn planting moon deer.
Power Animal: Deer
Mineral: Moss agate
Frequency: 5.26 megacycles
Colors: Green and white
Plant: Yarrow

Clan: Butterfly
Element: Air
Characteristics: In Indian cultures, deer people are referred to as the Einsteins of the shield.
They're the ones with all the ideas. While most people are wondering what to do with their lives,
deer people are wondering when are they going to have time to do everything they think of
doing. The element air makes them multifacted and changeable. Deer people don't necessarily
finish what they start, but move from one thing to another. Often, they are artists and
entertainers, and they frequently have two or three jobs at once.
South - Rapid growth and trust
Spirit Keeper of the South - Coyote (Shawnodese)
June 21 to July 22 :
Moon: Strong sun moon; warning sun moon
Power animal: Flicker (large woodpecker)
Minerals: Rose quartz, Carnelian agate
Frequency: ????????
Color: Pink
Plant: Wild rose
Clan: Frog
Element: Water
Characteristics: Deer people are good at working with their hands and make excellent massage
therapists. As frog clan members, they find it soothing to sit by a stream. And as coyotes, they
have an excellent sense of humor. It is good to invite these people to parties.

July 21 to August 22 :
Moon phase: Ripe berries moon sturgeon
Power animal: Sturgeon
Minerals: Garnet, iron
Frequency: 74 megacycles
Color: Red
Plant: Raspberry
Clan: Thunderbird
Element: Fire
Characteristics: In Indian cultures, the sturgeon represents royalty, therefore, these people are
perceived as princes. They come into the world as teachers, with strong leadership abilities. They
are always reading and studying to search for the truth. The information they receive must be
shared with others. They have a hard outer shell that can't be broken by physical force, but which
can be opened through peace, love, and harmony. These people are soft inside, and will allow
you to know them completely when you come to them in this way. One way to get to sturgeon
people is to praise them.
August 23 to September 22 :
Moon phase: Harvest moon brown bear
Spirit animal: Brown bear
Mineral: Amethyst
Frequency: 9.8


Color: Purple
Plant: Violet
Clan: Turtle
Element: Earth
Characteristics: Science shows that brown bear people have a high level of neuropeptides in
their stomach. Neuropeptides are a substrate of thought, which tells us that thinking is not all in
our heads. These people tend to take their gut feelings up into their head to analyze it. As a result,
they sometimes lose a sense of what they should do. But if they go with their first feelings, they
are usually right. They're good in business if they don't overanalyze. As turtle clan members, they
are of the element earth, and enjoy picking up rocks and minerals.
West - Strength and Introspection
Spirit Animal of the West - ??????
September 23 to October 23 :
Moon: Ducks flying moon; cooling sun moon
Power animal: Raven
Mineral: Jasper
Frequency: 9.2 megacycles
Color: Brown
Plant: Mullein
Clan: Butterfly
Element: Air

Character: Like ravens, who fly together, these people tend to stay with the flock. They need to
separate themselves from the group, and follow their own convictions. Then they can be the
leaders they came here to be. Ravens are attracted to things that shine, and can get trapped into
situations that look appealing but are not all they seem to be. and their stone is jasper. They
vibrate to 9.2 megacycles.
October 24 to November 21 :
Moon: Freeze up moon snake; Cooling sun moon snake
Power animal: Snake
Mineral: Malachite, copper
Vibration: 11.8 megacycles.
Color: Orange
Plant: Thistle
Clan: Frog
Element: Water
Characteristic: Snake people are powerful healers. In Indian cultures, they are considered the
true medicine women and men, and are trained from an early age for this purpose. These people
can sometimes heal through touch. Being of the element water, they are often involved in
flushing, healing, and cleansing of the the body.
November 22 to December 21
Moon phase: Long snows moon elk
Animal: Elk
Mineral: Obsidian

