It’s All a Matter of Your Point of View

Sweet Medicine: Cheyenne Culture Hero

Image Credit Pixabay

Today we recognize September 23, 2022, as Native American Day, the perfect time to honor Cheyenne Culture Hero, Sweet Medicine.

As with most tales preserved by oral tradition, there are different versions regarding Sweet Medicine’s origin. One version (from Cheyenne Memories by John Stands in Timber and Margot Liberty) tells of a young woman who lived with her parents. She had a dream where someone said, “Sweet Root will come to you, because you are clean, and a young woman.” She thought it was just a dream, but it repeated the next three nights. At this point she told her mother who said it was nothing and not to worry.

But as time passed, she began to feel as if she were expecting a baby, which her parents noticed as well. Yet this made no sense, since she never met anyone, other than the voice in the dreams.

When it was time to give birth, she left the village and went down by a creek where she built a small shelter and had a baby boy. Rather than take him home, however, she left him there, since she and her parents were ashamed.

Later that day an old woman was down by the creek collecting rye grass as bedding when she heard the baby crying. She found him and brought him home. Her husband was very happy and said “That’s our grandson. And his name shall be Sweet Medicine.”

The similarities to the virgin birth of Christ are hard to miss. Perhaps this shows a Christian influence creeping into later versions of the story. The Cheyenne’s high moral standards encouraged their women to be virtuous, so would embrace such a detail.

(If you’re a fan of The History Channel’s Ancient Aliens program, you may notice parallels to UFO abduction stories, many of which date back centuries. Native American connections with extraterrestrial visitors are well-documented, including Nancy Red Star’s book, Star Ancestors.)

The version of Sweet Medicine’s beginnings in George Bird Grinnell’s The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life (Volume II) is less dramatic. It states that Sweet Medicine was the second born child of a married woman, but nonetheless a very unusual child and individual.

Sweet Medicine was said to have performed various miracles, from conjuring up a buffalo calf when the tribe was hungry, to being able to elude pursuit by covering vast distances in record time, i.e., shades of Superman’s ability “to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”

Specific laws and ceremonies were among his most important contributions to Cheyenne culture. He organized the original four warrior societies, Swift Foxes, Elks, Red Shields, and Bowstrings. He instituted a sophisticated leadership structure that included ten chiefs from each of the four societies, plus four “old man chiefs,” one of whom carried the sacred medicine bundle he gave them. This brought stability to the Cheyenne that other tribes lacked.

You chiefs are peacemakers. Though your son might be killed in front of your tepee, you should take a peace pipe and smoke. Then you would be called an honest chief. You chiefs own the land and the people. If your men, your soldier societies, should be scared and retreat, you are not to step back, but take a stand to protect your land and your people.

He admonished chiefs to be examples of peace and courage. As stated in Cheyenne Memories, Sweet Medicine said, “Listen to me carefully, and truthfully follow up my instructions. You chiefs are peacemakers. Though your son might be killed in front of your tepee, you should take a peace pipe and smoke. Then you would be called an honest chief. You chiefs own the land and the people. If your men, your soldier societies, should be scared and retreat, you are not to step back, but take a stand to protect your land and your people.”

Generosity was another requirement imposed on chiefs. “When you meet someone, or he comes to your tepee asking for anything, give it to him. Never refuse. Go outside your tepee and sing your chief’s song, so all the people will know you have done something good.”

The four Sacred Arrows were another gift along with the sacred medicine bundle. Two arrows were for hunting and two for war, a detailed ceremony provided for renewing their power, which was lost should a Cheyenne murder a member of the tribe.

He taught the complex ceremony known as the Massaum, a.k.a. Animal or Crazy Dance, which bears some resemblance to an origin story among Plains Indians referred to as “The Great Race.”  The Wolves of Heaven by Karl H. Schlesier is a comprehensive work focused on the Massaum. As an anthropologist, Schlesier places the ceremony’s origins, and thus Sweet Medicine, in the 500 – 300 BCE timeframe.

So where did Sweet Medicine gain his profound wisdom?

The legend states that Sweet Medicine and his wife disappeared for four years, which was spent deep inside the Sacred Mountain where they were taught by spiritual beings known as maiyun. (This is very similar to stories about other important spiritual leaders as expressed on Ancient Aliens, Season 18/Episode 20, “Secrets of Inner Earth.”)

