Friday, February 14, 2014

Same-Sex Marriages: Unrecognized in Navajo Culture, but for How Long?

Same-Sex Marriages: Unrecognized in Navajo Culture, but for How Long?

The Navajo language does not contain a term to describe gay relationships. That’s according to Deswood Tome, a special adviser to Navajo President Ben Shelly.
“In our cultural teaching and language, there is no recognition of a woman and a woman or a man and a man marrying each other,” he said. “You can’t even say that in the Navajo language.”
Tome offers this not as an excuse for the Nation’s ban on same-sex marriages, but as a starting point for a discussion on reversing a 2005 Navajo law that prohibited plural marriages, unions between close relatives and marriages between “persons of the same sex.” The Dine Marriage Act of 2005, passed as then-President George W. Bush championed on the national scale to ban same-sex marriages, has become a sore point for gay couples and gay rights activists on the Navajo Nation.
Prior to 2005, the tribe did not restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, Tome said. The act, which passed unanimously through the Navajo Nation Council in April of 2005, was the first to define marriage.
“It went before the Council at a time when nationally there was a lot of discussion around gay marriage,” Tome said. “The Council felt compelled to ensure that marriage remains as it is known in our Navajo language and teaching, that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Sixty-seven delegates originally voted in favor of the act, which immediately voided same-sex marriages and stated that the purposes of marriage are “to promote strong families and to preserve and strengthen family values.”
The tribe’s stance on gay marriages, however, has forced it into the national limelight in recent months. In December, two of the three states comprising portions of the reservation took bold stands in favor of gay rights.
New Mexico’s Supreme Court on December 19 legalized same-sex marriages. On the following day, a district court judge in Utah – one of the most conservative states in the country – ruled that the state’s ban of same-sex marriages violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protections for all people.

Alray Nelson, an openly gay Navajo man, is using the national spotlight to push for gay rights on the Navajo Nation. Nelson, the 28-year-old founder of the Navajo Equality Coalition, wants to see a shift in the way his tribe views gay unions.
“Hatred is foreign to us as a people,” he said. “It hurts me to know that our leaders in Window Rock are telling people it’s OK to get married off the reservation, but don’t come home because we’re not going to recognize your rights here.”
Nelson, who has been in a relationship for three years with his Navajo boyfriend, Brennen Yonnie, said the couple will not consider marriage until the tribe guarantees protections. Without the tribe’s support, Nelson said, he and Yonnie will not qualify for home-site leases, property rights or the opportunity to adopt a Native child.
“That’s the root of where everything’s at,” he said. “If we can’t secure and maintain our rights, that’s discrimination.”
Nelson grew up in Beshbetoh, Arizona, where his grandparents taught him to respect people’s differences, he said. When bullies targeted him because of his sexual orientation in middle school and high school, he decided to take a stand against discrimination. Now he’s at the forefront of a grassroots movement to repeal the 2005 law.
“Our argument is that it discriminates against families and couples,” he said. “Marriage provides certain rights to couples, but gay couples are being denied rights.”
Nelson plans to take all avenues available to him to get the law changed: drafting legislation; taking the matter before the Navajo Supreme Court; and pushing for a referendum vote, which would put the decision in front of the voting public.
“When the Navajo Nation defeats the marriage equality act, and we will, other nations can follow our example,” he said. “If we move forward and repeal the act, that will send shock waves across Indian country and the U.S., letting them know the Navajo Nation is on the right side of history.”

Despite the global spotlight and a growing group of vocal activists, gay marriage is not a priority for the tribe, Tome said.
“I don’t see at any time the Council addressing this matter, unless there’s a lot of awareness raised and it just is something vitally important,” he said. “There are so many other matters of importance that the Nation is pursuing at this time.”
Inaction among lawmakers does not mean indifference, however, Tome said. Should Council members vote to change the law, President Shelly would sign it.
“The president regards gay people as the five-fingered people,” he said. “The president regards Navajo gay people as a part of us. We’re no different; we’re all the same.”
That sentiment is shared by Jock Soto, a Navajo ballet dancer and teacher whose 2011 marriage to Luis Fuentes was covered by the New York Times. Soto, who spent part of his childhood in Chinle, Arizona, left home at age 13 to pursue a career in ballet.

