I bring the
Pipe of Heart
I walk with the
I speak truth
The medicine of
the Pipe creates
and with balance there is peace
Okute ~ the
Warrior & the
is the story of the Warrior and the Medicine Woman:
was brave. She was kind. He went to battle. She mended blankets. He
carried her in his chest. He was never alone when he was alone. When he
quested, when he battled, when he hunted, when he slept he always knew
where the truth lay. It was in his heart because she was there and she was
ways were quiet. His ways were brash. He knew she thought more than she
spoke. He could see it in her eyes. He awaited her way of speaking in time
for him to ponder. She didn't judge him. She didn't deny him. This was her
fed on her wisdom. His abruptness settled by the learning he knew through
her. He stoked the fire. She worked the hides. He smoked the pipe. He
talked to the stars. She cooked the soup and served him a life.
ways were quiet. His ways were brash. He sought solitude. She wandered
through it. They were never apart because the breath of the other was
delivered by the breeze. She walked under the sun. He walked under the
sun, and they were one.
shared meat. They shared love. Her ways were quiet. His ways were brash.
provided plenty. He offered many gifts. They were never more than she
could handle. They were always enough for him. He found the Old Ones in
the prairie grass. He brushed Mother Earth with the palm of his hand. She
touched the life in her belly. He nourished the child with devotion. She
was never hungry.
Warrior and the Medicine Woman.
click on the Pipe to
is the story of the Blanket of the Warrior & the Medicine Woman:
Blanket has been woven. The Warrior works the leather trim which is also
nearly done, the patterns have been placed, some are stitched. There are
Deer and Elk, Hawk and Eagles, and other medicines the Warrior has used on
his journey. This Blanket is our story.
Warrior takes up the stitching of the Blanket, holding the needle in his
mouth while he manages the sinew. He is a craftsman. In his stitching he
has included the stories of when he was a warrior, fighting battles,
riding horses, throwing lances. He has stitched a pattern of his bravery.
has also stitched the story of his loneliness and despair, his times of
mournful solitude, reflections of himself when he has been comforted by
his solitude. Solitude gives the Warrior the time he needs to reflect on
his behaviour and his choices so he can decide if that war was a victory
or not, was it a loss? Did the Warrior lose that battle?
Warrior reflects back on his story Blanket of all his conquests. Yes, he
won every battle and they were all worth fighting because he fought for
the battle he lost was the battle for love. In this battle he entangled
himself in his own weaponry and could not free himself so he was useless
as a warrior. In this battle there was only one warrior on the field -
himself. The Warrior was fighting with himself. His stitching shows where
he was all alone in that battle.
Warrior's story Blanket shows his scars, his wounds, his confusion, his
misery ... and then his trip to the butte where he went to seek a vision,
to find a way out of this battle he was fighting where there were no
enemies. "How do you win a battle when there are no enemies to defeat
yet you find yourself still at war?", he lamented.
went to the butte. He went in despair. He had no clarity. He had no
vision. During his quest he looked back and noticed the trail of debris in
the path he had walked. He did not have an answer when he left the butte
but he did decide to start cleaning up the debris from his war with
Warrior spent a long time cleaning up the debris from his war with
himself. In the middle of cleaning up he noticed the light was becoming
brighter around him and it was not so dark anymore. In the new light he
noticed his Medicine Woman right where he had left her when he went
seeking his vision.
had not had the vision he thought he would have. The vision did not happen
on the butte. His vision cleared as he began cleaning up all the mess from
the battles he waged with himself and when his vision cleared he saw her.
He saw she had been there all along. This was the vision he had been
seeking but he could not see it until he had cleaned up the mess he had
Warrior came home. There were no more battles to fight. Home was peaceful.
He laid down his quiver of arrows. He did not need them for war anymore.
He was a warrior and always would be. That is who the Creator made him to
be. His Medicine Woman took his quiver and mounted it on the wall, a
memorial to him to honour who he is and who he will always be - the
Medicine Woman went back to sewing their blanket while the Warrior took
out his pipe. He was home. His battle had not actually taken him any
farther than his own front yard but he could not tell that because the
battle had been great and the darkness had been heavy. He was home, right
where he had always wanted to be. It was right where he had already been
but the Warrior did not know this because of the battle that waged inside
him. The Warrior could not have won this battle if he had not 'left home'
to fight his war. Only in the fighting of the war was the Warrior able to
see what the war was all about and that he had been home all along.
Medicine Woman was hurt and desperately sad because the Warrior caused the
Sun to be blocked out from all the debris from all his warring with
himself. He could not be reached while he was at war. She kept the fire
going and stirred the soup and worked on stitching the Blanket story they
stitching shows of her mournfulness and of the endless days she went to
the water to cleanse her tears and heartache of the Warrior's departure.
came back and worked the Blanket while dust fell from the ceiling above
from all the battling the Warrior was doing in the war within himself. His
war brought great injury to her and she nearly died. The Warrior had spun
himself into such a state that he became very dizzy and in his confusion
he stabbed his Medicine Woman. The wound was nearly fatal. This too she
stitched into their story Blanket.
Medicine Woman focused on healing, tending the fire, stirring the soup and
stitching her story into their Blanket because it was her story to tell
and no one else could tell it.
did not know when the battle in the Warrior would be over or when he would
return home, even though he was only in their front yard. She did not stop
praying and she did not stop believing in herself because she knew as long
as she remembered who she was the Warrior could remember who he was. She
never left their home. She stayed with their Blanket. There was nothing
else she could do. There was nothing else she wanted to do. Staying with
her story was the only truth she had. There was no other truth for the
Medicine Woman than "The Warrior & the Medicine Woman".
