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Monday, August 7, 2017

America's Throw Away Indian Project: My Battles


I choose my battles carefully.  Each day, I embrace the good fight.  I challenge my natural tendencies and strive to be the best person I can be.  In this daily struggle, I obligate myself and aspire to BECOME THE VERY BEST VERSION OF ME I CAN BE TODAY.  Fighting the battle of me vs. me, this is a fight to which I desire to be a participant.

What I consider triumph, in this exclusive internal crusade, is my insides matching my outsides.  For me, this is a daily feud I find worthy, and it occupies a sense of silent dignity.  Does this have any meaning to you?  Can any part of you identify with what I am striving to describe?  I hope to make sense.  It certainly makes sense in my head.   I hope it translates to others.  My desire is never to feel alone in this journey of life.

I want to look squarely at myself and face myself as I am, all of me.  Facing the "Me" that is less than desirable and the "Me" that is fiercely determined to be an honorable person.  The person, my parents, worked their lives to teach me to be, a woman they could be proud of.  Wish me luck as I am a formidable opponent.  Wish me luck as I attempt to infuse and integrate and find a balance where peace becomes my bedfellow.



Traditionally, my people, meaning my tribe, Lake Cowichan First Nation, they lived in long houses.  My people lived in a communal lifestyle.  I believe I am genetically set up for this style of living.  Creator had different plans for me.  I have ceased trying to understand why Creator made a life for me where I am alone without a large family and accept my place, my station, and I do the very best I can do.

I count myself as blessed as this life journey of being a wolf without a pack has made me incredibly strong.  So tenacious that my presence makes others feel nervous and sometimes scared of me.  I am no one to be trifled with for sure.  I am very loving and very nurturing.  Many times, I do not understand why people are scared of me.  It is a mystery to me.  It is another mystery I spend no time trying to figure out.  I am diligent at monitoring my presence to put others at ease.

I am now fifty years old.  For the most part, I am finally at peace with who I have matured into.  I find peace with who I am and what I do.  I do not live my life for others.  I did live my life for others for many, many years and found I was a constant disappointment.  Now THAT was a hard way to live.  It wasn't even me who was the disappointment.  I was a reflection to others their own failure of self-actualization and integration of the design Creator intended.

I am adopted.  I have my biological family and my adopted family.  I speak to neither family.  Maybe it is they do not talk to me.  This is another mystery I gave up trying to understand.  I created this page to publicly discuss how it feels to be an Aboriginal woman from Canada.  Born a female without honor or reverence Native Americans and First Nation people boast so frequently in public.  Nope.  I am a Lake Cowichan First Nation woman without an identity aside from the identity I carved for myself along my life's journey.  Sometimes the woman you will see is angry, sad, resentful, confused, lost, lonely, longing for my biological family just to want me.  Longing for my biological family to even say hello.  Longing for my biological family to be curious about me and reach out to me.  But I have accepted this will NEVER happen.  I am a ghost to them.



My adopted family, they do not speak to me either.  My adoptive parents are dead now.  My brother who was their biological son hates me and has since they day they brought me home in 1969.  I have occasional contact with a couple cousins in my adopted family.  For the most part, though, I am not accepted in my adopted family's life.  I do not fit in.  They do not like me.  They certainly do not like me talking about my feelings of being taken and the feelings I have of being stripped of my culture and heritage.  To them, speaking of this, is a slap in their face, as if I am ungrateful for their love and ungrateful to the family in general.

So I live in a small world.  I married a man who accepts me and all of my sadness.  I have a daughter that LOVES me so much, it is what saves me.  She understands the grief I carry isn't either one of my families fault.  She is fifteen now, and she completely understands that what I feel is the result of the assimilation laws of the U.S. and Canadian governments.  The sadness will never leave me.  I have diligently made it clear to my daughter not to allow my sadness to infect her.  The sadness I carry is mine and mine alone.



The sadness I carry, it is assimilation and not hers.  I have raised my daughter to identify as white.  I have consciously and very much designed her life to be "WHITE" & not Lake Cowichan First Nation.  My daughter, she will bear none of the pain I carry.  I am the first generation of the reserve.  In American, the government calls Indian land reservations.  In Canada, the Aboriginal land is called reserves.  I am the bridge to the HORRENDOUS PAST OF ASSIMILATION AND GENOCIDE.  I WILL CARRY ALL OF THAT FOR MY CHILDREN.  MY KIDS WILL BE FREE OF THIS PAIN.

THE GOVERNMENT WINS.

I WILL TELL MY STORY BEFORE I DIE.  I WILL TELL THE WORLD HOW PAINFUL IT IS TO BE AN ABORIGINAL ADOPTEE.  I WILL EXPLAIN HOW IF FEELS TO HAVE LIVED,  BUT THIS "LIVING" IS A WHAT I CALL A WALKING DEATH.  EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE IS ANOTHER DAY OF LIVING-GENOCIDE.  AND THIS MY FAIR READERS, IS MORE PAINFUL THAN BROKEN BONES, CHILDBIRTH, TORTURE, IT IS A DAILY LIFE LIVED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF HOW I AM THE GENOCIDE BOTH THE U.S. AND CANADIAN GOVERNMENTS SET OUT TO ACCOMPLISH WITH MY RACE.  IT IS A PRISON.  THIS IS HOW I CAN DESCRIBE IT TO THOSE WITH LITTLE KNOWLEDGE OR FALSE KNOWLEDGE:  I AM TOO RED FOR THE WHITE WORLD AND TOO WHITE FOR THE RED WORLD.  I WILL NEVER FIT INTO EITHER WORLD.

