Saturday, April 6, 2013

Idle No More

Bear & Elk


bear track dealers

native american bear

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 6

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 6
"Everybody should pray together, cheer along, root along. That brings the circle together. Everything is together."
--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Life on the Earth can sometimes be very complicated. Sometimes we think we are alone in our problems. Sometime we even withdraw. Then the problems become even more difficult. We need to watch out for one another, to care for one another, to pray together, to encourage one another; and we need to support one another. Behaving in this manner will bring the circle together.
Great Spirit, today, let me support my brothers and sisters.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 5

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 5
"As we plunge ahead to build empires and race for supremacy we should stop and listen to [the female] song of life. For without the female there is no life."
--Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman, Traditional Circle of Elders
Women are created with the ability to produce life. Women have a special tie to the Earth Mother. They have something in common. They are the source of life. The Earth Mother gives songs to the Woman to sing. These songs are about life, about beauty, about children, about love, about family, about strength, about caring, about nurturing, about forgiveness, about God. The World needs to pay attention and listen to Her. She knows.
Great Spirit, let me listen to Her songs.

Sexual Trauma: One Legacy of the Boarding School Era -Ruth Hopkins

Sexual Trauma: One Legacy of the Boarding School Era -Ruth Hopkins

Sexual Trauma: One Legacy of the Boarding School Era
By Ruth Hopkins
Every American Indian alive today has been affected by the policy of assimilation implemented by the United States government in centuries past.
Under the guise of Manifest Destiny, European invaders swept through North America in ever increasing waves- displacing Natives from their ancestral homelands. They made treaties with Native nations only to break them, and resorted to outright theft when push came to shove. Ultimately, these greed-driven conquests led to the massacre of millions of innocent Indigenous peoples. Their weapons of mass destruction were disease, starvation, and war.
They underestimated the strength and resilience of North America’s First Peoples.  Despite their best efforts to terminate us, and even though Natives were vastly outnumbered, we persisted. The Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), joined by allies, defeated U.S. forces on North American soil at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Even though they killed nearly all the buffalo, Natives held on. We survived. In the late 1800s, a new idea arose as to how to deal with the “Indian problem.”  The Powers that Be, backed by popular opinion, decided it was better to “kill the Indian and save the man.”  In other words, they desired to strip us our Tribal cultures and languages and make us over in their image. They wanted to “civilize” Natives, and they would use religion and education to do it.
Pre-1900, 25 boarding schools were built off-reservation and at least 30,000 Native children, about 10% of the entire Native population at the time, were pushed through the system. These boarding schools were run by religious organizations, and funded by the Federal government.  By the end of the boarding school era, over 100,000 Native children had passed through the boarding school system.
Many Native children were snatched from their mother’s arms and stolen away to attend boarding schools. My grandmother Stella Pretty Sounding Flute was forced to go to boarding school, as were her brothers. She described the intense trauma children experienced when they were taken away from everything and everyone they know and placed in a strange, cold, impersonal environment cut off from nature.  One of the first events upon arrival to the boarding school laid the groundwork for the years of psychological damage that would be inflicted on the children for years to come. Their hair would be cut.  Traditionally, Native men wore long hair. Stella recalled seeing boys’ spirits broken as their braids, literal ties to their Tribal identity and holding spiritual power, fell to the floor.
Children were forbidden to speak their Native tongue, and beaten for doing so. The implementation of this English-only policy at boarding schools is the primary reason so many Native languages are on the brink of extinction now. My father, also a boarding school survivor, told stories of his willful older brother, who would not stop speaking the Dakota language despite the abuse he received for refusing to give it up.  Years later, that same brother went onto teach Dakota language to children at a Tribal high school.
Life at boarding school was punishing of its own accord. Children were not allowed to return home to visit their families for years at a time, if at all. Conditions were harsh. During particularly cold winters, some children froze to death in their beds. Days were long, and usually consisted of difficult, and occasionally dangerous, industrial work.
Despite all of these horrors, none of them compares to the shocking level of inhumane physical brutality, sexual abuse and child rape that took place at boarding schools.  Child molestation was rampant.
Brave elders have come forward to share their heart wrenching tales of abuse and assault at the hands of priests, nuns, and other staff at boarding schools. As a parent, it’s difficult to listen to stories of how innocent preschool age girls were digitally penetrated by perverted priests and little boys were forced to perform oral sex on nuns in the middle of the night under pain of death. Sexual abuse was frequent and continuous, utter torture. Most of us will never know the trauma our grandmothers and grandfathers were made to endure at boarding schools.
There are thousands of Native children in both the United States and Canada who never returned home from boarding and residential schools; their small, bruised, and broken bodies yet unaccounted for. There are even reports of children who were murdered while still newborns, that their families never knew existed. These babies, who died without names, were the product of rape, when priests assaulted girls and impregnated them. The souls of these murdered children cry out for justice.
Coupled with justice, we also need healing.  Sexual abuse is a disease. Even today, when Native survivors of sexual trauma come forward, the abuse can nearly always be traced back through a line victims who became perpetrators, with the first act of sexual violence originating at a boarding school.
Boarding school has also affected Native communities’ natural healing process, because it robbed us of not only our close familial bonds, but our cultural belief systems, as well as ceremonies meant to doctor us and cleanse us.
Shame is a wall that hides sexual trauma. It prevents sexual abuse survivors from speaking help. We cannot afford to be quiet any longer. If you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse or rape, you are not alone.  You can find healing, and you can reach out and help others like yourself too.
Despite the devastation the Federal government’s policy of assimilation and the boarding school system has caused, all is not lost. We still have our Native languages, our cultures, and our belief systems. Combined with new counseling techniques, we can heal ourselves and our communities.
Sexual trauma remains largely unaddressed, even though it is a root cause for much of what ails Native communities today. It contributes to mental health issues, suicide epidemics, and family dysfunction. Together, we will end this plague.
The 3rd Annual HOPE Conference will be held at The Billings Hotel & Convention Center in Billings, Montana April 4th & 5th, 2013. The HOPE Conference coincides with the 45th Annual MSU-Billings Powwow at the Alterowitz Gym on Friday April 5th and Saturday April 6th. The purpose of the conference is to address the issue of child sexual trauma within Native communities, and to bring to light this epidemic which has torn at the fabric of Indian Country communities for generations. The Conference will focus on the PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE of this issue, highlighting healing and resilience. Go to to find out more.