Thus, the tradition arose of fasting on the Sacred Mountain for four days to commune with the holy people. Bear Butte in South Dakota is the Cheyenne’s Sacred Mountain while other tribes have their own versions. There are numerous references to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming in these stories, another location infamous for UFO sightings, as immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s 1977 movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Cheyenne Sacred Mountain, a.k.a. Bear Butte, South Dakota

Before Sweet Medicine died at a very old, but undetermined age, he gave his final address, which included admonitions along with a prophesy:

“I have brought you many things, sent by the gods for your use. You live the way I have taught you and follow the laws. You must not forget them, for they have given you strength and the ability to support yourselves and your families.

“There is a time coming, though, when many things will change. Strangers called Earth Men will appear among you. Their skins are light-colored, and their ways are powerful. They clip their hair short and speak no Indian tongue. Follow nothing that these Earth Men do, but keep your own ways that I have taught you as long as you can.

Image credit Pixabay

“The buffalo will disappear, at last, and another animal will take its place, a slick animal with a long tail and split hoofs, whose flesh you will learn to eat. But first there will be another animal you must learn to use. It has a shaggy neck and tail almost touching the ground. Its hoofs are round. This animal will carry you on his back and help you in many ways. Those far hills that seem only a blue vision in the distance take many days to reach now; but with this animal you can get there in a short time, so fear him not. Remember what I have said.

“But at last you will not remember. Your ways will change. You will leave your religion for something new. You will lose respect for your leaders and start quarreling with one another. You will lose track of your relations and marry women from your own families. You will take after the Earth Men’s ways and forget good things by which you have lived and in the end become worse than crazy.

“I am sorry to say these things, but I have seen them, and you will find that they come true.”

So who exactly was Sweet Medicine?

A real person?

Or no more than another figure in the realm of folklore and mythology?

We may never know, but his prophesy’s accuracy is pretty hard to ignore.

Things Are Getting A Bit Crowded…

…BUT IN A GOOD WAY.

An author never knows how a sequel will be received in a contest. Without the backstory presented in the previous book, the judges may be lost or unimpressed, thinking there are too many unanswered questions. All you can do when you submit it is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Clearly, this was not a problem with Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits. So far it has done as well as its precursor, plus winning a Firebird Book Award, but The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits was not entered in that particular competition.

Each of the awards is described on the book page, so I won’t repeat that information here. While winning another award is always a good day for authors, the one that impressed me the most was the wonderful review rendered by Asher Syed on behalf of Readers’ Favorite.

It was beyond gratifying to see that he comprehended the message Pete and I were trying to convey. Not only that, but that he actually went back and read the first book when that was not required. Yet, he did so, and provided very complimentary comments about that as well. Calling us a “dream team” truly made that day and several since! To be perfectly honest, it made me cry.

Many thanks to the various individuals who have read our work and provided us with such valued feedback. Nothing makes all the work more worthwhile than being recognized by complete strangers. Thank you, one and all.

Our goal with this ongoing saga is to provide readers with a glimpse of the beautiful Northern Cheyenne culture about which most know little, if anything. Pete and I are learning more about it as well. The conclusion to this trilogy is in work with the goal to be well underway by the time we celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November. The challenge upon us is to make the conclusion even better than the first two installments.

That, my friends, is a daunting task.

“Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits” Updates

I am pleased to report that “Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits” has been awarded a 5-star review by Readers’ Favorite. Recognition such as this is always highly appreciated by authors, especially from a professional reviewer when it contains such complimentary comments. Here is what reviewer, Asher Syed, had to say:

“Return to Dead Horse Canyon: Grandfather Spirits” by Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun is a conspiracy suspense novel and the second book in the Dead Horse Canyon Saga, preceded by the series’ critically acclaimed and award-winning first book, “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits.”

Two characters drive this saga, a widow named Sara Reynolds whose husband Bryan was murdered, and she very nearly along with him, after discovering corruption at a massive scale; and Charlie Littlewolf, Bryan’s dearest friend, whose connection to the history of the land, his Cheyenne roots and the spirits that reside in both is far deeper than believed.