WHY CREATOR DIDN'T LET ME DIE IN THE CAR ACCIDENT MY MOTHER DIED IN ON DECEMBER 21ST, 1967, WHY CREATOR HAS MADE ME LIVE THIS LIFE ALONE AND REJECTED, WELL THIS IS A MYSTERY I WILL NEVER COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND.

SO I SAY THIS, MY STORY WILL NOT ONLYCONSIT OF DESCRIBING MY LIFE AS AN ADOPTED PERSON ROBBED OF HERITAGE, LANGUAGE, CULTURE, LARGE FAMILY, FAMILY TIES, BUT I AM GOING TO WRITE DOWN ALL OF THE UGLIES PERSONAL THINGS THAT HAPPENED TOME ALONG THE WAY.

I HAVE SURVIVED PHYSICAL ABUSE, SEX ABUSE, DRUG ABUSE, ATTEMPTED SUICIDES, PROMESCRUITY, ABORTIONS, VIOLENCE, ALCOHOL BINGE DRINKING, DROPPING OUT OF COLLEGE IN MY SENIOR YEAR.  MY STORY WILL SHOW I CHOSE A MARRIAGE THAT FOR THE MOST PART, MY HUSBAND IS GOOD TO ME, BUT HE TOO HAS A DARKNESS INSIDE HIM.  HE IS NOT ABSENT OF A NASTY TEMPER.  HE HAS OUTBURSTS, AND HE HAS A MEANNESS THAT NO ONE SEES OUTSIDE OF CLOSED DOORS.  I HAVE NOWHERE TO GO.  I HAVE NO MONEY TO GET ME THERE IF I HAD SOMEWHERE TO GO.

I USED TO BELIEVE THERE WAS PHILANTHTOPISTS EXISTED THAT WOULD HEAR MY STORY AND WOULD WANT TO HELPME CONNECT WITH MY FAMILY.  A PHILANTHROPIST THAT WOULD HELP ME BUY A CAR, ELECTRONICS TO RECORD MY JOURNEY AND PRODUCE A FILM OF THAT JOURNEY TO USE AS A PRODUCTION TO ENCOURAGE THE GROWTH OF HURH.RUP.org.  A PHILANTHROPIST WITH ENOUGH MONEY TO ASSIST ME IN KEEPING MY HOME HERE IN THE U.S. SO MY CHILDREN AND I HAVE A HOME TO RETURN TO AFTER OUR JOURNEY TO CANADA.



A PHILANTHROPIST THAT WOULD PROVIDE ME WITH MONEY FOR A PASSPORT, FAIRY MONEY, LODGING, FOOD, GIFTS TO GIVE MY BIOLOGICAL FAMILY SO I DIDN'T GO HOME EMPTY HANDED, MONEY TO BY MYSELF AND MY CHILDREN FOOD WHILE IN CANADA.  A PHILANTHROPIST THAT HAD SO MUCH MONEY, THEY COULD MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE AND THAT THEY WOULD HELP ME TRAVEL THE 10 HOURS IT TAKES TO GET TO MY HOMELANDS.  YES, YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY.  THE FAMILY I WAS STOLEN FROM, THE HERITAGE, CULTURE, AND MY BLOODLANDS ARE A MEASLY TEN HOURS FROM WHERE I LIVE NOW.  I HAVE GIVEN UP THIS DREAM OF RETURNING HOME.  I HAVE FINALLY COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACT THAT THERE ARE ZERO PHIOLANTHROPIST IN THIS WORLD WITH ANY INTEREST IN SEEING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE BEING REUNITED WITH THEIR PAST, THEIR OWN MYSTERIES.  IF THERE IS A PHILANTHROPIST OUT THERE IN THE WORLD, I HAVEN'T THE FIRST IDEA HOW TO FIND THEM.  

I HAVE GIVEN UP THE DREAM OF EVER BEING ABLE TO MAKE THAT TEN HOUR DRIVE.  I HAVE GIVEN THAT DREAM UP, I HAVE GIVEN UP HOPE.  THE REALITY IS, I WILL DIE RIGHT WHERE I AM.  I WILL DIE IN A LITTLE TOWN, AND WITH ME ONE MORE PIECE OF MY TRIBE WILL DIE.  IT IS MY WALKING DEATH.  THIS STORY TURNED DARK.  WHEN I WRITE ABOUT MY STORY AND HOW IT FEELS IT ALWAYS TURNS DARK.    I HAVE GIVEN UP ON HAVING A HUMOROUS, BUBBLY STORY TO WRITE.

