Monday, January 30, 2017

I Prayed Today ... but Prayer is Cheap

I attended two Traditional Ceremonies in the last week; a Tie-Up and Sweat Lodge. I enjoyed attending both Ceremonies. In the Ceremony I did do prayer. In the Tie-up Ceremony I asked for prayer for my daughter. In the Sweat Lodge Ceremony I prayed for my girl, my children, my grandchildren, siblings, aunties, uncles, relatives, and friends to have good health. Mostly I said Thanks to the Creator for all the Blessings in my life.

The Tie-Up Ceremony was an opportunity to hear some Teachings in addition to the Prayer and Healing which takes place. What did resonate with me was the Teacher/Elder/Ceremony holder's words on prayer. He spoke on how good prayer can be but he also went on to say "but Prayer is cheap". Its not enough to just pray, you have to take action with your prayer. You want something in life go out and work for it. Like being healthy - go out and take care of your health as well.

I have felt this way for a while. Like many I will pray in times of crisis. I will pray for the unattainable. I don't pray to win the Lottery that's weird and selfish. I might wish to win lottery but that's not prayer. I pray for other things, like my girl to over come addiction. Its not enough just to pray for the addiction to be overcome. I have to do my part. The only power I have over the addiction is how I act and react to my girl. I have come to realize the power or lack of power or control we have in many things. I guess that is one of the reasons we pray; because we have no control over the situation. Or we think we have no control over the situation. So all we can do is ask the Creator to help us.

For my girl all we can do is continue to practice Kindness to her. We have done all the other things: anger, guilty, pity, condemnation, extortion, bribing, enabling, encouragement. Kindness is the only viable option we can offer to our girl. We still pray of course, but prayer is cheap. We try to be Kind to her even when the addiction is selfish. We don't confuse enabling with Kindness.

I see or hear lot of folks who say "I'll pray for you" or  "sending prayers", or "pray for me".  I wonder about those prayers.  I have heard before that prayer is the least or laziest thing you can do. For example;  An Earthquake has killed many people, destroyed towns and we do our best by sending prayers. Do we really send those prayers or do we just say we are going to do a prayer?  I often wonder about that? I see it many times on social media where a tragic event occurs and we post "sending prayers". How nice and caring of us to send prayers. Makes me feel good, that you are praying for something/someone. How does it make you feel?

Besides prayer what do we do? How do we make sure prayer is not cheap?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Protocols of Traditional Ceremonies: Barriers or Conformity.

I remember at Sundance getting a Pipe ready for the Old Man. I started to join the Pipe and then the Old Man gently told me to Smudge the Stem and Bowl before I joined them. Each time I was to clean the part of  the Pipe before it was used.  He went on to load the Pipe with Tobacco. Each time he took a pinch of Tobacco he acknowledged a direction. He did this as a ritual as old and older than he was. It was a practice he followed and continues to follow.  He wanted to start the life as new clean and on a clean way. The act of  joining the feminine and the masculine creates life; the stem and bowl. You use the life to speak with the Creator. Smudging the Pipe and the Tobacco was significant in what he felt was needed to start fresh. I was teased by my friend to "do it right next time".

There is a movement away from Protocols in Ceremony. People believe the protocols have become a barrier for people coming to Ceremony. Some say the protocols are out dated, sexist, even harsh. There is lot of hard feelings about Protocols. Some are upset of the notion for Women wearing a skirt at a Ceremony. They say it is just paternalistic control of Women. Some say Women preparing food at a Feast is paternalistic and degrading to Women.Men serving the food is practiced at Ceremony Feasts.  I remember teasing on social media to this well known radio personality about getting me tea, and she said she would spit in my tea if I expected her to serve me tea. For some they see protocol as a threat to their being. They will aggressively attack protocols. Of course serving me tea is not a protocol its just a being spoiled by my Mom thing.

Was talking to my cousin the other day at a Tie-up Ceremony and he was telling me about the Sweat Lodge Ceremony he hosts. He wants to get more youth to come out and take part. He said he doesn't go into a lot of protocol as he wants them to get interested and not turned off by rules. I can see that. Same with my friend who is Sundance Chief and Ceremony man. He says he is not too big on protocols. I can see that. Still I kind of like protocol. I may not be happy when I get schooled on doing things "wrong" but it Teaches me. Teaches me some of the meaning of the Ceremony itself.

