“The Wolves of Heaven: Cheyenne Shamanism, Ceremonies, and Prehistoric Origins” by Karl H. Schlesier

If you’re just learning about the Cheyenne (Tsistsistas), this book is likely to be considerably over your head. I’m glad that I read Book One of Peter J. Powell’s “Sweet Medicine” first, which went into enough detail to make this one a good follow-up, though Powell’s Book Two, which I am currently reading, would have been helpful, too.

The author, Karl Schlesier, is a German anthropologist who did a tremendous job researching the existing body of knowledge on the subject, including that of George Grinnell and Powell, then synthesizing it with his own research to arrive at some interesting and well-founded conclusions.

One thing he establishes is that the Tsistsistas were in the northern Plains from about 500 B.C. to A.D. 800. Their language is in the Algonquian family, which the archaeological record indicates first manifested in North America around 8000 B.C.

So when the Cheyenne claim the land was given to their ancestors thousands of years ago, Schlesier has shown that be true.

The Sacred Mountain (Bear Butte State Park)

Think about that for a moment. He even attributes the huge medicine wheel in Wyoming to the Tsistsistas.

In her book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” Robin Kimmerer pointed out what it meant to be indigenous to an area. Those of us like myself who has lived in numerous locations have difficulty relating to this concept. Yet those who are living in the same town or region where their grandparents or other ancestors were born, lived, and are now buried, may comprehend what that means.

If your entire life, as well as that of generations of your family, has been spent in a specific area, there’s a sense of ownership, attachment, and love for the land and all it represents.

I’ve been a “move-in” various times and the “locals” always scope out newcomers with a jaundiced eye. To an outsider this feels somewhat clannish, projects a sense of seniority or even superiority. They may appear friendly, but you know you’ll always be suspect and never make it into the “inner circle.”

I lived in a small town in Northern Utah for 15 years and was always considered a move-in by those whose great-grandparents founded the town in the 19th century. Where I live now in Central Texas has similar vibe. I shudder to think what it would be if they realized that by birth I’m a Yankee! They think I’m from Houston, but even that doesn’t count.

City folk are suspect, too.

Put yourself in the local’s shoes for a moment. First of all, move-ins change things. For example, they may scoop up land for sale by a local farmer who’s decided to retire. None of his family members are interested in agriculture, so he sells for a good price and retires in town. Good news for the farmer. However, for his neighbors and community at large, what happens when the buyer is a developer who proceeds to put in a large tract of new homes complete with a few shopping centers?

Community development leaders in small towns, who are often likewise move-ins, are often guilty of the same thing. Their goal is to build up the economy and make money. They don’t care that they are forever changing the lifestyle of people whose roots go back a century or more. More than once I’ve purposely moved to a rural location only to have it build up over the years, heading toward the environment I purposely left. Currently, Austin, Texas is creeping closer and closer to my Hill Country retreat. I wasn’t born here, but I don’t like it, either.

Now think about the Cheyenne, who’d been given their land by their creator god, Maheo, thousands of years before. Furthermore, the concept of land ownership by indigenous people is entirely foreign. Then one day the white man comes along, tells them they have to leave, and proceeds to call them savages when they fight to keep it.

Thousands of years, folks. Thousands of years.

If some foreigner turned up on your land and told you to leave, what would you do?

So this book validated the fact that the Tsistsistas did indeed occupy the northern Plains, including parts of Montana, North Dakota, and Canada for millennia.

Literally.

The main focus of this book is to describe an ancient ceremony known as the Massaum. Its complexity and production requirements rival any pageant, to say nothing of its symbolism. It’s most basic tenet is that of an earth-giving ceremony, in remembrance of what they were taught by their Creator and how they were told to live. (For comparison, think of how many thousands of times the Christmas Story has been retold in pageants.)

The Tsistsistas summer ceremonial period was timed by the respective heliacal risings of the stars Aldebaran, Sirius, and Rigel. The fifth day of the Massaum began upon Rigel’s rising, a magnificent blue star. The author states, “In the Massaum, the blue star design . . . was painted on the buffalo skull placed on the deep earth on the west side of the wolf lodge and on the faces of [the participants.]

While he never states it explicitly, my conclusion is that this is the design found on the Cheyenne flag, in this case white on a field of blue, with blue the color associated with Maheo. I found this extremely fascinating because I’d wondered what the symbol’s origin was and this fit beautifully.

It also clearly incorporates the cardinal as well as the four sacred directions (southeast, southwest, northwest, and northeast) tended by the maheyuno, the four sacred guardians of the Universe.

