Wednesday, June 14, 2017

ᎬᏯᎫᏍᏓᏁᎭ

We have no ᏌᏊ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎧᏁᏍᏗ for respect. 


We can say ᎤᏬᎯᏳᎯᎪᎯᏳᎯ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏥᏰᎸ or any other specific idea but they are all feelings, and respect is an action at its core. English is blurry, the messy edges of English make epistemology a hard thing to tack down but ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ is a concrete foundation to lash the very corners of ᎡᎶᎯ down. 


When I support you ᎬᏯᎫᏍᏓᏁᎭ is my respect. 


Things that I hold in high regard, sacred ᎦᎸᏉᏗᏳ I treat as ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗᏳ and that is with respect. 


To notice and take note of, to have a perspective of - ᎠᏆᎦᏙᏍᏗ, something to take respect of.... 


This is respect to me. What I seek and find ᎠᎩᏩᏛᏗ is what I offer, respectfully ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏔ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏕᏘ


These things I hold most gingerly ᏕᏥᎢᏙᎭ, are illuminated and made clear ᏗᎬᎾᎨᏍᎬᎢ and given by ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ are opened and shared with respect. 


ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

ᎢᎦᏘᎭ

Karma is not a ᏣᎳᎩ ᎧᏁᏍᏗ it is Sanskrit. It refers to the dross we carry from this life to the next when we do not follow our Dharma, another Sanskrit word, duty. 


It does not refer to the idea that the universe keeps score and makes things even in this life. It is not justice ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏱᎩ, not how it is used in the west. It is not the idea of what goes around comes around. It is tied to an ancient eastern mysticism.  


It is not ᎦᏚᏩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ


Our way is not about divine retribution but balance ᎢᎦᏘᎭ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᏊ. We are of the same life ᏕᎦᏓᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎢᏕᎮᏍᏗ, so what happens to you happens to me.  ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏖᏗ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎠᏆᏛᏁᏗ ᏓᏆᏚᎵᎭ I endeavor to think right and do right. ᏧᏁᎦ ᏗᎦᏅᏅ ᏫᏥᏍᏓᏩᏕᏍᎪᎢ I follow the white path and even though I misstep from time to time, ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᏓᏆᎳᏍᎨᏍᏗ I will follow our teachings. 


That doesn't protect me from all trouble and every challenge. It just gives me a firm footing and clear vantage point to find the way. Bad things happen to good people and bad people get away with terrible things but we are one another's keeper ᏕᎦᏓᎨᏳᏎᏍᏗ and that means ᎢᎦᏓᏁᎳᏅᎯ we must be one another's provider. ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎢᎦᏛᏁᏗ the justice is what we must provide. Right is what we must do. 


ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Monday, November 10, 2014

ᏅᏙ

Ꭷ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏙᎩ ᏥᏰᎸᎢ
Ꭷ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏔ ᎠᎩᏰᎸᎢ
Ꭽ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏙ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏖᏢᎢ
Ꭷ ᎯᎠ ᏄᏍᏓ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏔ

Now my mind my body
Now my feeling my being
Now my heart my thought
Now this thing I know

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ

Ꭷ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏧᎦᎾᏮ ᎠᏁᎮᎢ ᎠᏎᏛ ᎢᎦᎵᎪᎯ

About 13 years ago some of them came up and met with our elders. They spoke Nawatl and Mayan and we spoke ᏣᎳᎩ. 

It was clearly shown that where there stories of us ended ours began. They were more than cousins they are brothers and sisters. ᏧᎦᎾᏮ ᏥᎦᎴᏂᏍᎡᎢ that is where it started. They ᏏᏓᏁᎵ let's start treating them that way. 

ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯ ᎢᎦᎵᎨᏎᏀᏗ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ

She is what we do, how we do it and why we do it. 
She is what we think, believe, value, how we behave and why it is so.
She is the collective property of our people and her origins are in our ancestors' echoes.

When she was healthy, she had no limits, but she recedes - as she has been openly derided, opposed and punished.  She is slipping and stumbling along the trail, loosing traction and tripping. 

Is all that we do her?
She is everything, but her hair didn't used to look like that, she didn't laugh so loud and I don't understand her words.  I don't recognize her.  Maybe it's not her.  Without her, I am not me.

If we don't choose her, we choose another, by default.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ᏕᎦᏅᏖᏍᎦ

Ꭷ one has to learn about  situations of injustice, from as many sides as possible ᏕᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎦ 

We must go through the ᎤᎵᏏᎩ go through ᎤᏒ ᎡᎯ.  Go through the pain, anger and morning and seek understanding. 

ᏗᎧᎳᎬᎢ ᎢᏗᏢᎢ  the sun will come up. 

Set the ᎩᎦᎭ ᎠᏓᏏ aside, ᎭᏫᏂ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏗᏣᎳᏍᎨᏂ not to be forgotten but out of the way because we can't let those tragedies get in the way of what we find to be right and true. We cannot stumble over it as we wander about in ᎤᎵᏏᎩ....

ᏃᏊᏥᎩ we must seek to defend those still suffering and prevent perpetrators from committing those injustices ᎠᏎᎭ ᎢᎦᏛᏁᏗ

ᎡᎵᏍᏓ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏫᏗᏍᏓᏩᏚᎦ 

In being pro-active we will become empowered. We can't stop at the search for justice but we must seek ways to make positive changes for the potential imprecators as well as victims of injustice. There will eventually be a balance struck in that our work must benefit all involved. ᎢᎦᎵᎪᏒᎢ

When agreements are made in good faith, both sides are entitled to the fulfillment of that contract. It is sad when we must advocate for our own rights. In a ᎦᏚᏩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ we should not have to do so. However, in such cases that one side wants to abdicate their responsibilities, it becomes necessary to be able to stand up for yourself and others when it is needed ᎦᏣᏃᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᏛᏁᏗ

Entitlement should exist. 

Reparations are different. 

I think that reparations should only come as a result of an agreed upon social contract. If a person wrongs another in full understanding of the agreed upon potential consequences, and then if reparations are a part of those consequences, then the wronged should be entitled to that restitution - as previously agreed upon. This is simple and right.  ᏥᏳᎪᏛ ᏅᏃᎯ a straight path.  

If restitution is promised as amends to past grievances, then the aggrieved are entitled to said restitution. I believe that the aggrieved could petition for restitution, but they are not inherently entitled by virtue of being wronged - unless the agreement, even social contract, provides for that justice. 

However, if oppressors continue to oppress without thought of ᏚᏳᎪᏛ or reparation for wrongs, revolution is the natural outcome and new atrocities will be committed - not justified, but realized ᏍᎩᏊ ᏫᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ

'conquered' is a relative term. 

I would not argue that ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ in general, or ᎣᏥᏣᎳᎩ in specific were conquering heroes on our ends, but despite the fact that we were colonized, some of us did escape militarily crippling conquests. We have been worn down in other ways. 

There are more than a few ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ  that have grown into prosperous Nations despite tragic historical incidents. ᎢᎦᏓ ᎣᏥᏴᏫᏯ never lost a military victory but by use of political and social coercion were lead to a state of submission to the greater population.  ᎠᏎᏃ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎣᏥᏴᏫᏯ were soundly defeated by military and political means. ᎠᏂᏥᏈᏍᏗ were wiped away altogether, but those of us that have survived are still here and are persistent in our goals. Ꮟ ᎣᏤᏙᎭ We aren't done yet, we will not just survive, but we will thrive ᎣᏥᎦᏚᏩᎩ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Monday, January 6, 2014

ᎤᏅᏥᎭ

Ꭷ ᏥᏨᏂᏤᎢ

Snow covers us like a protective blanket. It gives us peace and reminds us there is a time for rest. Some things can only be learned when there is ᎤᏅᏥᎭ. 

ᏅᏬᏘᎭᏃ that ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏓ tells used all things are sacred. It says it most assuredly ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᏕᎦᏓᏰᎸᏎᏍᏓ and it applies to all things. We also know that some things are more ᎦᎸᏉᏗ than others. Specifically people are sacred. We are to liken ourselves to that in each other. ᏕᎦᏓᎸᏉᏕᏍᏗ 

ᎠᏂᏴᏫ are spiritual things. Our people know that. It must guide us like a sense, a sense that isn't desperate from the other four. It is tied to our knowledge through personal and group experience ᎢᎦᏅᏔ and ᎢᎦᏓᏅᏔ our feelings. 

We know that those things can go awry. We can loose focus. That is why we must ᏕᎦᏓᎢᏤᎲᏍᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ periodically renew ourselves. We must always challenge ourselves to grow. ᏕᎦᏓᏅᎾᎦᎳᏬᏍᎨᏍᏗ. But without our ᏅᏬᏘ we will not be let where we need to be. ᏍᏆᏘᏂᏎᏍᏗ ᏍᎩᏯᏁᎳᏅᎯ
Help one another in that. ᏕᎦᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎢᎨᎮᏍᏗ and we will be providers for one another ᎢᎦᏓᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᏱᎩᏍᏕᎳ 

ᎣᏏᏳ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ


Thursday, September 26, 2013

ᎠᎹ ᎡᏓᏍᏗᏱ

go to the running water before the birds start to sing in the morning. approaching singing an ancient song I don't understand four times. standing by the water in meditation until the sun shines on the tips of the trees. My meditation uses tobacco. 

