As indigenous people it is the memory and dreams of what it meant to be free roaming-those times before the invasion, the defeats, and the reservation, that in part sustains us today.
In another generation or two at this present rate of assimilation the dreams will be no more, and the memories only vague ephemeral things we will clutch at and never quite recall.
Our spirits will no longer be able to communicate with us for our lack of knowing the language, ceremonies will be spoken in a tongue once foreign to us and them, and in doing so lose much of their value and the ability that allows us to connect.
It is cause for alarm, but those who are already disconnected fail to understand or appreciate the gravity of such things. It is more than claiming some measure of the blood, it is about being one thing or another-and makes the struggle to regain what has been lost even more poignant and desperate.
Respect for the land has been all but lost-go to any rez and see the sprawling litter, abandoned decaying buildings, rusting vehicles, piled up refuse, graffiti, wine bottles and beer cans that are the new landscape, to know the way of this.
Women have fallen to a near state of chattel, children are abused and abandoned by either one or both parents, elder abuse is no longer a stranger.
Rape, crime, alcohol and substance abuse are rapidly becoming the new traditions. Men who would once hunt and forage for days if necessary to feed those dependent upon them now are content to wait for the check and talk of being warriors.
Leaders no longer base their leadership on wisdom or the common good, it is about nepotism, corruption, backroom deals, lining their own pockets, and some form of celebrity.
Our spirits speak to us in dreams and visions in the only language they know-our languages-when the language is lost so to will be the dreams and visions, and then the memories.
Time to mount up, we need to impress ourselves and those around us with our behavior and the quality of person we are first- not an outside internet based audience.
In a related aside I would add that just his day I saw a crystal waver site going on about Spider Woman that included a photo of an “altar” the author had constructed in their home on a small table that consisted of a statuette of Spider Woman(?), a little fountain with flowing water, a knife, a feather, and other paraphenalia-I’m never quite sure how to react to things like this-whether it is the work of a well intentioned child with a vivid imagination or a complete lack of understanding.
Altars with little fountains and statues-sounds very Catholic to me-life is the altar-it is where offerings and good works should be placed and the way we approach it.
We pray and offer each morning as a family to Creator for the gift of all things-we offer sage, cedar, and tobacco, but we live the day and the things we do and say as a continuation of that.
We view prophecies as communication to be aware of, sign posts along the way-but we do not make them a life’s work, as we know the things that will be will be and scripted in the distant past. Neither would we ever seek to monetarily profit from them.
It might be nice to be privy all things-yet we accept it isn’t given to us, and in viewing the corruption of what is known and of prophecies we accept that as wisdom greater than our own.
We do not entertain apprehension, fear of what may be or what may not be, because we believe and trust. When one builds a fire they do so with an eye to containing it knowing the damage it may do-this is our approach, we are aware of what can happen and in our awareness of this we prepare accordingly-but we do not dwell on these things, instead we live the life given to us.
I have no problem with altars per se if they provide a comfort or a focal point-all I would ask is that those constructing one leave us out of it.