How cool is that? Gives it a lot more depth of meaning, other than an unusual geometric design that’s a bit hard to describe.

The author definitely did his homework and painted a fascinating picture of the Tsistsistas as an ancient culture with rich traditions and ceremonies. From time to time he’d digress into the practices of other tribes, which didn’t necessarily add anything to the Cheyenne story other than the interesting fact that indigenous tribes in Siberia share numerous things in common, suggesting similar origins.

This book is not a light, leisurely read any more than Powell’s “Sweet Medicine” volumes unless you love the scholarly details behind Cheyenne culture. If you’re seriously interested, you won’t be disappointed. For me it’s research material for Dead Horse Canyon Book 3 along with a huge pile of other books. I’m one of those crazy authors who enjoys the research phase as much as weaving it throughout the story itself, with various factoids having a way of enriching the plot. If you’re so inclined, you can find it in paperback on Amazon.

Review of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass”

Robin Wall Kemmerer is uniquely qualified to pen this tome. Not only is she a member of the Potawatomi tribe, she also earned a PhD in botany. Her insights from both perspectives are priceless. These pages are filled with thoughts and wisdom entirely different from the white man’s view of life. Rather than being the superior being, Indigenous people see themselves as part of a greater whole.

Everything is alive in some way, whether vegetable, animal, or mineral. When Indigenous people speak of “all my relations” they are not just referring to other humans. The concept of land ownership was incomprehensible to them, making it easy to fall prey to it being virtually stolen. The Creator had given it to the people millennia before. It belonged to everyone.

She recounted the tragic story often told of Indigenous peoples being driven from their land to desolate places no one else wanted. Of children being taken from their parents and sent to government schools where their hair was cut off and mouths washed out with soap if caught speaking their native language. There are two ways to commit genocide–killing the people or eliminating their culture.

Fortunately, in spite of all the damage done and lives lost, their roots were so strong they endured, like a plant seemingly destroyed by a winter freeze.  Native American cultures nationwide are becoming revitalized. The contrast between their teachings and the ways of the white man speaks for itself. Their way is to honor the Earth; the white man’s way is to exploit it.

Like the senseless killing of six million bison strictly for their hides and horns, meat left to rot on the prairie.

Their legendary figure, the Windigo, represents this. Per the author, “The more a Windigo eats, the more ravenous it becomes. It shrieks with its craving, its mind a torture of unmet want. Consumed by consumption, it lays waste to humankind.”

When Indigenous people found a natural resource, whether plant, animal, or mineral, they took no more than half, allowing the remainder to multiply and bless them again. Everything was considered a gift from the Earth, whether food or means to build a shelter.

 Giving thanks for a gift is part of a civilized life and what they define as the Honorable Harvest.  

Have you ever considered that the food you eat gave up its life for you? Plastic-wrapped meat in the supermarket was once a living being. Vegetables as well. What about the trees that gave their lives for the paper products you use so thoughtlessly?

This book had a profound effect on me and how I see the world. It was both inspiring and heartbreaking. So much damage has been done to the Earth through greed and the Windigo mentality there are no easy answers.

Those who promote restoring the environment are often not honorable in their intent. Technologies that harness wind and solar power exploit the Earth in other ways, through the materials required to construct them. The “Great Reset” proposes tenets that may sound good, i.e. “you’ll own nothing but you’ll be happy,” but depriving people of their freedom and in some cases their lives, is likewise deeply flawed. Again it’s about putting power into the hands of a few. UN Agenda 21 explains how this massive societal change is to be accomplished and it’s horrifying to anyone who understands the implications.

Hard times are coming, as both Christian and Native American prophets have foretold for centuries. This book contains much of what must be (re)learned if we are to survive. I find it interesting that this book was first published in 2013, yet now is a best seller.

Clearly its time has come.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon, where it’s also available as an audiobook.

The Words That Come Before All Else

I am reading “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a citizen of the Potawatomi tribe. The author is not only a Native American–in addition, she has a PhD in botany and is a decorated professor at SUNY. The book’s subtitle is “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.” Those nine words don’t even come close to describing the insightful treasures it contains.

In one section she compared the Pledge of Allegiance (noting how Native Americans tend to choke on the phrase “liberty and justice for all”) to the Thanksgiving Address, known as the “Words That Come Before All Else.” The author describes it as the “ancient order of protocol [that] sets gratitude as the highest priority. The gratitude is directed straight to the ones who share their gifts with the world.”

The origin is with the Onondaga, a member of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, whose constitution was a model for our own. It’s a shame we didn’t adopt their other values as well. Consider how it begins:

Today we have gathered and when we look upon the faces around us we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now let us bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People. Now our minds are one.