One pinch for my mind
One pinch for yours
One for the union of the two and 
One for the power of that union. 

One pinch for the air all around us we breath, a living air, the breath of life. 
One for the water below my feet that connects me to all that came before, the ancient ones. 
One for the ancient white fire, the sacred red coals, behind the sun and within our hearts. 
And One for the earth, the soil and to our mothers. United. 

One pinch to the color blue, the blue veined one intelligent and resourceful as you stand in the north
One for the golden skinned one, the one of wisdom to understand as you stand in the west. 
One to the black skinned one, compassionate and impassioned by life, as you stand in the south. 
One to the rust skinned one, guardian and watcher, as you stand in the east. 

As for myself and you as well we have just become united with all and anything. 

wading into the spring fed stream and facing upstream to the east. mumbling a prayer as the sun peak her crown above the horizon and droning out an invocation to the four corners of the world and to the provider, we have spoken to you and you have spoken. Starting in the east and circling to the north crying out in the four directions. 

When returning to the east singing of the uniting of the heavens and the earth as we have found what we have been searching for. We have become one with the one most up above. 

I am the sun I wash over all below.... Nothing will overcome..... I am washing. I raise the water above my head four times and sing the same song again and again and again raising the water above my heart and crown four times each time. 

Another thanksgiving salutation and saying from the four couriers of the earth they are carrying their very souls, we are lifting them to the first heaven.... Then the second.... Then the third.... Then the fourth, my hands trace the path to the seventh heaven. My words follow and the water is lifted up again and again. When my left hand is at its zenith crying out long and hard till my fingers are numb and my toes hurt and my head spins then in a deep breath whooping. Plunge seven times to the east. 

When walking away, I don't look back. leaving it all behind.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fleas Biting: The "Baby Veronica" Case and the Abuse of Adoption

Fleas Biting: The "Baby Veronica" Case and the Abuse of Adoption

ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏍᏓᏳ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ ᎠᏎᏛ ᎾᏂᏯ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏕᎦᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᎠᎾᏗᏍᎪᎢ

ᏃᏊᎴ ᎯᎠᎾ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᏣᎳᎩᎭ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎬᏗ ᏚᏙᎠ ᎠᏂᎧᏫ ᏧᏴᏫ ᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᎨᏳᏣ ᎤᏙᏓ ᎤᏤᎵ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏂᏯ ᎢᏗᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᎦᏤᎵᎦ ᎠᏎᏃ ᏂᎦᎥ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎢᎦᏤᎵᎦ I pray that as a human race we become worthy of her and precious children like her. Right now, I am saddened ᎠᎴ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᏓᏤᏝᎢ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎠᏋᏎᏍᏗ ᏙᎯᏳᎢ ᏫᏓᏤᏝᎢ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᏉᎯᏳᎢ ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏗᎩᏴᏫ ᏗᎩᏝᏅᎩᏓ ᎣᏏᏳ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ


Saturday, July 6, 2013

ᏓᏤᏝ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ

Ꭷ I believe the future must be our focus. ᎠᏉᎯᏳᎢ It certainly is mine. The goals of my community and loved ones guide my hands, feet, mind and heart. However I'm afraid the "past vs the future" is a false dichotomy. 

The heritage, histories and oral traditions of our people ᎢᏯᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ have laid the foundation and framed our world views. What makes me who I am are my individual choices within the context of my community and tribal society. ᎦᏚᏩ ᏫᏥᎦᏘ I freely choose from the mainstream and flow with the modern world but I do my best to follow in the footsteps of my people. To do that, the past is my guide. ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ Not just the history books but the oral traditions and personal experiences of my loved ones and community members are what guide my hopes and dreams for the future, and I am ecstatic about what we will do. ᏓᏤᏝ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ

ᎢᏨᏯᎴᎵᏤᎭ I appreciate the support of all of you that posted or liked my thoughts above. I will focus on the future and move forward but I'm afraid our toughest battles are ahead but even if we loose a few we will not give up. Our greatest victories are ahead of us as well. 

I'm not talking about ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ vs ᎠᏂᏲᏁᎦ or any sort of insurrection, our battles will be to maintain the foundations of our tribal identities, and they will be in the hearts and minds of our loved ones and in the power and money of politics. We must ensure that our ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏕᎦᏚᎯ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏓ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ are strengthened and revitalized to a greater extent with each passing generation. In the past this has not happened and it is not happening now but in the future it must and it will because we do not give up. ᎾᏑᎳᎪᎬᎾ ᏂᏧᎳᎭ ᎢᏓᎢᏎᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᏆᏗᏍᎬᎾ ᏂᎦᏯᎢᏐ ᏂᎪᎯᎳ ᎡᎭ ᎨᏎᏍᏗ

ᎣᏏᏳ 
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Monday, April 22, 2013

ᏔᎵ ᏱᎩ ᎢᏯᏓᏅᏖᏘ

CDIB Cards were created by the BIA. Most ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ (ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ were one of the exceptions) did not have a membership role until recently. They already knew who was or was not in their tribe. There were no "benefits" outside ᏧᏂᏴᏫ or ᏍᎦᏚᎩ given "benefits".

When ᏗᎧᎸᎬ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ made treaties with the colonial powers, we exchanged land for various things including trade goods, supplies or military assistance. Community leaders needed a running count of their populations because that's how the colonial powers kept tabs for paperwork.

For ᎣᏥᏣᎳᎩ, one of our last treaties (but not the last by any means) was the treaty of ᎠᏤ ᎢᏦᏛ. It was that paperwork that enabled the ᏕᎨᏥᎢᎸᏍᏔᏂ in 1838. Those Eastern immigrants to Indian Territory were slated to receive annuities and provisions both on the trip and after ᏗᎨᏥᎢᎸᏎᎢ. Head counts were necessary, and so that system was maintained to receive the governmental annuities and other "benefits" as promised. We didn't want to share that with outsiders and the government did not want to pay us any more than necessary, so both sides clung to the lists of members.

Even at the time of allotment, when our land was split up among our ᎠᏂᎨᎳ, we needed a list if people to receive land. The ᎠᏂᏒᏃᏱ knew that and tried (but largely failed) to avoid enrollment. Tribal citizens reviewed individual allotments and that was the last roll for ᎣᏥᏣᎳᎩ (the Dawes roll).

Simultaneously, ᏭᏕᎵᎬ ᎠᏁᎲᎢ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ were forced on reservations and received annuities as well; so they needed head counts but the Feds realized that they also needed a way out of their fiduciary responsibility - so they decided, those of less than 1/4 Degree of Indian Blood would not be legally ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ. They thought that we would all either breed out or develop genetically poor populations through inbreeding. In the long term, the Blood Quantum system would take care of the "Indian problem".

ᎣᏥᏣᎳᎩ don't have the blood quantum issue legally because our system superseded the government's plans, but the roll numbers themselves are jealously guarded by the penny pinchers and bean counters. The Feds still give us money but not by head count alone, there are other parts to the equation. The number of citizens is a factor but the number of citizens that are eligible (via income guidelines) within a tribes jurisdictional boundaries are what determines most federal monies. So, even without blood quantum limits, the Feds have found a way to limit us. We are one step closer to mainstream status every day.

If we cannot justify our differences with ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ (ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ, ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ, ᏧᏬᎯᏳᎢ) then how can we claim to be ᎣᏥᏴᏫᏯ? The blood quantum system is a weak (and non scientific) leg to stand on but we don't really have that anyways - not among ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ. So they have us fighting loosing battles on all sides.

Their goal is to escape the "Indian problem" but we are actively aiding in our demise. However, if we maintain (regain?) our ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ - this includes our ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏗᎦᏚᎯᏃ, then we will always be ᎣᏥᎦᏚᏩᎩ even if the Feds disappear. We can recognize our own and it has no thing to do with cards or blood quantum. - 2 ᎢᏯᏓᏅᏖᏘ

Thursday, March 7, 2013

ᎠᏯᏊ

Ꭷ ᎠᏯ is me but it is internal. ᎠᏯᏊ is the me I know. ᏂᎯ is you, but that is the me I don't know. ᏂᎯᎾ is the you I am curious about; it is also the me that I know about, but I don't know it. That is the me that interacts with you and the you that interacts with me.

I also have a body - ᎠᎩᏰᎸ, but it is just an image ᏥᏰᎸ. I only know it through my mind ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏙᎩ, but that is just a feeling ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏔ in my heart ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏙ. It is the same part I "kind" of know ᎠᏆᏅᏔ you through - ᏂᎯᎾ but not really directly. I believe something ᎪᎱᏍᏗ is out there but ᎠᏯᏊ doesn't really interact with it so it is just ᏂᎯᎾ and those are just ideas, so not something ᏝᎪᎱᏍᏗ but ᏄᏍᏓ which is defiantly not nothing.

I can't even know myself with certainty but ᎠᏯᏊ is all I have so I use it to know ᎪᎱᏍᏗ about ᏂᎯ.

ᏍᎩᏯᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᎠᏯᏊ ᏂᎯᎾ ᎩᎾᎵᎪᏒᎢ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Friday, December 7, 2012

ᎠᏕᏲᎯ

Ꭷ ᎭᏛᏓᏍᏓ

whispers whisper in hissing sibilant syllables. A lilted tone, confusing, quiet cacophony too quiet to discern, to soft to know. An itching, breathlessness squirms inside seeking to understand. Her voice is hypnotic, unsettling and numbing, with caressing secrets that don't translate.

ᎠᏓᏪᎳᎩᏍᎦ

focused concentration snapped and popped, the dancing figure, swaying and twirling tears your mind from musing mutters, vision muting the elusive meanings you almost heard. You can't catch the eye, it flickers and flashes. A sharp connection twists into a glance away. Her face is luminescent. Drawn in you realize your too close and must turn away. Just to breath.

A spinning motion too swift to the eyes and throbbing, elusive to the thoughts and heart ᏧᎦᏒᏍᏗ ᎠᏥᏅᏍᏗ silently, subtly directs and commands, velvet wrapped steel. Ephemeral in nature but exponentially it consumes and drowns out all else, but just for a moment. Just a long heartbeat second.

ᎪᏛ ᏥᏳᎪᏛ

Comfort and warmth, in your chest, on your face and caressing your hands, her hands. The soothing scent of something close to the soul, slowly curling. It reaches out to you and you reach back with you heart, your spirit, she leads you, you lead them. One body, one mind, we, ᎢᎦᎵᎪᏒ

Sunday, November 18, 2012

ᎠᏂᎩᎶᎯ

ᎦᎪ Ꮠ.... ᎠᏂᎩᎶ ᏓᏂᎪᏗᎠ ᎦᎪ ᎦᎪ Ꮠ

ᎠᏂᎩᎶᎯ ᎠᏁᏙ ᎦᏙᎨ ᏯᏆᏓᏅᏖᏝ
ᎩᎶ ᎤᏩᏌᏊ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏖᏝ
ᏥᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗ
ᏥᏳ
ᎪᏛ
ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏙᎩ
ᎩᎾᎵᎪᏒᎯᏊ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏖᏝ
ᎤᎿ ᏥᏲᎵᎦᏛ ᎡᏙ ᎥᏍᎩ ᎠᏆᏅᏔᏛ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ






Sunday, June 24, 2012

ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᎠᏂᏥᎾᏍᏗ

Ꭷ to rise as ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯ we have to buy our land back. We don't have the military ability for ᏓᏄᏩ. However, if our people choose to live with the ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ, our modern ᏗᎾᏟᎯ will sacrifice their lives and time not being killed or killing others but being successful in the modern world.This is not to raise themselves up but to raise their ᏗᎦᏚᎯ and people; we can lift one another up and take back what is ours - generation by generation. We will slowly beat them at their own game and if we do it for the right reasons and don't sell one another out, our grandchildren can live in the way we deserve to live with our land, resources, traditions, life ways and language, ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ. 

Even though our traditions do include martial art forms and our men can be ready if military force becomes necessary, it is against our ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ to think in that direction. Also, we cannot support the resources for advanced technology as is, ᏧᎾᏓᏄᏩ outnumber and outgun us. We could survive, possibly, but if we strike first they will destroy our ᏗᎦᏚᎯ and ᏏᏓᏁᎳ. If we strengthen ourselves and reinforce our life ways or ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ then get attacked - we will have more support than our opponents.

I know our history and poverty really is depressing, but I know that if we try and unite with the target of violence in mind we will not have the fortitude to maintain ourselves. The machine of the military industrial complex controls ᎡᎶᎯ and the red necks around us wouldn't hesitate to open fire as is. We need to build ourselves up and focus on what ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ has told us to do. I'm sure every tribe had different marching orders, but what I have been told is that each has a piece of the puzzle to complete and if we do so, then we will become their big brothers and save them and us.

Right now ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ become "successful" one at a time, leave thier ᏗᎦᏚᎯ and ᏏᏓᏁᎳ behind and "sell out". If we are resolute in our values and ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ those that are financially "successful" can Provide the support and resources we need to ensure our children are healthy and that we can teach our own our ways. We won't need to be educated and colonized as a part of their system. We can teach our own ᏗᏂᏲᏟ and rebuild the sacred places and ceremonies to practice our ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ and ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ. If we maintain our values, behaviors and beliefs we will be strong and possibly celebrated by the outside world. If they turn on us for taking care of our own, then we will defend ourselves. In the ᏗᎦᏚᎯ where I spend time we have barely enough intact people to maintain a defense for a month and if we start it, we will not survive.

There are ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ that have been told what we are to do. They say we must unite and focus on maintaining our ᏏᏓᏁᎳ and ᏗᎦᏚᎯ with ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᏃ. They say we need our sacred sites and ceremonies and that we must unite around our ᎠᏥᎸᎦᏴᎵ. I believe that, but it isn't easy. The ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ say we must use what we are given to win over our own people then win over the ᎠᏂᎩᎶ. That sounds like a long and difficult road. It is daunting and the sheer effort to have hope is tiresome. The amount of change in our own ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ and the struggles that are needed are disconcerting and depressing.

There are like minded people in various tribes. I have been talking to some of them. They say the changes will be coming more and more quickly over the next decade. Talk to others one on one, each person talk to more and more and ᎾᏍᎩ ᏭᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ. Slowly at first but with strength and integrity, it will build speed. We started preparing our ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎦᏘᏲ about ten years ago but it's slow going. Over the last few years it has started catching on. People are coming to the same conclusions. It’s time to bring back the peace makers ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ ᎠᏂᏥᎾᏍᏗ.

The above is a response to a potential call for a militant resolution to colonialism, in response he then said "...the first step is for the Peacemaker to walk among the people again... ...to bring together the entirety of native peoples. This time however, there must be one from every nation working towards the same goal. A Peacemaker from all nations." ᎣᏏᏳ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

ᏏᏴᏫ

Ꭷ ᏂᎦᏓᏊ

I have been accused of putting others first but I know I am very self centered. I do try and do for others and sometimes I get carried away and put my family or myself second. It's a hard balance in this modern world. My model is in need of an update, but the foundation is firm.

ᎢᎬᏱᎢ myself ᎠᏯ, that must be my priority to serve others.

ᏔᎵᏁᎢ my family ᏏᏓᏁᎳ, my immediate family that depend on me, that I depend on most outside myself.

ᏦᎢᏁᎢ my extended family ᏗᎩᏴᏫ, it was historically my clan and potentially at one time for my ancestors it came before my wife and children.

ᏅᎩᏁᎢ my community ᏗᎦᏚᎲᎢ, it was my ᎪᏛ or ᎠᏥᎸ the place where I would have lived, danced and lived my life. Now I see that as my grounds.

ᎯᏍᎩᏁᎢ my people ᎦᏥᏴᏫᏯ, my tribe or my nation. It was rooted in a shared ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᎦᏓ ᎤᎾᏤᎵ, ᏧᏂᏴᏫ and ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏓ ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ.

ᏑᏓᎵᏁᎢ humanity ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ, no devision of race or gender, just humans that share ᎦᏓ, ᎠᎹ, ᎤᏃᎴ and ᎠᏥᎸ. At one time we were four different clans but that was once replace by ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ. Now most of us have gone back to the four original clans.

ᎦᎵᏉᎩᏁᎢ all living things ᎠᏅᏃᏓ.

These things are not cut and dry. To serve others I must serve myself and to serve myself I must serve all others. ᎣᏏᏳ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Thursday, February 2, 2012

ᏙᏓᏠᏍᎦ

Ꭷ ᏂᎦᏓᏊ

At one time the Cherokee language was the medium of our Cherokee grounds. Not just Ceremonially but socially as well. This has changed over the last generation, we are loosing our language and it is the vehicle of our lifeways and culture. For that reason alone we hope to host language camps and began to have gatherings and language classes.

We used to call our monthly gatherings - meetings as opposed to dances. The concept of "meeting" was a closer translation from the original Cherokee word. Even though it’s now a habit to call our monthly meetings "dances", I will make an effort to call them meetings. The dance itself is only a small part of the activity and importance of our monthly meetings, and my word change helps reflect that. ᎣᏏᏳ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ
See More

Friday, September 23, 2011

ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᏕᎦ

Ꭷ I have always heard you can’t serve two masters.  I think that is true unless one of your masters serves the other.  I have also heard that Sovereignty is not given by another State or Nation but that it is inherent.  I believe that is true but I am also troubled.

As ᏥᏣᎳᎩ I believe that I carry a piece of ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ, that piece makes me inherently sovereign as an ᏏᏴᏫ.   I also see this sovereignty expressed as we vote.  When we come together as individuals in our communities that makes our ᏕᎦᏚᎯ sovereign, we vote at our polls in the communities.  Those votes our gathered into our districts and each ᏍᎦᏚᎩ has a tally that displays that counts from the smaller ᏕᎦᏚᎯ. This sovereign expression is finally manifest at the center of the Nation, its ᎠᏰᎵ.  I believe that ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ is sovereign but more so I believe the ᏍᎦᏚᎩ are sovereign, because the ᏕᎦᏚᎯ are sovereign.  This comes directly from the sovereign ᏏᏴᏫ, a manifestation of ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ.