While living on the reservation, Soto said he was respected by his family and peers, even though he knew he was gay from a very young age. He began dating men at age 15.
“I’m totally for gay marriage,” he said. “I believe if you love someone, you should be allowed to marry them. I believe two people are stronger than one.”
For Soto, who married at age 46, marriage equality is more about security than politics.
“If you fully believe in it, you should do it,” he said. “I feel secure in this marriage. I’m not worried about looking for someone anymore. Even when you wake up in the morning and you realize you only have $20 in your pocket, you know you’re going to get through it together.”



The 'two-spirit' people of indigenous North Americans

A two spirit Native American
We-Wa, a Zuni two-spirit, weaving
Native Americans have often held intersex, androgynous people, feminine males and masculine females in high respect. The most common term to define such persons today is to refer to them as "two-spirit" people, but in the past feminine males were sometimes referred to as "berdache" by early French explorers in North America, who adapted a Persian word "bardaj", meaning an intimate male friend. Because these androgynous males were commonly married to a masculine man, or had sex with men, and the masculine females had feminine women as wives, the term berdache had a clear homosexual connotation. Both the Spanish settlers in Latin America and the English colonists in North America condemned them as "sodomites".
Rather than emphasising the homosexuality of these persons, however, many Native Americans focused on their spiritual gifts. American Indian traditionalists, even today, tend to see a person's basic character as a reflection of their spirit. Since everything that exists is thought to come from the spirit world, androgynous or transgender persons are seen as doubly blessed, having both the spirit of a man and the spirit of a woman. Thus, they are honoured for having two spirits, and are seen as more spiritually gifted than the typical masculine male or feminine female.
Therefore, many Native American religions, rather than stigmatising such persons, often looked to them as religious leaders and teachers. Quite similar religious traditions existed among the native peoples of Siberia and many parts of Central and southeast Asia. Since the ancestors of Native Americans migrated from Siberia over 20,000 years ago, and since reports of highly respected androgynous persons have been noted among indigenous Americans from Alaska to Chile, androgyny seems to be quite ancient among humans.
Rather than the physical body, Native Americans emphasised a person's "spirit", or character, as being most important. Instead of seeing two-spirit persons as transsexuals who try to make themselves into "the opposite sex", it is more accurate to understand them as individuals who take on a gender status that is different from both men and women. This alternative gender status offers a range of possibilities, from slightly effeminate males or masculine females, to androgynous or transgender persons, to those who completely cross-dress and act as the other gender. The emphasis of Native Americans is not to force every person into one box, but to allow for the reality of diversity in gender and sexual identities.
Most of the evidence for respectful two-spirit traditions is focused on the native peoples of the Plains, the Great Lakes, the Southwest, and California. With over a thousand vastly different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, it is important not to overgeneralise for the indigenous peoples of North America. Some documentary sources suggest that a minority of societies treated two-spirit persons disrespectfully, by kidding them or discouraging children from taking on a two-spirit role. However, many of the documents that report negative reactions are themselves suspect, and should be evaluated critically in light of the preponderance of evidence that suggests a respectful attitude. Some European commentators, from early frontier explorers to modern anthropologists, also were influenced by their own homophobic prejudices to distort native attitudes.
Two-spirit people were respected by native societies not only due to religious attitudes, but also because of practical concerns. Because their gender roles involved a mixture of both masculine and feminine traits, two-spirit persons could do both the work of men and of women. They were often considered to be hard workers and artistically gifted, of great value to their extended families and community. Among some groups, such as the Navajo, a family was believed to be economically benefited by having a "nadleh" (literally translated as "one who is transformed") androgynous person as a relative. Two-spirit persons assisted their siblings' children and took care of elderly relatives, and often served as adoptive parents for homeless children.
A feminine male who preferred to do women's work (gathering wild plants or farming domestic plants) was logically expected to marry a masculine male, who did men's work (hunting and warfare). Because a family needed both plant foods and meat, a masculine female hunter, in turn, usually married a feminine female, to provide these complementary gender roles for economic survival. The gender-conforming spouse of two-spirit people did not see themselves as "homosexual" or as anything other than "normal".
In the 20th-century, as homophobic European Christian influences increased among many Native Americans, respect for same-sex love and for androgynous persons greatly declined. Two-spirit people were often forced, either by government officials, Christian missionaries or their own community, to conform to standard gender roles. Some, who could not conform, either went underground or committed suicide. With the imposition of Euro-American marriage laws, same-sex marriages between two-spirit people and their spouses were no longer legally recognised. But with the revitalisation of Native American "red power" cultural pride since the 60s, and the rise of gay and lesbian liberation movements at the same time, a new respect for androgyny started slowly re-emerging among American Indian people.
Because of this tradition of respect, in the 90s many gay and lesbian Native American activists in the United States and Canada rejected the French word berdache in favour of the term two-spirit people to describe themselves. Many non-American Indians have incorporated knowledge of Native American two-spirit traditions into their increasing acceptance of same-sex love, androgyny and transgender diversity. Native American same-sex marriages have been used as a model for legalising same-sex marriages, and the spiritual gifts of androgynous persons have started to become more recognised.
Walter L Williams is the author of The Spirit and the Flesh (Boston: Beacon Press) and is Professor of Anthropology, History and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. His most recent book, Two Spirits: A Story Of Life With The Navajo is out now