Frequency: 0.112
Color: Black
Plant: Black spruce
Clan: Thunderbird
Element: Fire
Characteristics : These people see the truth where others can't. They are concerned citizens who
won't stop fighting for their cause until it is set right. Whatever they focus on, they will get. They
can't survive in an unjust situation, whether it be at work, at home, or in a relationship. That only
makes them ill. These people can be clairvoyant, especially with the help of their stone, the
obsidian. Ruled by fire, they are passionate at what they do. But they can get burnt out easily if
they don't pace themselves. Elk people tend to be impatient with other people who don't want to
do things their way. They need to learn that there are many paths to the mountain top. Also, if
they look at what people are doing right, they will see more good in what a person is doing,
rather than to look for what's wrong and to criticize.
Native American ethnographer, Robert Vetter, says the medicine wheel can also teach us how to
approach life. This is done in four stages, with each stage relating to one of the four directions:
The first step is sacrifice . A sacrifice is necessary to overcome a crisis. Contrary to western
thought, where we try to get something for nothing, Native American spiritual teachings stress
that when we want something in our lives, we must pay for it deeply. In former days, sacrifices
involved cutting off strips of skin or fingers, while today they usually consist of fasting, and
going out alone on vision quests to confront one's fears.
The second step is prayer . In the Native American spiritual traditions, people pray deeply for
what they need. During a sun dance, for example, a person may fast, pierce their skin, and dance
for days for someone in their family who is sick.
The third stage is transformation . Vetter notes that there are many stories of miraculous healings
that take place spontaneously as a result of prayer.

The four step is most important and least known. This is the stage of thanksgiving . When a
person is healed, there is an obligation to give back to the community. "In the case of Vetter's
adopted grandfather, Pahdopony," he says, "Whatever it was that healed him would become the
power that he would use in healing other people for the remainder of his days."
Brother Soaring Eagle reminds us that the medicine wheel is a powerful object that has inspired
noble acts in the United States. The US Constitution was founded on its principles. And towards
the end of the Second World War, Roosevelt based the United Nations on its doctrine. Basically,
the medicine wheel says, 'I respect your views; you respect my views. I would never do anything
to hurt you because, in fact, if I were to hurt you, I would be hurting myself.'
Unlike Indians who were able to attain full peace during the time of the alliance of nations, the
world today is constantly at war. Brother Soaring Eagle believes that embracing the principles of
the medicine wheel, and teaching them to our children at an early age, will prevent arguments
and wars. "Instead, we will have a way of understanding each other, just like the Indians did for
150 to 200 years. We will know how to take responsibility for what's happening to us, instead of
blaming it on outside circumstances."
The Black Hills
Recently, satellites at the Eros Data Center, near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, photographed the
Black Hills from above. When the pictures were developed, scientists were shocked to learn that
the Black Hills were the exact shape of the human heart. You could even see the chambers, veins,
and arteries.
This finding gives new meaning to the statements of Lakota elders, the former guardians of the
Black Hills, who said all along that the Black Hills was the heart of all there is. One might
wonder how the ancients knew what the land looked like from above before the advent of
airplanes. Ben First Eagle, who lives in the center of the Black Hills, says that mystics had ways
of seeing that are in the realm of the unbelievable. But, for the average person, this scientific data
confirms the stories they were told.


Over 65 million years in age, the Black Hills are the oldest mountainous region in the nation,
with an important spiritual meaning. Ben First Eagle reminds us that just as every biological
being has a heart, every land has a heart too, a region that keeps the movement within it flowing.
The Black Hills is sacred for this reason, and the Lakotas often come here to pray.
The land also has important physical lessons to teach all people, as Natives and non-Natives
alike are faced with a desperate environmental crisis. All suffer the consequences of polluted air,
water, and land. We need to understand that Mother Earth is our home, and that we must take
care of her, rather than cause her harm. In the past, settlers would abuse land until it was no
longer usable, and then move westward. Today, Native peoples watch other nations travel to the
stars or into the depths of the oceans, and wonder why people still aren't satisfied with their
home. Rather than seek an escape from our problems, we need to see that by taking care of the
planet, we will have good food, water, air, and shelter here on earth. We will have everything that
we need.
Ben First Eagle offers this analogy to help raise the consciousness of modern man: "What would
happen if you were to go into your mother's home, walk across the living room floor, and throw
down a can of pop? Your mother would be all over you. She would tell you to pick it up, and take
care of your home. Well, it's the same here.
"I'm also making a prayer for humankind and the land all around. I make a prayer for all life. I
look at what's happening all over, and I will notice that people are having a hard time in Florida
with floods and hurricanes. I will make a prayer to help those people and animals, and the land
that's affected. I will ask for pity from this place. I'm not a rich man so I can't send a lot of money
to help them, but I can send a prayer."
Native American Healers
The Shaman
Unlike western cultures, where people choose whether or not they want to become doctors, a
person receives a calling to become a shaman or medicine person. Sometimes this ability runs in
families, and other times one naturally feels summoned to enter into this work. John Grim,