But, who do we pay our taxes too? and who’s jail do we sit in when we don’t pay those taxes?  Money is liquid power.  Oddly enough that sort of idea doesn’t exist in our ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ.  Oh, we have ᎠᏕᎳ but is different - inherently different.  The model I presented above is not from the feudal old world’s substantiations of Sovereignty, in that old system the King, the Conqueror and the Church came before the sovereignty of the individual.  Despite that, I believe our model more closely reflects modern thinking and really out dates the feudal model.  That said, power still muddles the truth in this causal chain of sovereign rights.

ᎣᏥᏣᎳᎩ are colonized.  We have a foreign power that has left a big footprint on our ᎠᏰᎵ and an ever growing reach on the rest of ᎡᎶᎯ.  Often, the grip on us seems relaxed and potentially supportive, but that is illusory. The support we receive is a constraint, green masked bounds of power; as long as we are drinking from their cup and eating from their table, in our hearts and minds, we are bound by them.  If you don’t think so, just bite that hand and see.

I think we have a moral obligation to our treaties, they were not just between two Nations, they were also covenants with ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ.  We also have a moral obligation to the descendants of Cherokee Slaves, as well as those freed descendants that took refuge under our Nation and those that are of Cherokee ancestry that were placed upon the role where others of African decent were placed.  The Dawes role was never intended to be the basis of a citizenship role 100 years later.  Not all of our ᎠᏂᎬᎿᎨ ᏣᎳᎩ are of Indian Decent but some are.  Not all of the Lenni Lenape and Shawnee are of Cherokee decent but some of them are, and still yet they are often held to us against their will.  A Nation is not about disproven ᎠᏂᎦᏍᎵᏏ definitions "race".  If we are a Nation with citizens, not a Tribe with members then our citizens can be ᎠᏂᏌᏩᏄᎩ ᎠᏂᏌᏩᏃ ᎠᏂᏆᏅᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎬᎿᎨ.

It is wrong of us to make immoral decisions and use our constitution for injustice, but it is against our inherent sovereignty to go against that constitution and the supreme court that serves it. I don’t have the answers, but I know we cant serve two masters.  Does this system work? Is there anyone out there? osiyo’o?.....  ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᏗᎦᏓᎴᏅᎲ ᏫᏓᏗᎷᏥ


ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎦ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎤᏁᎦ ᎦᏅᏅ ᏗᏕᏲᎯᏍᏙᏗ ᏂᎬᏗ ᏓᏛᏛᏁᎵ ᎢᎦᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᎢᏗᏍᏕᎵᎠ
ᎣᏏᏳ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎬ

Sunday, April 17, 2011

ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ

Ꭷ new to me

It whistles and moans, stings and seeps into the joints and strikes like lightning against steel. A tang of metal in my teeth.

This is new too me. Comfort is slow undulating throbbing heat. Plodding rhythmic pattens rolling and waving. Creaking time swollen hand hewn floor timbers.

As once vibrant and volatile dark puffy clouds thin and slowly slide to silver trails the earthen walls lose their vertical reaching and slip, the integrity of the body fades. Dancing green bows and leans its crown down to brown.

They say it's not time that fades us but the marching progression of copy and replication. Cycles of renewal that cannot start anew but can only clean up the branches. Dry and dead.

Prune the limbs.

ᎣᏏᏳ
ᎠᏯ  ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ᏂᏚᏳᎪᏛ

Ꭷ ᎢᏥᎪᎵᏰᏍᎩ

I don’t think I believe in rights, fundamental universal human rights that is...  I understand those rights protected by ᏲᏁᎦ law, but what about before the law? 

When they got off the boat, they pointed their collective finger at us and said "those ... have no laws, no religion, no government, ect...".  This when I was younger this incensed me, but now I tend to agree with their initial assessment.

Law is ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ.  That really is more akin to a goal or something’s foundation.  Religion is ᏗᏁᎸᏙᏗᎢ.  That sounds more like they are trying to do something, or worse playing at doing it. ᎠᏰᎸ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ is not really government.  It is the organization at the middle of things, not coercion, control or management of people’s lives.  It took our elders in the Speakers’ Bureau six months to a year to find the right word for "control", and the context for that was in relation to manually maneuvering a basketball.  One could say these are poor translations to describe universal ideas, but I posit that these are foreign ideas that don’t fit well into ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ.

"ᏂᏚᏳᎪᏛ" or rights, are something that our people didn’t need at one time.  We were Sovereign, not by constitutional right, or act of congress but by birth.  ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯ ᎨᏒ and we still are.  No one is between us and ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ - we as individuals, voluntary members of families and communities are ultimately responsible for ourselves and secondly one another. We protected our own interests and the interests of our loved ones.  There was no coercive mechanism for social control.  Kinship ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ was the resounding social organization and we were tied together by ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ and ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏛ.  Our ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ was ᎡᎶᎯ ᎢᎨᏥ, the land itself.  ᏂᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎠᎴ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ was our way of life and culture ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.

ᏚᏳᎪᏛ is the way and the truth, all that is just and right.  It was how we lived and still should ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᏕᏣᎳᏏᎦᏕᏍᏗ.  We protected one another and sheltered one another, we were careful not to use one another up.  We always looked for the best in each other and never let anything come between us, we knew that each person was created as unique and we shared in that value. 

ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ gave us everything, gave all.  We had no entitlements and needed no rights.  What was ours was only borrowed and what we had was freely given.  If someone tried to take my life, I defended myself, and if I failed my family would take a life in return. That is ᏂᏚᏳᎪᏛ and it wasn’t a right, it was a truth.  ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᎢᎦᏤᎵ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᎨᏐᎢ

ᎤᏁᎦ ᎦᏅᏅ ᏧᏙᎢᏛ ᎢᏗᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯ ᎢᏥᏰᎦ ᏍᎩᎾ ᏂᏣᏛᎦᏃ
ᎣᏏᏳ
ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ᎠᏓᏍᏕᏟᏗ

Ꭷ ᎯᎠ ᏥᏥᏩᏔ

ᏗᎧᎸᎦ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎤᎵᎪᎲᏍᏗ ᏒᎯᏰᎯ ᏧᏂᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᏧᎬᏩᎵᏗ
ᏧᏴᏢ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎪᎳ ᎤᏌᎯ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᏧᎬᏩᎵᏗ
ᏭᏕᎵᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎪᎨᏱ ᏑᎾᎴ ᎠᎾᏔ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏫᎾ ᏧᎬᏩᎵᏗ
ᏧᎦᏃᏮ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎪᎦ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ ᏧᎬᏩᎵᏗ

ᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏓᏍᏕᏟᏗ

ᎣᏏᏳ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

This is what I found.

East has a value of Fall, evening, the youngest and oldest.
North has a value of Winter, night, and the children.
West has a value of Spring, morning and young adults.
South has a value of Summer, Day and mature adults.

That is to help oneself with.
It’s good.
I, Ryan Mackey wrote this.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

ᎠᎩᏰᎸ

Ꭷ ᎯᎠ ᎨᎵᎠ

I feel that labels are like any tool, even identity labels; they can be used for good or ill.... When people are exposed to similar environments and are educated (indoctrinated) in a specific ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ (language, values, beliefs, customs, behaviors, world view, life ways, ect.) recognize their commonality and draw strength socially as an individual from that same ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ, there is a sense of solidarity, solace, comfort and surety that can cradle a person and allow them the safety to reach for their maximum potential. Challenges to that insulation, on the other hand, are potential motivation for personal achievement.

Those that share the same physical appearance due to relatedness by means of population migration or even adaptation to climatological conditions may also develop a value for commonality in physical expression that could further facilitate the insulated comfort zone of sameness. This comfort in sameness the natural intuitive conclusion of experiential observation. Those most similar in all ways to another can draw comfort from the predictability and stability of an expectation of posited responses. If you live in a world of gray you don't expect color.

In a peaceful and safe ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏛ environment, when individual differences are shown to be mutually beneficial between diverse groups then the natural and logical initial fear of the unpredictable, potentially chaotic and different "other" can be overcome through time, patience and acclimation. In a positive scenario approaching the perfect ideal, a complete system ᎧᎵᏬᎯ, exploring differences can be seen as an opportunity for growth in experiences and ideas. Exposure to positive and innovative experiences do not mean an abandonment of self and others of like kind but will result in growth and positive self reflection ᎠᏑᎭ ᎢᏣᏛᏁᏗ.

By accident of birth or result of conditions, individual expressions, though potentially similar to others each of us is unique and endowed with specific characteristics, abilities, skills and talents. When we maximize our individual or personal potential, we specialize in function and purpose. When we rely on one another in community, each of us contributing the best of what we are, our specialty; we can rely on others to do the same and the result is that an integrated system functionality is established. Both individuality and cultural identity are necessary to fulfill our potential as ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ.

ᎣᏏᏳ

ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ  ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ᏅᎩᏊ


ᏅᎩ ᏤᎶᎯ
ᏅᎩ ᏧᏁᏥ
ᏅᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ
ᏅᎩ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᏙᏗ

That’s how it began ᎢᎪᎯᏛ ᏥᎨᏎᎢ ᏗᏓᎴᏂᏍᎨᎢ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏓ
ᎤᏠᏯᏊ ᎢᏗᏍᏆᏛ and end.