Good Mornin'


Alcohol Kills

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 14

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 14
"Sometimes, life is very simple, but it is we two-leggeds, we who are thought to be smart that make it complicated."
--Larry P. Aitkin, CHIPPEWA
Sometimes it may take years for us to find out what we are really after - it is to be happy. The Elders say, lead a simple life. This doesn't necessarily mean poor, it means simple. There are some things that makes life complicated such as needing control, needing power or being resentful or angry. These things make complications happen. We need to walk in balance in every area of our lives.
Great Spirit, let me lead a simple life.

Horses :]

Happy Valentines Day

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 13

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 13
"I wanted to feel, smell, hear and see, but not see with my eyes and my mind only. I wanted to see with CANTE ISTA - the eye of the heart."
--Lame Deer, LAKOTA
Why is it that some people seem to have peace of mind every day? How do some people remain so darn positive? How do you stay positive if you work or live in a negative environment? How is it that two people can observe the same difficult situation, but one person is upset about it, and other isn't? Two people experiencing the same situation react entirely different. If each morning we ask the Creator to allow us to see with His understanding and with His love, we will open a new way of "seeing". This eye of the heart is a free gift given to us if we ask for it in prayer each day.
Grandfather, allow me to see the world and all things You have made through "the eye of my heart."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 12

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 12
".the spirit still has something for us to discover - an herb, a sprig, a flower - a very small flower, maybe you can spend a long time in its contemplation, thinking about it."
--Lame Deer, LAKOTA
The world today is about hurry up! Get there faster! Work harder, produce more, hurry up, eat quickly, be on time, don't get stressed- headaches, conflict, drink to calm down, go to training on stress management, time management - STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! Go spend 5 minutes with a flower or a plant. Look at it - think about it - look at its beauty, smell it, close your eyes and smell it again. Touch it; touch with your eyes closed. Listen to it; listen to it with your eyed closed. Slow your mind down. Think about the little things. Now close your eyes and pray.
Great Spirit, this feeling of calmness that I have, let me have it all day long.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The fire of Hope...

The Holy Land is Everywhere



Elder's Meditation of the Day February 11

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 11
"Oh God! Like the Thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man's success - his education, his skills, and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society."
--Chief Dan George, SALISH
One thing the Indian people do well is adapt. This is why we survive. We must learn to keep our culture, but also to learn the good things that other races have to offer. Education is the future weapon of Native people. We must learn the legal system, health, science and engineering. Indian people have great contributions to make to the world. We need to educate ourselves so we can better protect the land and our children. Otherwise, we will lose the things and the land that we have.
Great Spirit, make me teachable today.

