Monday, December 19, 2016

A new creation story to shed light in this season of darkness

I don't mind the darkness of the season. I love the slow tilting of the sunlight through the year, this way and that, the changes it brings to our daily lives, one of the few reminders of what we can't control no matter how hard we try - that we are OF the Earth and cannot escape that magnificent, humbling, wonderfully limiting reality. The more we try to separate from it, the more pathological our economic culture becomes.

And so, this time of year has always given way to great stories that humans make up about the "light in the darkness," about the solstice, about how the promise of light's return also holds the promise of warmth, renewal of life, the next harvest. Sky gods and moon gods and myths of return, or the metaphor that this seasonal moment heralds a special coming into the world of light in the harsher darkness and cold of the winter months.
Photo: Josh Morgan for The Huffington Post

We humans need a lot of renewal, a lot of healing. We westerners in particular went off on a long path of separation over thousands of years - conquest and empires, one tribe crushing another, warrior gods who fight on our side, but certainly not on the other. We stole people from one continent and sold them into slavery to become laborers on this continent, and we are still living out of the damage and trauma of that story, often a tension between denial, resistance to truth, and the claim of those descendants of African heritage to insist on their humanity, their dignity, and their freedom.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Prophecy of "the seventh generation"

This is a beautiful story and I wanted to share it here. From the linked article:

"There is a prophecy among Native tribes called 'the seventh generation,' which speaks of a time thought to be seven generations after first contact with Europeans, when indigenous youth and allies from all races come together to enact a new age of healing and rebirth for Native people and Turtle Island.

"Lakota leader Crazy Horse spoke of his vision of that prophecy with the following words:
'Upon suffering beyond suffering, the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of seven generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again. In that day there will be those among the Lakota who will carry knowledge and understanding of unity among all living things, and the young white ones will come to those of my people and ask for this wisdom.'"
What's going on in North Dakota is more significant than we even know, perhaps more significant than those who started this movement even knew. Now it's becoming clear that this is the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Our task as European Americans, descendants of the conquerors or beneficiaries of the conquest, is a humble one: to step back from our role as cultural leaders or "determiners," as architects of this western economic/consumer paradigm, and to come to those of Crazy Horse's people, the descendants from and inheritors of the legacy of genocide, the legacy of those who severed the connections between the human and Turtle Island - and ask for this wisdom.

They are repairing the breach. They are showing us again how to live here.

Read the whole story at this link:  

'We opened eyes': at Standing Rock, my fellow Native Americans make history

Photo: LaDonna Tamakawastewin Allard

Posted by Margaret Swedish


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ceremony at the Sacred Fire

Friends, when it comes to stories of 'New" Creation, this is a really good one - a story of solidarity, healing, and courage. It is written by Barbara With of La Pointe WI.

Today, Chief Arvol Looking Horse held a ceremony around the sacred fire. The purpose was to hear a report from the UN representatives who have been investigating the allegations of human rights abuses and to bless the belongings of the people who had been jailed.

The UN representative, only introduced as Roberto, announced that the result of their investigation is that a representative of the US Secretary of State’s office will be arriving in a few days and more investigations will ensue. She is also going to facilitate a meeting with the Standing Rock Sioux, Morton County Sheriff, and a representative from DAPL. This is guardedly optimistic news.

The Morton County Sheriff returned the possessions of those who were jailed. They were thrown into plastic bags marked with the numbers the prisoners had on their arms. Because possessions, especially clothing, hold the energy of the owner, it was important to bless and cleanse the belongings as if they were living beings.
Photo: Barbara With

Also all the possessions from the north Treaty Camp that were torn apart in last week’s attack were put into four storage crates that were being brought back to camp that night, including teepees and poles. They called for four volunteers with pick ups with trailers to go retrieve them after the ceremony.

Chief Looking Horse introduced the Buffalo clan singers, who sang the song of the White Buffalo Calf woman. He then said a long, beautiful prayer in Lakota, while the drummers and singers sang a song about the four directions. We started facing west and slowly turned to all four directions as a young warrior was busy with sweet grass and sage, smudging the pile of plastic bags laid out like body bags with the sacred, cleansing healing smoke.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Emergence beyond imagining

So, when Energy Transfer Partners, the company constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), started planning for an 1,172-mile pipeline from Bakken, North Dakota, to the Mississippi River in Illinois, did they ever consider that they might help ignite the most important indigenous movement in this country perhaps ever? Could they have imagined that their project would unite native peoples on Turtle Island as never before and attract solidarity from peoples of such diverse cultures and backgrounds? Did they know it would bring about the most significant gathering of American Indian nations since the 1800s?

Talk about emergence from below!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Life emerges from the roots

But it's not how the political culture works. The dominant culture - economic and political - imposes an economic paradigm over us all with little regard for how life actually works. With humans' increasing technological prowess, that dominance is becoming more pervasive - and more destructive - as it spreads over the planet. It has abstracted us from our living community, separated our sense of self and identity from the ecological whole, but only our "sense" of self because in reality we can never be separated at all.

The dominant political culture also tends to be hierarchical. Even big progressive organizations tend to mimic hierarchy, with structures of top-down decision-making, boards of directors, directives sent out (or down) to affiliates, and a culture of leadership that reveres "experts" with advanced college degrees rather than the wisdom of the local, the experiential, the wisdom of the "native."

Why do I start THIS blog page, a page about stories, with that reflection? Because here we want to share the stories of what is emerging "from below" to challenge the dominant culture. We believe that all social change movements not only begin from below but are most successful when they remain true to that source.