We are not promised a fifth world ᏗᎧᎸᎦ ᎢᏗᏢ  ᏫᏥᎦᏔᎾ
We are not promised anything ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ  ᏫᏥᎦᏔᎾ  ᏥᏣᎴᏅᎯ
ᎤᏓᏁᎳᏅᎭ  ᏂᎦᏓ  ᏧᏤᎵᎪ  ᎢᎦᏁᎳᏅᎭ  ....ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏗᏥᏴᏫ
ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵᏃ ᏧᎾᏤᎵᎦ ᎤᏓᏁᎳᏅᎭ ᎢᏥᏍᏕᎳ ....ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏗᎩᏴᏫ

ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎦ ᎠᏥᎸ ᎠᏰᎷᎴᎯ
ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᏚᎾᏙᏍᏛ
ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᏚᎾᏙᏍᏛᎯ
ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᏚᎾᏙᏍᏛ
ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎦ ᎠᏥᎸ ᎠᏰᎷᎴᎯ

ᏗᎧᎸᎦ ᎠᏁᎰ ᏙᏓᎸ ᏧᏬᏚᎯ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᏧᏪᏘ ᏫᎨᏓᏍᏗ
ᎢᎦᎵᎪᏒ ᎢᏗᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯ ᎢᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗᏃ

ᏕᎦᏓᎨᏳᏎᏍᏗ
ᏕᎦᏓᏟᏴᏎᏍᏗ
ᏕᎦᏓᎸᏉᏕᏍᏗ
ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ ᏕᎦᏓᏰᎸᏎᏍᏗ

ᎣᏏᏳ ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ᎠᏂᏩᎾᏈ

Ꭷ ᏃᏭᏛ  In a world of nouns ᏣᎳᎩ has become another noun.  Warning! Teacher speak: The word ᏣᎳᎩ is actually usually used as an adjective, as in the language and culture ex. ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏫᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ. It can be used as a noun when talking about the language and culture as well ex. ᏣᎳᎩ ᏕᎦᏕᎶᏆᎠ I am learning Cherokee.  It is not a person.  A Cherokee person is ᎠᏣᎳᎩ, you are Cherokee is ᎯᏣᎳᎩ, I am Cherokee is ᏥᏣᎳᎩ, while Cherokees are ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ.  In ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ the line between nouns and verbs is weak to nonexistent.  Despite that, I am starting to feel different.

As a young person ᏥᏧᏣ ᏥᎨᏒ.... I learned very early ᏥᏣᎳᎩ ᏥᏴᏫᏯ but I did not really know what that meant.  I did ᏲᏁᎦ things and sneakingly suspected that ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ might have secretly been a subtype of ᎠᏂᏲᏁᎦ.  (That’s so embarrassing now, please don’t tell anyone.)  Since then I have learned differently.  In fact looking back with a greater understanding, I should have known better then.  I had thought ᏣᎳᎩ was a noun rooted in brown skin ᎤᏬᏗᎨ ᎦᏁᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏌᎪᏂᎨ ᎤᏁᎦᏃ ᏗᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ

ᏃᏊ ᏥᎩ I know skin tone and cards are at best a beginning to ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ
I have come to terms with the paradigm shift caused by ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ

At some point it was no longer enough for me to be Cherokee, I realized I had to live it.  Of course to some this would have been an obvious truth, but to me first I had to become ᎠᏩᎾᏈ.  Before then, I was what I was - Cherokee ᎠᏎᏛ ᏃᏊ I have to seek and learn, I have to want-to-be.   My identity must become about what I do not who I am; I must be a verb ᏥᏣᎳᎩ

I looked at myself, no language skills, a weak understanding of clan and spirituality.  Sure I admired the Druids, but .....ᎠᏎᏛ  I went to my extended family but they knew little more than myself, well actually I was wrong about that, I just didn’t realize what they knew.  In fact, they were speakers ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏬᏂᏍᎩ and I failed to hear them correctly.  Despite that, I have spent a lot of time learning from them and other ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ that are barely, if at all related to me.

ᏃᏊ ᏥᎩ I go to ᎦᏘᏲ
I teach ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ
I am sometimes called traditional.
I’m not traditional, I wasn’t taught ᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ from my parents, and little came from close relatives at all.  I was taught by the ᎤᏂᎵᏏ  ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏚᏚ of the children and grandchildren that I will teach when they bother to listen, or one day ask.

ᏥᏩᎾᏈ I will always seek and hunger, I can never quit.  I was struck with ᏚᏳᎪᏛ and cannot go back to being a noun.  I am a wannabe, I am not cool and relaxed and refined, I cannot rest on my laurels, my thirst will always rage, and I will always search.... aniwanabi.... There is too much to learn in one life time so I ask you to ᏕᏣᏌᎳᏗᎨᏍᏗ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏕᏣᏕᎶᏆᏍᎨᏍᏗᏃ and I only hope you will want to lift one another up to learn what you can ᎢᏥᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎠᏎᏛ ᏥᏩᎾᏈ.... ᎣᏏᏳ ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ᏂᎪᎯᎸ

Ꭷ ᏃᏊᏗᎾ

In an ᏂᎪᎯᎸ (infinite) ᎡᎶᎯ all things (ᏂᎦᏓ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏄᏍᏗᏃ) are not just possible, or probable; all things are absolute.  All things imagined and unimagined are ᏚᏳᎪᏛ "true".  They say the only absolute is that there are no absolutes.  If this paradox is the absolute truth, then who wins the battle for reality (ᎡᎶᎯ)?

ᎢᎦᎵᎪᏒ  ᏌᏊ  ᎢᏯᏓᏅᏙ  ᏃᏊᎴ ᎢᎦᏁᎳᏅᎯ  ᎢᎦᎵᎪᏒᏃ  ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ  ᏫᏗᎦᏔᎾ  ᏕᎦᎳᏏᎦᏕᏂᏃ  ᎾᏍᎩ  ᏭᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ ᏂᎦᏓ  ᎪᎱᏍᏗ  ᎨᏎᏍᏗ

When we unite and discern ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ’s will, we will become one in heart and mind.  Not just with each other but with ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ.  Face, turn towards and reflect ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ, follow that path provided to us and what is to be will be. ᎣᏏᏳ ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

ᏗᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ

Ꭷ ᏃᏊ ᏥᎩ

To be honest....  I am very political, but often I am unable to be openly political about a great many things.

I fear that in my Ceremonial life that I am not allowed to have an opinion sometimes.  If I choose one candidate over another I am causing factionalism and knowingly opening our ᏗᎦᏚᎯ to division.  I don’t belong to any political party or Church, and even though I vote in the ᎠᏍᏆᏂᏱ elections, I will not discuss it.  I belong to the political unit of our ᎪᏛ ᎦᏘᏲ ᏗᎦᏚᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏌᎰᏂ ᏗᎩᏴᏫ and I feel in my heart everything else is less than.

ᏗᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ is a gamble and that seed corn can go bad if it is not planted, I also feel that those ᏗᏆᏂᏲᏍᏗ - ᏌᎪᏂᎨ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᎦ are a gamble too.

ᎠᎹᏰᎵ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏂᏲᏁᎦ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎦ

Even our ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ political system was developed in response to ᎠᏂᎦᎵᏏ ᎤᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᏰᎵ and the other colonial states we initially dominated politically.  To use their standard for self identification is handy but ᎦᏂᏰᎩ

ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏲᏁᎦ ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᏧᏠᏱ

Don’t get fooled by the cards, like our ᏧᏂᎦᏴᎵ we are still gambling people but we always knew the stakes in the past - I am not so sure we do this time.

ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎢᎦᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᏠᏯᏃ ᏫᏓᏤᏢᎢ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓᏃ we need to talk about what that means and use that dialogue to inform our decisions.

I know we cannot bastardize and prostitute our ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ and I know we are not even allowed to promote it.  The sad truth is - if we don’t educate our people on ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ our live ways will become prostituted, bastardized, corrupted and raped.  We will bleed to death, and no one will even hear the sobs and no one will see the ᎪᏛ our Fire light glisten in the tears.

Without maintaining our responsibility to ᎢᎦᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᏗᎩᎦᏴᎵᎨᏃ we will continue to wage their war against our own ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ.  Don’t promote it, live it ᎢᏣᏛᏁᏗ live it in our schools, at work, in the political office and at home.  Rekindle that ᎪᏛ while you can and ᎪᏖᏍᏗ ᏂᎪᎯᎳ

ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ  ᏕᏣᎳᏏᎦᏕᏍᏗᏊ we are stronger than any colonial system or foreign power, the blood of our grandmothers’ runs in our veins, its time to talk about what’s at stake and let them know it is the same blood as their’s. ᏂᎦᎥ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎢᎦᏤᎵᎪ ᎢᎦᏓᏠᏯᏊ ᎠᏥᎸ ᎠᎦᏴᎵ ᎢᎨᏥ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏫᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ

ᎣᏏᏳ ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Saturday, February 19, 2011

ᏍᎩᏯᏛᏛ

Ꭷ ᏂᎦᏓᏊ ᏍᎩᎾᏍᏊ
ᏗᎫᎵ ᏗᏍᎩ asked me for an interview, and as a language instructor I felt compelled to aquiesse ᎭᎭᎭ.  His questions were so well written that I couldn’t help but indulge myself with these uncensored responses.  I was emotionally engaged and drawn into a period of contemplation about my feelings and beliefs.  These are his questions and my confessions about language revitalization.