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 11
"Oh God! Like the Thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man's success- his education, his skills, and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society."
--Chief Dan George, SALISH
One thing the Indian people do well is adapt. This is why we survive. We must learn to keep our culture, but also to learn the good things that other races have to ...offer. Education is the future weapon of Native people. We must learn the legal system, health, science and engineering. Indian people have great contributions to make to the world. We need to educate ourselves so we can better protect the land and our children. Otherwise, we will lose the things and the land that we have.

Great Spirit, make me teachable today.
Msit Nókmaq/All My Relations,
It is too bad Tecumseh never knew what a Chamelion was. But in reality he felt the connection from the Great Spirit. The vision of a Nation one day being of all people and considered the Rainbow Nation. I do not believe he was refering to Jessie Jacksons rainbow or the Gay communities Rainbow but he was refering to ALL people as the RAINBOW. The Chamelion teaches us how to adapt just as many other creatures do. We should take time out to listen to our Elders and Respect them because they do have many good teachings. Arthur Medicine Eagle-Sonier MEGAMAW

Gitsch Manito-Creator,Wásóq-Spiritworld, Thank you for helping me to survive all these years and showing me the lessons from the Creature world. Welálin-ThankYou,MsitNókmaq,Chi-Miigwetch,MitaukeOyasin

Every step you take....

Monday, February 10, 2014

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 10

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 10
"The ground on which we stand is sacred ground. It is the dust and blood of our ancestors."
--Plenty Coups, CROW
Mother Earth is the source of life and the place all life returns to. She gives us life. She feeds us through our journey and she waits for us to return to her. The Indian way is to recognize the earth as the place of our ancestors. That is why certain places on earth are considered sacred areas and sacred land; this is the place of our ancestors. We all need to reflect upon the earth, the place where our ancestors lived. We need to have love and respect for the earth.
My Creator, let me honor the place of our ancestors, Mother Earth.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Why You Should be Eating Hemp Seeds Right Now


Photo by Hempfo
“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” – Laozi
Hemp seeds are best known for their omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Animal sources of omega-3 are salmon and sardines; vegetarian sources include walnuts, flaxseed and our dear hemp seed. Hemp seeds contain a precursor omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid, ALA) that the body converts into EPA and DHA.
“EPA and DHA are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function, blood clotting and cell growth as well as components of cell membranes,” says nutrition and wellness expert Dr. Weil. Omega-3 is only found in a few foods and since the body does not produce it, it is essential to consume these items for optimal health.
By contrast, omega-6 fatty acids are found in numerous items, most notably refined vegetable oils, including soy or corn oil, the foundation of most processed foods. While not unhealthy in small doses, the overwhelming amount of omega-6 in our diet throws the body out of balance and has the opposite effect of omega-3, increasing inflammation and putting the body at risk for other health issues.
While it may make sense to just avoid omega-6 altogether and simply strive for omega-3s, it is ideal to find the right balance of the two. Hemp seeds have a 3:1 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, which is believed to be the ideal. In addition to this already stellar profile, hemp contains Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This helpful fatty acid assists in maintaining bone health and regulating metabolism.
Ever questioned a vegetarian about where they get protein? The answer may be hemp seeds. Comprised of a whopping 20-25 percent protein per seed, just three tablespoons contain 10 highly digestible grams. Sprinkle hemp seeds over every meal and you’ll have the protein equivalent of a cup of black beans or a serving of chicken.
Finally, hemp contains 6 percent of your daily value of fiber and 20 percent of your iron in just two tablespoons. This powerful little seed packs a nutritional punch and tastes fantastic. Similar to a cashew in its smooth texture, hemp seeds are a fantastic addition to smoothies, oatmeal, cereals, pastas and even sandwiches. Pick some up for a ridiculously easy way to improve your health.