I remember getting upset at this one Ceremony gathering. I walked away upset. I was helping cut Willow and cleaning off the limbs for its use as part of the frame for the Sweat Lodge. This lady gave me heck as I had one foot on the willow as I was trying to cut off limbs. She said not to step over it or on it. It was the tone of her voice and scolding which I took  offense to. So I dropped the willow and walked away and stopped helping; childish I know. She pissed me off... She was White. Shouldn't have been upset and should have taken it as a Teaching moment. There are so many rules to do things we don't know them all. Like going to pick the Willow in the first place on how we have to offer tobacco and thank the Willow for giving its life. We forget and just go cut it down and use it. No thought of the actions we are doing. But the protocol reminds we are connected and there is life in all things and we should be grateful. All that sort of stuff just from those protocols.

I guess what it is, is that we don't like being told what to do. Wear that skirt. Take your hat off when addressing food. Smudge your feet when you go into the Lodge, so you come in clean. Crawl when you go into a Sweatlodge, so you humble yourself by crawling; you are not any more than the four legged ones or your fellow beings.  You greet the Rocks when they enter the lodge as they have given their life so you can cleanse yours. You greet them as you would your Older relative, with respect and gratitude. Lot of protocols. How can we escape them?  I mean when we have Teachings like the Tipi Teachings which are symbolic of Women and the skirts they wear and the out stretched arms to the Creator?

I think protocols are necessary to have some consistency but more so to teach us of the meaning and the foundations regarding ceremony and our way of life. Some may be cumbersome to follow, I get that. Some may go against feminist ideals and that's true. So where do we challenge protocols and where do we accept them? At the same time we need to understand, not everyone has the Teachings or has a foundation of Teachings and the symbolism and understanding behind the protocols. We see the protocols with our 'new eyes' (modern vision, colonial thinking, Christian influence).  We can understand that their aggression to protocols might be from a modern world view. The modern world may not coincide with the old protocols.

Still, protocol is important. It lends itself to consistency, to a connection to our past and our Ancestors. It has the Teachings behind the protocols. My Cousin was telling me on his practice and the protocol use. He spent a lot of time with a respected Shake tent man in the community. He asked the Shake Tent man about Protocols. The Man said look at the ground it is Nin-gay-Aki, Mother Earth, it is where we get everything. My cousin went on to say, if you are not doing stuff with your Heart and just doing the protocols for the sake of protocols it is like going through the motions, just repetition. So the Protocols are good and we need them but remember to use your Heart. Many are foregoing the foundations of Ceremony in exchange for short cuts.

And yet Some protocols are ignored.

"I sat back two weeks watching the news (about Ray's sweat lodge incident), waiting for another tribe or individual to say something because they violated the way of life of the Lakota people," he says. "It is a way of life, our language, our custom, our culture. It's the way we live."

"In America, you are an individual. You can be whatever you want to be. When you're Lakota, we belong to each other. So when you take our way of life and put a price tag on it, you're asking for death, you're asking for something to happen to you."

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

12 Years and Suicide Still Burns

Granpa Don Granny
 Well January 17 and its a day we should be celebrating. Instead we are just feeling the emptiness, the loneliness and the sorrow of having lost our Boy to suicide.  He was 20 when he died by suicide. We should be immune or at least not as bitter or angry over the suicide. We should be grateful we at least had some good memories of our Boy. We shouldn't be in grief after all its been years. We should be "moving on", "letting go". I agree we should be better by now.

We try, yes we try. We have the annual Feasts, birthday's, death day we did the Give-Away. We made a monument at home about him. We have his picture on the wall. It doesn't take away the hurt. Our family has namesakes as well; a nephew, a grandson and our grand-daughter all carry his name. Still we mourn.  We cherish the songs that remind of us of him. We tell the funny stories and remember him. Still there is a hidden sadness when we laugh for him.

The suicide still haunts us; the unanswered questions, the mistakes we made, the regrets of passed hurts with him. We think about who hurt him as well. When we hurt him. Oh how we could do anything to change the past and fix things. We remember the pain when another suicide takes place somewhere out there. We see it in the news on social media. We feel for them. We know what will come. We get angry at the empty gestures of  politic names and faces. We get angry know one cares. We get angry as we are not seeking pity. We just want our Boy.

Suicide is not a singular act. It is an act which flows and flows throughout your family.

