The Real Story of Shamanism

Over the centuries, many of the world’s natural mystics have succumbed to pogroms of elimination or the steady erosion of traditional practices – witches burnt at the stake, indigenous peoples forced into Western schools, healers accused of perpetuating diseases. More recently, a growing sense of modernity’s shortcomings has led to a renaissance of traditional or “pagan” practices. One of the most popular resurgent belief systems is known as shamanism. Interestingly, shamanism is also humanity’s oldest means of connecting with ‘Creation’ as well as one of the most globally prevalent. Fortunately for seekers, you do not need to wear a headdress or take peyote to live a shamanistic life. What is Shamanism? Today, many people closely associate shamanism with Native American peoples; however, anthropologists have studied evidence of shaman practices on all six habitable continents, some of which date to the Paleolithic era. Put simply, shamanism is a means by […] Read More

Remember The Massacre At Wounded Knee

by Peter Cole written for Jacobinmag. On this day in 1890, the US Army murdered as many as 300 Native American men, women, and children. As dawn appeared on December 29, 1890, about 350 Lakota Indians awoke, having been forced by the US Army to camp the night before alongside the Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. The US Cavalry’s 7th Regiment had “escorted” them there the day prior and, now, surrounded the Indians with the intent to arrest Chief Big Foot (also called Spotted Elk) and disarm the warriors. When a disagreement erupted, army soldiers opened fire, including with Hotchkiss machine guns. Within minutes, hundreds of children, men, and women were shot down. Perhaps as many as three hundred killed and scores wounded that morning. Few Americans now know that the deadliest shootings in US history were massacres of native peoples. Today is the anniversary of the largest such massacre. […] Read More

The Mysterious Extra Fingers and Toes of the Pueblo People of Chaco Canyon

Ancient people of the Pueblo culture of Chaco Canyon, in what is now New Mexico, decorated their houses with six-digit handprints and footprints. Although it is not really known why these images were depicted in homes, researchers suggest that having an extra finger or toe made the person more important and respected in this society. According to National Geographic, researchers were aware of the examples of polydactyly (‘many fingers’) among the Pueblo culture for many years. Several skeletal remains showing extremities with extra toes and fingers have also been found. One of the discovered remains had an ornate anklet around its six-toed foot but carried no such offering on its five-toed foot. The team of researchers, led by anthropologist Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico conducted the project, initially intrigued by the evidence that divine powers were attributed to polydactyls among the pre-Columbian tribes, such as the Maya. […] Read More

Mysteries of the Native American Medicine Wheel – Healing, Rituals, and Astronomical Aid

Medicine wheels, known also as sacred circles or sacred hoops, are monuments constructed by certain Native American cultures by laying stones in a particular pattern on the ground. The most basic pattern, which is followed by the majority of medicine wheels, consists of a center of stones, which is connected to an outer ring by ‘spokes’. Medicine wheels were, and still are, constructed for healing purposes. It may be mentioned that this ‘healing’ should be understood within the context of inner spiritual energy and enlightenment, rather than the taking of drugs or herbal remedies. Apart for that, such wheels are speculated to have been made for astronomical, ritual and teaching purposes as well. The term ‘medicine wheel’ was not originally used by the Native Americans who made these monuments. Instead, this term was first used during the late 1800s / early 1900s by Americans of European descent to refer […] Read More

Deganawidah: The Two Serpents

In the book Native American Prophecies: History, Wisdom and Startling Predictions there is an excellent reference to ‘Deganawidah: The Two Serpents’: When Deganawidah was leaving the Indians in the Bay of Quinte in Ontario, he told the Indian people that they would face a time of great suffering. They would distrust their leaders and the principles of peace of the League, and a great white serpent was to come upon the Iroquois, and that for a time it would intermingle with the Indian serpent as a friend. This serpent would in time become so powerful that it would attempt to destroy the Indian, and the serpent is described as choking the life’s blood out of the Indian people. Deganawidah told the Indians that they would be in such a terrible state at this point that all hope would seem to be lost, and he told them that when things […] Read More

Iroquois League: The Ancient and Powerful Union of Six Nations

The Iroquois, known also as the Haudenosaunee (which means People Building a Long House), were a powerful and important Native American confederacy located in the northeastern part of North America. During the colonial period, this confederacy was known to the French as the ‘Iroquois League’, and later as the ‘Iroquois Confederacy’. On the other hand, they were known to the English as the ‘Five Nations’, and, after 1722, as the ‘Six Nations’. The six nations that make up the Iroquois League are the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora (as the sixth nation of this confederacy), which are tribes that are linguistically related. Warfare and violence between tribes The Iroquois tribes are said to have occupied the area around modern day New York, and had developed from the local cultures dating back to the 11th century A.D. Inter-group aggression seems to have arisen between this period and approximately […] Read More