Lakota People

About Lakota Indians

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The Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Reservations in South Dakota are part of a larger territory established for the Lakota in 1868 by the United States government and later parceled out to non-Native homesteaders and broken up into smaller tribal reservations. Today, Pine Ridge Reservation is home to about 40,000 Native Americans and Cheyenne Reservation about 20,000. According to the US Census Bureau, the reservations lie within the poorest counties in the United States.
Can you imagine that in the United States of America:
  • There is a group of people who have the shortest life expectancy of any group in the Western Hemisphere, outside of Haiti?
  • Families, children and elders go without food on a regular basis?
  • Families are often without heat during sub-zero temperatures?
  • People are without employment opportunities or adequate medical facilities?
That is the plight of Lakota People living on reservations in South Dakota.
  • Life Expectancy is 48 years for men and 52 years for women.
  • Unemployment is estimated to be 87%
  • 90% live below the Federal poverty level.
  • The teenage suicide rate is 3 1/2 times higher than the national average.
  • Infant mortality is five times higher than the national average
  • Diabetes, heart disease, cancer and malnutrition are epidemic.

Fancy DancerDespite hardship and adversity, the Lakota maintain their cultural knowledge and traditions and preserve for their children and for the world, ancient wisdom that contributes to quality of life.
  • About 1/3 of the population still speak the Lakota language
  • Almost all maintain their traditional spiritual and cultural beliefs
  • They are leaders in knowledge of environmental preservation.
  • They are a sharing society - when one eats, they all eat - or they all do without.
  • Their exquisite beadwork, quillwork, quilting, sewing, painting is art at its best.
  • They wish to preserve their culture and find ways to be self-sufficient.

Winter Olympics

Founding Fathers


Crow Native American Animal SymbolRaven: Sep 22 - Oct 22 
Highly enthusiastic, and a natural entrepreneur, the Crow is quite a charmer. But he/she doesn't have to work at being charming - it comes easily. Everyone recognizes the Crow's easy energy, and everyone turns to the Crow for his/her ideas and opinions. This is because the Crow is both idealistic and diplomatic and is quite ingenious. In nurturing environments this Native American animal symbol is easy-going, can be romantic, and soft-spoken. Further, the crow can be quite patient, and intuitive in relationships. Left to his/her own devices, the Crow can be demanding, inconsistent, vindictive, and abrasive. Learn more aboutRaven symboism here

 September 22 - October 22
Earththe time of falling leaves
Animal Totemraven
Personalitytolerant, good-natured, charming, friendly
Positivesdiplomatic, romantic, idealistic
Sub-Desiresbeauty, harmony
Directionsouth west
Negativesgullible, indecisive, frivol, resentful
Needs to Work Oninspiration, impartiality, perseverance, determination
Windwest wind
totem: grizzly
Best  With Other...otter, deer
Try to avoidinconsequence, insecurity, hesitation
Elementair with earth
Best Timesbest day: Friday
best time of the day: between 3 and 5 pm