Consider, if you will, how the USA might be a different country today if every session of Congress opened with that phrase. Would toxic partisanism be tearing this country to shreds? It continues:

We are thankful to our Mother the Earth, for she gives us everything that we need for life. She supports our feet as we walk about upon her. It gives us joy that she still continues to care for us, just as she has from the beginning of time. To our Mother, we send thanksgiving, love and respect. Now our minds are one.

Would we treat our planet with more respect if everyone began each day thanking the Earth? Would we drench our Earth Mother in pollution? Would we strip-mine her resources?

We give thanks to all of the waters of the world for quenching our thirst, for providing strength and nurturing life for all beings. We know its power in many forms–waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans, snow and ice. We are grateful that the waters are still here and meeting their responsibility to the rest of Creation. Can we agree that water is important to our lives and bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to the Water? Now our minds are one.

Native American prophecy declared a century or more ago that the day would come when people would have to buy water. The possibility seemed ludicrous. Yet here we are. Who would dare drink directly from even the remotest mountain stream?

The Thanksgiving Address continues to include all of nature: The Fish life in the water…the Food Plants…Medicine Herbs…the trees…animal life…the birds…the Four Winds…the Thunder Beings…our oldest Grandmother, the Moon…the enlightened teachers…the Creator.

I invite you to read this beautiful testament in its entirety at the end of this post.

Then consider that the people who created this literary work of love and respect were referred to as savages, simply because they fought to keep their ancestral lands. Thousands of women and children were massacred by the military. Treaties were broken by the U.S. Government as a matter of course, “the Indian problem” ultimately solved by forcing them to remote reservations on uninhabitable land. Their languages and customs were outlawed, their children stolen, and “re-educated” in boarding schools where their hair was cut off and their mouths washed with soap for speaking their own tongue. Even today the poorest counties in this supposed “great” country are found on reservations.

Where would we be today if the white man had assimilated their way of life, if our minds had become one? Modern peace chiefs have gone before Congress and the United Nations, warning them where the world is heading to no avail.

Meanwhile, indigenous prophecies relative to the fate of this nation are being fulfilled before our eyes. Their accuracy is startling.

How different it could have been if our minds had been one.


Do You Believe in Magic?

What is magic? A figment of your imagination? Superstition? Illusion? Folklore? Sleight of hand? Myth?

The Dead Horse Canyon series includes what one reviewer referred to as “a smidgen of the paranomal.” That undoubtedly refers to the main character, Charlie Littlewolf, seeking answers he can’t find anywhere else by returning to his Northern Cheyenne culture and the world of the Grandfather Spirits. Rituals involving the sweat lodge ceremony and sacred red pipe open up other dimensions that expand his consciousness. The indigenous belief in panpsychism, i.e. that everything has a form of consciousness, lays the foundation for a connection to all beings, including the Earth.

Of course, all of this defies the post-enlightenment view of the world:

If you can’t prove it using the scientific method in a laboratory, it’s not real.

Or is it?

If you’re a person who thinks, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” others will counsel you, “You’ll see it when you believe it.”

Entering such a world requires effort fueled by a huge dose of faith.

If you’re skeptical about psychic phenomena, something that’s been looked down upon by “rationale” people for hundreds of years, you might be interested to know that at least one scientist is investigating such things using the scientific method.

That man is Dr. Dean Radin and you can learn about some of his research and progress in this area in this video.

“You’re telepathic and don’t even know it–Scientific proof of Clairvoyance”

I’ve read two of his books, “The Conscious Universe” and “Entangled Minds” and am looking forward to his latest, “Real Magic.”

If you’re already a believer (or perhaps open-minded enough to entertain such a concept), then I recommend reading, “The Making of a Healer: Teachings of My Oneida Grandmother” by Russell FourEagles. He explains this world. It’s among my Top 5 “Life Changing” reads. Here’s what I said about it in my blog back in 2019:

I hardly know where to start expressing my impressions of this book. Let’s just say that it is clearly in my list of the Top Ten Most Influential Books I’ve ever read. I was actually sad when I finished it, yet know this is one of the few books that I will read many times.

Probably the most powerful message I received was the highly spiritual nature of indigenous American teachings. Interestingly enough, it comprised everything included in my own beliefs, which I’ve collected from various sources. These include organized religions, my own experiences, scientific research, meditation, as well as the teachings of various yogis and motivational speakers. It was clearly a revelation to find my own belief system, which I’ve assembled over a lifetime, expressed in a single book.