1999: A LETTER FROM ROBERTA BLACKGOAT

June 99 Great Spirit gave us this land to live in a good way. We’re not living here for free, everything we have, we have worked hard for it. We humble ourselves before Great Spirit and it is according to them (the Holy Ones) that we live here. Before non-Indians came, we were put here with original guidelines to live in harmony. Some prayers we say are for our veterans, our young ones, they go to war and its those prayers and ceremonies that keep them in good health and able to come back. All the natural resources that abound here are not here to be exploited but to be revered. All the things that we hold sacred have been co-modified. It’s co- modification of the sacred. We are given no respect as human beings, as to our existence. The problems of relocation and all the mental anguish that […] Read More

Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law – Gayanashagowa

1. I am Dekanawidah and with the Five Nations’ Confederate Lords I plant the Tree of Great Peace. I plant it in your territory, Adodarhoh, and the Onondaga Nation, in the territory of you who are Firekeepers. I name the tree the Tree of the Great Long Leaves. Under the shade of this Tree of the Great Peace we spread the soft white feathery down of the globe thistle as seats for you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords. We place you upon those seats, spread soft with the feathery down of the globe thistle, there beneath the shade of the spreading branches of the Tree of Peace. There shall you sit and watch the Council Fire of the Confederacy of the Five Nations, and all the affairs of the Five Nations shall be transacted at this place before you, Adodarhoh, and your cousin Lords, by the Confederate Lords of […] Read More

2009: Destroying Indigenous Populations

by DAHR JAMAIL (TRUTHOUT) June 20, 2009 The Fort Laramie Treaty once guaranteed the Sioux Nation the right to a large area of their original land, which spanned several states and included their sacred Black Hills, where they were to have “the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation” of the land. However, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, President Ulysses S. Grant told the army to look the other way in order to allow gold miners to enter the territory. After repeated violations of the exclusive rights to the land by gold prospectors and by migrant workers crossing the reservation borders, the US government seized the Black Hills land in 1877. Charmaine White Face, an Oglala Tetuwan who lives on the Pine Ridge Reservation, is the spokesperson for the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council (TSNTC), established in 1893 to uphold the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty […] Read More

Footprints along the Border

….Story of the Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts by William Gwaltney Superintendent, Fort Laramie National Historic Site Fort Laramie, Wyoming(NOTE: The following was written by Mr. Gwaltney when he was a Park Ranger assigned to the Fort Davis National Historic Site, Fort Davis, Texas.) One of the most fascinating but little known stories of the Indian Wars period in that of the Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts. This group of experienced frontier guerilla fighters was recruited in 1870 from a sizeable number of black people living at Nacimiento, Mexico. Most were descendants of slaves who had escaped slavery and had taken up with the Seminole Indians in Florida. Wars against the Seminoles were fought by the United States in 1817 and again in 1836. The wars were largely conducted to regain escaped slaves whose departure created a very real economic loss to the slave owners and encouraged other slaves to attempt an escape. […] Read More

2008: Wounded Knee Massacre

Never Forget December 29, 2008 marks 118 years since the massacre at Wounded There were many many many massacres in the history of Indigenous people of what is now the Americas. And we should take time to remember them, no matter your nation. So take some time today to remember the people who died at Wounded Knee and many others. A little history about Wounded Knee By TIM GIAGO (NANWICA KCIJI) Special to McClatchy Tribune While Americans agonize over the contents of the Iraq Study Group report and weigh the options of extricating U.S. soldiers from the middle of a civil war, the people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota will gather on a lonely hill overlooking the demolished village of Wounded Knee — destroyed during the occupation of the American Indian Movement in 1973 and never rebuilt — to commemorate and grieve the massacre of their […] Read More

Ancient Arapahoe prayer

hehheisonoonin neniitoneino’, noh hebesiibeih’in. Let them hear us, our fathers and our grandfathers. Hee3ei’iinoh’oeseihiit, noh nohkunihiitowoo; I say this in conjunction with all the heavenly lights; Hiisi’ niihooyoo’, heseisen hii3eti’, The yellow day, the good wind, Neeyeici’ hii3eti’, biito’owu’ huu3eti’. the good timber, the good earth. Cese’eihii heetihceh’e3tiin he3oowowu’! You animals who live below the earth, I pray that you hear my words! No’xuutowu’ cese’eihii, neci’  cese’eihiiho’, cihbehceh’e3tii’! You animals who live on the earth, and in the water, listen to my prayer! Heciiyowooninoo, heetwonibiini’ heetih’i3eihit, Your surplus is going to be eaten so that the people will prosper, Heetihcihkoutee’ hoowu3oow hiine’etiit, so that the breath of life will endure for a long time, Heetih’iihooho’owoo’ hinenteeniit, tei’yoonehe’ heeneicxooyeiht, so that the tribe will be numerous: the children of all ages, Hiseihihi’ noh honoh’oehihi’ noh hinen heeneicxooyeiht, the girls and boys and men of all ages, Hisei, beh’eihehi’ heeneicxooyeihin betebi. […] Read More