Throughout 1890, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, which taught that Indians had been defeated and confined to reservations because they had angered the gods by abandoning their traditional customs. Many Sioux believed that if they practiced the Ghost Dance and rejected the ways of the white man, the gods would create the world anew and destroy all non-believers, including non-Indians. On December 15, 1890, reservation police tried to arrest Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief, who they mistakenly believed was a Ghost Dancer, and killed him in the process, increasing the tensions at Pine Ridge.

On December 29, the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under Big Foot, a Lakota Sioux chief, near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. As that was happening, a fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier and a shot was fired, although it's unclear from which side. A brutal massacre followed, in which it's estimated 150 Indians were killed (some historians put this number at twice as high), nearly half of them women and children. The cavalry lost 25 men.

The conflict at Wounded Knee was originally referred to as a battle, but in reality it was a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it's unlikely that Big Foot's band would have intentionally started a fight. Some historians speculate that the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry were deliberately taking revenge for the regiment's defeat at Little Bighorn in 1876. Whatever the motives, the massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and was the last major confrontation in America's deadly war against the Plains Indians.
 — withJulie Jones Kindle.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Our Times Magazine

Idle No More across the country is focusing on saving our treaties by urging our leaders to sign out of Self Government and Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements that diminish and extinguish our rights and give up our lands. These treaties protect our waters and lands for everyone, why would we give up it's only protection? People believed in the founders when we went up against bill C-45 because they're all lawyers and indigenous rights activists.. what makes this any different? Why would we accept negotiating our treaties away and giving up land rights to capitalism and Harper's big corporations... when we fought so hard for the infringement of our treaties for C-45???

The View

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 4

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 4
"You can pray for whatever you want, but it is always best to pray for others, not for yourself."
--John Fire Lame Deer, LAKOTA
When you are selfish and you pray, you are requesting things to flow only to you. When you are selfless, you are praying for things to flow to others. The old ones say this is the highest form of prayer. Praying this way is according to the Natural Laws.
Great Spirit, today, let my thoughts be about others.

Idle No More -- MN

Idle No More-Mn!
Photo by Jenna Pope - Climate FORWARD Rally in Washington D.C. with and Indigenous Environmental Network, and others.