We apologize for taking your time and bringing you into our day. We want to bring you when there are better and good things to shout about. Joy, we should be speaking of joy. We do have joy in our lives its not all sorrow.

On a happier note:

Moths to the Flame: or Flies to Excrement

So Trump is the US President or at least he will be on Friday January 20. 2017. Now that is some weird stuff. Well the people of the United States have to own that one.

There is lot of discussion on who is going and who isn't going to Trump's taking over the reigns of Power. There are Black artists calling out other Black artists who are going to speak with Trump. Sounds like Snoop Dogg is going to come out of "gangsta" retirement and do some messing up on Black folk who walk towards Trump's aroma. Its quite a sight. Trump is taking names and kicking butt... on the Twitter feeds anyway. Still his infamous tweets have been causing quite a stir and making some people upset. Upsetting the rationale crowd. Still there are those who are jumping right into the pile and spreading around all sorts of "stuff" into the air. Like Rob Schneider who decided to educate a civil rights leader on Doctor Martin Luther King on behalf of Trump. Despite the fact the Rights Leader he is schooling walked the walk with King; Mr. John Lewis.

Its fascinating in one way and totally disgusting in others. On the one hand you wonder what is the threshold of depravity Trump will stop at. As well what is the threshold for those who continue to support the insane demonstrations of the "Commander in Chief". Still there are those who lap the fresh gooey smelly excrement which comes out of his royal highness (HRH) Trump. Its like Trump is a god (not Thee God but small 'g' god). Its as if he could shoot someone on the streets of New York and people would cheer? Its Crazy.

In Indigenous (Native) news, famous book writer Joseph Boyden's Indigenous Heritage is no where to be found. Boyden has made up Indigenous roots and connection where there is no connection. Don't worry folks, he is still looked at as a master story teller and he has lot of support from his Indigenous friends. One of his friends is going to adopt him as her brother.

What is interesting is people are attracted to big shots; whether or not the big shot is an Arse or a Star.

I have this friend, David Blacksmith and people are attracted to him. Now he isn't a movie star or a celebrity but he has a following. They follow him because of who he is. David is a Healer. Like in the movie Natural Born Killers. Russell Means is a Lakota Medicine man and he knows who he is dealing with; snakes.

David is a flame. He is charismatic, smart, talented, charming, gifted and a no-nonsense fellow. People want to touch the flame. Its like that with many people.

This reminds me of this other Indian fellow. He is well known, well respected and well off. He is charismatic smart and a political fireball. He has a big family. Some of them he holds close and others he is disengaged with; to the point there is a great deal of animosity. He is known for his talking skills and savvy negotiation skills. He is lessor known for his vicious begrudging of others. Still at events people will still try and get close to him and seek favour. Its like he has this smell about him that is intoxicating for folks.

With some people they like the flame because the flame is warm and bright.

Still others like the aroma of a pile of dung. The really wet, mushy, sticky with wicked stench to it. People don't mind the texture.

People are funny. We seek the brightness of others as we should. The light of others can be so fulfilling and we can  light others from the one flame.

Still some of us would rather roll around in a whole bunch of excrement just because of who dumped it.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

So Blessed That it Makes You Cry

Being So Blessed That It Makes You Cry

Aylan Kurdi drowned off the shores of Turkey. His family was trying to reach Canada
Woke up this picture yesterday.
What a contrast to what I usually have to contend with.  Making sure my Baby (Granbaby) has breakfast and the TV is tuned to Tree-House channel.
IMG_6580  I shudder to think about what I would go through. Sadly we can’t even imagine the horror, the tragedy that is taking place. We think that it is not our issue, not our problem, not in our home.  thing is, it is in our home.  We are in the homes of people in places we never even give a second thought to. When we voted in governments with only greed as the main motive for governing; well the actions we do have an impact. We can’t act like we have compassion but select our representatives that have no regard for anyone or anything but money. Still not our fault. I know its not our fault that we support global companies that hire youth workers in far away countries. That we inadvertently support the whole scale displacement of people from their villages, their lifestyles for corporate initiative of mining, large scale deforestation, oil exploration. But I think really we kind of know all that.
Still I think it is still an image we see on the TV.  Not real. Not in my home. So I look at my baby pouting that the TV is not on the proper channel and I feel blessed. So blessed that I cry and thank the God we are here in our home. That it is someone else that is crushed by the anguish of losing their baby and not us. Even more that we are so blessed that we can say stuff like: “Damn Immigrants should stay where they are from. They come here and don’t fit in. Why are they here? They have no business here.”
We take our cues from the society, the media, the community, the government we live with. Our community seems to have lost its humanity. Those “immigrants” are part of the Creator’s family. They are part of the Earth. They are part of our community. So why in the hell do we get to feel so blessed or so smug that their pain is not of our concern?
I feel blessed that is for sure. I do appreciate and know that. We are so lucky. We are so blessed that the annoying little toddler in the airplane seat is going to be kicked off the plane. We are so blessed that I can “flip the finger” at that old lady driver because she is in the fast lane driving too slow for me. I am so blessed that I can send my eggs back to the restaurant kitchen because the eggs are too runny for my liking. Yes I  am blessed that I have the arrogance to think my daily grind is the harshest thing going on in my blessed life.