author of Patterns of Religious Healing Among the Ojibway explains that the term shaman refers
to a practitioner, from an indigenous culture, who has had an exceptional experience of the
cosmic power that pervades the world. These individuals are able to bring this power into rituals
to affect healing experiences.
Often healers experience some illness in their youth that leads them to be withdrawn and
introspective, and causes them to seek out their advice of an elder. The person will become
reflective and begin to feel a special obligation towards the work of helping others. This is a
tremendous responsibility. A person must develop and maintain a special relationship with the
spirit world, and bring that special relationship with spirit to the person or situation in need.
Many times, the shaman will receive revelations concerning particular objects to be used in
rituals. These can vary and may include something from nature, a song, or a combination. Items
can accumulate over a period of years, and are known as medicine bundles . But medicine
bundles are seen as more than material objects; they are a collection of experiences. More
specifically, these represent encounters with the sacred world that have been revealed through
particular objects.
Medicine bundles are very personal and private, and meaningful only within a cultural context.
Grim notes that it is inappropriate for non-Native peoples to place medicine bundles in museum
out of curiosity, as these are an integral part of tribal identity and transporting them from a
people would inflict deep wounds upon their heritage and identity. Besides, outsiders can never
fully appreciate their significance. However, it may be appropriate for non-Native people to try
and understand the significance of medicine bundles to Indian cultures to increase an awareness
and respect for their customs and traditions.
Plants play an important role among medicine objects. Many indigenous healing practitioners
had a profound understanding of local plant life based on a sacred classification. In other words,
they understood how one should approach a plant, which parts of which plants are to be used for
treating specific maladies, and the idea of reciprocity, respecting the plant as a being of equal
worth, being thankful for its help, and leaving an offering, such as a prayer, for the plant that is
taken. A deep intimacy of exchange exists at all times.

The understanding of how a shaman functions is difficult for people of western cultures to
understand, as their views of the world are so different. Yet it is something most people today
need and yearn for. Grim explains: "What makes the shaman's role so fascinating, in the late
twentieth century, is the cosmological setting in which a shaman functions, namely, shamans
bring people into the presence of the spirit beings who are in the world and in the cosmos. This is
something very beautiful. It's so difficult for us to understand in mainstream America where our
cosmology, for the most part, is either the story of Genesis or the story of science. While the
Genesis story is seen as very meaningful for Christians who hold that as their cosmology, it does
not have the immediacy of entry into their daily life. It's a cosmology which tells where the
world came from, and perhaps explains early parents, the fall, why women suffer in childbirth,
and why we were driven out of the garden. But it is not a cosmology that brings spiritual
presences to our lives today. It's a story that explains. The scientific cosmology is also an
explanatory story, but one without interest in sacred or spiritual meaning. Scientists are
reflective, but they work within certain limits. Their cosmology is a description of the world as it
appears to them through their empirical observation.
"We live in this world, then, where the cosmologies that are available to us provide no intimacy.
And yet we experience constant intimacies with this seasonal world, with this world of resources,
with the clothes that we wear on our back. I want to suggest that the human is constantly
interacting with this world. And our interaction demands some respect and attention. That
attention can be trivialized or it can be deepened. And shamans are personalities who live in
deepened relationship with their cosmology, and who assist their people to deepen their own
personal and community relations with the world around them.
"We yearn for that in mainstream America. We yearn for intimacies of exchanges with our world.
Does that mean we become Native Americans? That's a foolish thought. It means we need to
recover our own cosmology. Well, what is our cosmology? I think that's what we need to reexplore. We yearn to recover that shamanic presence, that capacity to literally draw healing
capacities from an exchange with the world around us, to literally heal our communities.
Environmental degradation is woven right into these questions we're talking about. One reason
why Native people are connected with this issue is that they have intimacies with their homeland.
They have regard for that mountain, desert, body of water. When one reverences something,