Native American Astrology - Birth Totem Crow

  • Birth and animal totem: Crow (September 23rd - October 22nd).
  • Moon: Ducks flying moon.
  • Season Aspect: Falling leaves time
  • Wind Relation: West winds.
  • Directional Relation: South-west.
  • Element Relation: Air.
  • Elemental clan: Butterfly clan.
  • Plant totem: Ivy.
  • Mineral totem: Azurite.
  • Polarity with: Falcon.
  • Color Aspect: Blue.
  • Musical vibration: A natural.
  • Personality: Tolerant and friendly.
  • Spiritual energy: Feminine energies.
  • Emotions: Sensitive.
  • Positive traits: Diplomatic, often romantic and overly optimistic.
  • Negative traits: Gullible, indecisive and often holds a grudge.
  • Compatibilities: Otter and deer.
  • Conscious Desire: Partnership.
  • Subconscious desire: Balance and harmony.
  • Spiritual Path: Peace and balance.
  • Strengths: Caution, making decisions and letting go.
  • Weakness: Taking sides, indecision and trusting to much.
  • Keywords - Peaceful, intelligent, charming, idealistic, romantic, tricky.
Birth totem crow is an individual whose outer personality is driven by the quest to bond with another. By design, the crow is a highly curious creature, imbued with a remarkable degree of intelligence. Despite such intelligence, this heightened curiosity will often lead Crow in the path of unforeseen danger. As he follows the glimmering call of a shiny penny, he is oblivious to the encroaching threat of an oncoming vehicle, so intent is he upon retrieving the fascinating object. Birth totem crow individuals can become so focused upon the goal of attaining partnership, that other areas of their daily life may tend to be ignored, eventually leading to some crisis of faith, health or practical consideration that will realign them, at least temporarily, to the bills needing to be paid or the vehicle in need of repair.
In Nature, the crow is part of a community of other crows, and thus, they are very social, preferring the company of their fellow winged ones (and even the company of two-leggeds), to being alone. Like their animal brothers and sisters, birth totem crow will seek companionship and interactions with others almost compulsively. The underlying force that drives one who is operating from the personality center of this birth totem, is a fear of being alone and faced with their own company. Because so much of the focus and attention for one with this birth totem is exerted upon relating to, and pleasing "others" they have learned very little about themselves and thus, have not developed the relationship with the inner self that is requisite for a soul to fully integrate as it moves along the sacred hoop of physical life.
Once crow individual takes the time to go within and learn about themselves, their role along the Red Road, and the lessons they have chosen to come and learn, they will then discover all of the shiny and fascinating aspects of themselves that they have been blessed with. This may then take them on a journey toward a deep and abiding relationship to the self, consequently adding even more to their relationships with others. Thus, the attainment of the higher intent for this birth totem may be had - to know true balance and harmony.

© Wolfs Moon and part of a forthcoming book "Life Paths - Journeys through Spirit with Animal Totems."
~ Used with permission with some small additions by Psychic Revelation.

Crow: Sep 22 – Oct 22
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The Crow is Zealous and Impressive

The Crow is zealous, a natural explorer and adventurer. They are quite charming and impressive in their day-to-day activities. These traits come natural to him/her and require little effort on their part.

The Crow is Full of Natural Energy

It is easy to see the natural energy of the Crow in the way they conduct their daily lives.

Awareness is the Hallmark of the Crow

They are often sought after for their opinions and advice. This is because the Crow is clever, bright and aware of things most others overlook.

The Crow in Good Times

Relaxed and romantic
In positive situations this Native American Zodiac Animal is relaxed and can be quite romantic.
Patient and understanding
With loved ones the Crow is patient and understanding.

The Crow in Bad Times

Demanding and abrasive
In negative situations the Crow can be demanding, inconsistent, vindictive, and abrasive. Enemies will encounter this quickly and back-off if they are smart.
Source: xtraastrology


People born at this time have strong peacekeeping skills. They are most at home when there is harmony around them and can feel quite unsettled with conflict. In western astrology individuals born at this time fall within the sign of Libra. In Native American astrology these individuals are represented by the Raven, found in the west on the medicine wheel. The Raven individual enjoys the company of others and always strives for balance and harmony. In Native American tradition there are numerous legends about the Raven who initially starts its life as a white bird but some sacrifice or wrongdoing forces the Raven to become black. These myths emphasis the duality, represented through the colours black and white, of human nature. The colour change depicted in these legends may hint at the contrast between our shadow side and our true spiritual nature. Like the hawk and the woodpecker Raven individuals are leaders. For the Raven personality however it must be their ability to bring balance and harmony, to act as a diplomat, that provides them with the skills to make good leaders. For the Raven individual who cannot find harmony in life it can be sole destroying. For those Ravens who are experiencing ongoing unresolved conflict it could be a case of being too selfless, through a need to please others. It is the Hawk, who resides in the east on the medicine wheel, that can teach the Raven so much about love of thyself.