I  LIVE MY LIFE IN SERVICE TO OTHERS.  IT SOFTENS THE SADNESS, AND SOMETIMES THE ANGER RESIDING  INSIDE ME.  I FINALLY HAVE COME TO TERMS I CAN ONLY PUT THOSE FEELINGS TO BED.  I HAVE COME TO TERMS THAT I AM UNABLE TO EXTINGUISH ENTIRELY THE SADNESS THAT SATURATES MY SOUL.  AS SOON AS I BEGIN TO WRITE DOWN WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME, MY STORY BECOMES DARK.

I WILL BE SHOCKED IF PEOPLE WHO FIND THEIR WAY TO #ATAIP WILL BE ABLE TO FOLLOW THE DARKNESS AND HANG IN THERE WITH ME UNTIL I AM ABLE TO LEAD THEM TO THE LIGHT I FOUND AFTER FORTY YEARS OF LEARNING HOW TO LIVE WITH THE LIVING DEATH.  WHAT IS #ATAIP, YOU ASK?

AMERICA'S THROW AWAY INDIAN PROJECT #ATAIP...MORE LATER, I FIND MYSELF EMPTY NOW.  I MUST RECHARGE.  IT TAKES A LOT OUT OF A PERSON TO WRITE THIS STUFF DOWN.  A LOT OF FEAR ACCOMPANIES THIS JOURNEY.  IT HAS ALSO BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT EXPLAINING OR TELLING MY STORY IS LIKE HUMAN REPELLANT.  PEOPLE FLEE WHEN THEY BEGIN TO HEAR THIS STUFF.

~BigMamaBlaze





P.S.
All caps was purposeful.  It is my anger that jumps out of me when I begin to open myself up about my darkness.  It is my shock and disappointment in myself for feeling the way I do when I write about my darkness.  Finally, it is the awakening of pain inside me that I have put to bed.  It is that duality inside me of being a matured woman who has learned to cope and keep quiet, and when speaking about my experience I have an explosion of feelings, and it's embarrassing.  I feel humiliated.  I make no promises of how telling my story is going to sound.  I do promise I will continue to define what  #ATAIP  means to me.

I ALSO PRAY THAT OTHER ADOPTED FIRST NATION AND NATIVE AMERICAN MEAN AND WOMEN WHO FIND THIS, I PRAY THEY WILL SUBMIT THEIR STORIES TOO, SO I DO NOT SOUND LIKE A MENTAL PATIENT.  I HOPE OTHERS WILL SHRE THEIR STORIES.  (THIS ONE IS FEAR)

I once had a dream of an organization I created and called it HURH.RUP.org.  This organization was a sustainable, green company, filled with teams of people dedicated to assisting adoptees reuniting with their biological families.  I designed it as a non-profit company that uses footage of journey of those who made it home and their experience to train others to build more offices built with recycled products to help more adoptees to find their way to their blood lands.
Each group would train more people, constructing more HURH.RUP.org centers, eventually erected in every state.  All of these would be designed for the sole purpose of assisting others like me to be reunified.  The films would launch into a television series or a movie series and eventually become self-sustainable.  The money had to come from my "fantasized" philanthropist that I now know doesn't exist.  The HURH.RUP.org is "Help Us Return Home Re - Unification Project.  Like #ATAIP #HURH.RUP is just that, dreams of an Indian that America threw away and buried in the graveyard of red tape.





Wednesday, July 26, 2017

VISIT MY NEW PAGE AND HELP ME TELL THE WORLD THE TRUTH.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORIES, THE STORIES YOU GREW UP LISTENING TO.  SHARE HEALING PRAYERS, SONGS, POEMS, ARTWORK, ANYTHING YOU WANT TO.  HELP ME TELL THE WORLD THE TRUTH.





Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crow Necklace and His Medicine Ceremony




There was a party of Gros Ventre Indians who went out for a hunt From Knife River where the old camp was, and while they were hunting, the Assiniboins came and attacked the hunters. Some getaway and were saved. A young man among them looked for his sister and could not find her. So he trailed them to their camp. This man was an Assiniboin who had been a little boy captured by the GrosVentre and made a slave.



Sister
Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet



The girl called him brother but was not really related to him. When all was quiet at night he went through the camp to look for his sister. He came to a big teepee and heard talking. Looking through a hole, he saw two men wounded whom he recognized as his own brothers. Now he had shot two Assiniboin in the conflict (and he recognized these two as the ones he shot).  Drawing his robe over his head, he entered and sat down beside their father, who was his father too. The wounded men told their father to fill his pipe and smoke with the stranger. The boy had not forgotten his own language, so he spoke to the old man and said, "Father, it is I." When he told what had happened to him, the father put his hands about his neck and fainted; the mother did the same. When he told them it was he who had shot the two brothers, they all laughed over it. He told them that he was looking for his sister, and the wounded men advised the father to call in the chiefs and tell them about her.




Smoke
Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet



So the chiefs arranged not to move camp for four days, but to have a feast and call together all the slaves taken from theirs Ventre and let them eat. Then they had a dance called the Scalp-Dance, but the sister was not there. According to the old custom, slaves are supposed to belong to the tribe by which they are captured, so the slaves too got up and danced with them. All the slaves knew the young man. They called him "Crow Necklace.