The medicine wheel within the design reflects the Ojibwe Medicine Wheel. - stands for all people of all cultures.
 — with Jenna PopePatricia Shepard and Theresa Lynn.

The Women of Idle No More

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 3

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 3
"We know that in all creation, only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way."
--OJIBWA Prayer
How have we gotten so far off track? What has happened to us? What is happening to our family? How did it happen so quickly? Every individual needs to answer these questions for themselves. What do we need to do to start living the Sacred Way again? Pray! Today I will start praying. I pray the Creator will lead all Native People to a great healing. I pray we'll be free from alcohol and drugs. I pray we will return to the culture, to spirituality and to unity.
My Mother, help us to heal ourselves. Make us strong again.

Walking the Talk, A Sacred Responsibility

When I decided it was time to believe in me, I began by walking into my courage, and then I began to run towards the direction of my heart. My spirit danced with gratitude for the people that Creator chose to enhance my journey; I became blessed beyond my own imagining. As I grew forward, the light of my spirit shone with gratitude for the unconditional love and incredible support I felt surrounding me. Now, I am flying with wings composed by love, as I celebrate the abundance that resulted, all because I began by simply act of trusting in me. I am living on purpose and I can full heartedly answer the calling of my soul. I have in fact fallen head over heels in love with my life. My prayer is that you begin to fully immersing yourself in unwavering belief in YOU. And, why not; after all, you are meant for greatness; just think of it, you are magnificence in human form because you carry a perfect spirit within you. Once you realize your own perfection and believe it with all your soul, you cannot help but live your life according to the powerful source of inspiration that you are! It all begins with deciding to believe in you and by acknowledging the source of light that shines from you, which is perfection. All my Relations. (ejh)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Supporting South Dakota Reservations Page shared Zuya Wild Horse Sanctuary's photo.

Zuya is a Lakota word that means "Life's Journey". Zuya Wild Horse Sanctuary is a 6000 acre range in South Dakota where two hundred of Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue horses live as a free roaming grazing herd.
Website Zuya is getting ready to perform a gather of our own horses on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The horse gather is for counting, checking, identifying and turning back out. The project lead is Thomas Smittle Confidencetrainingconcepts. The tentative date is April 10th through 14th, 2013 but could run longer. This date is subject to change due to weather or other circumstances.
We are looking for experienced horsemen and women who can help with this project on a volunteer basis. Need: Riders with their own horses who can ride amongst wild horses and who understand how to quietly move horses in a 6000 acre area. Riders need to be teamwork oriented.

Need: People on the ground to help move horses in and out of the corrals, count, identify, and mark the horses. Cooks and Camp crew - shop, prepare, serve meals and cleanup using an outdoor kitchen (camp stove & fire pit).

This is a volunteer project - all volunteers must be willing to travel at their own expense, camp on site or take a room at the nearby hotel at their own expense.

Must be able to take direction from the project lead, but also be able to pitch in wherever needed.

All volunteers must show proof of medical insurance and sign a liability waiver - this project is "at your own risk".

Lifesavers will provide the food for the staff and volunteers.

This is short notice but if you are free in the beginning of April and would like to have a charitable adventure - - please contact Thomas Smittle for additional information.

The date is not set yet - we are watching the weather. As soon as a dry spell is predicted the project will be scheduled.

We expect the project to run 5 - 10 days OR if everything goes super smooth - it could take less time. There's no way to know how the horses will cooperate, or the weather.

There are no RV hookups at this site. Camping is primitive - but there are outdoor showers.

It is cold in South Dakota! If you are a whiner or complainer - please do not respond.

Chief Seattle

Native Spirits Tribal Community

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 2

Elder's Meditation of the Day April 2
"With children we always have to think about seven generations to come but yet unborn."
--Janice Sundown Hattet, SENECA
What we do today will effect the children seven generations form now. How we treat the Mother Earth will affect the children yet to be born. If we poison the water today, our children's children will be affected by the decision we made. Our children are the gateway to the future. Let us conscientiously think about the children and the seven generations to come.
My Creator, I thank you for my ancestors, seven generations ago.

No Fear-Native American Spirituality and Thoughts-A Tribute

We Honor the Bear
Tracks from the ancient past,
mighty upon the shore.

Heir to giants of the cave,
grandfather of folklore.

Kindred spirit of the human, honored as elder.
Sensitive to nature's cycles, wise, solitary dweller.