The mission to avenge Bryan’s murder and get the truth about the government’s project out to the public is the driving force behind all of Sara’s actions, no matter how dangerous they are. Charlie shares in this but is also confronted with a battle of conscience, memories, physical and emotional trauma, and the wise words of family, both now and in the past, to reconcile who he has become and who he is meant to be. “Until you have seen death, you cannot comprehend life. Experience provides the path to understanding which leads to wisdom.”

I went into “Return to Dead Horse Canyon” not having read the first book and while it does read comfortably as a stand-alone, after just a couple of chapters I actually went back to read “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon” before restarting book two. It was an excellent decision. The building of the Cheyenne history is critical to the story and had I not understood Sara’s complete motivation and Charlie’s fully fleshed-out roots, I’d have missed out on so much more than just a good read.

Sara’s plight is noble and even as she is met with roadblocks at every turn, she is not dissuaded. The peril she faces is amplified and pushed to maximum pacing when she pulls a Snowden-esque rabbit from her hard drive. However, it’s Charlie that is most compelling to me.

My gosh, the depth of ethnology packed into both novels is meticulously researched and beautifully detailed. There are moments of lessons hard learned and realized, a standout being a conversation at his grandfather’s deathbed and another is when Charlie is finally able to harness a previously dormant and profoundly spiritual faculty. Co-authors Marcha Fox and Pete Risingsun are a dream team with this saga and I’m really looking forward to the third and final installment of their trilogy.


The fact that this reviewer was so dedicated that he took time to read “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” first went far beyond expectations in assessing a sequel. Needless to say, this is the kind of review author’s dream of. Many thanks to Mr. Syed for his thoughtful words.

Here’s some additional good news if your Texas library is a member of Biblioboard. If so, you can read this story for free here as part of the Indie Author Project. “The Curse of Dead Horse Canyon: Cheyenne Spirits” is also available there.

If your library is not a member, you can request IAP to invite them to learn more by submitting their name here.

See the many titles available in the Indie Texas collection here.

If you’re an author or know one who might want to consider being included more information can be found here. Librarians seeking more information about the IAP program and how it at can help them reach their patrons is available at this link.

New TV Series Starring Zahn McClarnon

Photo By thepaparazzigamer – Zahn McClarnon at the Premiere Of Hulu's Shut Eye at ArcLight Theatre in Hollywood, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87192051

If you enjoy Native American themed media, check out the new AMC series, Dark Winds, based on Tony Hillerman’s novel, Listening Woman. This intense, action-packed drama set on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona in the 1970s is not for the faint-hearted.  

You may recognize the main character played by Zahn McClarnon. His interest in acting goes back to high school as evidenced by his long list of film and televisions credits, including the role of Mathias, tribal police chief in the Longmire series.

Per Wikipedia, he grew up in Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Montana, his mother was Hunkpapa Lakota with his father of Irish descent, as reflected in his name. He has a fraternal twin brother.

McClarnon’s first name is in honor of his maternal great-great-uncle, Frank “Frances” B. Zahn, who was an artist and Lakota elder of Standing Rock Indian Reservation. McClarnon’s middle name, Tokiya-ku, loosely translates to mean: “first one to come.”

Check your local listings for day and time.

Meet the Three Sisters

“For millennia, from Mexico to Montana, women have mounded up the earth and laid these three seeds in the ground, all in the same square foot of soil.” –Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass

A legend tells of Indigenous people who were suffering from hunger during an exceptionally long winter. One snowy night, three beautiful women came to visit. One was tall, dressed in yellow with long flowing hair, another wore green, and the third wore an orange robe. They sought shelter from the cold and were invited to sit by the fire.

There wasn’t much food, but the family shared what they had with the mysterious visitors. In gratitude for their generosity, the three sisters revealed their true identities as corn, beans, and squash, then gave themselves to the people so they’d never go hungry again.

The true beauty of the story is that the Three Sisters represent far more than three random food crops. They comprise a synergistic garden trio that epitomizes companion planting. Like the legend, this genius method originated with Indigenous people, whose closeness to nature inspired this amazing botanical analogy of reciprocity and cooperation.