The philosophies expressed are nothing short of profound and beautiful. The respect for Mother Earth and all her creatures, including those of other cultures, is such a powerful concept that has been blatantly ignored by western cultures. Living in harmony is essential to our health and well-being. The concept of the “heart box” where we store and build up the various hurts, disappointments, and traumas of our lifetime rang true. The Oneida Fire Ceremony used to clear those issues is one I’d heard variations of before and it works.

Bottom line, we must live with an attitude of love, not fear. The author’s personal experiences illustrate these principles in a humble and powerful way, from being taught these things by his grandmother, to being a soldier in Vietnam, to becoming an inspired healer.

If you’re looking for some genuine inspiration that dates back hundreds, possibly thousands of years, then read this book. If you need to know what actions you can take to rid yourself of old issues lurking in your subconscious that you want to release, then read this book. If you want a touch of wisdom that has been lost, yet is exactly what the world needs today, then read this book.

I can’t praise it highly enough. If you’re looking for answers, it’s highly likely you will find them here. You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.


There’s an entire world out there that most people are oblivious to. That’s why the world is in the sorry state it is today. It’s time to listen to indigenous people who have known how to live correctly for thousands of years, yet been shoved aside as primitive savages by European settlers who thought they knew better.

Considering the present state of the world, clearly they were mistaken.


Image by Debbie Walkingbird from Pixabay

History Books Are Written by the Victors

This is the first book I read as research when I started the Dead Horse Canyon series. That was three years ago in January and I have learned so much since then. It opened my eyes to the fact that history books truly are written by the victors, often to justify horrific deeds, vilify the conquered, or pretend they never happened. Every American History book in print should have this one as an appendix, albeit “the rest of the story.” What follows is the review I wrote in January 2019. –MF

Great Speeches by Native Americans

Edited by Bob Blaisdell

Anyone who thinks they know American history needs to read this book. Those who don’t understand why the white men are hated also need to read it. In a nutshell, it’s a testimonial of exploitation, lies, and aggression, which has been the norm on the part of supposed “civilized” nations for millennia. Seeing indigenous people as inferior, savages, and uncivilized based on their lifestyle and thus treating them no better than animals has a sordid and long history.

This book chronicles the treatment of the Indigenous Americans from the first contact by the Pilgrims in the 1600s through the 20th century. The lies and aggression are nothing short of shameful and an embarrassment to any honest person. Those of us who grew up playing “cowboys and Indians” and watching similar TV shows were not seeing things as they really are.

In most cases, the Indigenous Americans only wanted peace. Some had the foresight to see the problems that were coming. They saw the land as sacred, given to them by The Great Spirit, and they treated Mother Earth with respect and gratitude. They may not have had the white man’s technology, but their societal norms were often far more advanced than “civilized” nations. The wholesale slaughter and exploitation of these people in the name of Christianity is a national disgrace.

Besides the actual slaughters, their children were often taken away, essentially kidnapped, and sent to boarding schools where their native culture was derided while they were indoctrinated with supposedly white civilization’s values. Their women were often sterilized without their knowledge. There is no doubt the intent was genocide.

If you think things have changed today, think again. Power and control by those with selfish and evil intent still prevails. Corporate power subdues the rights of individuals. Nothing has changed.

I cried more reading this book than any novel. It’s a very sad commentary on the foundation of the United States. These Native Americans were highly intelligent, moral individuals. In the vast majority of cases, they were only aggressive when they’d had enough of being lied to and could see the intent was their annihilation.

Read it. More people need their eyes opened to the truth that is our history and how it relates to what’s going on today.

You can pick up a copy on Amazon here.

“Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits” Now Available!

The suspense-laden sequel to triple award winning “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” is now available!

In honor of Native American Heritage Month both this new release as well as its predecessor, “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits,” are on sale in ebook format for only $0.99 through November 30, 2021.

If you’ve read the first book, no doubt you’ve been wondering what happens now that Charlie and Sara have discovered what her husband, Bryan, discovered that cost him his life.

While Charlie swore to avenge his white brother’s death, the path to do so remains unclear.

His job with Lone Star Operations allows him to use his college education and earn a generous income. However, it conflicts with everything he knows to be right. Is violating the Earth wrong or not? Little does he realize that his work will ultimately return him to the Northern Cheyenne reservation where his true destiny will manifest in ways he never imagined.

Sara is determined to fulfill Bryan’s last request to expose the government corruption coupled with the lethal forces that stole his life. Releasing the scandalous Top Secret data via WikiLeaks infuriates those with much to lose, which places her in the cross-hairs of a hired killer.