"What do you feel are the most effective forms of Language Revitalization teaching? Are they being employed by Cherokee language speakers and if so, how well are they working?

ᎯᎠ ᎠᏉᎯᏳᎯ I believe that immersion ᏣᎳᎩᎭ is the tool par excellence ᏫᏓᏤᏢᎢ. I think there are many different types of immersion, but total language immersion with TPR, Form Focused approach, and Natural Language techniques should be practiced along with conventional etymological exploration and eventually grammar linguistic analysis. I’m afraid that one technique or practice will not have enough depth to meet the needs of a serious student to achieve fluency.

The Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, and various Colleges, Universities as well as elementary schools both public and private have engaged in these various aspects of language instruction, some having more effective results than others, but none have successfully implemented a comprehensive approach Ꮭ Ꮟ ᏱᎩ.

I don’t know for certain the specific combination of techniques and strategies that will ensure complete success, but I know it cannot be one dimensional and unilateral. The more interface time and exposure to the language with any technique will yield the best results.

As of yet I have not seen any one educational system ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ on is own create a single fluent speaker of the same calibre as an elder first language learner, a true fluent speaker ᎬᎵ ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ. I too have not met that goal.


What do you feel is likely for the future of Cherokee language? For Native languages as a whole?

We have no choice but to succeed. I am a fanatic and will never give up, there are others out there more dedicated than myself and we will succeed, we have no choice.


What is the relationship between culture and language and how could cultural revitalization be used to enhance language learning?

ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ Culture is everything. When it comes to the language, it doesn’t exist without the culture. Without the language the culture is dead. The language ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ is the vehicle for our life ways, values, beliefs and even behavior, it is the lifeblood of our culture. Without the culture the language has no meaning, purpose, role or value. Without the culture the language is simply a complicated code to express English ideas. ᏲᏁᎦᏛ

ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏱᎦᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗᏃ they must go hand in hand, language revitalization must be decolonizing and must inherently be cultural revitalization.


In your opinion is language revitalization for Native tribes possible without cultural revitalization? Where do you see Native languages in 50 years?

Ꮭ No, I think they are inexorably the same ᏧᏠᏯᏊ. I’m afraid that in 50 years most native languages will be gone, but I believe some will be successfully renewed and vibrant expressions of contemporary native life ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ. Those that are well documented can be renewed, but I believe any nation with even one fluent speaker still has hope to continue the living tradition. Given resources and time, and most importantly commitment it can be done. ᏂᎦᏛᏁᏗ It will take a movement, but I am hopeful that in 100 years those languages that have gone to sleep can be renewed and awakened. ᏗᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᏕᎦᏓᎢᏤᎮᏍᏗ


What are the differences in Cherokee that make is essential for language speakers to understand the culture?

English ᏲᏁᎦ and ᏣᎳᎩ do not share the same foundation ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ of philisophical understanding or etymological analysis. This fundamental difference is as wide as can be discerned. In Cherokee ideas are not defined through binary opposition, where comparison or contrasts are used to define aesthetic and symbolic opposites such as white and black, cold and hot, good and evil, ect.

Those dichotomies can and do exist, but there is no word for opposite, only on the other side ᎠᎾᏗᏢ. Each Cherokee concept can and does stand alone. Just like individuals, ᏣᎳᎩ defines things as inherently unique, they carry their own weight. ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ ᏕᎦᏓᏰᎸᏎᏍᏗ There are cultural and philisophical patterns that defy verbalization and explanation, logos is not our foundation for truth ᏚᏳᎪᏛ


What do you feel is different in the mind of a Cherokee speaker who learned English as a second language?

ᎾᎦᎥ ᎡᎶᎯ ᏅᏬᏘ ᏥᎩ They see the world in concrete expressions of tangible experience. Descriptions are wholly visual and tied to the physical world. There are no inherent understandings for the English equivalent for ideas such as perfection, opposite or hate. ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ only has ᎬᎵᏬᎯ complete, ᎠᎾᏗᏢ other side, Ꮭ ᏯᎩᎸᏉᏗ I don’t like that.   Spirituality is inherent.


Why is revitalizing Cherokee language so important?

Without ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ we will have no ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ and there will be no more ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ. To truly have a Cherokee people we need our language and culture. ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᏕᏣᎳᏏᎦᏕᏍᏗ that there is a value system, perspective, worldview, and behavior patterns that are valuable, not only for our own people but the whole world. We need a broader survey as a civilization before we can finalize our list of best practices.


If you were to give me a quote encouraging beginning speakers about the language and the hope for its future, what would it be?

ᏕᏣᏓᏝᏂᎪᎯᏍᏙᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎬᏩᎵᏨ ᏗᏣᏓᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᏕᏣᏓᏙᎯᏳᏎᏍᏗ ᏗᏣᏓᎫᏍᏓᎢᏃ ᎢᏤᎮᏍᏗ ᎾᏂᎥ ᏴᏫ ᏕᏥᏠᏯᏍᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏗᏝ ᏕᏣᏓᏎᎮᎮᏍᏗ

With strengthening and encouraging words, live and support one another, never giving up, treat one another as equals and direct one another in the Cherokee way of life. (My translation) From Benny Smith’s speeches about community values and traditional precepts" ᎣᏏᏳ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎫᎵ ᏗᏍᎩ ᏦᏍᏙᏪᎵᎦ

Friday, February 18, 2011

ᏕᏣᏕᏲᎲᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ

Ꭷ ᏃᏊᏥᎩ

We don’t hit kids.  I’m sorry, but we don’t.  I share the same peach limb stories; I have heard our Elders trade stories about corporal punishment and I even remember a few slaps in the mouth.

The world is different, again.  At one time they say we treated our ᏗᏂᏲᏟ like adults and watched them like hawks, we guided them with a soft touch through the perils of the natural world and we learned through natural consequences.

Correction came through speeches and stories, but that was long ago - then our ᏧᏂᎦᏴᎵ met a new way and the world that tore into ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ lives was dangerous, deadly and still is.

They had to tighten the reigns and change the rules.  The world was too dangerous to let our little ones have the autonomy they deserved, the change protected the babies from much worse.  We needed to create artificial consequences to prevent fatal natural consequences.  Maybe we still do. I spanked my son, but don’t need too now - maybe I never did.

We don’t live in the communities of our ᏗᎩᎦᏴᎵ, there was safety in ᏗᎦᏚᎯ but not in this world, ᎯᎠ ᏲᏁᎦ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎦᎾᏰᎩ

ᏗᎩᎦᏴᎵ did the best with what they had, and we still live in that ᎦᎾᏰᎩ ᎡᎶᎯ and its clear that it’s even more dangerous today than it was yesterday.  There is violence from every corner and they don’t even make school a safe zone.  The ᏗᏂᏲᏟ have learned to strike back, like ᎤᏦᎾᏘ they rattle their tails and learn the ᎩᎦᎨ ᎦᏅᏅ

ᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᏁᎦ ᎦᏅᏅ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏧᏙᏍᏛ ᏚᏂᏲᎱᏏ

I cant blame them, their parents, the video games or MMA, but I know unless I am part of the solution I am just as much to blame as anyone or anything else. 

ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ are not bullies, and we should not bully ᏗᏂᏲᏟ, and we should not suffer them to bully one another.

ᏗᎾᏟᎯ do not bully, and only walk the ᎩᎦᎨ ᎦᏅᏅ to protect.  Our ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ is ᏚᏳᎪᏛ

ᎠᏎᏛ ᏕᏣᏕᏲᎲᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᏚᏳᎪᏛ

ᎣᏏᏳ ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ᏄᏓᎴ

Ꭷ ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏥᎨᏒ

ᏄᏓᎴ - different
ᎠᏎᎩ - weird
ᎤᎵᎩᏍᏗᏕᎩ - flirt
ᎤᏓᏅᏙ - heart/spirit

These are terms associated with the traditional ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ that some call GLBTQ today.  Others call them Two Spirited.

I know some ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ call it ᎠᏍᎦᏃᏨ a sin, and say that these people are damned.  To them I say ᎢᏨᎨᏳᎯ and I ask them to think differently.  ᏂᎦᏓ ᎢᏗᏴᏫ ᎢᎦᏠᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦᏤᎵᎦ

We can not afford to leave them out, they are our ᏏᏓᏁᎸ and loved ones.

We can’t control one another, or change another’s heart.  I know what is says in the Bible, and I don’t dare argue against that.  Too many of my loved ones put it at the center of their world, and I would never seek to undermine their ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ

There are many things called sin in the Bible, but we cannot kill our wounded.  The Churches have a tendency to do that, but we are a ᏗᎦᏚᎯ, and the ᎠᏥᎸ ᎠᎦᏴᎵ belongs to the world we cannot afford to loose a single person.

When anyone needs help ᎾᎯᏳ ᏕᎦᏓᏍᏕᎵᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎢᎦᏤᎵᎦ

Our ancestors accepted these people without regard to personal judgment, can we do any less?