 “The organic symmetry of forms belongs together; the placement of every leaf, the harmony of shapes speak their message. Respect one another, support one another, bring your gift to the world and receive the gifts of others, and there will be enough for all.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass

If you’re unfamiliar with gardening, here’s how it works: The corn provides a trellis for the beans to climb while the squash’s huge leaves provide shade that discourages weeds and helps retain moisture in the ground. Furthermore, beans host nitrogen fixing bacteria, which benefits the corn, while the squash’s prickly leaves discourage caterpillars and some insects.

And it gets even better. The trio is nutritionally sound. Corn and beans combine to form a complete protein while squash provides additional vitamins in its carotene-rich flesh. Utilizing mostly vertical space, even a small garden can yield not only a generous harvest, but a reasonably balanced diet as well.

Some add sunflowers , expanding this harmonious group to a quartet. You can find detailed instructions on how to plant the Three Sisters here.  The site includes various patterns developed by Indigenous tribes in different geographical areas. Some include sunflowers for yet another dimension of function and beauty. Note you do not plant them all at once, but give the corn a chance to get established, i.e., about four inches tall, before planting the beans to assure it has the strength to support the vines.

Depending on how long the growing season is in your area, it is a bit late to get started, but could be worth a try. With a potential food shortage looming due to the price of fuel, if nothing else use this Native American wisdom to stock up on dried beans, canned corn, and winter squash at the grocery store, even if you can’t grow your own. The trio produces an appealing culinary chorus as well.

Bon appetite!

Attribution: Garlan Miles, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“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.

Reciprocity

Dill is one of my favorite herbs. When a friend of mine saw this caterpillar munching on it, he was surprised I didn’t have a problem with it. Why? Because that little guy or girl (sorry, it didn’t tell me how s/he identifies) will eventually become an absolutely beautiful black swallowtail butterfly!

And better yet, it will be a pollinator! Which is something I need in my garden, since there aren’t many bees these days.

This one is far from alone. At last count, I saw about 9 of them on that same plant. I’ll pick some dill and put it in the freezer for now, then plant more after these hungry caterpillars metamorphose to their final winged stage.

I must admit, I was not as compassionate toward the harlequin beetles devastating my broccoli, pretty though they may be. But they were not going to give anything back, either!

It’s all about reciprocity.

I’m really impressed with the Native American philosophy that we should give something back for every thing we consume. In Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book, “Braiding Sweetgrass,” she points that out in great detail over many chapters. She mentions how Native Americans would only harvest half of what they found in the wild, leaving some to continue to grow and provide, while also leaving an offering.

Gratitude has been identified as the emotion most closely linked to happiness. Is that what’s wrong with unhappy people today, not appreciating what they have? Never being satisfied, always obsessing on wanting more?

I’m grateful for the butterfly pupae who will grow up to assure my squash, tomatoes, melons, and other veggies bear as they’re supposed to. Sacrificing a little dill seems a small price to pay.

Did Ancient Hopi Elders see Our Day?

Not everyone believes in prophecy. Of course, the test of a true prophet versus someone with a vivid imagination is whether or not their predictions come true. In many cases, the speaker does not live long enough to see whether it does or not, but if others recorded what they said, in due time the truth will be known.

Native Americans have run the gamut of emotions from outrage to grief toward the white man’s life style and attitude toward Mother Earth. According to the Holy Bible, man was given “dominion” over the Earth. A word that suggests he could do as he pleased with all it contains and justifies exploiting it for his own gain.

However, in view of the current state of the planet, was that an accurate translation of the Creator’s intent?

Much was edited out of that sacred tome because it didn’t fit the understanding of the day. Ancient Roman emperors twisted Christ’s teachings to suit their own designs. One translation of the Bible that is often quoted, and even considered among the best, was commissioned by King James of England and published in 1611.

The front plates states, “Translated out of the original tongues: and with the former translations diligently compared and revised by His Majesty’s special command.”

I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty hard to believe British attitudes didn’t creep in, intentionally or otherwise, to reflect his royal view of the world, which, incidentally, included worldwide colonization. Some books of the original Bible were deleted, such as The Book of Enoch, because so much of its content was either offensive, fried their brains, or didn’t make sense.

What if the word translated as “dominion” actually meant “responsibility?” The implications are huge. Do you have dominion over your children or responsibility for them? Does man have dominion over Earth’s resources or responsibility for them? If you’re a parent, how did you feel when you gave your child an expensive gift that they subsequently trashed?

