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Sunday, November 27, 2016

We are heart broken over all that is happening to our brothers and sisters in Cannon Ball North Dakota. We send up prayers and smoke for justice, peace and protection over every Water Protector. Mni Wiconi !!!!



Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Great Father above is a Shepherd Chief. I am His and with Him all I need is provided. He throws out to me a rescue rope named love. He draws me to where the grass is green and the water gives me peace. I eat and lie down and am satisfied. Sometimes my heart is very weak and I fall down, but He lifts me up again and draws me into the good Red Road. His Tribal Name is, “Wonderful.”

Sometimes, He will draw me into the valley where shadows of the death angel dwells. It is dark there, but I am not afraid, for it is in between those mountains that the Shepherd Chief will meet me and the hunger that I have in my heart throughout my life, will be satisfied.

Sometimes He makes the love rope into teaching truth I did not know, but afterwards He gives me a staff to lean upon. He spreads a table before me with all kinds of foods while my enemies look on with envy. He puts His hand upon my head and all my fears are gone. The burden bundle of my soul, He fills until it spills over. What I tell you is true. I will not lie. He will always be beside me as I walk The Red Road. He sends two great ones to feed me every day; One is called, “No penalty of wrongs,” and the other is, “All Good things.” He will always be with me through this life and when it is time to cross over; I will go to live in the Great Lodge in the sky above.  I will sit down with the Shepherd Chief and be with Him forever.

I find it interesting that certain movies like Dances with Wolves and A Man Called Horse focus on white men who have found peace by becoming one with indigenous people of Turtle Island. (Native Americans) In both of these movies what is revealed is men trying to find themselves, men looking for peace and their place in this world. History shows it was not uncommon for white men to want to become, "Indian." In their heart of hearts, white men who were caught up in a world of dog-eat-dog competition and meaningless existences felt they were lost. For so many people in western society there is a sense of aimless floating from one cause to another. There is an endless hunt for meaning and purpose. No matter how much land they own, how many possessions they have, or how much power they wield there is still an emptiness.

The reality is that Native Americans were living Biblical principles long before the white man got here. This is clearly shown by the life style of "being in the world but not part of the world". We are just passing through and it is our responsibility to not own the earth but to be the stewards and protectors of it during our pilgrimage here. Treat others the way you would want to be treated was built into the protocol of honor for all living things. This is the way of the Medicine Wheel.

In our world today as we watch life move at lightening speed; more and more people are lost and thus the suicide rates keep climbing. For many there is an aching for simplicity, relationships, friends, and community. I believe that it was God's intention for Europeans to come to this land to learn how to slow down when things were moving so fast. Today more than ever there is a need to unplug from the matrix and find what is really important in life. The fact is our Native American hosts have known these truths for thousands of years. Yes God gave us The Book of Heaven and this gift was intended to be shared with our Native brothers and sisters, NOT our religion. Religion, they knew intuitively, is what separates us from God, breeds prejudice, and stops God from being free to lead us deeper into a relationship with Him and others.

Over the many years I have lived in the world system, I find that it engulfs us; it is sucking the life out of us all. The fact is we work to live. From cradle to grave many live numbed lives of existence and at the end die unfulfilled, knowing all the years were wasted for the job’s sake. It is not that we should all quit our jobs today, however our Native brothers and sisters and our Native ancestors who knew the Jesus Way long before any fair skinned people ever sit foot on Turtle Island, hold more keys than we have for our current comprehension to grasp. Yes there is a place for science, industry and inventions, however the fact is, when all is said and done, we need to face what in our own lives is dross. What is in our lives may simply be wood, hay, and stubble? What have you laid up for yourselves in the treasure house of heaven? It has been said, "We will not be judged by how much we did but how much we loved". There is a story in the Book of Heaven, The Bible, of a man who worked his whole life and at the end sat back and said to his soul, "Soul, take your ease. The barns are full, your bank account is filled to the top.” It was at this point the Creator said, "Today your soul is required of you". I believe by walking the Sacred  Red Road we will find our way back to the Creator and His intention for us individually and as a nation. What we are looking for is what the Blackfoot Native People call, "Sk Na" - - Peace !

