Wednesday, December 31, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 31|
|"They must give themselves to Wakan' Tanka and live a spiritual life. They will have the peace that frees them from fear."|
|--Frank Fools Crow, LAKOTA|
|There are two wills available for us: self will and God's will. Our choice is: figure it out ourselves, or have the Creator involved in our lives. If we are honest with ourselves and look at past experiences, what are our lives like when we try to figure it out ourselves? Is there fear, confusion, frustration, anger, attacking others, conflict, fault finding, manipulation, teasing others, belittling others or devaluation? If these things are present, they indicate that we are choosing self will. What is it like if we turn our will over to the Creator? What are the results if we ask the Great Spirit to guide our life? Examples are: freedom, choices, consequences, love, forgiveness, helping others, happiness, joy, solutions, and peace. Which will I choose today, self will or God's will?|
Creator, I know what my choice is. I want You to direct my life. I want You to direct my thinking. You are the Grandfather. You know what I need even before I do. Today I ask You to tell me what I can do for You today. Tell me in a way I can understand and I will be happy to do it.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Any way you look at it, marijuana will be big in news in 2015. After all, 2014 was a good year for proponents of legalization with victories at the ballot box in several states and in Congress. The year was so good for marijuana that Delaware will finally open a long-awaited medical marijuana dispensary. In addition, the Delaware General Assembly is expected to at least decriminalize marijuana possession in the state. Possession of marijuana may finally be almost a non-criminal act in 2015.
However, 2014 ended with an ominous legal action that could not only set back the legalization movement, but could create feuds between the states that could spread to other topics and put a greater emphasis on the difference between red and blue states.
Nebraska and Oklahoma have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to force the federal government to enforce U.S. laws. The sale and possession of marijuana is still illegal in the United States no matter what Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon say. Nebraska and Oklahoma allege that Colorado’s 2012 legalization of marijuana sales has created a cross-border drug problem for them. Colorado, the lawsuit claims, is allowing Nebraska and Oklahoma residents buy marijuana in bulk there and then resell it in the neighboring states. Under the U.S. Constitution, states can go directly to the Supreme Court to settle arguments against with each other. So, if the court takes the case, we may see the Supreme Court having a say in whether you can smoke pot or not.
Such a ruling could derail the pro-legalization movement. States with ballot measures are the target of pro-pot campaigns. Proponents target 2017 as the year marijuana becomes legal throughout the country. A Republican Congress is unlikely to do it, so the campaign is going state by state. It is raising a lot of money along the way.
Colorado’s relatively smooth to a recreational marijuana market has encouraged forces in other states to do likewise. It does not hurt that ailing legislatures are hungrily watching the pot taxes roll in. Minor inconveniences, such as pot dealers having enormous cash amounts on hand do not seem to bother people. The trouble comes from misaligned federal and state laws. The cash problem comes because banks are not allowed to handle drug money. Marijuana possession can be illegal in one state and legal in another, such the problem between pro-pot Colorado and anti-pot Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Decriminalization is a lot different from outright legalization. Under the 2014 proposed law in Delaware, individuals could possess a small amount of marijuana and smoke or eat it in private. Public use would have been limited to a fine. Legalization means marijuana stores can openly grow, sell and buy marijuana. Medical marijuana was just approved as one of the last acts of Congress. However, recreational pot is still against federal law.
This is obviously a potential problem. Just ask the Supreme Court.
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 30|
|"Always remember that the Great Mystery is good; evil can come only from ourselves!"|
|--Grandmother of Charles Eastman. SANTEE SIOUX|
|The Great Mystery is love, good, and principle. He is a guiding Father. He doesn't play games. He knows only how to love. Sometimes, when things go wrong, we blame Him or others. Usually, if we are honest, we can see how decisions or things done in the past put us in a position to be hurt. It comes back to us. When this happens, it is not something the Creator caused, but something we, ourselves caused. Most of our problems are of our own making. When this happens, we should correct what we've done, ask the Great Spirit for forgiveness, and pray for guidance in the future.|
My Creator, bless me with Your good.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Ultralight Horse Packing
Take leave-no-trace camping trips easily with these ultralight horse packing techniques.
By Lee Farren
If you wish you could just saddle up Old Paint and trot off into the wilderness for a few days, but come up short because you don’t have an extra horse to handle all your gear, you’ll love ultralight horse packing.
