Home > Akashma, Awareness, Education and History, Fear and Happiness, Fifth Dimensional Experiences > A Sacred Moment – A Call to Truth: The Words of a Lakota Elder | LIBERATION FROM THE LIE

A Sacred Moment – A Call to Truth: The Words of a Lakota Elder | LIBERATION FROM THE LIE


 

HolyEagle James

 

I ask you to read this post in a spirit of reverence for those who came before.

When I was a teen, I read a book about the Plains Indian wars. I already knew that the Native people of North and South America were the victims of European conquest and genocide, but until I read this book, I had little idea how savage the destruction of Native cultures truly was.

After my sophomore year at college, I received an invitation to visit the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Busby, Montana.

Me with Randy Kills On Sight (N. Cheyenne) – The summer when this talk happened

As someone raised in a large Eastern city, the barren, high prairie of Eastern Montana was at once a place that was entirely foreign, but also oddly familiar to me. It felt both powerful and sacred. I was struck by the incredible silence of the infinitely spacious sky of Eastern Montana. However, beneath that sky was the glaring rural poverty and sadness of the Cheyenne communities. This once proud and independent buffalo hunting society of the high plains was now living in decrepit houses in a barren world. Reduced to eating processed meat sticks and endless quantities of Kool Aid. The reservation suffered from an unemployment rate approaching 90%, an average life expectancy of 39, and it was a place where suicide was the second leading cause of death. It was not unusual for old people to sit outside on freezing winter nights so that they might die of exposure by morning. My summer on the reservation changed me forever. My brief time in Montana suggested to me that Cheyennes dealt with emotional crisis differently than what I observed growing up in our primarily Jewish suburb outside of Philadelphia, but I could not put my finger on what it was.

As that summer was drawing to a close, I had a remarkable conversation with an old Lakota man at the Crow powwow. It was dusk, on a hill above the Little Big Horn River, right where Arapaho, Lakota, and Cheyenne warriors wiped out Custer and his men 94 years ago (at that time). He spoke to me in questions, which I later learned is a fairly common way of teaching in the “Indian” way. He had previously told me many “tall” tales and then would ask me if I believed them. I would politely reply that I didn’t and he would chuckle good-naturedly. On this day, he was more solemn and he said that he was going to tell me a different sort of story. He wondered if I would believe this tale.

He asked, “Do you know why we Indians view white people with pity and contempt?” His question confused me. I didn’t know what he was referring to, nor what he was trying to tell me. So I answered, “Is it our obsession with money, material things?”

He smiled and then asked me to look around and tell him what I saw. I told him that I saw hills, grasses, sky, and the river below us. He nodded in agreement. Then he said, “Where are the wolves Eric?”

“They are gone.” I answered. “Where are the bears? Where are the buffalo?” and he asked about many animals that are now gone. “Were they all here, before your people came to this land?” I hesitantly nodded yes.

“Did not the white people kill the wolves, the bears, the buffalo and all the other animals that once lived here? Is this a story you can believe Eric?” I said, “Yes, I can believe that story.”

Then he asked me to look down at the river and he asked me, “Eric, would you drink from that river?” I answered no. He then asked, where are the many fish that use to fill that river? Isn’t it true that the white man killed them all? Do you believe that to be so?” “Yes”, I said, “I believe that to be so.”

A deepening sadness now filled the air. I started to tremble with the power of that sadness.

Then he asked me to look at the all but empty sky. He said that before the white man there were many more birds. He asked if I knew why there were so many fewer birds now than then. I said that I didn’t know. He explained to me that birds feed on the grasses, but that the white man did away with the wild grasses and covered the land with grasses that need poisonous chemicals to live. The plows and chemicals of the white man destroyed the original vegetation, which killed off many of the birds.

“Poison and death everywhere.” He said softly.

He paused and then he looked at me sadly. “The white man kills anything that is wild. Do you believe that Eric?” He paused again and peered pensively into the darkening sky. He had become very serious, as if he was unsure how to present his next question.

He then sadly asked, “Where are the wild people that filled this land before the white man came?” I then eagerly pointed out all the Indians who were attending the powwow. “They are here,” I said trying to sound hopeful. But he responded with a quiet, “No, these are not the wild Indians, they are the reservation Indians, they are the conquered Indians.” He then asked again, “Eric, where are the wild Indians?”

I said very softly, “They are gone with all the rest.” I had to hold back tears.

“What has the white man killed?” he asked. I reluctantly uttered the long list we had now amassed … the animals, the grasses, the birds, the wild people, and even the earth itself. For each increasingly heavy category of life now destroyed, he would tirelessly repeat the question, “Do you believe this to be true Eric?” And for each point, I had to say “Yes, this is true.”

“Now I will ask you again, why do the Indians have pity on the white man?”

Confidently I replied, because of the killing. The white man is a heartless killer, I answered quite sure that I was definitely on the right track.

He said that was part of it, but not the whole story.

“What is it the white people kill?” he asked. I answered “Anything that stands in their way”.

He said, “Can you be a little clearer?”

http://liberationfromthelie.com/2011/07/28/a-sacred-moment-a-call-to-truth-the-words-of-a-lakota-elder/
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I became flustered and wasn’t sure what he was trying to get me to say. I was confused and didn’t know where he was taking this conversation.

He then answered his own question, “The white man kills anything that is wild. More than anything else, the white man fears anything that is wild.”

He paused, “The white man depends on control. Anything that he cannot control, he must kill or control in some extreme way. But that is not the answer to my first question.”

He then asked, “Do you know the answer now?”

I was frustrated with myself, because I just couldn’t figure out what he was getting at.

There was a long pause.

He then said the answer. “If it were only the killing, if that was the only issue, we would not pity the white man. We would think that he is crazy, but we would not pity him.”

“We pity the white man because this killing gives him pleasure. He loves to kill. The killing gives him a sense of accomplishment.”

“He looked out onto this land and saw it as useless the way the Great Spirit made it. He has to fashion it in a way that serves his interests. That meant that his pleasure became killing as the work of God. We Indians lived in peace with God. Your people have no peace with God.”

The old man let his head drop in silent contemplation. I began to weep and I truly wanted to die at that moment.

There was a long silence. I was so sad. He put his arm on my shoulder and said, “It’s okay Eric, this too will pass. Life is a much longer journey than we can possibly imagine and I have faith in you. You’ll be different.”

He smiled and we walked down to the river together. We walked down to the banks of the Little Big Horn River, the river the Lakota call the Greasy Grass as the sun fell beneath the horizon.

I never saw him again.

If you found inspiration in this post which is true in every word, you might want to read this post. It will raise your heart in the blaze of the beauty of this day.

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