This is a teaching from
To hold the Pipe
you must understand the relationship between the two - the stem and
the bowl, and their desire to be connected to one another. The bowl
and stem represent the desires of Woman to be with Man and Man to be
with Woman. Our Pipe is many things including the embodiment of this
desire for union between Man and Woman. This is part of what White
Buffalo Calf Woman came to teach the Oyate (people). The young man
who turned into bones and dust was a man who did not respect right
relationship between Man and Woman. That young man was not ready to
understand and so he viewed White Buffalo Calf Woman as an object
he could use for his own fulfillment rather than desire he could be
in union with. This ultimate disrespect of Woman led to his death.
It is this continued disrespect of women that is leading to the
death of our Nation today. Without our women, we are broken.
Understanding the right use
of desire between Man and Woman is what will unite the people and
bring us back into balance with one another. This is the medicine of
the Pipe. Our Nation cannot be
strong when we do not have balance between Man and Woman. White
Buffalo Calf Woman saw that we as a people needed this
understanding. She came well before Her time to teach us. Our Nation
can only be as strong as our marriages and right now there are few
strong marriages and so there is instability in our future. White
Buffalo Calf Woman came to help Man understand the sacredness of
Woman. That is why this great divine being sent by Wakan Tanka came
as a Woman. Wakan Tanka did not send the Oyate a man. He sent us a
Woman because this was the teaching we needed in order to sustain
our race and be one with Wakan Tanka. Balance is everything. Balance
is life. White Buffalo Calf Woman came to teach us Sacred Balance.
White Buffalo Calf Woman
came to teach us how to pray to Wakan Tanka and She came to
teach the Oyate how to be in right relationship, to teach Man how to
be in relationship with Woman. It is the most sacred of all unions
and our sacred holy Pipe reflects this union when the stem joins the
bowl. This joining is a celebration that should be recognized every
time we smoke. When we connect the stem to the bowl we must
recognize this is the sacred union of Man and Woman and how Wakan
Tanka wishes for us to live our lives - in sacred unity. This is the
teaching of marriage as told to us by the Pipe. These are the lost
teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman.
Respect for Woman has been
lost. Is it any surprise our Nation has grown weak and continues to
be vulnerable when we have lost our respect for Woman? Woman is our
most sacred being, our most sacred gift from Wakan Tanka and we
abuse Her and deny Her and resent Her as the reason for why we as
men suffer so much. Where has our dignity gone? When we deny our
women we shame ourselves as men. Denying our women is the most loathsome
behaviour men could consider. It is shameful and I have no pride as
a man watching us denigrate our women.
In truth, White Buffalo Calf
Woman came to save the men. We owe Her our life. Without Her
teaching we cannot exist for without our sacred women we cannot be.
Through the Pipe White
Buffalo Calf Woman came to teach us...
The bowl is of Mother Earth.
It holds within itself all of the medicine of Mother Earth because
it is carved from Her body, all of Her teachings, all of Her wisdom.
The bowl is the heart of Mother Earth for it is only the heart that
can hold desire for oneness with the Great Mystery Spirit, Wakan
Tanka. The bowl
is Mother Earth's cupped hands sacredly holding Her heart's desire. The smoke that rises from Her bowl is all of Her
heart's desire for Wakan Tanka. The smoke is Her desire rising up to
meet Him, to speak to Him, to let Him know She is there and this is
who She is. She Herself does not lift Herself up to Him. She cannot,
She is Earth.
The bowl is the feminine
essence of desire for the masculine, of desire for right
relationship and balance with the masculine, to be wanted by him, to
be received by him, to be accepted by him.
The bowl is round because
Mother Earth is round. This means all things travel around inside
the bowl. If the bowl were square with four corners prayers would
not rise up to Wakan Tanka. Prayers cannot flow between four walls,
they bounce and reverberate instead.
In the bowl prayers move without obstruction allowing the prayers to
be what they are - truth. Prayers in the bowl are the truths
of those ready to send their prayers up to Wakan Tanka. In this
manner, there can be no lies between the prayer and Wakan Tanka,
between Mother Earth and the Great Mystery Spirit.
Mother Earth is round and
all things move around Her and within Her. That is why all our
sacred medicines are made from the circle, because the circle is Her
and She is All There Is. She allows all truths to be told. Mother
Earth has created a space - the bowl, for all of Her children to be
able to speak. She loves them that much and She knows that Her
children are hurting and they have much to say to their Great
The bowl holds all of the
love of Mother Earth and all of Her love for all of Creation. This
is Her prayer that She holds and lifts up to Wakan Tanka - Her love
for Herself, Her love for Her children, Her love for all of
Creation. Our Mother is a very sacred being to hold so much love and
to hold all things within Herself.
The bowl is the love of
our Great Mother.
The stem is the rod of our
Great Father, Wakan Tanka. Like a lightning rod the stem directs
energy to Mother Earth and supports Her. It's long shaft is the
direction of all Wakan Tanka's energy and light. He is the
magnificent Creator and the stem focuses His magnificence to Mother
Earth because She deserves to know how magnificent She is and this
is how Wakan Tanka tells Her. His love for Mother Earth channels its
way through the stem to Her. It locks into place with Her and there
is no gap between Them. Nothing can get in between Wakan Tanka and
Mother Earth when the stem fits into the bowl, nothing. This is
Their union. It is in this place that They become One.
It is the most sacred place
of all, the point where the Two meet. Stem to bowl Wakan Tanka fits
into Mother Earth. He offers His strength. He is there to support
Her. This is the only way it can be. Mother Earth cannot lift up to
Wakan Tanka and so as the Great Mystery Spirit He is He moves to be
with Her. He supports who She is and His support gives Her the
space to be who She is. He comes to Her. Wakan Tanka comes to Mother
The stem is the vessel
by which Wakan Tanka unites with our Great Mother.