I hope you’ll understand when I say ᏄᏓᎴ ᎠᏍᎦᏯ is sacred thing.  ᏄᏓᎴ ᎠᎨᏯ is a Blessing.  ᎠᏎᎩ ᎤᏓᏅᏙ is a treasure. ᎤᎵᏍᏗᏕᎩ is a joy.   It is something I have had to learn and experience ᎠᏎᏛ ᏃᏊ ᎠᏆᏓᏅᏔ ᏕᎦᏓᎨᏳᏎᏍᏗ

Now is the time ᎢᏥᏙᎿ ᏕᎦᏓᏟᏴᏎᏍᏗ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ ᏕᏣᏓᏴᎸᏎᏍᏗ

I don’t think they are wrong, I love them and cannot help it.   We cannot choose who we love,  just how we treat one another.  ᎣᏏᏳ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ᏗᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ

Ꭷ the ᎡᎶᎯ it changing.  ᏂᎪᎯᎸ, but revolution is the crisp scent of spring after the bitter cold velveteen blanket melts back into the soil; the rich black of the earth beckons the new, after the piercing reflection fro a mirror of white.  Ꭷ it’s time for change.

Our cycle, new and renewing seeks the inevitable change like the ᏴᏫ ᎦᏅᎯᏓ of the river seeks the depths of the sea.  The cycle persists and opportunity, like hope is a constant ᎦᏄᎪᎦ, unyielding and ever present.  There will always be another frost but we know the the path of the ᏅᏙ ᎢᎦ ᎡᎯ as she ascends closer to her apex is a promise of new things and bold scents to come on the heels of the spring thaw.

As dictators fall and fascists kneel, ᎡᎶᎯ takes a much needed breath of fresh hope; a time will come when we all have a choice to make and a promise to fulfill.  Each of us has been given a purpose and a means to carry it out, those poor souls that have more than one must not only discern their path, but must also prioritize their destinations.  Our natures reveal that we are created with a purpose.  We must refine ourselves, lest our complacency draw its own challenges to temper and whittle down our will and pride, to mold us to meet greater needs.  It is a good time to kindle our vision from a spark to a bright ᎠᏓᏪᎳᎩᏍᎬ and cast our reaching scope to the waters to pull our dreams to the shoreline and share them with our families, and communities.  Let the old sandcastles crumble and wash out the darkness into the depths of the deepest waters.

We have, in our ᏗᎦᏚᎯ, decided to plant a seed.  We hope to nourish the tiny seedling as it pushes through the ᎦᏓ.  Its a delicate time, a time to prepare.  We hope to guard it close and watch it bud, and when it blooms ᎠᏥᎸᏍᎩ, it will bear fruit and dig its roots deep in the fertile soil of our community.  The young hearts and minds will have shelter when we lay the foundation for a place of learning ᎢᏗᏏᎾᏍᏗ ᏗᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ. 

Looking back at our past, even the golden years, our people have never fully realized the dream that is our way.  The best is yet to come.  Sometimes it’s easy for me to get discouraged, as ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ and ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ slip through our fingers.  Every time i go to a place of mourning and memorial and the last handshake’s dust and sand slips of my palm down into the tomb, I know the hour glass is just that much closer to empty. Time is not on our side.

I can’t help but be afraid of the falling sky as the earth shakes and crumbles, but ᎤᏚᎩ ᎠᏋᏌ.  When I look around I see Champions, my brothers and sisters holding one another up, ᏗᎾᏟᎯ for the children, the beloved elders and the way ᏚᏳᎪᏛ.  I can see their faces and the stone in their souls.  The ᎠᏥᎸ ᎠᎦᏴᎵ lives there and they will not give up, we will not fail.

ᏍᎩᏯᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᎢᎦᏁᎳᏅᎭ ᎢᏍᎩᏍᏕᎵᏍᎩ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏭᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ
ᎣᏏᏳ ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ᎠᎾᏗᏢ

Ꭷ opposition/opposite...  I am surrounded in beauty ᎡᎶᎯ ᎤᏬᏚᎯ if only they could see what I can.

We are already nothing, dead and ephemeral, but the beauty persists ᏅᏬᏘ

I can’t find solace in the binary opposition of politics, tribal or otherwise ᏙᎯ ᏥᎪᏩᏘ  it’s not the world I see. ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᏕᏣᎳᏏᎦᏕᏍᏗ ᎠᏉᎯᏳᎯ for me, myself, the way is truly white. ᏚᏳᎪᏛ

They do oppose us  ... always have at least.  Often they don’t know it, our friends and brothers, they might even try to stop us.  It doesn’t matter we cannot be their opposite, we don’t have one but it hurts when we find ourselves standing on the other side ᎠᎾᏗᏢ.

One side will speak about our ugly prayers and lack of God, like Canaanites they call us reprobate.  Manifest Destiny is our fault, God’s will. The Creator is an idol to their iconoclasts. 

The others call us friends and lift up our teary eyed image, but that is the idol they love, selfishly ᎤᎨᏳᎭ Its not who we are.  We held the fort for 470 years, and we are still gathered around our ᎪᏛ, our ᎠᏥᎳᎦᏴᎵ.  They call us friends and want to shelter us, but he day we refuse guardianship will be the day they remember that they sit in the same house as those across from us ᎠᎾᏗᏢ.

We cannot brag and hubris is no virtue, we have done no different.  ᎢᎦᏠᏯ, ᎢᎦᎵᎪᏒ ᏅᏩᏙᎯᏯᏓ ᏂᎧᎥ ᎡᎶᎯ ᎡᎵᏊᏍ ᏕᎦᏕᎨᏳᏎᏍᏗ but if we had treated them that way would we have not been swallowed up? That’s why we are here, they were ᎠᎾᏗᏢ

ᏃᏊᏥᎩ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏧᎾᎴᏅᏓ we look around and we are all seated ᎠᎾᏗᏢ our ᎠᏥᎸ is barely glowing, do we even have faith in the ᏅᏬᏘ, really?  It is God’s gift ᎠᏓᏍᏕᏟᏙᏗ we have laid our ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ down, and we can’t recognize our own faces in the shadows.

We have become too quick to correct and too slow to teach, by example.  When we see someone on the other side, ᎠᎾᏗᏢ do we go and get them by the hand, accept them?  If they are to blind do we still have the ᎠᏕᎳᎰᏎ to lead them, is our vision still that strong?

ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎯᎪᎵᏯ Include them and if our way is worthy they will follow.  ᏕᎦᏓᎸᏉᏕᏍᏗ and we will have to show it.  ᏂᎦᏓᏊ ᏱᏗᏙᎿ ᏕᏣᏓᏟᏴᏎᏍᏗ cling together because we need to live and speak ᏚᏳᎪᏛ

ᎢᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎢᏗᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏣᏓᏅᏔᏓ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎦ ᎢᎦᏠᏯ and we don’t have a word for opposite, we are united in cause because we cannot be defined by a false dichotomy.  We carry our own weight, we provide our own value, as created by God ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗ ᏕᎦᏓᏰᎸᏎᏍᏗ

I cannot stay on the other side...  no darkness will define my light.  ᎣᏏᏳ ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ

Ꭷ ᏃᏭᏥᎩ
"Is it the Government’s job to teach culture?" "What culture is taught if we don’t teach our own? “and [in general] what is the best way to teach?" "Until today, I didn’t think it was Cherokee Nation’s role to teach the culture. At least not the way I think of it now." "If not, then we will be taught [and will be teaching] their culture de facto at work...and school." "I think if we should start with conversations between friends and family.  I don’t think enough people are talking about it and I know that we are not all talking about it. Then [we could] move it to co-workers and people we are in organizations with."  "Later, if we create momentum we can [then] formalize the dialogue."

As the excerpts of my own words from conversations I have had with my friends over the last few days above suggest, I have been thinking.

The front line of the war for our language, culture and identity is in the institutional walls of the Cherokee Nation’s complex, the Immersion School, the Group Leaders’ Pod and even over at the United Keetoowah Band.  We train our new workers and soldier employees that are the front line in our service teams departments to suit up in their ᏲᏁᎦ clothes and to follow the norms and expectations of the mainstream world as they march out into the Cherokee communities (ᏗᎦᏚᎯ) to help our people to be happy and healthy.  Too often they find cold and mistrusting faces asking hard questions in whispered, suspicious voices.  Children cling to calves and thighs, they hide behind the shelter of their mother’s legs as she stands in the doorway negotiating with the representatives of self help as they crack heads against the entitlement promised to our ancestors one or two generations ago.  Those same Cherokee Nation spokesmen and women on the front line or in the trenches were once the self same children sheltered behind their mother’s doorway ten or twenty years before.  We are teaching them how to act, behave and think at work and by making them professionals, we strip them of their foundations, their ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ and their ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.

Yes, we must be professionals and be successful in the mainstream world, we must even be better at it than the non-Indians.  Some of us do need to be that sort of ᏗᏟᎯ, those that want to should, but why do we all need to fall into that pattern?  If we employ our own people and those employees are hired to interact with other Cherokees, why do we need to support any cultural values and systems other than our own?