quite often one doesn't trash it. So, these natural exchanges between a people and the life setting
in which they find themselves, those individuals called shamans, I tend to see as a mode or way
of being that all people are being called to recover. We are being called to bring this sense of
wonder back into our daily lives. So, the shamanic journey is not simply someone sitting with a
drum, or a group of people withdrawing and taking drugs in order to get into some altered state.
The shamanic personality is a challenge to the late twentieth century to recover right
relationships with our bioregions, to begin to understand the earth again as something that has
always nourished us. It will continue to provide for us. But it also needs our care and concern.
That is the shamanic ritual now."
Shamans Past and Present
Wuan Geronimo Flores
Wuan Geronimo Flores claims to have inherited the gift of his great grandfather, Geronimo: the
ability to heal through the movement of energy. Flores has the capacity to speed up his own
energy, and to transfer this quickened force into a patient, thereby, helping a person to become
spiritually centered, so that their ailments can disappear.
Flores does not need to know the nature of a person's illness, because symptoms are physical
manifestions, and Flores works on a more subtle level. He will look beyond appearances to get to
the root of a problem. He says of his work: "The healing, which incorporates Native American
and universal [principles], takes place in a sacred space. This is the part of an individual's home
that is special to them, a place they gravitate to, where they feel the most secure and comfortable.
We go to that place and the person lies down. Ever since I was a child, one of my talents has
been getting people to relax deeply by putting them in a trance-like state. Then there is the actual
moving of energy, the speeded up energy from my body going into theirs. All the while I am
concentrating on the individual, and that can be achieved through different ways: through chants,
prayers, or just through central focusing.
"This is very visual for me. I start seeing a picture of the person. As I concentrate, the image of
the person gets transposed, until there are nothing but stars floating in space. I see the exact same
body, only now it is made of nothing but starts. I see metallic dots of blue, silver, purple and

black filling up the space and raining down on the person. The colors are calming and cooling,
almost as if they are utilizing a certain frequency for the person's relaxation. Once a person has
calmed down--they may even fall asleep--the energies that they were holding on to are easily
"I will see different things, depending on the person. One man had AIDS, although I didn't ask
him what he had or how he got it. But on an energy level, he looked like a meteorite, an astroid, a
cavern. He was submerged in a swamp, with tiny pollens ticking away from the inside. That's
what his body was going against.
"Once that was removed, his body naturally healed itself by reproducing cells that he needed to
get rid of the disease. And sure enough, about two weeks later, his cell count went from 4 to 300.
"So,that's what I do. I work as a guide, and I work on a very deep level. My aim is to release
energy blockages so that a person's own energy can take over and restore balance."
George Amiotte
George Amiotte, an Ogalala Lakota from Pine Ridge, became a healing professional after a near
death experience as a marine in Viet Nam. Upon his return home Amiotte searched for ways to
restore his own wounded spirit and for a direction in life, when he was guided by Lakota elders
to pursue a career in medicine. This was a tall order to fill as Amiotte had only just gotten his
GED in the Marine Corps, but he was able to enter and successfully complete a graduate
program as a physician's assistant. At the same time Amiotte studied medicine with Lakota
elders. He, therefore, has a unique background that combines modern and traditional healing
Amiotte specializes in helping veterans overcome post traumatic stress disorder, a term used to
describe combat fatigue. Most of his patients are Native Americans although he sees non-Native
people as well. As a guardian of the sun dance, part of Amiotte's work involves the use of the sun
dance ceremony in healing. As a result, Amiotte has been able to achieve success where standard
Veteran's Administration programs have failed.


When an interested doctor from UCLA visited one ceremony, and was confused by what he saw,
Amiotte explained to him that healing is more than a physical manifestation. Healing takes place
on the physical, mental and spiritual levels, and a medical practitioner needs to consider all three
aspects for optimum success. This is something western medicine fails to do.
Amiotte was then invited to see patients with gastrointestinal disorders who weren't responding
to contemporary western medicine. In a year's time, his four patients responded beautifully to
therapy, and the UCLA Medical Society woke up to the advantages of healing from a Native
American perspective. Amiotte is now a member of a team of doctors that study and incorporate
alternative healing methods into their western medical practices.
In a recent interview, Amiotte shared with me his philosophy of working with patients. His
approach is to look at an individual on three levels. First, he checks to see that there are no
physical problems, such as an organic disease; second, he interviews the patient to assess their
state of mind; and, third, Amiotte looks at a person's spirituality. Analyzing these factors helps
him to put together an effective healing protocol.
"I don't have one way of working," Amiotte says. "If a Native American wants to be treated by
ceremony, I will set one up. That requires setting the stage for the individual to come to an alter,
a physical area that is represented by earth, wind, fire, and water. Sometimes we use drum music.
We acknowledge the universal laws, natural laws, our ancestors, the earth that we stand on. And
we call in the healing aspect of this psychologically, physically, and spiritually.
Although trained as a healer, Amiotte acknowledges that healing depends upon God's will and a
patient's receptivity: "I am a healer. But the reality of healing is in God's hands. I'ma conduit, a
hollow bone, if you will. For a patient to be healed, he or she must be receptive to a higher
power. A person needs a relationship to God or a belief in a greater force."
John Joseph
John Joseph, a shaman with the Chinook tribe of the lower Columbia River, and a nurse
practitioner in Washington State, helps Viet Nam veterans suffering from post traumatic stress
syndrome, with the purification ceremony: "They have lost their spirituality, and this is a good

