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Monday, December 21, 2015

The 12 Lakota Virtues

Friday, December 18, 2015

Native American Holidays and Traditions

There are several Native American holidays and traditional festivals. Most tribes have their own individual celebrations, but many of the holidays have common themes or purposes. Native American holidays often celebrate nature, the spiritual world or ancestors. Popular holidays might honor the sun, the rain or crops needed to sustain life. Many Native American holidays stretch for a week, rather than just one day.
The start of the new year is honored by some Native Americans, although many tribes have selected different dates as the last day of the year. The Hopi and the Zuni both celebrate a new year's celebration on 22 December. This ceremony is called Soyal, and it is a time of renewal and purification. A ritual is conducted to welcome the sun back after winter.
The Makahiki new year festival is celebrated in Hawaii in October. It celebrates new beginnings and honors the Hawaiian god Lono, who represents fertility, music and rain. There are three phases of Makahiki. The first consists of purification and spiritual cleansing. During the second phase, the Native Hawaiians celebrate with ula dancing and athletic competitions. The final phase honors Lono and tests the tribe's current chief to ensure he is still worthy as a leader.
The Tewa Native Americans celebrate three dances throughout the year honoring a different animal each time. The year begins with a turtle dance, which remembers and honors the day of creation. For three days in October, the Tewa celebrate with the deer dance. This dance represents both femininity and masculinity. The next month, the buffalo is recognized, and the Tewa see this as a time of healing and life.
Native American holidays often celebrate the sun as a life-giving power, both physically and spiritually. The Inca called their sun god Inti, and they celebrated him during the Inti Raymi. This festival traditionally begins on 21 June, the southern hemisphere's winter solstice. The celebrations consist of elaborate dances and the wearing of many bright colors. Originally, animal sacrifices were offered in hopes of an abundant year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Good morning to all my relations

“The honor of the people lies in the moccasin tracks of the women. Walk the good road...”

"Desert Rose"
Artist: David Joaquin

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Raven Lost His Eyes An Ahtna story

Artist Unknown

Here is a story of Raven and what he did. Raven sat on the edge of a bank. He looked up and down the river, but he did not see anyone. His eyes were getting tired, so he took his eyes.
He went back to bed, and after a long time later, his eyes to tell him again that someone was coming down the river. This time, he thought to himself, 'It's lying to me again.'
The eyes said that someone was coming closer. After a while, his eyes did not say anything anymore. Raven was blind, so he felt his way back out. He felt for his eyes where he bought he left them hanging. He kept searching for his eyes. He lost the place, and he felt the ground and found a deep trail. Up there a little ways, there was a ridge coming down from a mountain. He knew of this place where there were no trees. He, though, "Maybe if I put a berry in my eye, I will see again.' So he started for that place. He had a hard time. He even crawled. When he got there, he found a blueberry that he put in place of his eyes. When he put the berries in, he could not see with them. They were too dark. He knew there was another ridge coming down the mountains and a trail going across there, so he crawled across there. He found something like cranberries and tried those for his eyes. But when he put them in, everything looked red to him. They did not fit either. They kept falling out because they were too small. He did not know what to do, so he kept climbing and found another berry, it was the Canadian Jay's eyes. He could see with this berry, but his eyes were red. He looked like a man, but a person from some other place. He came back down to his house, and he thought to himself, "Maybe I should paddle up the river to see where they put my eyes." He had a canoe and started up the river. He was paddling when he heard up there among the big trees what sounded like a lot of people laughing. He wanted to find out about all the noise.
He stopped on the bank and pulled his canoe up, and started to walk back there into the woods. But when he walked back there, it was a portage, and there was nobody there. The noise was still heard in the woods, however. When he went down to the river, he found a house. Before he came to the house, he put a bunch of spruce boughs in a pile. He spread them out, and then he defecated on it. When he did that, it became clothes. He put these fancy clothes on. The mukluks were the prettiest. Then he put on another pile of spruce boughs and defecated again. Again there were clothes there. He came down to a house by the river. There was a young girl there who did not go with the others. She was a single girl waiting for the right man to come along. She told him she was asked a lot of times by men to marry her, but she did not. When Raven showed her the clothes that he had in the bag, she decided to marry him. The girl told him, "I will marry you."
By this time, the people that were in the woods came back down. They saw Raven. They thought he was and odd stranger. The girl told them that she wanted to marry this person. They told her to go ahead and marry him, so they got married.
In the daytime, the people went back to the woods to have fun, but the couple never went there. One day, he(Raven) asked his wife, "What are those people doing back there?" His wife told him, "I don't know. But they are playing with something that someone said was Raven's eyes that someone brought back. They sewed something over them, so they do not look like Raven's eyes." So Raven found out that they were playing with his eyes.
The people came back in the evening, but in the morning, they went back up and started to play with the ball. "Let's go up and see what they are doing," he told his wife. "I want to know what they do." So they started up the trail.
As they were walking, they saw what looked like a big sandbar. It was a big area where there were no trees. That was where they were playing. He sat by the edge to see the game of ball they were playing. As he was sitting there, he watched the ball. There were two of them. Sometimes the eyes fell far apart. He wanted to get them, but there was no way. He wanted to get his eyes back. He sat there wishing they would both fall where they were sitting. As he wished, the eyes fell where they were sitting. He grabbed them and took them back. As the players reached for him, he put his eyes back on himself. And he flew off saying those were his eyes.
He landed on top of a big tree. The players were mad at him. They were telling him how bad he was and told him, "Maybe we should hit you with an arrow."
He sat there for a while then took off. As he was going up, his wife who was still standing there, her clothes became Raven's droppings. They were all white with it. The clothes that she was wearing were beautiful before all this happened. Everyone was mad at Raven. He flew back to his canoe and became a man again. Now that he had his real eyes back, he threw away all those berries that he used for his eyes, and he came back to his home.