At one time a ᏣᎳᎩ (Cherokee) employee woke up in the ᎦᏚᏩᎩ world from a ᎦᏚᏩᎩ dream, did ᎦᏚᏩᎩ things.  Then that employee put on their ᏲᏁᎦ clothes, coat and shoes and went to work at the Cherokee Nation.  There they spoke ᎠᎦᎵᏏ (ᏲᏁᎦ) and as paid to, did ᏲᏁᎦ things. At 5:00 PM they went home and took off their ᏲᏁᎦ clothes, coat, and shoes.  That is when they resumed their ᎦᏚᏩᎩ life, ate ᎦᏚᏩᎩ food, and spoke ᏣᎳᎩ.  These people had a Cherokee or ᎦᏚᏩᎩ world, and Cherokee Nation was their profession not their life.  That world is nearly gone, and the Cherokee Nation has a new mission, happy and healthy people, through a focus on ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏗ jobs, ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ language and ᏍᎦᏚᎩ community.  Through intensive social services the Cherokee Nation has taken over the role of BIA and IHS for many of our communities.  They have replaced many of the services that would have otherwise been provided by the State or the Federal Governments.  They have also taken on the roles of hegemony and colonialism created by those foreign systems and structures.  Its time to renew ourselves and re-evaluate those systems. ᎠᏤ ᎢᎦᎴᏂᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎫᏩᎵᏨᎭ ᏗᎦᏓᏲᎯᏍᏗ ᎢᏤᎮᏍᏗ Its time for a renewal.

What is "culture"?  Anthropologists, Sociologists and Scholars still debate that very issue.  It is more than baskets, songs, and stories.  It is the whole of that which we call life.  It is what makes us human, and ᎦᏚᏩᎩ.  It’s vessel is our ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, and its expression is our ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ life ways, all that we do.  This includes our thoughts, values and beliefs. Where we ᎦᏚᏩᎩ can, we must put our ways, models, systems and culture into place.  "Culture is everything" my friend told me this week, and even though I thought I already knew that - I didn’t realize what that meant.  Now I do, if we cant make the Cherokee Nation a place for ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ that culture will be stripped from all the Cherokee Nation serves and represents. ᎣᏏᏳ

ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎭ

Ꭷ  ᏍᎨ

fear
You God? That is laughable to me.
You have nothing about you that i fear. The most mighty and all powerful? What can
You take from me?
You own all that i am. No part of me belongs to anyone but
You, master of all things.
You can unmake creation and destroy reality. Why fear
You, your power is inevitable, your truth unyielding? It is useless to live in fear of any potential destruction. My own end is inevitable and uncompromising, a shared conclusion with all living things.

i love this gift, why fear its loss?
i am yours, You cannot loose me. In You nothing can be lost.
i seek only to discern your designed intent and share in that purpose. To work against it is not only fruitless but impossible. To fear You is not only groundless but without value.

i have no fear,
i know we are united in your breath.
ᏥᏬᎵᏕ ᎤᎿ ᎤᏣᏩᏕᎪ ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎭ

ᎣᏏᏳ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ᎬᎵ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ

Ꭷ I put this on facebook (tm) lol
How many fullblood Cherokees did we have near contact?
About 30,000 I think.
How many fullblood Cherokees did we have after the trail of tears?
Less than 20,000 I think.
How many fullblood Cherokees do we have now?
...Around 10,000-20,000 or so, never enough though.

How many Speakers do we have now?
...do we know what ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ means?
Will we continue to exist?
Yes, biologically.
Will we continue to exist?
I know that the original concept of ᎬᎵ full blood was a social definition.  I have discussed this as a student, an instructor and as an eavesdropper in more than one college level course. Even some of my discussions, informal and among friends, in a community setting has added support to this idea.  Language was until recently a defining factor, but in the murky depths of our collective past, kinship - specifically clan - was paramount.  Although biology was always a part of the criteria for evaluation, appearance was always trumped by clan and language fluency, but in the absence of aforementioned attributes, appearance/biology have become the foundation for identity and Cherokee classification.  Since the Dawes Allotment Act this has been encapsulated and packaged as a new formal pedigree - CDIB.  ᎣᏏᏳ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ

ᎠᏰᎵ

Ꭷ ᏃᏭᏥᎩ
I used to be a sovereignty sort of fellow, I even wanted to be a tribal attorney and "fight" as a modern ᏗᏟᎯ. That was until I spent some time in our communities as an adult.  I still think that we need those sort of legal warriors, I have since realized that’s not my path.  I know our ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ people have always been an ᎠᏰᎵ, a Nation, but not by ᎠᏂᎦᎵᏏ definitions.  Those ᏲᏁᎦ people had to remake us in their own image.  I know how they used colonialism and hegemony to oppress our ancestors but now they don’t even need too.  We can do that ourselves - that’s self determination for you....  I had better explain myself, I am not anti-Indian or completely self loathing or even unstable - not really.  I am just afraid that we are focused on the wrong things.  It maybe that we are on the right path, but it is likely that if we take the time to re-evaluate our system we will find that we are beyond our scope and out of step with our needs and priorities.  I am only suggesting that we re-evaluate our foundation while we still have the means.

Historically, traditionally and in all truth authentically, we have defined ourselves as ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ, and we were a Nation when we discovered the ᎠᏂᎦᎵᏏ. Our true ᎠᏰᎵ was not founded by any constitutional authority or even bound by a centralized authority.  We were technically comprised of loosely confederated city states, semi autonomous tribal towns called by some ᏗᎦᏚᎯ.  This phrase seems to share the same etymology as ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ, the ᎦᏚ in the middle could be referring to bread or elevated position.  Its even likely that the heart of the concept for ᎦᏚ (bread) is tied to its raising and elevating activity during baking. What tied us together was not political coercion but was likely more binding.  As a Nation our foundation was the seven clan kinship system ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ.  This meant that the same seven families were represented in every true ᏗᎦᏚᎯ and that family was the tie that bound us as ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ.  ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ enabled a diverse but shared symbolic and ceremonial framework to grow and tie our ᏗᎦᏚᎯ together and representative of the divergent ceremonies and traditions that united us was the ᎠᏥᎸ, the Fire.  ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ gathered around our central ᎠᏥᎸ in each and every ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᏗᎦᏚᎯ.

ᎠᏥᎸ was central to that way of life, it represented both the ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ, ᏗᎦᏚᎯ and the greater concept of Nation or ᎠᏰᎵ, which means the center.  Our foundation of law was ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ, that was our foundation.  This system of teachings was known as ᏚᏳᎪᏛ the truth or the right way, and the white path that we walked daily in philosophy and behavior was said to challenge us to ᎤᏁᎳᏅᎯ ᏕᎦᎳᏏᎦᏕᏂ do what we were designed to do.  Each person had not only personal responsibility but communal standards.  We held ourselves accountable to our intentions and we were held accountable for the outcomes of our actions.

Just as we were bound by a common foundation or ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ of kinship, spirituality, values, and geography, we also shared a common history.  This ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏓ was maintained by the elders ᏗᏓᎴᏂᏍᎨ ᎠᏂᎦᏴᎵ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏓ.  As communities diverged changed and grew, the stories became somewhat divergent in detail but maintained the same ᏚᏳᎪᏛ ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ.  Some ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏓ were so precise and important that they we only told to specific people at specific times, and this controlled accuracy and viability.  ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ is values based and that system is demonstrated by a belief in ᏚᏳᎪᏛ but that demonstration is enacted through behavior.  Those things we do ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ are markers of identity as much or more than appearance and material culture.  Our ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ is in itself a form of communication that identifies specific ideas, thoughts and beliefs to those in our own society, and paints us as different to those outside our communities and life ways ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.

Our way of life as ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ is a demonstration of that ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ that holds us together as a Nation.  Centralized political coercion is weak in the face of a ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ built from those many cultural factors of ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.  The land ᎦᏓ is an obvious but key element in that list of factors, but it is an element we can share with our neighbors, and that may be a non-negotiable fact at this point.  The other factors, the kinship of our ᎦᎵᏉᎩ ᏧᏂᏴᏫ, the common tie of our ceremonial ᎠᏥᎸ at the center of each ᏗᎦᏚᎯ, the belief in our spirituality as it is embodied in ᏚᏳᎪᏛ, our shared ᏗᎧᏃᎮᏓ and the diversity of divergent stories, as well as the resultant behaviors and activities that outline both what and how we do things, our ᎢᏯᏛᏁᏗ are all carried on the shoulders of one vehicle ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, the Cherokee/ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ language.

ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ is the true binder and identifying factor of ᎠᏂᎦᏚᏩᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ.  Without ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, we have to constantly reiterate our identity by altering and rephrasing a foreign language explain ourselves to the world around us as well as our friends, family, children and grandchildren.  This is not in the least precise, accurate or easy, and more often than not the words, no matter how many we use, cannot enumerate the symbolic truth as it is understood in ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ.

Take it or leave it, but I suggest that these variables of ᎢᏯᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ should not only be used as our ᏗᎧᏃᏩᏛᏍᏗ, but furthermore should be used to evaluate what we call our Nation our Culture and our Life ways.  I am requesting a re-assessment. ᎣᏏᏳ
ᎠᏯ ᏩᏕ ᎦᎵᏍᎨᏫ ᏥᎪᏪᎸᎦ