way to help them find it. The lodge is a safe haven. No one can hurt them. Intrusive thoughts, the
anxieties of the day, and the problems of living with post traumatic stress are left outside the
door. They are able to speak about things that hurt them during the war and about things that hurt
them when they came home. They are able to speak about the triggers that interfere with their
lives today, even though it is 20 years later. They're able to speak, cry, yell, regurgitate harmful
emotions, and put them in the fire.
Joseph says that that true healing comes from being able to express oneself in a safe
environment: "Everything said in the lodge remains there. Nothing is repeated outside of it. This
gives a person a real opportunity to cleanse the heart, and to place things into the fire." He adds
that the healing is amplified by being in the presence of the heated stones: "There is stone
medicine, Inyan medicine; the sizzling and popping from the water on the stones actually gives a
spirit direction. There's wonderful healing in that."
"Many vets tell me that they feel considerably better for some period of time after they leave the
lodge. Often they will come back and ask, 'When are we going to do another lodge? I am
absolutely stressed to the max.' We do four, five, or six a year, sometimes more, depending on the
number of requests.
"Once they start to get their spirituality back, their physical appearance changes. They start to
keep their hair. They become neater in the way they dress. Their thought patterns become more
cohesive, without constant intrusions. They can even think straight, in many cases. Sometimes
children tell me that their dads sleep for two days after a sweat lodge, when they only slept two
hours before. So, there's a wonderful release, and a wonderful return of cohesiveness to their
lives, after the purification lodge."
Jamie Sams
Jamie Sams is a Native American shaman of Cherokee and Seneca decent, who explains that
medicine has to do with anything that makes us feel whole. Indians view medicine as a person's
gifts, including their inner strengths, talents, and abilities. "When we look at the idea of
medicine," Sams says, "we have to embrace the total person: the body, the heart, the mind, and
the spirit. When any of these part are out of balance, then there is a need for healing."

The processes used in healing depend on the type of illness. First a person must be diagnosed to
see whether their sickness is physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental. Then it is treated
accordingly. When the body is sick, herbs, flowers, and other plant matter can be used to
promote recovery. Mechanical help is also used, such as setting bones when broken. Spiritual
illnesses are handled by medicine people who may work with a person's dreams, or with what
they experience on other dimensions that need to be healed. Some tribes also take into account
the influence of past lives. Emotional healing for family upsets, a broken heart, or other
problems, and psychological healing for mental illnesses are handled differently still.
"Sometimes we need to heal our impatience," Sams says. "And sometimes we need to heal our
frustrations. Many times we need to heal the internal criticism that our brain is constantly
carrying on, which makes us feel less than. But always, we need to take a look at that which does
not work in our lives, and makes our behavior out of balance towards ourselves and others."
Here, Sams explains important principles of healing for specific circumstances:
"In indigenous cultures, when someone that we care about is dying, there is a very intense need
to mourn. When you don't release the mourning, it will make you sick. Certain Anglo cultures
have a different concept. If you release the mourning, you are looked at as if you lost control
over your emotions. The spirit of the person who has passed away that you cared about is not
then free to move on into the spirit world because the mourning was not complete. The people
did not purge their bodies of this sense of grief." Sams adds that mourning to Native people is
like a bow. The people moving on are the arrows. Mourning a loss allows the spirit to fly into its
new non-physical life.
Healing Pollution for Ourselves, Our World, and Our Future
Sams notes how we poison our systems on multiple levels: "Bitterness, hatred, and resentment
are toxins from our heart, while jealousy and greed poison our thoughts. Then we harm our
bodies with unhealthy foods and artificial substances, and hurt our spirits with a lack of


