What Do Native Americans Really Want, You Ask?

What a strange title for a story about us.
Do you think anyone really cares what we want?
This is the usual outsider writer interviewing an “expert” on our type story,
with the expected results.
It could be an interesting story, however and there is always a however,
when it comes to us and writers and experts it seems,
you will need to read between the lines.
The writer interviews a person who is said to be a decedent of a Comanche “dignitary,”
what does that mean exactly?
Not sure. But I’ll bet it means that he is supposed to be an expert of some kind on all things Native.
I am an East Coast Native and would not even pretend to know the inside details of other Nations,
so why do these kind of stories keep getting written?
Although I have been invited to a Apache Ghost Dance and a Lakota Sundance I would never assume that I was qualified to teach one no more than I would believe that an Apache or Lakota could teach our Paw-paus!
Not one of us can speak for other Native people or know how they really feel, can we?
I believe that we, all races on Mother Earth, must open our eyes.
I could spend hours disputing the wild myths about what Native people
should all look like, but I think just a few words will do.
Let’s take one subject that comes up repeatedly whenever we are talked about.
Darker skinned Natives normally came from the very hot parts of this country,
they were out in the sun most of their lives, so they had darker skin.
Lighter skinned Natives, like my people, from the Woodland areas of the North and East Coast
were most likely that way because they were rarely exposed to long hours of sunlight.
The story goes on to talk about Treaties and we all know how that turned out for Native people.
We got the short end to the stick every time, no exceptions.
This writer and his source at this point then gets themselves into some trouble,
when they try to speak of our culture and our spirituality.
One person cannot truly know the spirituality of another.
I am a Mohegan.
Do I know what West Coast Natives do in their sacred ceremonies,
that outsiders never get to witness?
No, of course, not.
So, then please, both of you, do not try to speak for all of our People.
Please spend some time with many different Elders and then re-write your story.
No offense, but if you want to write about us in other parts of this country,
at least be willing to go to the source.
Although I have been invited to a Apache Ghost Dance and a Lakota Sundance I would never assume that I was qualified to teach one no more than I would believe that an Apache or Lakota could teach our Paw-paus!

Native American.

Happy Fathers day Dads.

What is an American Native, Indian, or Native American?

First we need to clear up just what is an Indian, Native, and America?

An Indian is anyone in or from India, period!

A Native is anyone born to a town, city, state or country.

A Native American is anyone born in America.

America is a continent, North and South.

What is our continent?

Our continent is the only one in question for this blog entry and is west of Europe and Africa and east of  Asia, south of the north pole and North of the South pole.

If you were born to this continent, you are a Native American.

An American native for the purpose of this blog  is anyone with an ancestor, white, red, yellow, black and anyone in between, that can be traced back to either the Vikings or west through  Alaska.

A native to America is anyone with ancestors back to the first family on the continent, North or South.

While growing up in and around Mohegan Village, for all but four years because, Uncle Sam said ” We want you”, everyone called me a Mohegan Indian, that is up until the area became the home of the casino Indians, now they call me a Native American.

So, for the purpose of this blog, call me an American Native or what a concept, call me Walkingfox.

Our Native American pipe ceremony

What is our pipe ceremony?

The ceremonial use of the pipe is a simple ritual. The peace pipe ( Friendship) is loaded with native tobacco called kinnick, kinnick a mixture of commonly found herbs.

No form of mind-altering substance is condoned by American Natives traditionalists. We do not need or use hallucinating substances.

The pipe ceremony begins with herbs, a natural substance, into a pipe and then acknowledging the four directions.

Mother Earth, point stem towards earth, and Father Sky; point stem towards the sky, it culminates with the final offering to the Great Spirit.

The pipe is held firmly by the bowl in the palm of the hand with the stem pointed outward. The last step of the pipe offering is the holding up of the pipe with its stem pointed straight upward, out into the center of the universe. Although we admit that Creator is everywhere, in ceremony it is easier to think of Creator as above.

A preference is starting in the east, because the sun rises in the east, and it is the beginning of a new day for each of us.

The following description begins with an east-facing celebrant, besides this is how we have been taught by each and every one of my elders, while teaching me that Creator always arrives from the east at our gatherings, good enough for my ancestors good enough for me!