"And Let's No Forget the Women Ya All. Our Women Folk"

“And let’s not forget the Women ya all. Our Women folk.”

The Message is?
The Message is?
This has been the Summer of Walking. There are many initiatives going on in Canada and around the world that are aimed at protecting, supporting or remembering Women.  In Canada you can find numerous people and groups that want the public to know Women are cared for and are not forgotten.
It is a good movement. There are many good movements out there.  In British Columbia a group has started the Moose Hide campaign.  It is an awareness idea started to help curb the violence by Men towards Women and Children, Native Women.  It is like many other awareness campaigns going on in the world: Yellow Ribbon, Wear Pink, Poppies, and other initiatives. I think anything that can make us more aware is worthwhile.
We need to be aware. You know why?  How can we correct or check ourselves if we don’t know?  How do I know I am being an arse if there are no indicators that tell me? In society we generally know if we are being an arse (or as we usually say an “Ass” with a capital A) because of the many indicators. Like a punch right in the face. That is a good indicator that you are being an Ass. Or maybe an indicator is the stink eye you get from that old lady with the white curly hair and the red lipstick. But there are some things that we don’t even know are going on. We don’t know many times what the message is. So how can we be aware and understand a message?  Let’s look at the picture that is with this post. What is the message there?
You see the devil?  Is she the Woman?  Are you being led to Hell by that Woman?  Not too subtle the message here. That’s  the thing isn’t it? We, society are demonizing Women. It started with the First Woman who tempted the First Man. It resulted in Original sin. So now when you are born you are already tainted, and it is because of Woman. Weird eh?  I don’t subscribe to that notion but I think there are so many messages out there, subtle and overt which have lasting effect. Messages have influence, don’t kid yourselves. There is a billion dollar industry built on messages; sales, marketing.  So don’t think you are not immune to the old LP records hidden messages that are embedded deep in the recording.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about you are young. But that’s okay, I am not sure if I ever bought into that hidden message thing that Christian groups cried about that we are born sinners.
It seems that everywhere in society Women are the ones that we can beat on. Whether its in the big business board room, the religious temples or in our homes. We verbally put them down, we ridicule them, we hit them, we fight them, we chain them, we rape them, we kill them.  Thats “our Women folk, ya all”.  Ugly I know.
So What can we do to correct this?  Should we go for a walk?  Well its a start. We can start by recognizing them as what they are. They are the ones the carry life. So let’s think about that. No carrying of life means no life. Simple as that. We can’t go back and change the mistakes we made. We can make a difference starting right now. I am not going to chastise my Woman for things that don’t matter. I will not hit my Woman. I will not chain my Woman. I will not rape my Woman. I will not kill my Woman. I will understand that I don’t own Woman. She is not mine. She is the child of Creator.

Please Come Home.

Please Come Home

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My girl is the young girl in this video.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Old Indians Young Indians

2016 by

Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”
So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello.”
I have reached the 56 mark and can order from the back of the menu. I think back about a decade ago and see how I viewed the old goats of my age now. They were old in my mind, but not in theirs. Just like now. I am older but not real old. It's funny.
Being young should be the greatest thing in the world. It is. Sometimes. Being old is pretty damn good too. When it comes with the surprises – grandchildren – patience – awareness – appreciation.
Being young has its surprises – first love – second love – children – the joy of new experiences – the laughs – the constant moving/visiting – and wonder.
Can there ever be connection between the young and the old?  The Old Warrior telling stories to the young impressionable or the young narrow focused?
The Old Indian has much to offer and the young Indian has the most to offer because they are just starting. Can you imagine the wonder of the young that can possess the wisdom of the old?