Ultralight combines the new generation of lightweight backpacking equipment with leave-no-trace camping and traditional horsekeeping. The result gets you into the backcountry and keeps you there, with only one saddle horse per person. No extra stock, pack frames, puzzling knots or awkward bags of feed. Just you, your friends and your horses.
For the past nine years, Karen Bragg and her family have ridden into Oregon’s Three Sisters Wilderness for days at a time with only the supplies and gear they can carry on their saddles. Karen, the president of Oregon Equestrian Trails, has trained as a Leave-No-Trace Master Educator specializing in pack stock at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyo.
The Braggs’ average trip is six days with three to six riders. Since their first ride they have fine-tuned their equipment list to come up with the ultimate essentials. Here’s what it takes to go ultralight.
Choosing Your Trail
The key to planning an ultralight trip is grass and water. When your horses can graze, you won’t need bags of alfalfa pellets or other feed. You can find good grazing by asking people who’ve been to the area you intend to ride or by
Stop at stream crossings during the day to offer your horses a drink. Try to make camp within a half-mile of a good stream or lake and take your horses to water in the evening and morning. Leave-no-trace guidelines recommend keeping stock and gear at least 200 feet from lakes, streams, trails and other camps. Karen avoids turning her horses out in wet areas, which are easily damaged by animals that weigh over a half ton and can sink up to their fetlocks in mud.
“You’re trying to leave no trace,” she says, “and a horse on marshy ground is going to leave post holes. The whole idea [to this type of camping] is that no one will know you’ve been there.”
You can pack everything you need into saddlebags, an oversized cantle bag and roomy horn bags. The Braggs fill their cantle bags with a sleeping bag, an air mattress or sleeping pad, a sturdy tarp, a lightweight two-person tent and a change of clothes. After Karen stuffs all this into the cantle bag, she cinches it down with a couple of straps, squeezing the air out until it fits comfortably behind her saddle.
One rider’s saddlebags carry the kitchen—pots and pans, utensils and the stove. The other riders fill their saddlebags with food. Horn bags are for personal gear like toothpaste, hairbrush, sunscreen and cameras. Each rider carries a bathroom kit—a reclosable plastic bag with toilet paper, a small folding shovel and other necessities—and follows leave-no-trace techniques to dispose of human waste. Karen packs a basic first-aid kit for people and horses, and makes her own fly wipes by putting a piece of terrycloth in a reclosable plastic bag and pouring fly spray over it.
How you attach the various bags depends on what type of saddle you use. Western saddles, which have more connection points, can be easier to load than English saddles, but Karen’s daughter rides English and carries her full share of gear. Saddlebags and horn bags need to be balanced, both for the horse’s comfort and to keep them from slipping. Weigh each side at home to see how you’re doing.
The gear you’ll need falls into two categories—camping and horse equipment.
Any good outdoor store, and a number of print and online catalogs, offer a fine selection of lightweight camping gear. Karen Bragg warns against extremely lightweight pots and pans, which can make balancing the weight in saddlebags difficult. You’ll find, though, that most backpacking gear is suitable for horse packing.
Look for camping gear in the Campmor and REI catalogs, and other outdoor sports suppliers.
(800) 226-7667; www.campmor.com
REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.)
(800) 426-4840; www.rei.com
Country Supply offers a “campsite in a cantle bag” from Sportz Pac that includes a two-person tent, two sleeping bags, two campstools and a carrying/cantle bag. In their catalog you’ll also find a highline kit and an assortment of saddlebags and horn bags.
(800) 637-6721; www.countrysupply.com
Outfitters Supply offers the TrailMax system for “overnighting with saddle horses only,” as well as many additional trail ride and packing items, including neoprene hobbles and collapsible water buckets.
Karen expects her horses to tote one rider and a maximum load of about 45 pounds. The cantle bags weigh about 20 pounds and the saddlebags 15, for a total of 35 pounds behind the saddle. Horn bags carry up to 3 pounds.
A typical menu for the Braggs includes oatmeal or pancakes and ham for breakfast, tuna sandwiches for lunch on the trail, and packaged noodle or rice meals for dinner.
Karen’s secret for packing food is repackaging. She opens boxes, cuts out the preparation instructions, and repackages the contents and instructions into reclosable plastic bags. She buys tuna or preseasoned cooked hamburger in pouches, uses powdered milk and replaces butter, which could spoil on the trail, with salad oil.