Crow Necklace
Artist: Susan Seddon Boulet



“Before the four days were passed he said to the slaves, "Go steal some moccasins and dry meat and one of these nights we will run away." On the last of the four nights, they were all prepared. They stole sinew and cut pieces of Buffalo hide from the tents for moccasins. It was storming when they left - young women, old, and children, the young women carrying the children on their backs -and they ran North instead of East in the direction from which they came. Coming to a dry lake, they laid down in the deep grass and the snow covered them. Meanwhile, the Assiniboin discovered their absence and tracked after them but could not find them. They came to the lake but, seeing nothing of them, went home except one who stood looking. Crow Necklace crept up and killed him and took his scalp.



Scalp
Artist;  Susan Seddon Boulet



That night they went until daylight, traveling North-East until they came to another dry lake thick with grass. There they stayed allay. Four days they traveled in the night and hid all day. By this time they were up at the headwaters. From there they came around toward the Missouri River and came out at a place we call "Timber Coulee." At that time it was full of timber. Crow Necklace was about to push down an old tree which had an Owl's nest on top. An old Owl said, "Don't push that tree or my young ones will get cold. We are the ones who have helped you get around to your home again. It ill be best for you to go back to your own tribe: there you will find chief's daughter waiting to marry you." So when they wanted him to marry some of the women he refused and said, "No! The young ones are my sisters and the old ones are my mothers. The Owl directed him, “After leaving this place, go directly to the Short Missouri to camp, then on to Wood-Trap (right across the river West from here).Here all the Spirits will set traps to catch all kinds of wild animals for you to eat. When you get there, build a tipi out in the bush. Go inside and do not go out, and they will bring you meat themselves." So they did this - fixed up nice and went in. Outside they could hear the noise of butchering going on around them.



Owl
Artist: Susan Seddon Boulet


When the noise ceased they went out and found meat cut up or wrapped in hides and laid up on scaffolds. The Owl told Crow Necklace that they were now not far from the tribe - at the next move they would reach home. The next day they moved until they came to a high hill. Crow Necklace fixed up a skull and painted their faces black. Astley approached, they saw a woman crying on top of a hill and someone pointed her out to Cow Necklace; it was his sister. He called to her, and when she saw him she fainted. Then the whole camp came out to meet them and everybody made much of Crow Necklace. Herold the story of their adventures and brought food for them to eat.



Artist Unkown



All the hides he had asked to have tanned in order to make Medicine after he got back home. Among them was a White Buffalo hide. Softer he had married a chief's daughter as had been foretold, he made Medicine in order to understand all the mysterious beings and leave out none of them. And that cost him everything he had prepared - a hundred moccasins, a hundred robes, and a hundred blankets- everything in hundreds.





Friday, July 7, 2017

I have produced my first post on my new Facebook Page






Boy Stolen by Thunderbird


Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet



Many, many years ago, a young Winnebago Indian Orphan-Boy lived in a small village with his grandmother. He found a friend about his own age. One day, they hunted for hickory wood to make bird arrows, which they used for hunting hawks. Orphan-Boy captured a young pigeon hawk and took it home. Soon, it became his pet bird.

Sometime later, Orphan-Boy put a little tobacco in a bundle and tied it around the hawk's neck. It disappeared for a few days, then returned without the tobacco bundle. Again, Orphan-Boy tied another bundle of tobacco around his pet's neck. It disappeared again, but returned to Orphan-Boy as it had before.

When the pet hawk became fully grown, Orphan-Boy suggested that it might want to go away and make a life for itself. So he tied another tobacco bundle around the pigeon hawk's neck, thanking him for staying with him for so long a time. Immediately, the bird flew away and never returned to Orphan-Boy.

Another day, Orphan-Boy and his friend hunted for dogwood to make pointed arrows. They accidentally became separated in a low fog. From above, however, a bad Thunderbird saw Orphan-Boy and swooped down, seizing him in his claws. The huge bird carried him away to its home in the high mountains.

For a long, long time the friend looked for Orphan-Boy. Finally, he gave up searching far and wide. But every day, he faithfully returned to the place where Orphan-Boy had disappeared, mourning still for his lost companion.

When the bad Thunderbird reached its mountainous home, he and his friends tied Orphan-Boy down to the floor. Their purpose was to hold him there until nothing remained in his stomach. Then they planned to devour him.

Little pigeon hawk decided to go and have a look at Thunderbird's prisoner. Imagine his surprise to find that Orphan-Boy, his kind friend, was the prisoner.

Little pigeon hawk left and decided to hunt for some young birds and roast them. Later, he returned, putting some of the meat under his wings and secretly dropping it into Orphan-Boy's mouth. Every day little pigeon hawk brought meat for Orphan-Boy until the Thunderbirds became suspicious of pigeon hawk.

The next day, the bad Thunderbirds decided to exclude little pigeon hawk when he came to visit Orphan-Boy. One Thunderbird pushed him toward the door, but little pigeon hawk accidentally on purpose fell close to the fire and scorched some of his feathers. He made a great noise and commotion, running to his big brother, Big Black-Hawk, who was Chief of the Thunderbirds.