When the stem comes into the
bowl the Two meet and Their union of joy begins. The Pipe is more
about marriage than it is about anything else. It is about union.
This point of contact where They meet is divine and holy. This is the
source of Creation because where
Wakan Tanka meets Mother Earth life happens. It is the most powerful
union in all of Creation. The most powerful, the most Wakan.
We decorate the stem with
the feathers of our great brother Wanbli Gleska - Spotted Eagle,
because he is the most holy of those from the air. He flies closest
to Wakan Tanka so we believe he knows Wakan Tanka best of all the
animals of Earth. We use his feathers because they represent the
light and speed by which Wakan Tanka's love travels to Mother Earth.
The Eagle feathers represent Wakan Tanka's journey to Mother Earth.
The feathers should hang
loose so they can move the way Wakan Tanka moves. The great breath
of Wakan Tanka does not move in only one direction. His breath moves
in all directions. His breath reflects all the sacred directions of
Mother Earth. A beaded strand allows the feathers to move in an
unrestricted way. When the feathers move know that this is Wakan
Tanka's great breath coming to be with you. He is present. The
feathers show you His breath and that He has come to hear you.
We use Wanbli Gleska's
spotted feathers because the two colours represent feminine and
masculine in equal balance with each other, one does not dominate
the other. This is Wakan Tanka's wish to tell Mother Earth that He
does not come to Lord over Her. He comes with balance in mind
respecting All That She Is. He comes to Her with a prayer that She
will receive Him because without Her He is nothing. He cannot exist
without Her. Without Her He can only be spirit. All our relations on
Mother Earth are Wakan Tanka in form. In this way, Earth and all
things in and of Her are sacred because they are all Wakan Tanka.
Once the Pipe is made this
union should be celebrated each and every time the stem is joined
with the bowl because it is a sacred action. It is the action of
joining Wakan Tanka with Mother Earth. This action of joining stem
to bowl is Wakan Tanka's teaching for Man to honour union with
Woman. It is Wakan Tanka's wish that we remember the sacredness of
Woman. Each and every time we join stem to bowl we must remember
this teaching. We must pause, and hold sacred this divine union. It
is a powerful joining. We must never forget. We must never forget
the beauty of Woman. We must never forget Her sacrifice. We must
never forget Her devotion. She is All That Is and She is all that
Together, stem and
bowl, They are the Creators of All That Is.
All our prayers that we send
up are our desires to be heard and received and loved by the
Creators. Our prayers are our intentions to have our heart's desires
made manifest here on Earth. Prayers go into the bowl in the form of
medicines (plants). These prayers of ours are first received by
Mother Earth. She holds them sacred in Herself and wraps them with
the love of who She is. She cradles our prayers in Her bowl. She accepts all
prayers from all Her children as the cries and dreams of our hearts.
"Give your prayers to Me, and together we will give them to
These plant medicines are
the travelers for our prayers. They pack our prayers and take them
to Wakan Tanka. Talk to your plant medicines. Give them the prayers.
They then go into the bowl of Mother Earth where She holds them but
you must first give your prayers to the plant people. They carry
your prayers. They are sacred. They are Wakan for they are the
carriers of the sacred prayers. You must have a relationship with
your plant people first. They are your messengers to the Great
Spirit, Creator of All Life. Know that this is who they are, then
they can carry your dreams. They sit within the bowl where Mother
Earth holds them, embracing them, waiting for Wakan Tanka to come
and together Wakan Tanka and Mother Earth share your dreams.
The medicines burn. They
sacrifice themselves for your prayers. They turn your prayers into
smoke that can travel into your body, into your being. When you draw in the smoke,
the breath of the Great Wakan Tanka, you are bringing into yourself
the presence of our Great Mother. You bring Her into your lungs
which then moves into your heart and back out to the Great Spirit.
You breathe in the Mother's love for you. You breathe out the breath
of our Great Father. The Great Holy Mystery Spirit travels in your
body in your lungs and heart reaching every cell of your being. You
become one with Wakan Tanka. Through your body He can sit upon
Mother Earth and experience Her world through your senses. He knows
what it is like to be human.
The plants have carried your
prayers. Mother Earth has held them sacred. You have used Wakan
Tanka's vessel to bring them into your body where you and Wakan
Tanka become one. He then knows your pain. He then knows your
suffering. Bring all your suffering to Wakan Tanka. Do not bring
your suffering to each other. Bring it to Wakan Tanka. He comes to
be with you. Only through the Pipe can Wakan Tanka know the
suffering of humanity.
The Pipe brings you and
Wakan Tanka together. Now you can know each other.
We recommend that you wrap
the Pipe and her medicines in something sacred, just like a baby
wrapped in secure bundles. The Pipe is a sacred living being and
holds our most powerful teachings. She came to us to teach us how we
could reach Wakan Tanka.
The Pipe belongs to the two
who have made it. It holds all your dreams and prayers and your
right relationship with each other and your right relationship with
all that is sacred. Protect your dreams and prayers. Do not leave
them out where they can be bothered by others. They are personal and
sacred and should only be shared by you.
Keep the Pipe near her
family members, near her other relatives because this is where she
feels most at home. She belongs with all the other sacred beings.
These are her family members and she is happiest being with them.
She is a sacred bundle.
Keep her accordingly.
These are the
teachings from Unci (Grandmother):
We are the
Real People and these teachings are for
Wicahca (Real Man - husband) and Winuhca (Real Woman - wife)
When a man is
courting a woman he is courting the Grandmothers as well for we have
discernment. We do not judge. We simply evaluate who is ready and
who appears not to be. A Wicahca needs to be ready to accept the
responsibility he is courting for it certainly is true that the man
courts the responsibility, not the woman.