Society & the Scary Indigenous Folk

Society and the Scary Indigenous folk

What is frightening to the main stream establishment when it comes to Indigenous folk? What really scares the ruling authority about Indians/natives?

I bet you think the answer is an educated Indigenous person.

Sure education, institutional education is an asset. An asset to anyone. That is not what scares the high up decision makers and security agents.

Nope it goes back to the thinking of old police, clergy, business and government types. Ask yourself what was the main thing did to the Indigenous folk?

They separated them from their beliefs; their homes; their collective; their way of life. Sure they engaged in the tried and true methods of force. Force works much of the time but it doesn’t eliminate the problem. You think force has worked in places like Afghanistan, or against the Basque, the Chechen? Look at where they are facing now.
Force is not always the answer. Especially when the people forced on them have a solid foundation of who they are.

Sam Steele was on of those old thinkers and a hero in the eyes of Canada. He was active in influencing Canada’s war on Indians and their way of life; their belief system. In his words, you can’t have the young Indians getting stirred up with war stories of the Old Warriors. He and the establishment were afraid of the continued knowledge from the Old ones to the young ones. Canada and the U.S. made it against their laws to maintain a way of life; a belief system.

You see it is not the educated Indian that society is scared of. It is the Traditional Indian. The Indian who has a firm and solid knowledge of who they are. The Indian can not get that foundation from the institutional education system. They can only get it from the Teachers, the Elders.  That is the greatest fear for the establishment. You can’t crush a people who have a solid base, a solid identity. The youth are now embracing the Traditional Teachings and sentiments. The Women will bring along the youth. They will be the ones who will carry a Nation.

The Christian Indian is good for the establishment. They do not have the solid foundation of who they are. I mean how could they? They sing the songs of a foreign land, a foreign people, a foreign life. Hosanna in the highest; what is that to Indigenous folk? Good for them they can walk in the established society. Although they are broken but living. For the rest of the Indigenous folk  it doesn’t work.

Establishment is smart. It doesn’t stay there by not being active. So its not in establishments interest if Indigenous folk have a solid knowledge of who they are. They see the lessons being played out in other lands.
That is the biggest fear of society. An Indigenous people confident and sure of who they are.
“All man are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them”
Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

"You Shot Her! You Shot Her in the Head!"

Me. "You shot her! You shot her in the head!"

Bird. "I know, I know"

"Bird, what the heck, Man? You shouldn't have done that."

Bird. "Yeah, well I don’'t really feel bad about it. I mean what the fuck for?"

Me. "It’s not right man. It’s not right!"

I look at her head and the amount of damage is incredible. I think the bullet entered below the right eye.  A big piece of the skull has been blown away. Weird though, not that much blood loss. I am angry but Bird is my friend and I know he has no regard for things like this.

Bird. "Aw quit it already. I know you're one of those guys."

I  know what Bird was talking about. Right now all I know is that I don't like what he did. I am mad. That fucking Bird. Always doing dumb shit. Now I have to help him but I know giving him a lecture about it will only land on deaf ears.

Bird. "Okay maybe I could have thought about it before I shot her. So you going to help me or what?"

Me. "Help you? Help you? I should just leave you here and you clean it up."

Bird. "Don't be like that.  Tell you what. I'll light a smoke, will that make you happy?"

Me. "That's the least you can do. Yeah do that."

Bird. "You holy roller powwow guys are all the same. Every little thing is a big deal. You think things will come back on you. You got to be watchful for everything."

Bird lights up a cigarette and puffs on it, not inhaling but just puffing the smoke in the air. I like that he at least knows to do that. Giving the smoke to the air. Maybe Bird is not the most sensitive guy in the Rez, but he knows enough to realize how serious "us guys" take that shit. I mean, you have to follow some way, right? Bird knows I am trying to follow the way of our Ancestors; to treat everything with respect. To know all life is sacred and we need to put actions to our words. We are what they call “Traditionalists." Bird is like many Indians and he only knows individual wants, so he does what he thinks is good for him. 