Medicine bear, teacher, guide to the river of meaning.
Guardian of the great medicine lodge, power of healing.

Embodiment of strength, raising head to sniff the air.
Standing high to challenge, fierce to a threat on lair.

Legendary predator, yet timid, gentle and tolerant.
King of wilderness, mysterious, subject of olden chant.

Hunter, fisher, forager, claws upon the tree.
Dozing in winter, spring emerge, cubs born, destiny.

Creature of myths, tales of deep thunder in early spring.
Bears awaken in dens, symbol of renewal, rebirth, sing.

Honored with much ritual, dances, feast bear guest.
Reenactment of the hunt, brave adversaries in contest.

Wearing of claws, symbol of courage, skills to learn.
Man's respect for the kill, prayer for bear's return.

Big Medicine, Bear Spirit, Bear People, Bear Clan.
Master of his domain, celebrated in tales and by artisan.

Stars amid infinite meadows of heaven,
Great Bear of sky.

We give honor to you as relative and spiritual ally.
Wander mountains and tundra, circle of forest free.

Tread the earth our cousin, powerful medicine are thee.

author unknown

Idle No More: Women rising to lead when it's needed most--BY MUNA MIRE | DECEMBER 24, 2012

Idle No More: Women rising to lead when it's needed most
Change the conversation, support today.
Chief Theresa Spence is now on Day 13 of her hunger strike. Too weak to leave the teepee she is living in on Victoria Island, a mere stone's throw from Parliament, she called for a round dance yesterday at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Prime Minister Harper's residence.  
Throughout the duration of her hunger strike, Harper has maintained a chilly silence around the grassroots Indigenous movement now widely known as Idle No More, taking to Twitter instead to share his jokes about bacon with the Canadian electorate. What started as a string of emails between four Saskatchewan women back in November in protest of Bill C-45 eventually became a hashtag on social media, snowballing over time into a global movement for Indigenous rights. 
Chief Spence is starving herself for her home community of Attawapiskat where there is a dire housing crisis, but more broadly for all Indigenous peoples in Canada, many of whom have rallied around her. Spence is asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister, Governor General and other leaders, and will fast until she gets it. 
Spence began her fast just as the grassroots movement began to gather steam, and has said that she is "not afraid to die" for her people, taking their lead on non-violent direct action. In turn, Indigenous people have taken their lead from her. Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike have started hunger strikes in solidarity. Across Canada and throughout the world, peaceful demonstrations have disrupted the normal order of things this winter. 
On Friday, the winter solstice saw unprecedented protest action. Supporters of the movement staged solidarity demonstrations from as far away as London, England, Los Angeles and Egypt. In Canada, major thoroughfares were shut down and flash mobs took over malls and public spaces as protestors performed traditional round dances in support of the movement. 
In Edmonton, protestors blocked downtown streets as they marched from Walterdale Bridge over to Canada Place, holding round dances in the middle of Jasper Avenue and in Churchill Square. Organizers at the rally in Churchill Square lauded protestors for showing up to march despite -20 C temperatures, noting that "this was nothing compared to what the ancestors went through." 