"What can the matter be, little brother?" asked the Chief. Little pigeon hawk told his big brother the whole story from the beginning. When the Chief heard all, he became very angry.

Immediately, he went to the place where Orphan-Boy was still held down to the floor. The Chief scolded the bad Thunderbirds for their wrongdoing. Because they had pushed little pigeon hawk too close to the fire, the Chief announced they could no longer keep Orphan-Boy as their prisoner. Chief Big Black-Hawk cut the ropes and took the freed young boy home with him.

Every day, little pigeon hawk brought roasted bird meat for his friend Orphan-Boy, helping him to regain his strength. Later, Orphan-Boy made a bow and some arrows and took little pigeon hawk hunting with him.

Before winter weather arrived, Chief Big Black-Hawk informed his little brother that it would be better for Orphan-Boy to return to his own people.

"He does not belong up here with the Thunder Spirits, and I do not think Mother Earth Spirit will approve of it," said the Chief.

Little pigeon-hawk took Orphan-Boy back to the very place from where he had disappeared a long time ago. That evening, Orphan- Boy's old faithful friend came as usual to that place and found Orphan-Boy had returned! How surprised and delighted both boys were to see each other again. Orphan-Boy told his old friend everything that had happened to him since he had been kidnapped by the Thunderbird.

A Thanksgiving feast was prepared by the grandmother for both families to celebrate the happy homecoming of the boy stolen by the Thunderbird. From that time forward, Orphan-Boy and his faithful friend had many happy hunting times together, trying never to be separated again.




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

INDIAN SUMMER





Long ago there was a man who was known as Notkikad. This man was a good husband and father and worked hard for his family. He planted a great deal every year and cared for his gardens so that there would be plenty of food. He was always grateful to Tabaldak, The Master of Life. And gave thanks, each harvest. One year, though, things did not go well for him. There was a late frost and his garden was killed. He planted it again and then there came a drought. Again he planted, but now it was the autumn ant the cold weather came and killed the plants before they were ripe.

Notkikad was very troubled. His wife and children had gathered berries and other foods from the forest, but without the dried corn and squash and beans for them to keep over the long cold time, he was afraid they would not survive. Now the cold season was here and the leaves were falling from the trees and the freezing winds blew. What could he do?

That night, before he slept, he made a small fire and offered tobacco to The Master of Life. “I have never asked for help,” he said, “I have always been thankful for the blessings given to me. But now I am troubled, not so much for myself as for my wife and children. I want to know what I can do.” Then he went to bed and dreamed.

In his dream, The Master came to him. “I am giving you these special seeds,” The Master said. “I am also giving you a time in which to plant them.”

When Notkikad awoke he found the seeds were there beside him. He went outside and though the leaves were still falling from the trees, the weather was now warm and pleasant as if it were the summer. With the help of his wife and children, he prepared the soil and planted all the seeds.

The sun set and rose and the seeds had already germinated and lifted green shoots out of the earth. The sun rose and set again and now the young plants were already waist high. So it went from day to day as the special seeds given to him grew rapidly in only a handful of days.

Then Notkikad harvested his crop and dried the corn and beans and squash for the winter. He and his family stored all of the food within their wigwam. Then, as suddenly as it had gone away, the cold winds returned and that special season given by The Master of Life was gone.

To this day, the people say, that special time is still given to us each year, even though we have none of the magical seeds. That time, which people call Indian Summer today, was called Nibubalnoba or “a man’s summer” by the Abenaki. It reminds them to always be thankful.


To visit the storyteller's website:  CLICK HERE




Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Native American Code of Ethics


Shamanic Drum Circle
by:  Susan Seddon Boulet

 
1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy, and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes, and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body, and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.




This originally appeared in the "Inter-Tribal Times," October 1994
                                                                            ©nativevillage.org




Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Stretching Tree



Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky
Emily Carr 1935


Once an old man and a young man and two women lived together. The two women were the young man's wives. Now, the young man needed some feathers for his arrows. One day, seeing a hawk's nest in a high tree, he started to climb to it to get the hawk-feathers. Now, the old man was jealous of the young man, and had followed him. And when he saw him climbing the tree, he used his magic and made the tree grow higher and higher, and at the same time peeled off all the bark so that the trunk was slippery; and as the young man was naked, he could not come down, but had to remain in the top of the tree. When the young man failed to appear that night, the old man said he wished to move camp, and that the women were to come with him. And the next morning they started. Now, one of the women liked the old man; but the other one, who had a baby, disliked him, and when they camped for the night, she would take her baby, and make a fire for herself outside the camp and away from the old man. So they went on for several days.

All this time the young man stayed up in the tree; and as it was cold and he had no clothes, he took his hair, which was very long, and wove feathers in it, and so made a blanket to protect himself. The little birds who built their nests in the sticks of the hawk's nest tried their best to carry him down to the ground, but could not lift him, and so he stayed on.