It’s kind of chilly out here. I watch his cigarette smoke rise quickly in the cool morning air. We were out here for a few hours now and the sun is about an hour up in the sky. I guess we should get to it and get out of here before we get too cold and tired. As he finishes his cigarette I take the moment to acknowledge the Creator and say Thanks for the life. Bird made sure the smoke was for the Creator and not a smoke for his lung's pleasure. Bird puffed on the cigarette and didn't inhale the smoke; he puffed on the cigarette and let the smoke trail into the open air.  Me, I will make sure to acknowledge the life that has been taken today.

Bird. "Okay Joe, you grab those legs and spread them.  I'll start cutting from there."

Me.  "Bird, next time think before you shoot. It’s not right to kill a Doe. You should only take Bucks."

Shake Tent Man: John Redman

I never did trust that guy cause he has those shifty eyes.  It's not that I even know him or anything. He's never done me no wrong.  But I think there are lot of shady characters out here in Indian land. The number of Healers out here is staggering. I even see them advertising on the Facebook.  Me, I think we need to flush them out, or at least gossip about them. That's one thing I do really good, it's gossiping. I'm heading out the ceremony to see if there is any "Jazz" in this guy's ceremony. To see if he is indeed the real deal and can contact the Spirits. 
The bush road is well traveled and my old Chevy has no problems. I listen to some Native American Church music to set my mood.  I'm not a Peyote guy but I like the songs; the Water Drum is soothing. Primeaux and Mike is the only cd I have of Peyote Songs. My friend Farley is a Road Chief so I did go Peyote to support his Ceremony, but I only went once. It was good ceremony but I go Sundance me. 
Lot of people go out to this bush place for ceremony and whatever. The Jeescan Ceremony is going to be staring soon at about nine at night.   You know Indians, they always do things only when the time feels right, so nine o'clock could be eight or ten o'clock. Anyways, this guy, this Jeescan-Inini is going to conjure the Spirits to answer people's queries. I'm skeptical. I'm not skeptical of the Ceremony or  the Spirits because they are real. I've seen them. But this guy, this guy with the shifty eyes, all  cool with the girls and shit. Man, it burns me that some guys just appear on the  scene and are full of the power to call the Spirits. I can't do any of that. I even went on a few Vision Quests trying to get some message but I didn't get a calling to do Ceremony. So I go to the Ceremony and try to help out and much of the time I am mostly a spectator. I like being in the bush, it's quiet out here. This time of year its great, all the colours and the leaves crunching under your feet. One thing I know to do when heading to a Ceremony where I don't know the players is to keep some sage in my shoes.  That is my protection but I don't let the people know. Or sometimes when I am in strange territory I add some gopher dust just like Crazy Horse use to do when he went into battle with the U.S. Calvary.  Oh, here we are at the Shake tent site. The site is in a clearing out in the bush not too far from the City.  Well there a few cars here I see. Holy Heck, someone is driving an Audi 8.  Cool. Some rich big shot with a nice car out here in the bush. I wonder who it is? 
The Shake Tent is up and the Fire is going good. People are ready for the show. John Redman is the Shake Tent man.  I wonder how he is going to communicate  with the Spirits?  I always thought that Shake Tent were done by people with no kids? Heard this guy is a baby maker all over. One of those guys that has lots of kids but is no Dad to anyone of them.  But what do I know anyway? Guess this guy must have the goods or people wouldn't come out and seek answers.  It reminds of this Elder back home, that guy was a real Jeeski-inin; Shake Tent man. I once saw him go in to fight the sent-evil. There are people who will use the Spirits to hurt someone. The Shake Tent man he took his weapons in with him. It was awesome.  He laid his gun and axe in front of him and then he went into a dream trance. It was in this other world that he fought the demon. So I didn't see the fight, I just sat there and watched him as he went into a meditative state. With his Shake Tent, the guy would bring in the Spirits and you could actually hear them coming in and speaking. The tent would bend back and forth almost hitting the ground. With this new guy, Redman,  I kind of wonder how the Shake tent works. Is the guy going to kick at the tent poles to make it shake? How will it be when the Spirits come into the tent or even if they come in? What will happen in there, inside the tent when John Redman is speaking with the Spirits?
Shake Tent man John Redman is in the tent now. It is quite interesting how its set up; about six feet tall and three to four feet round at the  bottom and  coming to a smaller point at top but it has about a foot opening at the top. It kind of looks like the classic tipi. The tent canvas is tied around with rope and there is a cedar tree or branch sticking out the top. I can hear the bells tied onto the Shake Tent as it starts to shake. John Redman is singing and  I can't hear anything else. John's a good singer. I thought I would hear the Spirits coming in by now,  but I just hear the tent shaking and the bells chiming? Must be quiet Spirits. Wonder which ones are shaking the tent? John is singing but he can't be moving the tent as his voice is so clear and doesn't seem like he is moving around. 
Oh wait, the shaking is stopping and the tent is going still.  People are gathered around waiting to see. It's dead quiet, now that is pretty weird.  The wait for John Red is taking for ever. How come he's not saying anything? Maybe someone should yell out to him in the tent? Maybe we are waiting for the Spirits to speak, I don't know? Ah, now that big shot guy is going to the tent. I think he used to a politician or maybe a judge; not sure but he's dressed really nice. I like his shirt and jacket. The beadwork on his jacket is cool. It's that floral type that Ojibway and Cree make. Must be worth a few hundred bucks his jacket. I wonder who made it?
John Redman is not answering.  I wonder if someone could take a peak.  I don't know, are you allowed to look inside the tent?  Hey! The Big Shot is opening the front of the tent. Those Big Shots think they own the whole place. Where does he think he is? Think he can do whatever he wants. 
Holy heck, what's happening? The Big Shot is dragging out John Red out of the tent. People are screaming and now it looks like John is not getting up.  Wait, the Big Shot is slamming on John Red. What the heck.
"Hey! Leave that guy alone! Let him go boy!  I'm fucking telling you, let him go!"
Big Shot is yelling something, "He's not breathing! Help me!"
Mass chaos going on here, people are screaming gathering around, everyone wants to help or to see. It looks like John Redman is dead!  I can't believe it.  What the hell happened in that tent? It was shaking like its supposed to and then nothing.  Did the Spirits come and take John Redman?  Did he do something wrong?  I mean I heard that he used his ceremony to try and snag White women, maybe that's what happened.
The Big Shot tells everyone, "He's gone."