“We eat pretty good,” Karen says. “It wouldn’t be something you’d do at home, but at 6,000 feet it’s kind of amazing to cook like that.”
You can freeze your first dinner the night before you set out. By the time you make camp the following day the meal will be thawed and ready to warm up over the stove.
You’ll need a water filtering or purifying system, available from most outdoor equipment stores or catalogs, to treat drinking water from streams or lakes.
The Braggs use highlines to secure their horses at night. They carry the highline equipment—50 feet of mountain-climbing rope, tree-saver straps and knot-eliminator hardware—in a cantle bag on a western saddle. Horses that tend to paw while tied are hobbled by both front feet to stop them from digging holes in the highline area.
For grazing hobbles, Karen uses a halter, a single neoprene cuff hobble, and a 12- inch trailer tie with a quick-release or “panic” snap on one end and a bull snap on the other. The quick release is fastened to the hobble, the bull snap to the halter, below the chin. Once hobbled, the horse cannot lift his head or run, but can walk easily, even across rough ground.
“You’re talking about horses that have worked pretty much all day long, or stood on a highline all night,” Karen says. “You put them on grass with this hobble, and they don’t want to pick their heads up.”
Where there are horses, there is horse manure. The leave-no-trace guidelines specify dumping animal waste at least 200 feet from water, trails or campsites. Karen says that spreading it out is even better.
“One pile of manure will sit there for months,” she says. “If you kick it around, the little road apples will dry and dissolve and be gone in a week or two.”
For the same reason, don’t let your horse stop on the trail to make a deposit. Keep him moving, and the manure will naturally scatter behind him, speeding up decomposition and causing less bother for other trail users.
After they break camp, the Braggs scatter the manure in the grazing and highline areas and fill in any holes the horses may have left. They drag a dead branch over the area, followed by handfuls of pine needles, to erase the signs of their presence.
“We walk away and look back,” Karen says, “and you’d swear nobody had been there.”
Backcountry Horse Training
Your horse needs to be in good physical condition for this kind of trail riding. He should be able to walk cross-country, go up and down steep slopes, and cross logs and streams. He should be comfortable carrying saddlebags that may rattle or snag on trees. He should stand quietly while tied, and you should be able to pull a jacket on without dismounting.
Backcountry horses need to be well trained for rider safety but also, Karen emphasizes, in order to protect the environment. A horse that paws while tied to a tree compacts the soil, which not only leaves an unsightly ring but can damage or kill the tree. A horse that fights his rider at a stream crossing is not only dangerous but tramples the bank and pushes sediment into the water.
Practice with your horse at home. Teach him to tie and stand patiently. Rig your highline and tie him the way you will in camp. Longe him with saddlebags filled with rattling empty pop cans. Make a point of crossing water, logs and other obstacles during your regular rides.
Try to schedule a farrier visit a week or two before your trip. New shoes that are going to come off usually do so within a few days of shoeing. You don’t want to take your horse into the wilderness at the tail end of the shoeing cycle either, when clinches are working loose and hooves are growing long. Carry an Easy Boot or similar protective horse boot, so you’ll have a replacement if he does lose one.
“You are going beyond a day’s ride from the trail head,” Karen says. “That’s the point, after all. You do not want to get yourself or your horse hurt when you are so far away from help.”
To get the most out of ultralight horse packing, start with short trips, refine your gear and packing techniques, and then move on to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Lee Farren didn't own a horse until she bought one for her 9-year-old daughter. After paying out a truly astonishing amount of money for feed, stall rent, riding lessons, 4H activities, show fees, vet and farrier bills, et cetera, and after spending many hours at the rail observing riding lessons, it dawned on Lee that shecould learn to ride, too. Now the daughter is in college and the horse, a mare named Echo, is grazing in the pasture. Lee trail rides in the mountains of Northeast Oregon.
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 29|
|"What you see with your eyes shut is what counts."|
|--Lame Deer, LAKOTA|
|Another whole world opens up when we close our eyes and calm our mind. Be still and know; be still and hear; be still and see; be still and feel. Inside every person is a still, small voice. Sometimes it is necessary to close our eyes to shut down our perception in order to see. Try this occasionally when you are talking to your child or spouse, close your eyes and listen to them. Listen to the tone of their voice; listen to their excitement; listen to their pain-listen.|
Great Spirit, today, let me hear only what really counts.
Seven Tips to Help Save Horseback Riding Trails
Don't let another acre slip away. Be proactive and help protect equestrian trails.