My heart is Yakama, Apache, Shoshone, Blackfoot, Absaaslooke, and my ancestors, Powhatan. I cannot change the color of my skin but beneath the surface my heart is Native.



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Finding my heart for the Native People of Turtle Island

Finding the Creator's Heart at The Battle of Greasy Grass, "Little Big Horn"

When I married my husband three years ago, I knew he had a heart for the Native Americans. Early on in our dating, Danny had shared with me how he had attended a gathering of Indians and “Europeans” at Celilo Falls where his heart had broken for the Indians and had then expanded to embrace a love for them. I do love all people but did not have the same depth of love for the Native Americans that Danny had. Frankly, I didn’t even know much about their history, culture, or even the hardship they continue to experience in these modern times. I only knew bits and pieces of the skewed information our history books taught us--the first Thanksgiving, westward expansion, the French & Indian War--or what I saw on movies--Tonto and the Lone Ranger, war parties, Pocahontas.

I just didn’t have that some yearning for this people group my husband had, but, since I loved my husband, I asked the Lord to give me that same heart. I thought God would just plunk that love into my heart, but instead, He sent me on a vision quest, a journey to gain the love for America’s Host Nations.

The journey began as a 3 week, 7,000 mile round trip to meet my new husband’s relatives and friends and for him to meet mine. It was going to be a people trip, not a sightseeing trip because we had a tight itinerary (part of which involved arriving at our host’s home right around dinner time!) Our first visit was to my dear friend Stephani’s home in Lakeside, Montana. While visiting the quaint town of Big Fork, Stephani snapped a picture of Danny and me standing by a brass statue of a chief astride his horse. This was the beginning of the thread of the Native American theme woven throughout our trip.

On day two of our journey, we visited Danny’s friend Lockley, a Black Foot, Native American pastor, and his family on the Flathead Indian Reservation in St. Ignacious, Montana. I had never stayed overnight on a reservation; I’ve only passed through reservation land or bought fireworks on the Muckleshoot Reservation here in Washington. In my white mind and background, I had no idea what to expect. Lockley and Traci’s home was just off the freeway. It was a nice home in an average neighborhood surrounded by beautiful Bitterroot Mountain scenery--not a tipi in sight. That evening as we sat around a fire pit and shared stories, our backdrop was an orange Montana sunset. Lockley said most of the choice pieces of property on the reservation was being bought out by non-Indians. As we spent the night at their home, I somehow felt like I was an interloper.

The next day we headed to Sundance ,Wyoming to visit my dad and step-mom. Danny drove our economical Prius while I had the responsible job of chief navigator. This meant I got to use my handy dandy 2004 travel atlas to keep the driver apprised of our whereabouts, point out significant land marks, funny town names, and crazy billboards as well as acting as the lunch chef and water bottle supplier. While we travelled through southeast Montana, I spotted The Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument on the map. “Isn’t that where Custer had his last stand? Oh, Danny, can we please stop in and see it? I know we weren’t going to do much sightseeing, but....it’s right off the freeway. We don’t have to stay long.” This decision to make a quick stop along the freeway was life changing for me.

As soon as we got out of the car, Danny and I could feel the solemn heaviness of the atmosphere. A park ranger was in the middle of telling the story of what transpired on the fateful day of June 25-26, 1876. The ranger didn’t tell the brief version I had learned in school, but told a balanced story of soldiers who had to unwillingly follow their arrogant commander, Indian scouts who had warned General Custer that they would be outnumbered if they proceeded into battle, and many separate Indian tribes who fought to protect their families, their homes, and their lively-hoods.