"That's what this is about. Our treaties and the lack of recognition that Canada and the Harper government is giving to our treaties. Our treaties are strong, they have international recognition and we have to remember that. They aren't just written documents, they are a living spirit. We have to stand strong, this is the time for us to set our agenda, for us to stand proud. For us to say no. Enough is enough. We will not let this government unilaterally impose legislation on us, especially when it affects our lands, our waters and all the living things that give us life and that we use to sustain ourselves as Indigenous people," said one of the organizers of yesterday's rally, Janice Makokis, a lawyer from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation.
"We're here to also support Chief Theresa Spence as she has gone on a hunger strike, this is her eleventh day. And she's not only doing that for her community, she's doing that for us. As a woman, and as women who started this movement, we must continue to recognize women and stand proud with them," she added. 
The role played by women leaders and organizers of the movement was underscored many times during the rally. Speakers called on women to continue leading the movement they started in the name of Indigenous self determination and climate justice.
"There is an old prophecy that said when the world needed it most, the women would rise to lead us. I see that happening right now. This is a woman initiated movement and you can feel the difference in it," says Aaron Paquette, a First Nations artist and writer, who has been involved with the movement since its inception. Paquette is responsible for much of the art that has come to graphically represent the movement, especially through social media.
Art has also played an important role in the movement, inspiring people to join a growing collective of protestors and allowing those protestors to imagine a different future for Indigenous peoples in Canada.
"I feel that being an artist as an Indigenous person is different from the common understanding. While I create for the joy of it, I also feel a responsibility to use my art to benefit my community, to speak to them, to share, so that we can grow together," says Paquette. 
Paquette sees the timing of the movement as representative of its character. For him, the solstice day of action was reflective of what Indigenous people have been through, in Canada and across the globe. 
"This is an organic movement. There was no grand strategy, it just happened. It has come now because it's necessary. Symbolically, the winter solstice marks the end of a long night and the welcoming of light [and] renewal. There is a long road ahead before the spring. The days will get colder, the struggle will not be easy. But the sun gets stronger and so do we," Paquette said. 
Paquette's vision for the future of the movement includes solidarity from settlers on Turtle Island. Many non-Indigenous people have already joined the movement, which is growing by the day. 
"Our nations are rising. We are extending our hand to everyone to join us. Enter the hoop and be welcome. Finally do something that makes you happy instead of afraid, that empowers you instead of making you feel impotent, that feels right and makes you proud to be human," Paquette offers. 
Paquette imagines the future of the movement as one of joyful resistance leading to genuine change at the community level. He believes the time has come to transform the way we think about climate justice and the environment. 
"Ultimately, I would like to see Idle No More fundamentally transform the way we look at Mother Earth and our role in our communities. I would like to see the maturing of the human race. I would like to see all the people discard their anger and their fear and be happy."
Organizers at yesterday's rally announced that Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief Steve Courtoreille told Parliament earlier that same day his nation would be launching a legal challenge to Bill C-45. He invited other First Nations leaders to join him in doing so. The Prime Minister's silence has not deterred Spence, Paquette and other movement leaders, who are determined to see their goals met. 
"Sounds like a long shot, but we're used to that. We don't think in quarterly statements and yearly projections. We think in terms of generations," Paquette said.

Muna Mire recently completed an internship with rabble's podcast network and is a student in her final year at the University of Toronto where she is currently completing an Honours B.A. in English, Political Science and Sociology.

No Fear-Native American Spirituality and Thoughts-A Tribute

You are never alone.
If you feel this way
It is only that you
Have closed the door today

Your own special ones
Are always quite near
To guide you and keep you
So walke without fear

There are other on call
Those you knew when
They were in physical form
Ask them to visit now and then

Even more important
Then those noted above
Is the Circle of Life
With all of it's Love

Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon
Spirit Keepers, Mother Earth
Andd all of the brothers
To whom she gives birth

Cyrstals, soil, plain rocks,
All of our plant friends
For leggeds, wigged ones,
Insects without end

No leddeds, water dwellers;
Water, clouds, stars too,
All are of One Spirit
And all are one with you

All talk to you too;
But do you hear?
You can if you just
Open your inner ear

Many spirit firends
Who are often nearby
Can be clearly seen when
You open your inner eye

Even in the city
You can walk with Spirit
Noise and bustle
Are really no deterrent

See in lawn grass
Patterns of life and
Light shimmer on a leaf
What a beautiful sight grand

Feel a bud open
And then grow old
Grandmother Moon's still
And wonder to behold

Become one with a squirrel
And with birds on the fly
Stand still, look up
Float with coulds in the sky

When your main attention
Is on the lesson today
Or solving a problem
Or all those bills to pay

Let a part of yourself
Be free to roam
The Circle of Spirit of Live and Love
It will be impossible to feel alone

Authors Notes: A gift for all from Spirit ~ Star Spider Dancing

Explanation of Native American Spirituality

"The Indian loved to worship. From birth to death, he revered his surroundings. He considered himself born in the luxurious lap of Mother Earth, and no place was to him humble. There was nothing between him and the Big Holy (Wakan Tanka). The contact was immediate and personal, and the blessings of Wakan Tanka flowed over the Indian like rain showered from the sky. Wakan Tanka was not aloof, apart, and ever seeking to quell evil forces. He did not punish the animals and the birds, and likewise, he did not punish man. He was not a punishing god. For there was never a question as to the supremacy of an evil power over and above the power of Good. There was but one ruling power, and that was Good."

-Chief Luther Standing Bear -
Teton Sioux, Born 1868