Finally one day he saw coming, a long way off, an old woman bent over, and with a stick in each hand. She came to the bottom of the tree where the young man was, and began to climb, and climbed until she reached the young man, and then she turned out to be Spider. Then Spider spun a web for him, and of the web the young man made a rope and so reached the ground. 


When he came back to his camp, he found it deserted, but discovered the trail of the fugitives, and started to follow. He trailed them a long time, and finally saw them in the distance. Now, the woman who did not like the old man was following behind with her little boy; and the child, looking back, saw his father and cried out, "Why, there is my father!" But the mother replied, "What do you mean? Your father has been dead a long time." But looking back herself, she saw her husband, and waited for him to come up, and they stopped together.

Then she told her husband all that had happened, how the old man had wished to take both his wives, and how she would not have him, but how the other one took him. Now, the woman was carrying a large basket, and she put her husband into it and covered him up. When they reached the old man's camp she put the basket down close to the fire; but the old man took it and placed it some distance away. The woman brought it back and as she did so the young man sprang out and struck the old man and killed him. Then he killed his faithless wife; and taking the other woman, who was true, and the little boy, they went back to their old home together.



The Journey To The Sunrise


Frank Polson~Sunrise Ceremony

A long time ago several young men made up their minds to find the place where the Sun lives and see what the Sun is like. They got ready their bows and arrows, their parched corn and extra moccasins, and started out toward the east. At firstthey met tribes they knew, then they came to tribes they had only heard about, and at last to others of which they had never heard.


Louise Vien~Writtern In The Grain


There was a tribe of root eaters and another of acorn eaters, with great piles of acorn shells near their houses. In one tribe they found a sick man dying, and were told it was the custom there when a man died to bury his wife in the same grave with him. They waited until he was dead, when they saw his friends lower the body into a great pit, so deep and dark that from the top they could not see the bottom. Then a rope was tied around the woman's body, together with a bundle of pine knots, a lighted pine knot was put into her hand, and she was lowered into the pit to die there in the darkness after the last pine knot was burned.

The young men traveled on until they came at last to the sunrise place where the sky reaches down to the ground. They found that the sky was an arch or vault of solid rock hung above the earth and was always swinging up and down, so that when it went up there was an open place like a door between the sky and ground, and when it swung back the door was shut. The Suncame out of this door from the east and climbed along on the inside of the arch.  It had a human figure, but was too bright for them to see clearly and too hot to come very near. They waited until the Sun had come out and then tried to get through while the door was still open, but just as the first one was in the doorway the rock came down and crushed him.  The other six were afraid to try it, and as they were now at the end of the world they turned around and started back again,but they had traveled so far that they were old men whey they reached home.




As told in "History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee" by James Moody ISBN#0-914875-19-1


Definition of a Pine Knot:  Fatwood, also known as "fat lighter," "lighter wood," "rich lighter," "pine knot," "lighterknot," "heart pine" or "lighter" [sic], is derived from the heartwood of pine trees. This resin-impregnated heartwood becomes hard and rot-resistant.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

America's Throw Away Indian Project: Going For A Drive Part II

A link to Going For A Drive Part I at the foot of this post...

Part II

We were standing in the Post office, and my father had approached the man who had come in to collect his mail.  My dad, towering over him, places his hand on the man's shoulder and asks, "Are you, Cyril Livingstone?"

The man reluctantly responds, "Yes."

We later found out the man who my father approached had been mistaken for another person the week prior who had committed a crime.  Of course, he was released. However, it did make him a little leery, especially when a stranger in a post office approached him and asked his name.  It truly was a case of mistaken identity.

My father introduced himself to Cyril and explained how he adopted me and how he had driven us straight through from California.  The man and my dad looked my way.  I was still hiding in the corner.  Their gaze, in unison, turned to me.  I stood there frozen in time as my father told him the story of my adoption and how he had my biological mother's name and the name of one relative and my dad asked him, "Do you have a sister named Lauraine?"  Cyril responded, "I have a sister named Laura."  Still looking at me Cyril knew right away I was his niece.  He could tell I was the daughter of his sister Laura.  I bear a striking resemblance to my biological mother.  There was no doubt that my dad had found my family.


Julie Miers, born Julie Danielle Rhynes



My biological mother.  
Date of birth, age, location, unknown.

I could hear both my dad's deep calm voice and the unfamiliar voice of the man who was my biological uncle.  I remember hearing them speaking, but nothing distinctive.  I saw this look wash over the small man's face as he gazed at me as if he had seen a ghost.  My papa, with an all too familiar scowl on his brow, rigorously motioned his hands at me to come to him.  With perturbation, shuffling my feet to slow my gate, my hands behind my back and my fingers interlocked, my chin down, and with my shoulders tense and pulled up to my ears, I mosied over and joined the men.  My uncle said, "Hey! My God, she looks just like her." I nervously stood with my pops, grasping his arm and leaning into his armpit and my face on his chest.  This is when my uncle threw his arms around me and said, "I can't believe this is real.  I can't believe this is actually happening."  Cyril was my biological mother's younger brother.  He immediately insisted we come home with him and break bread.