In our way,
marriage is forever. We marry for life. Marriage is everything. It
is not to be taken lightly. We are believers of the heart. In our
way, everything we do must first come from the heart, for we are the
heart of all things. A Wicahca must be ready to accept the heart of
the woman for her heart is what she truly offers him. He must be
able to see that this is the gift. He must be able to recognize what
is truly being given. If a Wicahca can see what is being given then
only can he take responsibility for it.
When a woman offers
her heart it stays with the man until the woman asks for it back.
While he has her heart in his possession he walks with it always. He
carries it into battle, to his vision quests, to his ceremonies,
whenever he is alone, and whenever he is awake. Once he accepts a
woman's heart, it is his forever.
So the question is,
"Can this man, who is coming to court this woman, see what
she offers?" It is more tender, precious, and vulnerable
than a new born baby. Is he ready to nurture it? He must carry her
heart next to his own so her heart will not be lonely. Their hearts
are mates for each other. It is one of the most precious bundles a
Wicahca can ever carry.
With her heart he
defends her honour. He does so without question for he knows she
would never lie to him. A Winuhca, Real Woman's heart never lies - never.
It is not possible for a Real Woman's heart to lie because a Real
Woman's heart is truth. There is nothing other than truth born in
the heart of a Winuhca. It is why we hold our women sacred.
When a Wicahca is
confused, or fearful, we go to the hearts of the women because they
have the truth, even when the answer appears to defy logic it is
always truth when it comes from a Winuhca, Real Woman's heart. Never
defy the heart of a Winuhca. A Wicahca can always rest assured in
the truth she speaks.
When he comes to
call he must be ready to face himself. This is ultimately who a
Wicahca faces when he sits in front of the woman he is courting for
a Winuhca will always reflect the truth of the man back to him. In
her, he can see himself and he must be ready to see himself for if
he is not he will not be ready for what he sees and instead he will
question what she is showing him. The Grandmothers look for this.
If a courting man
turns in fear from the woman sitting in front of him it is because
he has seen a vision of himself he is not ready to accept. He is not
a right suitor if he cannot accept what he sees in himself. He will
never be able to look at her. He will never be able to hold her
stare. He will never sit comfortably in her presence. He will fidget
and look down at the ground.
A Wicahca who looks
deep into the eyes of the woman he loves is a strong man for he is
not fearful to see himself there. She will always shine back the
truth to him and he must be ready for this. The sun rises and sets
in a Winuhca, Real Woman's eyes.
When a bride-to-be
is being courted she waits. That is all that she can do because the
work is in the man who is doing the courting. How long does it take
for a man to carve his pipe? It is done when it is done. Just like
working the pipe stone, the bowl of the pipe, the most sacred part,
he must work himself. He needs to polish and file and smooth out
every ridge until he is satisfied that what he is carving is done.
Only when it is done can it be presented.
In carving a pipe
for his bride-to-be he is presenting her with the sacred part of
himself - his understanding of himself in relationship with himself.
He is presenting his understanding of that sacred relationship and
only when he understands it can he live it. Presenting his Winuhca
with his pipe is his most sacred gift. Just like she gives her
heart, he gives his pipe and when he has carved the pipe then she
knows he has come to an understanding of that relationship and only
then can she marry him because only then can he bring his
understandings into their marriage.
happens daily. There are many teachings that are given during
courtship and teachings cannot be missed. He listens to the
Grandfathers who instruct him on all the thing he needs to know in
order to be a man. In our way, a man is not a man by age. A man is a
man when he becomes married. Only through marriage can a man become
a man because only through marriage can a man come to know himself
and only through knowing himself can a man become a man. The
courtship is daily because the learning is daily. The work is the
man's to do.
The woman does not
give gifts to the man. That is a willingness to sacrifice herself
for his love which is not love. The woman gives nothing away. He
must give away. He must bring the gifts. He has much to ask for and
through the gift giving he is asking. The woman must never give away
any part of herself. It is he who comes to make offerings. She
receives what he offers unless she chooses not to.
When a Wicahca
gives a gift he is giving a gift of himself. All gifts have meaning
to our people. There is no such thing as meaningless gift giving. A
gift is considered an extension of one's self.
Courtship is very
serious. It is not a time for being foolish or careless for no
matter who you are with or what you are doing you are always in
courtship. Every minute of your waking breath you are in courtship.
Every thought you have, every action, every direction, every
conscious intention is about courtship. Integrity. Even when you are
not together you are still courting. Courting itself is the
commitment, marriage is for life and courtship is no different in
its importance and value. A woman in courtship must conduct herself
accordingly. All eyes are on her. All eyes are on them both. Even
when they are separated they are in each other's presence. They are
After the woman has
met the courter for the first time her mother, while brushing her
daughter's hair will ask, "What did you like about
him?" and, "What did you notice about him?" Her
"noticings" will be shared with the Grandmothers (who are
present during the courting) to evaluate how the woman's discernment
skills are developing. "What will you look for
moves out of the eyes of the Older Ones. The courting couple cannot
be directed in love. It is something they must develop on their own.
When the couple begin walking together alone, it is our cue to leave
them alone. This is their creation.
We have supported
them in understanding the responsibilities for the caring of another
human being. Now it is their turn to discover if they love each
other. That is a personal journey. We leave the relationship as the
overseers. We are here for counsel but it is no longer our
responsibility to govern these children. We have passed on the
teachings. The framework has been provided. It is up to the children
to see if they grow into the framework. Only love can fill it out.
for the People
In our way when a
man asks to be the husband of the woman he has been courting he is
not just asking for her hand. He is asking to come into the whole
tribe. He is asking to be trusted and the village is vulnerable to
this intruder. His conversations with the Grandfathers are not just
about this woman and marriage but right relationship with the entire
To assess the risk
the Grandfathers need to know if he is capable of taking care of
himself. A man cannot take responsibility for the tribe if he cannot
take responsibility for himself. When the time comes such a man
would abandon the tribe to serve only his own needs out of fear and
panic and that would leave the village vulnerable.