To Speak the Honour of Voice.

School you are asked to do a presentation, and its nauseating, a chore, a scary notion. You are the Best-man and its your job to give the Toast, don't want to bore the crowd. You are given a pouch of tobacco to do an Opening prayer at a big event, you get the nervous feeling, the shaky legs and the bouncy voice. Being tasked with, asked or told to speak in front of people can be uncomfortable, very scary. Some people relish in the arena of public speaking, for others its a job and not one you really enjoy.
To speak shouldn't have to be a chore. I heard this one guy say "it's an honour".  He was asked to do an Opening Prayer at an Indigenous event. He said "People have trust, faith in  you to go Talk to the Creator on their behalf." It is such a good thing.  I had the honour of speaking a few times at funeral services of family and friends. Each time I felt a good feeling of pride and fear.  Fear I would not do right by the people and by the person I was speaking about. However, after each moment I felt so good. I was given the honour of Speaking, using my voice to share good energy about their, our loved one.
I ask you to always remember the sentiment, "you are provided with an honour of the voice." Many many people all throughout our world do not have the luxury of being able to speak, to have their voice heard. Even in Canada some of our voices are being muted.
A friend of mine was in the Forces (an elite part) and he said the worst thing you could to a fellow soldier was to "silence" them. This was a way to get them to quit. They would ignore the person completely; like they didn't exist. It became so difficult for the person ultimately they would quit.  Having your voice silenced or ignored is just ugly.
The Native Women's Association of Canada is a collective voice. Problem is people ignore them. Our own people hardly listen to their voice, their speak. As a whole we will say Women are our most valued and important voice in Society. These words are not reflected in our actions. Our Indigenous lobby groups just look like men's clubs. It is still a rarity to have a Woman as leader of our community or lobby group. 0697_Indigenousomen-and-REDDEB1
How can we support the voice of Women?  It seems we have the old world mindset of Women as the lesser being. I have no idea. We have the norm of being the voice in the home. You see it in our mannerism. You see it in how we live. We value their voice but value ours more. We hold onto the remote as the head voice in the house. We voice where we go to eat, which movie, what we name our children, where we live and so on.
Even Women have adopted the role of being the second voice. It is systemic to our world right now. We can only change it if we change it in our own homes. Let's honour the voice, the speak of our Mom's, our Grannies, of our Sisters, our Aunties, our Daughters by hearing them and being part of the un-silencing of their voice.

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...