Miska Deaphon, Nikolai Nwch'ihwzoya'

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Braids symbolize Oneness and Unity. The flowing strands of hair, individually weak but when joined together in Oneness, physically demonstrate the Strength of Oneness; "One Mind, One Heart and One Soul", the Song of the Uni-verse, and the Sacred thoughts you are to hold. There are times to wear the hair braided and times to let it flow free, different times to demonstrate your harmony with the flow of life and to demonstrate your thoughts of Oneness to others.
There are different teachings about the way to braid ones hair, and different teachings about the ways and rites of braiding Sweetgrass.
One way is to gather 28 whole strands of Sweetgrass, one strand symbolizing each sacred day in one moon(month). Divide them in three equal piles, 9 strands each, each pile symbolizing the wandering spirits of the 3 tiers of Heaven (upper world, middle world, lower world), and with the one strand that is left, the strand that Symbolizes the Great Spirit, the Creator God(Father Sun), you tie all the loose strands together. Remembering as you braid the Sweetgrass, to keep your thoughts and intent pure and healthy, placing the prayers of love for life into your braid. It is the intent placed in the medicine that makes all healing possible. To end the braid, tie a knot with the grass. A Knot is symbolic of Union and a Bond. The Tie that binds. The knot in the Sweetgrass braid also binds all the "thoughts" of our Mother together, to teach us, once again of the strength of Unity or Oneness.
Know it is only the Creator's power that holds the Universe together and the wandering spirits are His Great Spirits that flow and protect Life all the way to the outer edges of the Universe and the 3 tiers of Heaven are the lower, middle and upper worlds or the Sea, Earth and Sky(Universe) where all the Great Spirits dwell. Keeping thoughts of Love and Respect for All Life in your Mind and Heart, allows one to share the Sacred Sweetgrass with others in a good way.
When working with the Sacred Medicines, our intent should be as pure as the intent of our selfless Mother, the Earth. She wants only the best for Her Children. So hold Sacred thoughts; thoughts of Oneness and Healing thoughts; thoughts of Empowerment and Love, when braiding and using Sweetgrass. Soon All Nations will be strong again.
Written by Paula Lightening Woman Johnstone