In our way every
man is responsible for the tribe. If every man sees himself as the
whole of the responsibility and not just a part then the tribe is
protected. He must be ready to accept his role and his place in the
tribe. When a man abandons his place in the tribe when he has said
that he accepts it, he leaves that responsibility to another man for
there cannot be a hole in the tribe. A hole, or a role left
abandoned, leaves the village vulnerable. If the Grandfathers can
see in the man's eyes that he is ready to protect the tribe then he
is ready to fight for the woman.
We are all
connected. That is the way of our people. That is our strength. We
see the unity of our existence and that unity is what keeps us
strong. Unity is who we are. We find it very hard to be without
unity for it is not our way.
of marriage is that it is a union of two souls. A wedding isn't an
exchange of vows or promises two people make to each other, because
those promises are based on what you know in that moment only and
the future you see based on the conditions of that moment. There is
no place for growth in such a belief system. The promises can only
prove to be lies as the marriage encounters challenges. The vows and
ceremony are based on denial and a need for the bride and groom to
be the protector of the other's fears and insecurities.
That is not our
way. We know that the union of two souls is not based on promises
but on commitment to enduring the challenges so that the challenges
may heal and produce healing generations so that the Nation may grow
and be strong and survive.
We know that when
two people join to make this commitment it is a challenging
commitment of responsibility and that the couple will need the
support of the entire tribe to help them through the challenges of
right relationship. When a wedding is announced there is more of a
response of reverence than delight because the people know the true
responsibility the couple is entering into.
No two people can
do marriage alone. We all need to heal the challenges of
right relationship. We also know that this new union will reflect
back to the Creator where there has been damage between Wicahca and
Winuhca, Real Man and Real Woman in all the generations before, and
where there must be healing. All people entering into the union of
marriage are accepting the responsibility for healing this damage
not only for themselves but for the sake of the people and the
generations to come. Each new marriage will show us where we need to
And so the
journey to undertake this commitment of two souls reflecting to
Wakan Tanka is a powerful and sacred journey and not to be taken
together a Human Being
Immortal John Trudell"
"your spirit is like a
dancer in the night,
carrying rhythms others can only imagine"
"you're my heart
come to take my heart before it fades away"
Brown earth colour
takes me into the secrets of her sighs
When I step into
the brown of her eyes
I find sight of special breeze
fluttering eyelashes and fluttering hearts
dancing in magic no one understands
When I step into
the brown of her eyes
I find the comfort of a friend
a friend sharing shelter
when only a friend can know to
When I step into
the brown of her eyes
she teaches loving through caring
snuggling softly in my heart
helping me to just feel good
When I step into
the brown of her eyes
the mysteries are different from confusion
illusions are handled by seeing through
clearly there is life ahead
When I step into
the brown of her eyes
brown earth colour woman
takes me into the secrets of her sighs
gentling me in a balance of passion
Smiling into eyes
hungry for smiles
you take me where I want to be
you're my heart taker
you're a brand new day
bringing me in view of the sun
I see the sunrise
in your laughter
I hear the forever songs in your kiss
I feel the future in your beating heart
I abandon loneliness for your embrace
You're my heart
come to take my heart before it fades away
blending into my dreams
showing me secrets of life
holding my hand in the universe
you put together a breaking soul
Smiling into eyes
hungry for smiles
enchanting today with your magic
tomorrow can't help but to be good
you brought the world back to me
when I thought I wanted to drift away
You're my heart
taking me to joy
gentling me during a life storm
lifting me between the clouds and the sky
bringing me in view of the sun
(Owl Dance Song)
times I learn to slow"
Too many times I
learn to slow
at times the understandings
were beaten down by insecurity
your acceptance really was something
the times I hurt myself
bringing it all down on you
you reached out with love and tolerance
you were always there when I needed
you steadied me gently
carrying me into each new day
keeping me going
"The Ones That
don't cry, Indians are stoic
I tell that to my heart, to my eyes
they just laugh at me"
comes to you I know what to say,
it's I just don't know how"
When it comes to
I know what to say
it's I just don't know how
I love you
that's not a question
showing it has been confusing
ago Ancient Ones decided
we are in the middle of forever"
Young ones listen
remember who we are
remember where we are
do not take the word of america
listen to them as in caution
live among them as in surrounded
live not as they live
live to appreciate
seconds ago an eternity
Ancient Ones decided
way before wounded spirits
dreams shattering under aggression
Earth is Mother
we are children
the protection is our innocence
seconds ago it was decided
we are the middle of forever
look for your medicine
there is a white world gone mad
thinking protection is in force
greed the machine preys on them
but they will not admit it
or do anything about it
they have no medicine
with backs turned on children and Elders
they do not even care for air
or water, or land, or life
too confused to care is no way to live
young ones listen
remember who you are
remember where you are
remember why you are
confused to care is no way to live"
(Red Earth Song)
to us, Impatient One
you say you want to learn the old ways
struggling to learn when all you must do is remember"
One time, I was
visiting with my relatives
the clouds, the mountains, the sky, the trees
my relatives touched my spirit
nudged it lovingly
Listen to us,
we are forever
you must remember the gentleness of time
you are struggling to be who you are
you say you want to learn the old ways
struggling to learn when all you must do is remember
you are more than light in the night"
you are more than light in the night
you are more than the moon
you are spirit connection
your energy is our life
you are memories to generations past
you are the creator of sensations
that will always last
you are the knowledge, the teacher
the influence to keep the people sane
you are a healer for spirit pain