Raven Birth Totem Animal

Native American Raven and Crow SymbolismSeptember 22 kicks off what certain Native Americans refer to as the "falling leaves time," represented by the Raven Birth Totem. When we first tell a customer that his or her birth totem is the raven, there is oftentimes a look of disappointment. Everyone wants to be a wolf or a bear, or some other powerful predatory animal, not a bird whose beady eyes light up at the sight of a squashed raccoon. We get it, but every creature has its seemingly bizarre tendencies, and we're here to show you the beautiful side of ravens. 
The Science
Ravens are well-known for their smarts and they have some of the largest bird-brains in existence. They are problem-solving masterminds who can learn new behaviors and "tricks" based on logic, rather than relying solely on instinct.
As fledglings, they will fly up behind predators and nip at them, trying to evoke a response. By doing this they learn just how fast they need to be to escape that wolf or eagle, so that if one of those animals kills they can feast alongside it. If they bury food for later, they memorize exactly which other ravens saw them do it, so they can keep a watchful eye on them. They can pair up so that while one raven distracts an animal, the other raven raids its stash. They are also one of the few wild animals that create toys from their environment, sometimes breaking off sticks to play with. The list goes on, but you get the idea. 
Ravens are also real "family birds." They mate for life but males have to first prove themselves in a number of arenas such as their ability to provide food, problem-solving capabilities, and of course - with impressive aeronautical stunts. Not only that, males also help raise their young which can take several months. 
The Culture
Those were just a few raven facts, the stuff gleaned from scientists sitting in people's backyards, staring at ravens for hours, scribbling notes and checking off lists. Now it's time for the fun stuff - The cultural raven. As grand opportunists, ravens have been following humans around for thousands of years, so they've had a lot of time to work themselves into stories, legends and belief systems. 
Swedish and German legends told that ravens were the souls of the murdered and damned. They symbolize warfare in Irish mythology, and in Siberia, they represent Kutcha - the Raven God. Crows and ravens are mentioned in Christian, Hebrew, Hindu and Islamic texts, oftentimes as messengers, teachers and protectors. 
Ravens, of course, also have a very strong prominence in Native American symbology, particularly in the Northwestern Coastal region of North America. Here, ravens represent both the Trickster God (much like Kokopelli in the Southwest) and the Creator of the World. Some believe that the bored Raven freed men and women from their separate alcoves and was entertained by watching them interact for the first time.  Others believe that, bored with the Land of Spirits ("Bird Land"), the Raven left and flew across the ocean, carrying a rock in its beak. As it tired of carrying the rock, it dropped it and the rock turned into the continents of the world. 
Ravens are oftentimes revered for their assistance in revealing messages and clarifying visions. They are thought to be able to help integrate cosmological truths with our narrow perception of the world. Standing in the woods, one can only see trees, but the raven, perched on the uppermost branch or soaring through the air, can see far more. 
The Birth Totem
Those born between September 22 and October 22 are represented by the Raven Native American totem animal. Ravens are friendly and sociable and greatly enjoy being a part of a group. Despite their talkativeness, Ravens are very discreet and are therefore able to keep secrets well. The ability to maintain an objective mindset allows the Raven to see all sides of an issue, making them great mediators. It is this ability, however, that can cause hesitancy in decision making, as Ravens strive to be fair at all times. While those of the Raven totem are generally cheerful and upbeat sorts, an atmosphere of disorder or confusion may send the Raven spiraling into moodiness. So long as you are clear in expressing your point, you will find the Raven an exciting friend and partner.
As you can see, the Raven is not to be scoffed at. They are magical, smart and loving, they have been with us since the beginning, and they may just know a thing or two that we don't. Here's a "Cheer" to all our Raven-Folk out there! 
Raven Totem Attributes
Element: Air
Color: Blue
Stone: Azurite

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 9

Elder's Meditation of the Day February 9
"It can be 100 degrees in the shade one afternoon and suddenly there comes a storm with hailstones as big as golf balls, the prairie is all white and your teeth chatter. That's good - a reminder that you are just a small particle of nature, not so powerful as you think."
--Lame Deer, LAKOTA
No event, no relationship, no joy, no sadness, no situation ever stays the same. Every setback is only temporary. Even setbacks change. Why? Because the Great Spirit designed the world to be constantly changing. We are not the center of the universe, we are but a small part. The whole is constantly changing, and we as humans are constantly participating in the change. We have two choices, to resist change or participate in the change. Every change can be resisted, and every change can be made in cooperation. What will I choose today, resistance or cooperation?
Great Spirit, teach me to make cooperative changes.