The pipe holder stands to face the east, holding the pipe with its stem pointed eastward in one hand, a pinch of herbs ( kinnick, kinnick ) in the other, and sprinkles some herbs on the ground before inserting the herbs in the bowl of the pipe.

By sprinkling a portion on the ground, the pipe holder is acknowledging that we must always give back to Mother Earth the first part of what we have taken.

The sprinkling also demonstrates to the on looking spirit world that a portion of the herbs is for the powers from the east.

The pipe holder may ask the on lookers, please also face east while the pipe is loaded in such a manner.

Red is the east; It is where the daybreak star, the star of knowledge appears.
Red is the rising sun bringing us a new day we thank you, Great Spirit, for each new day that we are allowed to live upon Mother Earth.

From knowledge springs wisdom and goodness and we are thankful, for the morning sun that rises in the east.
Knowledge shall become the beginning of peace throughout this world.

The pipe holder turns to the south and points the pipe stem in that direction. A new pinch of herbs is held slightly above eye level in a southerly direction, on lookers should be also facing south.

The south is yellow. Mother Earth gives us growth, gives us all that sustains us, and herbs that heal us.

She brings forth the bounty of warm south wind and the yellow so that we think of strength, growth and physical healing and a time for planting.

Another pinch of herbs is put into the pipe bowl.

The pipe holder and all on lookers then face west.

Black is the color of the west where the sun goes down.
Black is darkness, release, spirit protection.
In the darkness, the spirit beings come to us.

The spirit beings warn us and protect us.

Black is the water; the life-giving rains come from the west,
where the thunder beings live Water is life.

Black stands for the spirit world where we shall all enter someday.
What we do or do not do upon this earth, we shall carry with us over into that spirit world.
We shall all join together and either be ashamed or proud of how we treated one another, how we respected or disrespected our Mother Earth,
How we respected or disrespected all living things made by the Great Creator.

We will see each other and know each other in the spirit world. Those we have harmed will remind us for eternity. The west is where our spiritual wisdom comes from
If we care to seek it.

The pipe holder sprinkles some herbs upon Mother Earth and puts some herbs into the pipe bowl.
Every time the pipe holder faces a direction, all onlookers face that direction and listen to the speakers words intently.

The last of the four directions is the north.

White is for the north power strength, endurance, purity, truth stands for the north.
The north covers our Mother Earth with the white blanket of cleansing snow the snow prevents many sicknesses.

Courage and endurance these strengths we seek and wish to be blessed with as we stand here facing north.

The herbs is sprinkled to the north and then inserted into the bowl.

Green is the color for Mother Earth

every particle of us comes from her through the food we take from her daily.

We all start out as tiny seeds we have grown to our present state and status through what she provides she is truly our mother and must be acknowledged and respected.

Kinnick~Kinnick is sprinkled upon Mother Earth and the pipe is loaded.

The pipe is then pointed at an angle to the sky. We usually point our pipe towards the sun; if it is evening, we point it towards the moon, to acknowledge Father Sky.

Father Sky gives us energy from the sun.
Father Sky provides the fire that
Fuels our homes and our lodges
And the energy that moves our bodies.

Father Sky has daily communion with our mother.
Together, they are our true parents.

Some herbs is sprinkled on the ground, and the major portion is loaded into the pipe.
The pipe receives a portion` of Kinnick~Kinnick one last time, and then the pipe is held almost straight up into the sky.

Great Spirit, Creator of us all Creator of the four directions,
Creator of our Mother Earth and Father Sky and all things, we offer this pipe.

If there is still some unburned herbs remaining in the bowl after the pipe has made its journey around the circle, the ashes will be cleaned from the pipe and sprinkled upon Mother Earth. The pipe ceremony is then finished.

A pipe is never lit or loaded indoors;

a pipe is loaded and lit outside then brought in.

A Tribal mother will usually serve as acceptor for the Kinnick~Kinnick that is normally sprinkled on Mother Earth.

The woman will take the herbs offered to the four directions, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and the Great Spirit outside at some later time and sprinkle the herbs upon the earth.

My grandfather, Sachem Chief Tallfox’s (Mgisse) friendship pipe, was awakened for him by his grandfather (Ahtchwechteed) William Thomas Storey married to Mary Tracy fielding in 1859, the pipe was blessed by Creator in 1898 at their eastern paw paus that summer!