We do not join the
from the way they act
it speaks of spirit sadness
machine, money, progress
is the cause of our common abuse
we see you Grandmother
we feel you
we love you
we know through your reality
we will endure
survive this temporary madness imposed upon you"
whispering in the wind
rejoice at the life you are a part of
natural energy bound to natural laws
you will survive this temporary madness imposed upon you
us Red Indians,
we have been the colours on a chameleon's back"
The children laugh
the Old Ones laugh
the new born cry
the Elders weep
The knowledge of
infants and Elders
separated only by years
adulthood lost to grown up fears
the only security being insecurity
changing crying to weeping
The wisdom of
infants and Elders
crying and laughing
weeping and laughing
songs in the beginning
sung in the end
the people cry out
tears of anger, tears of sorrow
flowing, giving birth to resistance
young ones to remember struggle
for the people cry out
tears of happiness
tears of joy
washing the pain
cleaning the spirit
to generations remembering the past
to rebuild the future
for weeping is another way of laughing,
and resisting, and outlasting the enemy
Living in reality
calling us Red Indians
we have been the colours on a chameleon's back
changing with time
altering the larger pattern
'cause we have to
the lessons of a thousand generations
to get through the time of yesterday"
This time I almost
wanted to believe you
when you spoke of peace and love and caring
and duty and God and destiny
but somehow the death in your eyes
and your bombs and your taxes
and your greed and your facelift told me
this time I cannot afford to believe you
time I cannot afford to believe you"
your atom bombs, your material bombs, your drug bombs,
your racial bombs, your class bombs, your sexist bombs,
your ageist bombs devastating your natural shelters"
we hope you don't mind
but we would like to talk to You
there are some things we need to straighten out
it's about these Christians
they claim to be from Your Nation
but man You should see the things they do
all the time blaming it on You
manifest destiny, genocide
maximize profit, sterilization
raping the Earth, lying
taking more than they need
in all the forms of the greed
we ask them why
they say it's God's will
damn God, they make it so hard
could You send him back to them
tell them not to kill him
rather they should listen
stop abusing his name and Yours
we do not mean to be disrespectful
but You know how it is
our people have their own ways
we never even heard of You until not long ago
Your representative spoke magnificent things of You
which we were willing to believe
but from the way they acted
we know both You and we were being deceived
We do not mean You
or Your Christian children bad
but you all came to take all we had
we have not seen You
but we have heard so much
it is time for You to decide what life is worth
we already remember
but maybe You forgot
us, we bury the generations
look at them, inventing the body count"
(Peltier and AIM Song)
pimps leaving us flat on our backs
trading today waiting for the promised land"
Watch out child,
watch out child
Babylon falling down, falling down
society a broken promise
economies, war, citizen whores
political pimps leaving us flat on our backs
trading today waiting for the promised land
Roles playing roles
covering every day's fear
going off to work
having the job done on us
in the eyes of God
building the bomb
hating thyself in the illusion
images and machines, petro-chemical societies
trying to hide the sun"
hardest part of trying to forget
is the remembering forgetting brings back"
it's in a song, a phrase
sometimes it's a laugh
sometimes it's a vision of you near to me
or a remembrance of a touch, a kiss
or some silly thought we shared
"I Went so
Tribal Voice 1983
This is a story
about Humility. This is the story of No Moccasins:
"My friends and
relatives," he began, "thank you for coming into our
lodge. I have been honoured to share this lodge with my wife for
nearly fifty winters. In that time we were given a fine son and a
fine daughter and many grandchildren. Our people saw difficulty as
well as good. We took to the path of war now and then and good men
were hurt or died. We are feared and
our enemies. The number of our lodges and villages has grown in
that time. We are a strong people; our ways are good. I am
thankful to the Great Mystery for bringing me into this world as a
Lakota! I have lived a good life and I am ready for the next.
Before I leave I have a story to tell, and I ask that after the
sun comes up tomorrow you tell this same story to all the people
gathered here. This is why I have asked you to come today. Here is
what I want you to know.
"When I was a young man I traveled
south from my mother and father's village to hunt. I came to a
village that was encamped for the summer just north of the Running
Water River. There was great feasting and a dance at that time,
for there had been a fight and a great victory over enemies to the
south. I was invited to join the celebration. It was a good time.
There was much food and we danced far into the night. I awoke the
next morning beside the trail to the water and looked into the
largest and most wonderful eyes I had ever seen. A young woman was
gazing down at me. She said, 'It is funny what suddenly grows
beside this trail.' I jumped to my feet and followed her to the
water and carried the water skins back to the village for her.
That was the best chore I have ever done in my life.
"The next evening I stood in line
outside the lodge of this young woman, with all the other young
men who had come to court her. Her name was Carries the Fire and
she did put the fire in my heart. I was very surprised when she
asked me to come again the next evening. You will not be surprised
when I tell you I remained in her village until the autumn hunts.
By then, for reasons I still cannot understand but for which I am
grateful, she had decided that I might be a good husband. So I
went back north to tell my family so they could prepare the gifts
to her family for the bride price.
"We were married the following
spring. In between was the longest winter of my life. So I left my
family and became a part of her village, as is a custom among us.
Not long after that, enemies came among us from the south on a
revenge raid for the defeat they had suffered before. They killed
a man and took two young women. A war party went south on their
trail. I went along.
"We trailed them for half a moon,
it seemed, going far into country I had never seen. We traveled
fast and caught up with them as they rejoined their village. We
hid and watched. We saw where they had put the two young women.
Later we saw where their night sentinels were and made a plan.