By Leslie Potter | August 2011 Extra
Public and private trails that were once open to equestrians are disappearing every day. What can an average trail rider do about it? Plenty. Here are some tips to get started.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 28|
|"I believe that being a medicine man, more than anything else, is a state of mind, a way of looking at and understanding this earth, a sense of what it is all about."|
|--Lame Deer, LAKOTA|
|The Medicine Wheel explains different ways of looking at the world. The four directions are the East, the South, the West, and the North. In the East is the view of the eagle. The eagle flies high and sees the earth from that point of view. The South is the direction of the mouse. Moving on the earth, the mouse will not see what the eagle sees. Both the eagle and the mouse see the truth. The West is the direction of the bear. The bear will see different from the mouse and the eagle. From the North comes the point of view of the bison. To be a Medicine Man you must journey through all points of view and develop the mind to see the interconnectedness of all four directions. This takes time, patience, and an open mind. Eventually, you understand there is only love.|
Great Spirit, today, allow my mind to stay open.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
As the last few days of the year are here; and, as you begin to consider New Year’s resolutions, I ask you to consider using words of gratitude to shift your life into the direction of your beautiful possibilities.
In the list that follows, for the first four suggestions, you need never say words of gratitude aloud, if you do not want to. For it is true, when we have healthy, nurturing and supportive feelings; our thoughts are a powerful way of guiding the beautiful expression of our spirit into our everyday lifestyle.
1) Just before drifting off to sleep, let your mind focus on these words, ‘Creator, thank- you for the miracle of my life’.
2) As you awaken in the morning, simply say these words, ‘Creator, thank-you for the safe passage through the night.’
3) As you drink a glass of water or consume food, simply say these words, ‘I am grateful for your life-giving force.’
4) Whenever you encounter a hug or a smile, allow the words, ‘thank-you’ to form in your mind.
5) And finally, when someone pays you a compliment, say ‘thank-you’ aloud, and let the compliment resonate in your mind so that it nourishes your spirit. Let your self realize that someone bestowed a blessing to you in words and your words of gratitude is your blessing back to them.
Words of gratitude are powerful beyond measure and expressing thankfulness is like the uttering of a prayer; and, has the potential to completely alter your life. Fairly soon you will begin to notice your gratitude turns into prayers of love for others, as well as yourself. At first you may have just begin with acknowledging but a few of your blessings, be warned, focusing on thankfulness does increase overtime, to the point where you begin living in gratitude.
And yet, It is a matter of personal choice, either you take a few minutes each day to express gratitude; or not, regardless, your life will be impacted.
May the Good Grandmothers, Good Grandfathers of the Four Sacred Directions and Creator of All Good Things lead you towards acknowledgement of your blessings and aid you in the understanding that you, my dearest ones, are the most incredible blessing of all. For the gift of you in the world, I express my gratitude.
All my Relations,
Emily Jane Henry, (ejh)
Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 27|
|"When temptation comes, I don't say, `Yes," and I don't say, `No.' I say, `Later,' I just keep walking the Red Road - down the middle. When you're in the middle, you don't go to either extreme. You allow both sides to exist."|
|--Dr. A. C. Ross (Ehanamani), LAKOTA|
|We need to practice controlling our focus. Whatever we focus on we become. We also become whatever we practice. We need to focus on balance. Whenever something comes along to tilt us off balance, we need to be grateful, because it allows the opportunity to practice our focus. Sometimes this is called temptation. Temptation in itself is not bad. What really counts is what we do with it when it happens. We need to practice controlling our focus and keeping our thinking focused on the Red Road.|
Great Spirit, today, guide me through my temptations and allow me to focus on the Red Road.
Friday, December 26, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 26|
|"The way of knowledge is like our old way of hunting. You begin with a mere trail - a footprint. If you follow that faithfully, it may lead you to a clearer train - a track - a road. Later on there will be many tracks, crossing and diverging one from the other. Then you must be careful, for success lies in the choice of the right road."|
|--Many Lightenings Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX|
|An entire apple tree is initially contained in the seed. Visions are initially contained in the idea. If you trace the path of a blooming flower backwards, it goes from the blooming flower back to a bud, back to a stem, back to a seed. So it is in the way of knowledge. Often we will experience a hunch or a feeling that we are supposed to do something. At first it may not make any sense. This is the seed stage. Once we start to investigate, more gets revealed. As more is revealed, the more knowledge we get. This is the way the Great Spirit guides us.|
Great Spirit, help me to choose the right choices.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 25|
|"When you see a new trail, or a footprint that you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing."|
|--Grandmother of Charles Eastman, SANTEE SIOUX|
|We never gain new knowledge or new experience unless we are willing to take risks. It's good to be curious. Also, it pays to be cautious. Walk in balance. The path of the Warrior is filled with opportunities to seek new knowledge. As we travel down the Red Road, we will run into trails of opportunity. Down each of these trails are experiences from which we will learn. Experience plus action is the beginning of knowledge."|
Great Spirit, help me to make good choices in choosing only the trails You would have me take.