While miles apart, each struggles with life-threatening situations as a result of their dedication to Bryan’s legacy. Their lives remain entangled through a series of fateful decisions and circumstances that define a future fraught with unknowns for them both.

The books are available through the following links with more vendors to follow in the coming days. Remember that reviews are pure gold to authors and help other readers decide on whether a book is right for them.

Book 1:

Amazon Affiliate Link

Barnes and Noble

Google Play

Other eBook Vendors

Book 2

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Barnes and Noble

Google Play

Smashwords

Are you Listening?

If there’s one thing most of us need it’s an occasional sign that we’re heading in the right direction. One thing indigenous people have that most others don’t is a deep connection with nature, which talks to them on a regular basis.

Yes, I’m talking about spirit animals and receiving messages from them.

This morning when I went outside to feed my feral cats this beautiful spider web caught my eye. The fact it was on my deck furniture was slightly less than enchanting, but the perfection of the spider’s handiwork got my attention, especially the way it glistened in the rising sun.

In many cases, if you’re paying attention, you can figure out such a message yourself by considering the animal and its characteristics. At other times, it might be more subtle. In that case, you need a reference of some description to help you figure out what the natural world is trying to tell you.

Fortunately, I have such a reference, the book “Animal Messengers: An A – Z Guide to Signs and Omens in the Natural World.”

Here’s a excerpt from what it says about spiders: “The spider symbolizes infinite possibilities. With its eight legs it is anchored in every direction, and it weaves together the powers of the elements and their expression into a unified whole. The spider weaves webs of fate, in which we can get caught, and it encourages us to keep searching for new possibilities and explore the endless steps of our journey of learning. If your attention is drawn to a spider it wants to remind you that you are constantly building new webs with your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and visions that contain tasks you must solve and subjects you must deal with.”

As is always the case with such an encounter, this had a very personal meaning to me.

If you’re not listening to what nature is telling you, you’re missing out. If you need a little help discerning what an animal is trying to say, I highly recommend this book by Regula Meyer. Note that it does not contain exotic animals you might see in a zoo, but concentrates on those you’re likely to see in the wild including mammals, birds, invertebrates, and insects, for a total of 145 different animals. It was originally written in German, so some birds common to the United States such as cardinals are not included, either, but overall it’s very insightful. It’s available at Amazon via this affiliate link.

Review of Nancy Red Star’s “Star Ancestors: Extraterrestrial Contact in the Native American Tradition

This book is a masterful work of art in addition to containing a collection of personal experiences from members of several different tribes. These include Navajo, Mi’kmaq, Abenaki, Seneca, Cherokee, Tarahumara, Maya, Olmec, Yaqui, Creek, and Choctaw.

Though testimonials about UFO encounters are included, the majority of the book is on a more spiritual level, dealing with other types of connections with the Star People. These include the importance of ceremony, previous lost civilizations from millennia ago, high technology in the distant past, the origin of indigenous people, and prophecies of the future, which is upon us now.

The book has been around a while, the original copyright in 2000, then renewed in 2012. In today’s world that’s a long time and many things prophesied that may not yet have occurred by either of those dates have by now.

I think my favorite section was “We Wander This World with a Purpose” by Mali Keating. She spoke of the Hopi, where they came from, and their numerous prophecies. Here’s an excerpt of one section that explained so much about our modern world.

“The Anasazi were a people left over from the migration. The people were told they must never stop and build cities, but of course some did…. Cities make people crazy, as we all know. People become greedy and lose the ability to work together.”

Here’s another, that may not have been as apparent when this book was first released as it is now:

“The Hopi said that they would know that the end is coming when roads crisscrossed this continent like the web of a spider–those are the vapor trails of airplanes. You can see vapor trails like the webs of spiders in the sky.”

Actually, roads on which we drive crisscross the continent, too. Those trails in the sky,  however, are not vapor trails, they are called chemtrails. Vapor trails are condensation from normal airplanes whereas chemtrails are chemicals such as barium and aluminum being deliberately sprayed in the atmosphere to supposedly combat climate change. This, like so much else out there today, is a lie. If anything, they are causing the climate to go crazy by facilitating weather manipulation.

There are numerous photos of indigenous art and the layout of the book itself is genius, between Nancy Red Star’s commentaries before each entry to her free verse poetry at the conclusion. Reading these stories is not just informative, it’s an experience of another realm beyond what meets the eyes.

A realm that Native Americans and all indigenous people understand.

May we all learn from their ancient wisdom before it’s too late.

5-stars, Highly Recommended

Available from Amazon and InnerTraditions.com