"There were six of us. That night
two of us would set a fire to the east of the village, and two of
us would do the same to the west. While the men of the village
were busy putting out the fires, two of us would sneak in and take
back our young women. The plan worked, except for one thing: I was
one of the two who sneaked into the village, and I was captured.
"By dawn all of our war party had
escaped back to the north with the two young women, and I was glad
to pay the price of a good raid. As you might think, my captors
were very angry. They made me a slave. All my clothing was taken
from me - everything. I was lead around naked; everyone laughed. I
was made to work. I pulled drag poles like a dog until my hands
and knees were bleeding. They teased me; they threw dirt in my
face. Women pulled up their dresses in front of me and laughed,
showing me that I was no longer a man. They gave me no food so I
had to fight with the dogs for scraps. At night they bound me hand
and foot and stretched me between two stout poles. There was no
way to escape. I began to feel lower than a dung beetle.
"I lost count of the days, but I
looked for ways to escape. But lack of food and water made me very
weak, and I knew that before I was too weak I had to escape. After
a time they stopped putting a guard to sit and watch me at night.
Night after night I pulled at the poles which held me, and little
by little I loosened them. But someone saw what I had done and
pounded the poles in deeper. I was discouraged.
"I am not ashamed to tell you that
one night I prayed to the Great Mystery to give me a quick death.
I could not escape; I was too weak.
"One night it was cold and rainy,
and I was naked and shivering. There was no one about; it was too
cold. Even the dogs curled up out of the rain. My heart was sad as
I thought about my young wife and that I would never, ever see her
again. I thought about her so much that her face appeared to me.
After a moment, I realized that it was real; she was there! While
I lay there in disbelief she cut my bonds with her knife, pulled
me to my feet, and guided me out of the enemy's village.
"I was weak from hunger and my
mind was not clear. But I know we walked through the night and by
dawn we arrived at a hiding place she had prepared. The rain had
fallen through the night and washed out our tracks. She could not
have found a better time to come.
"She had hidden food and weapons.
As my mind cleared I saw that she was wearing men's clothes - mine
- to disguise herself for the journey. We hid, and we ate and
rested. She told me that the other men had returned home with the
news that I had been killed. She grieved for a time, she said, but
she found herself not believing I was really dead. One night she
made preparations and left the camp. The others had told her where
the enemy camp was located. She knew where to look. After many
days of hiding and watching she came into the camp on that rainy
"Though our tracks were washed out
by the rain, the enemy knew we had to travel north to come home.
So they sent out a war party.
"After a few days of resting and
hiding we were eager to start home. We knew to be cautious, of
course, and we looked often at our back trail. This is how we saw
others heading in the same direction; six of them moving fast. I
knew they had to be from the village where I had been a captive
and that those six men were the best of their warriors. I had
escaped when they were certain I could not. They could not know
that I had help. Because my escape was an insult they could not
let pass, they sent out their best trackers, their fiercest
"We covered our trail as best we
could but it did not matter. They were running and I could not.
Carries the Fire and I decided that we should hide so that we
would not leave a trail they could find. But they had to be thrown
off somehow. I thought about that but I could do nothing, so I did
not speak that thought to her. But she had thought the same.
"We made a good hiding place in an
old bear's den. That afternoon while I slept she slipped away. She
returned that evening, wet and barefoot. She had placed her
moccasins near a creek to lay a false trail for our pursuers.
Later she told me that when they nearly spotted her, she hid in a
beaver's lodge. She had to go into the creek and come up inside
the beaver's house. I teased her, saying that she should have a
new name - No Moccasins.
"After two days we left our hiding
place and struck out west and traveled in that direction for three
days, then north. I began to call her No Moccasins because it was
a name of honour for what she had done. That is why my wife is
called No Moccasins. Though I grew stronger each day it was not an
easy journey home. We had to watch for enemies, find food, and a
shelter each night. But it was her quiet courage, more than
anything, that was our greatest strength.
"The people were surprised to see
us. They believed that I had been killed and that my wife had gone
off and killed herself. That is not unknown. My wife did not want
me to tell our story and would only let me say that I had escaped
from my captors. The people honoured me for that, but it was not
"I have asked you old ones to our
lodge to witness for me. It is time to repay the great debt I owe
my wife. Throughout my life I was fortunate as a warrior and
somehow I was able to win some honours and gain a reputation. Yet
all those honours are not mine because I could not have achieved
them if my wife had not risked her life. I have not heard of any
man in my lifetime who has done a braver deed. She traveled alone
into enemy country and sneaked into an enemy's village. Few men
can say they have done that.
"Because of her deed I took to the
warpath each time with one thought in mind: to be worthy of my
wife. For my life long I have tried to be worthy, but I am afraid
I am not. So I must give all these honours to the one who truly
deserves them. I give them to my wife. I ask that my warrior
weapons and my eagle-feather staff be moved from the man's place
in our lodge to the woman's place, where they rightfully should
"I will leave this world soon and
I ask that another thing be done. I ask that my burial scaffold
hold only my body wrapped in my burial robe. I will leave this
world as the man I was before I met my wife; poor and unadorned.
All that I appeared to be would not have been if not for this
Three Horns sighed deeply and settled
back. No Moccasins silently wiped away her tears and pulled a robe
up over her husband.
"I have known good people in my
life," Three Horns continued. "Many were wise,
honourable, generous, and brave. But none, except this old woman
who sits beside me as always, had the one strength that gives true
meaning to all others - humility.
"She did a brave thing, and no one
- not the strongest warrior among us - has yet to do the same. Yet
she cared not if anyone ever knew. It is time that everyone knows.
Thus I have spoken."