Upon arriving at a strange, to me, home, we were ushered inside by my Uncle Cyril.  My dad and I stood in the living room while my Uncle Cyril disappeared into another room.  Shortly after, my uncle return followed by an old woman. She had her arms wide open and called my name over and over, "Julie, Julie, Julie"  This was my grandmother, Clara.  She was the grandmother who had attempted to get custody of me somewhere between my mother's death on December 21st, 1967 and the date of my adoption, February 8th, 1970.


Clara Livingstone
My daughter's namesake



It was my biological grandfather Gilbert and his wife, Clara who were denied custody of me.  They returned to Canada, and it was at this point I was considered dead by my biological family as was customary.  So, when my dad, George, drove me home and found my family, it was literally as if I had been brought back to life.  I had been brought back from the dead.

Side note for your consideration:  I want the reader to imagine the horrible possibility of your death.  I want you to imagine your parents attempting to retrieve your children from the DHS and being denied.  I want you to imagine your parents going to court seeking custody of your survivors and the courts denying your parents custody and placing your children for adoption?  It is real.  It happened to me.  I want you to imagine for what reason the courts would do this, and I am being polite, misguided act.  Please entertain this idea.  I wonder how you would feel and I wonder how your children would feel?


My family
That fateful day my dad found our way to my home

Back to my story
The family was called, at least the family that lived nearby. They were called, and a huge meal was prepared.  In my memory, it took some time to gather everything and everyone for the celebratory dinner.  How long I cannot remember correctly.  So I will not take liberties with my story.  Much of my memories after that are foggy.  I do remember my grandma Clara giving me a basket she had woven.  I have it to this day


This basket was woven by my grandmother Clara.  I have had this basket for 38 years.




My uncle Cyril, later in life becomes an essential connection to my connection to my tribe.  His name was Cyril Livingstone.  Shortly after meeting my dad and me, Cyril became Chief to our people.  No one knew then my uncle would become a champion for our tribe.  No one knew then Uncle Cyril would become a representative for the Lake Cowichan First Nation band and a member of the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group (HTG). I will speak more about Cyril in another post.

Here is an article tribute to Chief Cyril Livingstone  http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/382407191.html?mobile=true


To be continued...


BigMamaBlaze~BMB



To read part One: #ATAIP  GOING FOR A DRIVE;  Click here




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

America's Throw Away Indian Project: More than a race




Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  If you choose to leave a comment, thank you for making the time to leave comments.   I am happy you found your way here.

You have a story to tell?  I believe it is important the world hear your tale of survival.  Please submit your article in the comments at the foot of any post.  I have comments moderation activated on my blog.  I will publish your memoir once I have confirmed it does not contain hate speech.  My blog, my decision. Additionally, one may contribute their history anonymously.

At the foot of each post are the words "Post a Comment," or "No Comment," or "Comments," dependent on submissions.  Click on this, and it will link you to my inbox.  I will confirm your submission does not contain hate speech and post your remarks.  I would super, duper, double dog appreciate if you can leave in the comments, your location.  Posting your whereabouts allows me to keep track of what part of the world my blog reaches.  I sure would appreciate knowing the scope of discovery and just how my blog translates to different languages and cultures.
Leaving me a comment as to your opinion of my work, spoken in kindness I would hope, will help me to continue to shape my voice and pinpoint my audience.  I have no formal training as a writer. I just decided one day, to write.

Please forgive my grammar.  As I continue to practice, my writing skills will improve.  I believe in honest feedback, honest impressions, without being brutally honest.  Anything that you believe would be helpful, I invite you to contribute to my story, to my life.

Finally, I care not about your age, race, gender, country of origin, or your income; survival is survival.  What you share about yourself and how you survived, may just save someone else's life.  It is something to consider.

In sisterhood and friendship,

BigMamaBlaze~BMB

Here are some Survival memes to use and to share.













Monday, June 19, 2017

Her Seven Brothers



Her seven brothers:
By Paul Goble

There was once a young woman who was very good at quillwork. She could make the most beautiful designs and colors. One day she started making a set of clothes for a man, but she didn’t have any brothers or a husband. Once she finished that set of clothes, she made another set of clothes. When she was finished she had seven sets of clothing for men that were the most beautiful anyone had ever seen.

She told her mother she was going to go and find her brothers and take their clothes to them. The mother said she would go with her daughter, but her daughter told her it was too far. The mother said she would go part of the way. They set off. When they reached halfway the mother and the daughter parted.

Eventually, the girl came to a large tipi. A young boy met her, he was the smallest of the brothers. He was overjoyed with his new clothes, which fit him perfectly. The girl went into the tipi and put a set of clothes on each of the six remaining beds. She started cooking and cleaning. The six brothers came home and were very pleased to find her there and took her as their sister. Each of the brothers had some kind of power, but the youngest had the most unique powers.

One day a bison came to the door and demanded to take the girl away to the bison people. The brothers would not give her up. The next day a bigger bison came, but the brothers would not give her up. The third day, an even bigger bison came, but the brothers would not give her up. The fourth day, the ruling bison, the largest of them all, came with the entire bison nation. They demanded the girl, but the brothers would not give her up.