In this sickened state, human beings tend to lose balance, and begin to see the world around them
as something to abuse as well. "The things that we have done to ourselves internally," notes
Sams, "we have also done to the earth, which is our sustenance."
Native Americans realize that living according to right principles not only helps ourselves and
our planet, but insures a future for generations ahead. Sams notes that, "When we gather herbs to
assist someone, we thank each and every plant that the earth mother sends, and we pass the first
seven plants to always remember to leave enough for the next seven generations. In doing that,
we are honoring the ninth clan mother who looks toward tomorrow for what our children and
their children will need on the earth."
Healing Humiliation
Regarding humiliation, Sams writes, "Humiliation is the one event in human life that becomes
unforgettable. The loss of human dignity at the hands of another can be forgiven, but it is rarely,
if ever, forgotten. Healing humiliation and the loss of dignity is something that comes from
inside a person. No healer, psychologist, doctor, medicine person or teacher can do it for
somebody else. Consciously shaming another has dealt many a blow throughout time. Kicking
people when they are vulnerable is a tactic of insensitive bullies. The world has been fraught
with this behavior since its inception. It never seems to happen when we are feeling strong. It
almost always happens when we are dealing with our own self-doubt and self criticism.
"We can heal the need to experience this reflection if we protect ourselves. The key is to notice
that if we stop beating ourselves up internally the bullies of the world will quit picking on us
externally. In Native American thought, we understand that the external world, and the things we
experience in day to day life are mirror reflections that show us what we are doing to ourselves
internally. If we honor who we are without an arrogance or sense of pride, but do it in a balanced
way, and we walk life in a manner that allows us to honor and respect every other living thing,
then we don't bring the experience into our lives that would necessitate us being shown how it
feels to be bullied or humiliated by another human being."
Healing Personal Integrity


"One of the things that human beings need to heal is the idea of hypocrisy. We say walk your
talk. Don't talk your walk. Human beings have learned over the years that spoken words are
cheap and promises are often broken. And that, in many cases, is a commitment that is not being
honored. So, many times we ask people who have walked the crooked path to heal their personal
integrity. That's a facet of healing that most people do not look at.
In our grandparents and our great grandparents day, a person's word was their bond. But in this
modern world, most times, if we give our word, we aren't sure that the person we give our word
to, and they give their word back is going to honor their personal integrity, because the sense of
self has been eroded to the place where we cannot embrace the idea that integrity is everything,
that if a person honors themselves, that promise is made to themselves. When you make a
promise to another person, you are making it to yourself. That's another aspect of the great
smoking mirror. And when you do not honor your promises to another, you have reflected back
to yourself through that great smoking mirror, what you actually think of yourself, which must be
very little, because the integrity in your bond and your word was not honored by you, so how can
others honor that same thing."
Story Telling
Stories can revive our spirits and transform our perceptions of the world. Even when a story is
not be believable, it can contain elements that speak to the human experience. This point is made
by Tchin, an award winning Blackfoot and Aragansett artist and story teller from Norfolk,
Virginia. Tchin shared this story with me about the creation of autumn, and then told me about
the psychological healing such a story can promote:
"In traditional Native American culture, adolescent males and females are not allowed to be
alone together. A young man and young woman never see each other unless the young woman is
chaperoned. Her aunts, her sister, her mother, or someone else is always with her.
"Parents come together, at the right time of year, when the moon is in correct part of the sky, and
plan a hoop dance. The hoop dance is where all the eligible young people come together to be
introduced. They learn about the clans of the other people, and about who they can marry as well