The consensus among Native Americans is that we are responsible for the planet and everything on it, including each other. “All my relations” refers beyond immediate and extended human family to all “two-leggeds” as well as every plant, animal, and mineral.

We all came from Mother Earth. We are all related.

Hopi religious elders Thomas Banyacya and Grandfather David Monongye have interpreted ancient prophesies in the following video. Bear in mind the first part was recorded in the 1970s, the latter portion in 1993. More details are available on YouTube. Some predictions you’ll recognize as being fulfilled in the years following when this was recorded. Sometimes the language is quaint as they try to explain things for which there were no words in their native language.

To quote the video, “We are at a crossroads. One path leads to destruction. The other is living together in harmony with nature.”

It appears we took a wrong turn somewhere.

P.S. If you don’t know what the “cobwebs” refer to, research “geo-engineering” and/or “chemtrails,” the ultimate violation of the Earth Mother.

The Power of Words

The purpose of words is to convey meaning. How they’re spelled, how they sound differs tremendously. Sometimes they convey the same meaning, such as for a cat or dog. Others are unique and can’t be translated into another language, especially if they’re based on cultural context.

When immigrants come to a country, they assimilate better if they learn the host language. This is not simply a matter of getting along better in society. It integrates them into the culture. America became a “melting pot” as immigrants came from a multitude of foreign nations, then were united in a common language, i.e. English, even if they maintained their ethnic traditions.

When Europeans came to the American continent they encountered indigenous peoples whose languages were entirely foreign. While there’s a similarity in etymology and syntax among Latin-based languages (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, etc.), those spoken by Native Americans (which were several) had no similarities to European languages. Their culture and society were so different, many words common to Europeans didn’t even exist in theirs and vice versa.

Most of our thoughts comprise words. A person’s vocabulary determines their ability to think and comprehend the world around them. Without applicable words, unfamiliar concepts cannot exist. Emotions, however, exist beyond words. If you see someone laughing or crying, you know they’re feeling something.

Europeans took possession of this country in a less than friendly manner. Eventually, indigenous people became the “Indian Problem.” They refused to cooperate by giving up the land gifted to them by the Creator, a.k.a. Great Spirit. After numerous wars, massacres, and ugly confrontations, those that remained were herded off to reservations. As if that wasn’t bad enough, their children were taken and sent to government boarding schools where they were “reprogrammed.” This comprised cutting their hair, dressing them in “civilized” clothing, and forbidding them from speaking their native tongue. Being caught doing so resulted in their mouth being washing out with soap.

This was not a benevolent gesture to help Native Americans assimilate into European/American society. The intent was to annihilate their culture, identity, and beliefs, an insidious form of virtual genocide. A slight improvement, I suppose, over edicts from the Vatican that gave early explorers and colonists permission to kill them or make them their slaves.

Imagine forcing new immigrants to give up their language and customs. As “guests” in this country, it could almost be justified, a condition of habitation that promotes unity. Instead, just about any document they may need to read is available in their own language at taxpayer expense. Yet, quite the opposite was done to indigenous peoples who were here first.

If you have a difficult time relating to this, consider hoards of Chinese soldiers swarming our borders and forcing us to abandon our way of life, including our language, and adapt to theirs or die.

As intended, indigenous languages began to disappear. Fortunately, some survived. Ironically, helping the current younger generations to learn their native tongue is now a function of the very schools who originally forbade them from speaking it.

Why should they care? Because that is who they are. Culture, ceremonies, and their collective philosophy of life is embedded in their language. They have words with no English analog. Even in English, certain things have different meaning. For example, “All my relations” to a Native American includes all living things as well as the Earth herself. “Turtle Island” is not only this continent, but embodies their creation story.

Why should we care if their culture is lost? Because it’s in the world’s best interest for it to be revitalized. Assimilating it may be the only thing that can save us from ourselves in this war-torn, polluted, technology-dependent world.

This short video (less that 3 minutes) contains the 10 Commandments of Native Americans. As you listen, consider they initially welcomed Europeans to their land. They only became aggressive when the Founding Fathers and those who followed didn’t want to share this country with its original inhabitants.

They wanted them out of their way.