The old ones who gathered with Three
Horns gave their word to tell the story of No Moccasins' courage
and humility. Through the days and nights that followed, young and
old alike crowded around the campfires to listen to those old
ones. Before long No Moccasins' name rose with the smoke from many
Days later Three Horns died in the arms
of his beloved No Moccasins. Though her loss was great she
comforted others. As he wished,
Three Horns' burial scaffold was unadorned. Those who mourned for
him also honoured his widow.
No Moccasins died in her seventieth
winter. On her burial scaffold were hung her husband's shield, his
weapons, and the eagle-feather staff. On the ground below were
piled hundreds of moccasins so she would not have to journey to
the other side in bare feet.
Joseph M. Marshall III
"The Lakota Way" - 2001
Skin... for the
want of it.
Skin... it lives and breathes.
Skin, it's yours I desire.
Skin is a living breathing
entity, expressing the desires of the heart, the wants of the mind,
the solace spirit seeks. Skin is the essence and definition of who
we are. It is the totality of our spirit. It is a living breathing
Skin, it raps me up
in you. You wrap me up with your skin. Skin on skin. Your skin on
mine is the answer to my prayers. Your skin on mine is the life I
need. Your skin on mine is the embrace of your heart. I am heartless
without you. Your skin is all of your being, the manner in which
your spirit touches mine. When we are skin to skin I am home.
I need skin time.
Medicine of Great Horned Owl...
"do not fear self-respect"
The ground was dry and the
climate arid. Trees were parched and barren, ravaged by
self-loathing. There was no water, no rain. How would anything
grow here? How could it flourish?
She looked around and she
was all alone, but the voice within said, "It doesn't
matter, this is our home, our right place, where we belong, and we
are going to stay right here." With conviction she vowed,
"This is who I am. I am standing right here in the centre
of who I am. I am not going to move from my right place!"
It was her decision to
stay, her decision not to be bullied or shamed out of her right
place - in the face of incredibly shaming pressures - that gave
the seed within the means to grow. Sprouting this seed was not her
conscious intention because until it started to grow she had no
idea it existed. She called this seed Resistance.
The next time she looked
inward at the seed she noticed it had grown into a small tree. She
saw that her Resistance to being shamed out of existence had grown
roots, roots that grew down deep into the sustainability of Mother
Earth. As her determination and self-respect grew the roots of
Resistance tightened their grip around the rocks anchoring her in
persisted, and so did she. The difficulties did not make it easy
for her to stay. They taunted her, cackling their humiliations.
When she looked inward
again she noticed that the tree had burst upward, trunk and
branches solid from purposefulness. She saw that the entire valley
had become green, supportive of lush vegetation. Gone were the
days of dry, baked, hard-pan soil. The valley had become green
simply because she had chosen to nourish her own self-respect.
Self-respect, it would seem, is contagious.
The next time she looked
inside she noticed the tree had blossoms, feminine pink unfolding
with delicacy - the nature of her being. She had not expected the
tree to blossom. She accepted the tree as the manifestation of
perseverance but she had not expected it to be so radiant and
High winds and crashing
waves rocked the landscape of her soul... doubt, fear, misery,
loneliness, despair. She surfed the big waves.
When she looked inside
this time she discovered the blossoms had borne fruit. Who knew?
Who knew there could ever be such rich and rewarding results from
the will to reclaim dignity and demand accountability? Gone was
the pain of the barren dead branches. Gone was the parched
landscape of blame and self-loathing.
The fruit was ripe and
perfect and when she went to pick what Resistance and Self-Respect
had grown she noticed she was no longer alone. Around her had
grown an orchard of lush green fruit bearing trees all in various
stages of rooting and blooming. Honey bees and butterflies danced
aimlessly amongst the blossoms. The temperature was perfect. The
air was fragrant. The sun was replenishing. She held her own and
the Earth held her in return. And who came to share a picnic with
her under the shade of her tree? A Gardener - not a harvester,
and she knew she was back in the Garden of Eden.
Where are the dances of Oneness,
That I knew before my birth?
Did I surrender my wholeness
In order to walk the Earth?
Did I choose forgetting
In order to make life real?
Did I inhabit a human body
So I could learn how to feel?
I am here to dance the dream
In my sacred human form.
To celebrate my uniqueness
And ask no other to conform.
Dancing through life's lessons,
I will learn to move with grace,
While I dream of remembering
The potential of the human race.
Grandfather says this:
"In life there is sadness as well as joy, losing as well as
winning, falling as well as standing, hunger as well as plenty,
badness as well as goodness. I do not say this to make you
despair, but to teach you reality. Life is a journey, sometimes
walked in light, sometimes walked in shadow."
Grandfather says this:
"You did not ask to be born, but you are here. You have
weaknesses as well as strengths. You have both because in life
there is two of everything. Within you is the will to win, as well
as the willingness to lose. Within you is the heart to feel
compassion as well as the smallness to be arrogant. Within you is
the way to face life as well as the fear to turn away from
Grandfather says this:
"Life can give you strength. Strength can come from facing
the storms of life, from knowing loss, feeling sadness and
heartache, from falling into the depths of grief. You must stand
up in the storm. You must face the wind and the cold and the
darkness. When the storm blows hard you must stand firm for it is
not trying to knock you down, it is really trying to teach you to
Grandfather says this:
"Being strong means taking one more step toward the top of
the hill, no matter how weary you may be. It means letting the
tears flow through the grief. It means to keep looking for the
answer, though the darkness of despair is all around you. Being
strong means to cling to hope for one more heartbeat, one more
sunrise. Each step, no matter how difficult, is one more step
closer to the top of the hill. To keep hope alive for one more
heartbeat at a time leads to the light of the next sunrise, and
the promise of a new day."
this: "The weakest step toward the top of the hill,
toward sunrise, toward hope, is stronger than the fiercest
this: "Keep going."
Joseph M. Marshall III
"Keep Going - the Art of Perseverance" - 2006