Sacred Council Fires (Elders)
The path that lead away from the Red Road.
by Grandmother Waynonaha
Author of Voices: A Collection of Native American Stories
For thousands of years indigenous people have held council fires. The Sacred Fires are kept from one generation to another, the wisdom passed on to our children and grandchildren. Our Elders, who spoke the wisdom, were revered and cared for as they were the heart of the people. If the Elders are not here to share the wisdom then our people and their ways will be forgotten as many Nations now are.
In times before the coming of the boat people we sat in peace, listening, to our Elders speak. The "words that come before all things" were held by the Keepers of the Wisdom. Great respect was given when the elders shared the sacred ways of life. Even down to the smallest child they learned to listen when the elders spoke.
This spoken wisdom was the Great Law that we all lived by, one of simplicity, honesty, and respect. All was in balance and all in peace within our land and our lives.
Soon this all changed and our ears were taken by the monster of ego and greed.
The selling of the land began; we turned our ears away from the Elders' voices. We followed the White man’s religion and ways.
Now we see the same thing happening in the world of the Fat Takers; they too are suffering from the same things our people have endured. The wars and greed of their leaders is taking them from the ways of wisdom. The greed has reduced their own children to drugs and drinking. The spirit of those people now suffers from the same disease they once spread over the land that they continue to destroy.
We who remember now return to the council fire, but our elders are not there because they were not honored. During this time the prayers were forgotten, and the time of great sadness started to cover the Earth Mother. Many children were scattered from the Nation and walked the stone streets. The addictions of drinking from the bottle and taking drugs that destroy the mind, body and soul, took many of them home to spirit. They no longer spoke the language of the stones and the trees. What little that remained was sold by plastic medicine people and distorted in writings.
The gourd of ashes, that held the council fires of long ago, was put away and not added too, or taken from. All things ceased to flow in a balanced way. Our disconnection from the Tree of Life had started. Time saw our people starving and beaten into submission; the women were bartered like cattle. Women and children were sold for whisky and guns. Sacred bundles were taken by or sold to the Fat Takers, some to this day lay in museums in far away places. This medicine was lost to the ones who could work with the medicine and understand the meaning it held.
The sickness spread into our lodges and continued to eat out our hearts.
The raven came and spoke to the people in a harsh loud voice asking them to listen to the voice of Creator.
There have been many messengers that have come to share and warn the people to return to the Sacred Fires. Many of the people’s ears had grown closed to even the voice of the birds. The signs of destruction in our family and our Nation were seen in the faces of our children. Many are born with birth defects from the drugs, drinking, and poor food that to this day claims many unborn and new born babies.
The sweet voices of our women singing has been silenced into darkness. Our children where taken and shipped off to schools that abused them and took their spirits. The women were mocked and spit on in public, a great shame passed over the Nation once so proud. The laughter died and our children went hungry for food and for wisdom. The language dried up and was sifted into dust on the land. The Sacred Ways were held only by a few who risk their lives to continue the prayers. Water no longer flowed with the sweetness that our Grandparents had tasted. The bitter roots of disease and greed grew where the once tall and proud Nation stood.
One by one the Elders stood and pulled their blankets around themselves. The Elders then turned their backs on the fire and walked away from the people. No one noticed, they no longer listened to the "Old Ways", for them it was not good to listen in this way to the Elders.
Many were too busy ripping the land up and selling the precious minerals and water that lay under it. The legacy of our children was sold for material gains.
The Ego of a few, was fed on the sorrow of many, with the disease of the Fat Takers. Brothers and Sisters turned upon each other and the disease of the soul stealers had started.
The Fat Takers bought some voices of the people to continue the process of destruction. Little by little this selling of the land began to wage a war of the souls. The Government GOONS were at work destroying their very own families and Sacred Ways.
Voices that dared to speak out against this were attacked by the followers of the ones who had taken their ears. Soon the monsters had many chains of ears around their necks; each person who added their ears supported and helped the sickness to grow.
The truth could not be heard or seen in all the confusion as they ripped the heart from the people. Lies to steal the water were made now. The most precious water that would feed the people for years fills the swimming pools of the Fat Takers.
Sickness followed into the lodges, creating anger, jealousy and greed. The Sacred Hoop of life that connected us all to the Sacred Tree was shattered. The rope the held the wisdom was stretched thin and held many knots.
Now the gourd is taken out of hiding and the fires are rekindled. We sit in the circle waiting for the wisdom to return. Hollow words and anger pour out into the circle of our people. All this finger pointing and separation serving some self-appointed need to revenge ourselves on each other. The cancer of the spirit eats at the heart of the people and they build Casinos to gain more money; yet the wisdom does not come with that gain.
The snake now catches its own tail and proceeds to devour the very wisdom it seeks to protect. Will we manage to destroy the only thing we have left of our culture? Will we, in our own need to heal the hurting, close ourselves away from the light of wisdom? Will the children who have been mixed with many bloods be turned away from the fire, just because they do not meet the Government quantum law for tribal recognition?
I sit and watch this and listen with ears that are trying hard to hear the truth and the justice of the words. I see much, and hear much, but the words that come before all things are yet to be spoken. The Elders stand in the distance with their blankets wrapped around them, shadows in the darkness, watching and waiting to return to the Council Fire.
When the wisdom returns to the Sacred Council Fire, when the words that come before all else are spoken, then will the Elders who still keep the wisdom of the Sacred Words return and sit with us. I wait for you to return, I make a place ready for you to sit, I will prepare the food for you to eat. My heart cries out for the words that are waiting to be spoken, with the old truth that will return reason to our people. I am listening, my Grandfathers and Grandmothers, for your voices to Speak. I sit with my ears, and heart, open for your healing wisdom.
I watch as the old ones with tattered blankets turn to the fire where only a few who remember sit waiting. It is time to open the Sacred Hoop and return the children to their home. Only with the true sharing of the old ways will the peace and harmony return to the hoop and heal the people. We must place the words that come before all else in our hearts and live them every day. When our leaders are walking in a good way the children will see the truth and learn once again to respect the elders.
For many years now we have walked our pain and suffering into Mother Earth. Now she too is feeling the need to shift and cleanse the land of pollution and disease. Instead of sleeping in her soft white winter robes she is still awake. The land is bare of snow and the water
is rising fast to cover the sacred land.
Today I place my pouch of ashes that was handed to me by my Grand Mother in the Sacred Council Fire. With the corn, sweet grass, sage, and tobacco I feed the fire. With my breath, and the branch of the cedar tree, I send life so that the flames will grow and be a light to those who wander in the wilderness. Truth burns the brightest and those who speak the truth will return the wisdom to the people and their ears will once again hear the opened. From the tiny roots of the Tree of Life I see green growth appear and once again heal the people.
Waynonaha, (one who remembers that she is a human being.)
Copyright © 2006 by Waynonaha Two Worlds
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