as which marriages are taboo. People dance, and frequently change partners. This way, everyone
gets to be introduced to each other.
"During this hoop dance, the parents noticed one couple that did not change partners. In fact,
they even heard some of the conversation. The young lady was saying that she worked in her
mother's fields during the day. And the young man said that his uncle was teaching him to play
the flute.
"The next day, the young man went down to the field with his flute and played a song. People
hearing the flute didn't know what it was. They would say, "Listen to that sound blowing through
the trees. I wonder what it is.' But the young lady knew it was the young man playing the flute
for her. It made her so happy that her heart jumped.
"She wanted to send him a message, so, she went to a tree, and asked the tree for a leaf. After
receiving that gift, she placed it into a stream. The stream took the message down to where the
young man was playing. He knew it was from the young lady. It made him so happy that his
heart jumped. He picked up the leaf, and went home.
"Day after day, the young man would go down to the stream and play his flute. And day after
day, she would go to the tree, ask for a leaf, receive that gift, and place it into the stream, where it
would travel to the young man. As the days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months, their
love for each other grew strong and powerful, even though they never spoke a word to each
"Then one day, the young man's uncle came to him and said, 'Young man, it is time that you
stopped fooling around down by the stream, and that you learned how to make a living. I'm
going to take you out and teach you how to hunt.' It made the young man really happy to know
that he would learn how to make a living by hunting. If he learned this, he could take his place in
the village. If he could make a living, he could get married. And he knew with whom he wished
to marry. So, with great joy and expectations he went out to learn how to make a living.
"Day after day, the young lady would work in the fields of her mother, and not hear the flute of
the young man. She wondered why he no longer played for her. Maybe he had to help his aunt.

Maybe he had to do something for his uncle. He had to help the elders. He had more important
things to do. As days turned into weeks, and the weeks into months, she exhausted all the
possible reasons why he could not come and play. And after all of these reasons were exhausted,
she came to the thought that he might be playing his flute for some other woman. When this
thought came to her, a great pain stabbed her in her heart causing her to fall to the ground. Her
parents, who loved her strongly, called to all the medicine people to doctor their daughter. But
even in those days, people did not know how to heal a broken heart.
"After many months, the young man came back, very much a new person, with new muscles,
and a joyful outlook on life. He ran down to the stream and began to play his flute. But no leaf
flowed downstream. At first, he thought to himself, 'It's too late in the day. Maybe all the people
have gone home.' Then, as he was walking back to the village, he saw the young lady's brother. It
made him happy and they talked about all kinds of things that happened to him while he was
learning to hunt.
"Eventually, he got around to asking the brother, 'How is your sister?" The young brother bowed
his head and said, 'I guess you have been gone for a long time because they placed my sister over
there in the rock.' When the young flute player heard what had happened to the young lady, the
pain stabbed his heart so great that he fell to the ground.
"The flute player was in tears, saying, "Please take me to where they placed your sister." The
young brother agreed, and they walked the distance to the rock, where she was. He left the young
flute player there never ever to see him again.
"The young man took out his flute and played a song. Then something miraculous happened
because, you see, love is strong, and true love is ever lasting. As that young flute player played
his song, all the leaves on all the trees began to fall.
"You know that I am telling you a true story, and you can prove the truth of this story to yourself
because around October and November, if you were to go out, you could look at the trees, and
you could see that when you look around, all the leaves on all the trees start to fall. This is
because love is strong and powerful. Now you know why all the leaves fall off all the trees at
that time of year."

Tchin explains that while such a story may not be true, it tells us an event from a perspective that
is different from the scientific one, which can be healing. As an example, he met a woman who
was grieving over the loss of her son. She was having a hard time dealing with the whole idea of
death, and even found herself in the fruitless pursuit of picking up the leaves in autumn, and
trying to glue them back to the trees. After Tchin told her the story of the creation of autumn, that
part of her was healed. It didn't change her sadness over her son dying. But it made her see the
fall in a new way where she looked forward to it. And because it's a story of death, it helped in
the process of healing from the loss of her son. Tchin observes that you never know how a person
is going to interpret a story, or how it might hit a certain part of their spirit. So, stories can be
healing in many ways.
Jamie Sams, author of Earth Medicine: Ancestor's Way of Harmony for Many Moons , says
stories are wonderful medicine because they allow us to find ourselves without someone pointing
a finger at us. We take what we need from the story to heal ourselves. The stories Sams writes
helps people feel more whole, which, in turn, enables them to find inspiration, bring forth their
best talents, and help make the world a better place. She wrote this one for children:
"While the river moved over rounded stones, and Night Hawk circles in the twilight, the young
mother whispered to the child who suckled at her breast: 'You are the blessed that fell from the
stars and took root in my heart, little one. You rested inside of my body, and I carried you there
for nine moons. It gave me joy to carry the burden of such love. I toiled for many hours to give
you birth. And finally, the earth mother's magnitude threw you into your earth walk. Now that
you are here, I want you to know how my heart sings. The love I bear your father is the stuff of
dreams. He has walked the path of strength and has been strong enough to share his dreams with
me as well as his tears. He has lent me his courage. And I have respected him with all that I am.
Together we have walked many trails and have faced each challenge heart to heart. In you, I see
his courage, his determination, his laughing eyes, and his curiosity. In you, I see my gentleness,
my compassion, and my desire to live life with joy. There is a love between your parents that fills
each day with song. I want you to remember always that you are, and will forever be, a product
of that love."


