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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 19, 2002 - Issue 72


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The Warning

Written by ShyHawk(FM)
painting by Robert Bateman

He seeks a vision
His black heart cannot see.
In the process he destroys
This dream for you and me!

Bald Eagle painting by Robert BatemanA long summer slowly yields to the quickening changes of fall. The blistering heat and endless days of drought now soften into cooler days and crisp nights. The dusty stale air of endless sun now carries a sweet smell of damp earth and a promise of new life once again. The barren burnt fields of brown have been revived by fall rains into a vision of soft green hair flowing on the winds of change.

My own heart is renewed with the new energy carried on the crisp fresh winds of change. Yes, fall is truly here. The year of struggle has been mirrored in the struggle for life over a summer that has covered most of the calendar. Finally the air is cool to the skin and refreshing to the spirit. A gentle feeling of glee covers the land now. One of an easier time. Water is once again available for all -- the plants, the animals, and the people. Something so essential to life -- yet so taken for granted by most. Finally Ina's tears cleansed the land once more. Along with her tears comes a new chance -- one more time for this land.

Fall is a time of gathering. My family is no different. For all time we have come together to renew old ties and prepare for winter. I look forward to these gatherings. Ancestors are remembered and new life enjoyed. Today is to be one of these times. The day is cool with a strong north wind. The skies are clear. The air is fresh. My spirit is happy and content. My sister comes to spend the day.

Today we escape the world of civilization and return to the home of our ancestors. This is the place I am the happiest. The place true life can be experienced -- simple and beautiful. The mountain sings to our hearts a warm welcome. The dry leaves rattle a timeless tune that our hearts remember. The sweet smells of damp earth are more then welcome this year! True colors begin to show as the green chlorophyl fades away. The bright red of Virginia Creeper wraps up the dark brown trunks of the hardwoods.

We slowly twist our way up the steep trail to a place sacred to the people for thousands of years. The tree line opens up onto a granite outcropping that drops away suddenly into a valley a mile wide. The opening is surrounded on three sides by mountain rims heavily forested with hardwoods and pine. The valley floor drops and opens out onto the fields below. Two peaks rise sharply before us - Little Round Top and White Mountain.

The rim dips between these two peaks. In this gap the wind funnels into this valley. The migrating hawks and eagles ride these currents into this valley. These large messengers travel the width of the valley in the blink of an eye without one flap of a wing -- such grace and beauty! White Mountain has a broad band of granite that spirals up her side -- from her base to her peak. Clearly visible and bordered by trees this band glistens and sparkles in the sunlight.

We settle on the jagged out flow of granite at the pulpit. The view is unlimited on this clear day. The haze of summer is now forgotten. The leaves in the valley have only begun to be painted by Creators brush. Soft yellows and golds, oranges and reds, rich bronze, and soft greens gently clothe the slopes of this small valley time has forgot and man has passed by.

Here again the unmistakable feeling of belonging fills my heart. I look out over a land that was cared for and loved by the Oyate(people). I am reminded of things told to me by my Grandmother. To be Indian is to belong to the land -- to feel an energy that is hard to explain when we return to our homes. Today is no exception. My sister and I both have this feeling once again! It is good to come home. It is good to visit this old place so important to our ancestors, and just as important to the people today.

From our high perch two old village sites can be seen. The Old Ones feel close, and a sense of pride fills our hearts. This is still Unami Land - the earth is our Ancestors. Here my feet seem to flow into the earth -- our spirit is one. At the peak of White Mountain small dark specks are seen. They circle and dip on the thermals. Then the little dots funnel through the gap and drop below us into the valley. Silent and motionless the specks grow increasingly larger. Then they sweep up over the rim on which we sit -- directly over our heads! Wings stretched, tails fanned wide, and finger feathers rippling as they sweep overhead. As the sun reflects off their feathers their colors seem to change from browns and blacks to almost white.

Their silent dance is given music by the never ending wind stirred by the fall leaves rustling on the branches and swirling on the forest floor. Drum sounds are added by the sounds of acorns dropping to the earth with rhythmic thuds. The raptors drop into the valley from over our heads just above the tree line and swirl below us on the thermals. The grace and maneuverability cannot be described. They need to be experienced. It is the same with the feeling for our homelands -- no words can describe this bond!

Suddenly a large brown shape comes sweeping across before us. It is so close we can almost touch it. As it turns to follow the curve of the mountain slope the tail twists and fully fans. The pure white leaves no doubt of this visitor. My beloved eagle has come to visit us this day. I give a soft thankyou for the gift of beauty and hope shared by this majestic messenger.

Black vultures sweep to and fro. At a distance they are hard to tell from the eagles. As they grow closer the wing shape and narrow tail give their identity away. With wing spans of five feet they glide effortlessly this day covering miles in minutes. They circle in groups of seven and more. Oh how I wish my spirit could be released to travel the winds with them. Pale blue sky unbroken except for these brown and black specks racing across our vista.

I retell old stories and our history to my sister. They always seem more at home when spoken in this place. I was once told that our blood calls us home. It is true for here today we sit once more. I pray that for thousands of years to come the next generations will be able to enjoy the history and unspoiled beauty of our Ancestors Homes.

The happy mood of the day is broken when a serious look over takes the soft brow of my sister. She is troubled over a dream she was given. She tells me in her journey many gather near her. They are beautiful people in appearance. They are well known to her. They work together on struggles. They are her friends. She is happy.

She invites them to her home. Here friendship and good food are enjoyed seemingly by all. Then one by one her guests remove their false faces -- pulling them off before her. The once beautiful appearances are replaced by darkness. The good feelings my sister had towards these people are replaced by a feeling of unknowing and fear.

I thought the dream was only for her. Then I too was given a warning. I am a dreamer. I tend to see the good in all things. I think all others hearts are true and their word is their bond. It is my weakness!

The warning I was given is as follows:
I am involved in a struggle to protect an Old Site. Over time many people have gathered around me. Drawn by the stories and the struggle. I believe their reasons are good and their hearts true. It seems the struggle goes well and my heart is happy to have so many friends close to me. It is revealed to me that many have their own agendas. They seek to destroy the people and the land. Those who pretend to be my friend twist things in a bad way. They set up a very slippery trap and I walk into it with blind trust. The struggle is lost and I am destroyed.

It is as the scene at the pulpit. From afar the specks circle the peak of White Mountain. We each see in these specks what we wish and hope to see. Some seek an eagle, some seek a hawk, and some seek a buzzard. Only when the specks fly overhead do we truly know. Now the image that was hid behind a facade of distance and hope is clearly revealed. Color, shape, and size tell me now that the eagle I sought is truly the buzzard come to pick my bones.

Many I respect and love walk a path of fighting the peoples struggles. These warnings are for you as well as my sister. Be careful and look past the faces of those around you. It is a time of rebirth for our people. This scares many! All has been done to the people to make them disappear. We are still here! As the dreamer, we are a fear to those in power. Our culture stands opposite the dominant culture -- it survives!

Walk straight my friends, walk enlightened, walk deliberate!

Together We Bargain,
Divided We Beg

Written by ShyHawk(FM)
early fall 2002

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