Danny and I somberly climbed the hill where Custer and many of his soldiers had died. Aged white gravestones marked where the troops had fallen. On the top of Last Stand Hill stood a obelisk commemorating that fateful day. Visitors spoke in hushed tones as they began to understand the gravity of what had transpired 137 years ago almost to the day. Danny and I began to read the information kiosks. On this hill, the soldiers shot their horses in a desperate attempt to protect themselves. Indian braves shot arrows from down below to protect themselves and their families.

When the smoke of the battle cleared and the arrows ceased to fly, 210 of Custer’s men, 53 of Major Reno and Captain Benteen’s men, and 60-100 Indian braves had lost their lives. The Lakota and Cheyenne removed most of their dead from the battlefield that day. Two days later, the bodies of Custer and his command were hastily buried where they fell. In 1877, the remains of eleven officers and 2 civilians were moved to eastern cemeteries; the remains of the rest were buried around the base of the memorial. In 1890, 249 white headstone markers were erected on the battlefield in memory of the soldiers. It wasn’t until 1999 (109 years after the battle) that the National Park Service began erecting red granite markers at known Cheyenne and Lakota warrior casualty sites which finally gave a “balanced interpretive perspective of the fierce fighting.”

As I carefully walked on the trail--I sure didn’t want to run into any of the rattlesnakes the signs had been warning me about--I came to a red gravestone. It read: “Ve Ho Enohmenehe ‘Lame White Man’ A Cheyenne warrior died here on June 25, 1876 while defending his homeland and the Cheyenne way of life.” From this hill, I could see across the vast landscape--rolling hills, a few low trees, and the stream some of the soldiers had made an attempt to reach. The only sound was the wind rustling through the prairie grass. My chest began to ache, my stomach began to twist and tears trickled down my cheeks as the enormity of lives lost hit me. Both sides had lost loved ones....this was a solemn, grievous place. In the heavy quietness, I heard God’s voice, “It grieves me too.” I felt I could start wailing in grief at this point but held back, and just stood hunched over, allowing myself to feel the pain.

Danny saw me bent over. As he embraced me he asked if I was okay. I said I was grieving. “You are travailing” he said. “You are travailing in intersession for what happened here.”

God continued to fill my heart and said, “I didn’t want them to die. I want unity between all people.” So on the top of Last Stand Hill, in the middle of Little Big Horn Battlefield, with white and red gravestones surrounding me, and the prairie grass solemnly rustling, God gave me a heart for Native Americans and I joined the Creator in a prayer for unity.

But this is not the end of my vision quest......



Sunday, September 25, 2016

As we watch the world and people of the world there seems to be a shift going on that is so needed. Those people of the dominant culture in America have for the last five hundred and thirty five years been outward looking. The driving force and motivation has been explore, reach out, reach higher and keep pushing for more and more of everything. The problem has been at the expense of inner peace, respect for each other, respect for our elders and disregard for the earth that is our home. The land, the water and other resources were from the beginning placed here for us to steward, honor and be eternally grateful for. The life of all living things depends on water and without clean water nothing can survive. We lift up a song from our hearts and sing of unity between all people, living things, animals, water and the earth. It has become my conviction that the organized church should humbly bow before the Creator and ask for forgiveness and partner with our Native brothers and sisters in turning around this culture of greed. Let true disciples display humility and reach across all the walls that have divided us. Be the examples of lives lived in reconciliation of heart and attitude.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux

My wife and I are settling down to our life in Yakima Washington. It has been my great joy to spend time every week on the Yakama Reservation.

This has been the most difficult time in my life as I underwent surgery to remove cancer near my Pancreas the end of March 2016. I went three and half months without eating solid food. This all changed on July 9th of this year. Thanks to prayer and The Creator I began eating again. I lost sixty three pounds during this ordeal. Having regained my strength we pick up the deep concern and care for the causes our Native Brothers and Sister are fighting every day. Now more than ever our voices must be heard.

We stand with the Protectors of the Water in Cannon Ball North Dakota.