The girl and the seven brothers climbed into a tree. The youngest brother shot it with an arrow and up it grew. Then he shot it again and it grew some more, but the bison below kept trying to knock the tree over. The youngest brother shot the tree two more times. It grew way up into the sky and everyone was able to step off onto the clouds. They knew they could not get down, so the brother turned them into stars. They’re now the big dipper. The girl is the brightest star.

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The Great Mystery Wakan Tanka

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Gossip Hurts Everyone



Once there was a woman in a village who did not have much to do and she became angry at one of her neighbors. So she started a rumor, planted an evil seed that would hurt the neighbor's reputation and make others think less of her. This made the woman feel very powerful and in control. By bedtime, the woman felt bad and the next morning hurried to one of the Elders. She wanted to ask the Elder to help her overcome this evil. On the way to the Elders home that morning she could hear the people in the village whispering about her neighbor and of course, the story had been added on to.
The Elder listened to the woman and when she finished, he told her to go to the bird coop and pick out one bird, ring his neck and then go around the entire village plucking the bird, but to be sure and bring the last feather back to him. The woman anxious to undo the damage hurried to do what the Elder had told her. When she brought the last feather back to the Elder she asked for further instructions. The Elder told her to go home and come back in the morning.
The woman did not sleep at all and hurried to the Elder the next morning again hearing fragments of the words she had started two days before throughout the village as she went to the Elders home. When she reached the Elder, she was very upset and told the Elder, the words she had started were even worse than the day before. After listening, the Elder told the woman to get a pouch and go back to the place of origin and pick up all the feathers from the day before.
The woman hurried to pick up the feathers and eventually returned to the Elder. She told the Elder she picked up all the feathers she could, but could not get all of them because the wind had carried some of the feathers away and the children had picked them up and played games with them and some were taken other places for other reasons. The Elder said, what you have done is punishable by death by our people and you know this. By tradition, you have not sought out your sister to tell her what was in your heart, instead, you went behind her back because the truth would not allow you to face her. Momentarily, you gained power by talking about your neighbor who was not there to defend herself. The words you spoke against this person is like the feathers taken by the wind. Because you did not follow tradition and the ways of our Creator with your tongue, you cannot undo what you have done. You have shamed our people by placing yourself above the truth and the teachings of our ancestors and now you must live with the knowledge you have damaged more than one life, you have hurt us all. You have used your own people as a weapon against your neighbor who has done nothing to you, but because you were jealous or envious or because she disagreed with you, you have divided our people through your actions. He then handed her the feather she had given him the day before as a reminder of the cancer she had started.


Happy Father's Day

Here are some memes you can use and share for Father's day.  To my dad, R.I.P. George Miers, I love you.  Happy Father's day to Buck Rhynes, and Ed Snipes, whom I have never met but are my dads too.   I am who I am today for the lessons of life you imparted to me.  I am grateful for you and I am proud to call myself your daughter.


















Wednesday, June 14, 2017

American's Throw away Indian Project: Going for a drive

Laura Livingstone Rhynes

This is my biological mother.  This is the only photo I have of her.  When I was twelve years old my dad, George, took me on a trip.  Just my dad & I went.  We drove straight through from Concord, CA to Lake Cowichan B.C., Canada.  My father was armed with only my mother's name and the name of one relative.  How he came about with that name, I will never know.  

When we arrived in Lake Cowichan, my father found the Post Office.  He and I entered the office and I remember feeling very self-conscious and scared.  I hid in the corner.  It was the first time I had ever been around other people that looked like me and I really did not know what to do with my feelings.  I remember feeling very broken inside.  I felt like screaming and fighting and I felt as if I would faint.  My dad was speaking with the Postmaster pleading for information about the person's name he had.  Come to find out it was a brother to my mom and he had passed away.  My dad explained to the postmaster how he had adopted me and he had driven us straight through from CA, we were hungry, we were tired, and he was determined to find my relatives.  

Of course, it was to no avail.  The postmaster, by law, cannot give out information to anyone about anyone.  My dad was very handsome and very charming.  He did not stop.  He told the story of how my adoption was delayed for a year and he and my mom had never been given an explanation for it.  He could only imagine it was due to familial reasons.  Despite that, my dad believed it was his honor bound duty to take me to my blood lands and find my tribe, my family and show me where I came from.  My dad wanted me to be connected.  In hindsight, I now realize that this is because my dad knew of the horrors my people experienced at the hand of the Canadian and U.S. governments with the residential schools and adoption programs.

My dad and me in Victoria B.C., Canada

I was watching my dad talking to the postmaster, never giving up when a man walked through the doors to collect his mail.  The postmaster explained again, by law, she was not allowed to give out information abut anyone.  She pointed to the man who had entered to collect his mail and suggested my dad speak with him. The postmaster was certain that gentleman was a Livingstone.  What happened next was nothing less than clandestine.  

My dad walked over and towering over the man, placed his hand on the man's shoulder and asked: "Are you, Cyril Livingstone?"  

...More on my next post




BigMamaBlaze~BMB




To read Part II  Click Here