My relatives, my friends; my wish for you is that every encounter you have with others be a source of meaningful teachings that leads you to self-empowerment and inspiration.
May the opportunities and discoveries that you will find in the coming year become a source of peaceful energy guiding you to profound heights that result in the realization of your dreams.
May you walk in peace and filled with the awareness that you are worthy and lovable. May this knowledge direct and guide your life purpose. As you journey throughout the New Year, may your spirit feel honoured and in your turn may you honour the spirit of others. For it is true, we are all connected as spiritual beings on a physical journey. May awareness of this sacred spiritual connectedness be felt in every encounter you have.
May the people that cross your path do so with awareness that they are teachers and as a result they may provide you with gentle and inspirational teachings and may you have the same affect in their lives. In the upcoming year, may the challenges you encounter be few and the lessons you do learn add value in your life, so that your thoughts, feelings, beliefs or behaviours support and honour your personal growth.
May each of your days in the upcoming year be filled with living life to your highest potential and may you be open to the joyful discoveries that this year has in store for you. May you become fully aware of and embrace the beautiful abundance arriving in your life this coming year, so that all that you intend to manifest into your life become a part of your reality. May each day of the New Year cause you to walk in gratitude.
I humbly request that the Good Grandmothers, Good Grandfathers of the Four Sacred Directions and the Creator of All Good Things richly bless you and your family. I wish you beautiful abundance, love, and joy as you celebrate this holiday season and throughout the upcoming year.
All my Relations,
Emily Jane Henry, (ejh)
Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
|Elder's Meditation of the Day December 24|
|"Believing people can soar beyond ordinary life."|
|--Fools Crow, LAKOTA|
|We are created by God to be vision people. First we set the goal and then we see. If we create within ourselves a picture or vision and we hold that picture or vision in our mind, whatever we picture will show up in our reality. If we can see ourselves being educated, then schools and teachers will show up in our lives. If we picture in our mind a positive, spiritual person to be in our lives, we will attract this type of person in our relationships. How big can our dreams be?|
Great Spirit, let my visions today be Your vision. Put within me a vision of the being you would have me be. Then help me to keep the vision in my mind.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Our Native Ancestors are alive and here in each and every Native American and mixed blood Native American right now. In our veins is literally the DNA of a People who knew who they were, where they came from and where they were going. A People with unique, rich personalities, who were passionate, creative and productive. A People who loved, laughed, and struggled. A People who had great visions of the future for their children. A People who knew, that because of the Great Spirit's passion for creation, the succeeding generations had it in them to carry forward the glory of their forefathers.
Today is National Roots Day! Celebrate your heritage!
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is providing a way to re-shape American’s understanding of Native peoples. It is steadfastly committed to bringing all Americans in touch with their actual history and serves as an honest thoughtful conduit to Native cultures — present and past — in all their richness, depth, and diversity. It is a distinct and multifaceted cultural and educational enterprise and a resource for the hemisphere's Native communities.
Share your story with us! http://bit.ly/1CvT7Zh
Image: John Nicholas Choate (J.N. Choate), Non-Indian, ca. 1850-1902 - Collage of the faces of noted Indian chiefs who have visited the Carlisle Indian Training School: 1. Spotted Tail; 2. Iron Wing; 3. Chief Washi-ta-tonga or American Horse; 4. Red Shirt; 5. White Eagle; 6. Standing Buffalo; 7. Poor Wolf; 8. Son Of The Star; 9. White Man; 10. Stumbling Bear; 11. Tso-de-ar-ko; 12. Big Horse; 13. Bob Tail; 14. Man On The Cloud; 15. Mad Wolf; 16. Little Raven; 17. Yellow Bear; 18. Left Hand; 19. Ouray. 1881. P06925