Another story by Sams is based on the belief that our spiritual essence is the glue that keeps us
together. When we are spiritually out of balance, we may try to compensate for a feeling of
inadequacy by developing intellectually, physically, or by expressing ourselves artistically. But
these can never heal a wounded spirt. The eyes reveal this unsettled state of being, which is why
we feel afraid to allow people to look into our eyes when we are off balance. Sams addresses this
issue with a short, but profound, story entitled "The Openings of the Orinda."
"The little girl asked her wise grandfather why the Great Mystery gave eyes to two legged tribes
of humans. Grandfather smiled silently, remembering her grandmother's eyes that were reflected
in the little one's face. And then he replied, "Your eyes can see the world around you and take in
the beauty of creation. Your eyes can shed the tears that cleanse your hurt, allowing you to heal.
Your eyes were meant for seeing all that the Earth Mother places in your path. So these things
can be recorded as memories of your passage in this earth walk. Yes, little one, our eyes have
many ways to teach us how to see the truth. Your eyes can betray your thoughts and feelings to
others because they are the openings to the spiritual essence.
"One day, you will find a warrior to share your life with. When that time comes, you will be able
to look into his eyes and see him with your heart. Through his eyes, the opening of his Orinda,
his spiritual essence, you will know if his spirit can shelter you, and if his heart is pure. When
you look into his eyes, seek the truth of his nature. If he looks away, he is not strong enough to
shelter your love for him. If he looks directly into your eyes and allows your hearts to connect,
adding his strength to your own, you will know that he is a courageous man worthy of sharing
your earth walk."
Finally, Sams writes about the need to prepare for a move to an age of illumination and peace.
This requires that we all work on ourselves to let go of malice, envy, greed, and judgement. The
ultimate result of this personal transformation will be a better world society for ourselves and our
children. If we cannot do this during peaceful times, a disaster will occur as an ultimate wake up
call. In this story, Sams is saying that we can't change society, but we can change ourselves. We
can't change others but if they are showing malice towards others, there are times when we can


"The woman scrubbed herself with sand at the river's edge. After a long winter, the sand washing
felt good as the layers of dead skin rolled off the soles of her feet. Lost in her thoughts, she did
not notice anything amiss until she heard a little girl crying. Looking up, she saw the child's
stepmother scrubbing the child's skin raw. It was bleeding.
"In a heartbeat, she was on her feet, running through the water, whisking the crying child from
the stepmother's grasp. She rocked the little girl, whispering to her, and then handed the child to
one of the other women. Without any anger, she softly spoke to the erring woman, 'Feather, I
understand how hard it's been for you to raise my decreased sister's child. She was your old rival,
the first wife to your husband. I will speak to her father, who was once my brother. He will
understand if I lighten your burden by taking the child to my lodge to live.' "Feather spat on the
ground and used a hand signal to indicate that she was done with both of them forever and
stormed off. The woman stood in the water watching her retreat, thinking of how much effort it
must take to be that hurtful. She turned back to the river and made the blessing sign with her
hand, showing her gratitude to the Creator for her own medicine and her name, Offers
Sams concludes that people have an idealized concept of Native American people, but that the
red nations are going through the same healing process as the rest of the world. The lives of
American Indians changed drastically with the arrival of the white man, partially because local
dialects were changed to standard English, and many of the old ideas and concepts were lost.
Before the world was seen in a conceptual way, and everything was viewed as a circle. With the
arrival of the Europeans, Indians adopted the idea of cutting the circle to divide and conquer.
Since these ideas have been part of Indian life for hundreds of years, Native peoples, like
everyone else, are in need of overcoming ideas of separation. Sams concludes, "All the peoples
of the earth are going through the same thing because we have been in this fourth world of
separation for over 60,000 years. It is very important that we encourage the potential and the
desire in each and every person that wants to transform, that wants to go beyond the limitation,
hesitation, and separation that we have created in our lives. To do that, we have to embrace the
realized self, the part of us that can become our potential. When we do that, we are standing at
the final frontier. The final destination is always the same--healing and transformation."