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Thread: Paging Gazhekwe

  1. #251


    My bad, really, have not kept up with your stories. Promise to sit down and read. Too stressed at the moment but need to slow down.

    Did read a book which perhaps you have read called, "Ishmael" by Quinn. It was very enlightening. Best wishes. Sumas

  2. #252


    Well, Sumas, the stories are meant for your pleasure, not to add another thing to do.

    As we head into February, which some call the Snow Crust Moon, it will soon come time to "send the stories back" by retelling them. As the days get longer, the story time gets shorter.

    Since the stories are printed here where anyone can go back and read them, I won't be retelling the same stories, maybe similar ones though. It will be time to talk about the bear cubs being born, and the sucker fish returning. If it warms up enough, maybe even some maple syrup stories. I always want to jump the season.

    I hadn't read Ishmael. Looked it up, and it does sound fascinating, a must-read. I may get it to take with me when I head south for a time. A study of the history of Man, from the Forbidden Fruit to Now, and the consequences of continuing in the same vein.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; January-23-10 at 11:38 AM.

  3. #253

    Default Why Bears sleep through the Winter

    Long, long ago, Bears roamed the woods all the time, winter as well as summer. In summer, times were good, with the warm sun and rain, berries were plentiful, fish swam in the streams, soft grass grew lush and fine for sleeping. Bees filled their hive trees with honey and all was good.

    But when winter came, it was a different story. The berries were all gone, the streams were icy and frozen, so the bears couldn't catch any fish, and the bees crept into their hives and hid because there were no more flowers to make honey. There was only the cold snowy ground to sleep on.

    The bears eventually became so miserable that they called a council to discuss what could be done to make their lives better in winter time.

    One wise old bear said, "We can do nothing ourselves. We must ask the Great Spirit for help.'

    "Yes, yes!" agreed one young bear. " We should ask the Great Spirit to make it summer all the time. That way there will always be berries, and fish, and honey to eat, and warm grass to sleep in."

    The wise old bear shook his head. "That may not be the right thing, even for us. The Great Spirit may have a very good reason for making winter on the earth."

    "What can be good about it," the young bear objected, "when there is nothing to eat, and only cold to endure?"

    "I cannot say," said the old bear, "but I am sure if we ask, the Great Spirit will be happy to help us." He looked around and asked, "Who will travel to the Great Spirit to ask for help? I am too old to make such a long and hard journey."

    None of the bears was anxious to make the trip, but finally a strong young bear stepped forward. "I will go and ask how we can live more comfortably in the winter."

    The young bear traveled long, and finally arrived at the setting sun where the Great Spirit lived. As soon as he got there, he went to the Great Spirit and explained how miserable the bears were every winter. He asked, "Could we just have summer all year 'round? Summer is so wonderful, with lots of good things to eat, and warm places to sleep. We really have a hard time getting through winter."

    "Oh, no, that can't be," said the Great Spirit. "After a time, you would be even worse off than you are now. Without snow in winter, there would be no water for the streams, and the fish would die. There would be no berries to eat, and no flowers for the bees to make honey."

    "Then must we go on freezing and starving through the winter as usual?" asked the young bear.

    "No," said the Great Spirit. "I have thought of a plan that will help you all be comfortable through the winter. Listen carefully while I explain, then you go back to your brothers and tell them what they must do to live through the winter in comfort."

    The young bear listened carefully, then he hurried back to tell the others.

    "We are each to find a cozy den in a cave or the trunk of a hollow tree, or under the roots of a big fallen tree. Then, when the sun heads to the north, and the berries die on the bushes, we are to go into our dens and sleep through the long winter. That way we will miss all the cold and hunger of winter. When the sun comes back and melts the snow, we shall awaken and find fish in the streams and honey in the bee trees."

    "It is well," said the wise old bear.

    "It is well,' echoed the other bears in council.

    ""But there is more," said the messenger bear. "The Great Spirit has put a sign in the sky so we will know which is the season for going to sleep and which is the season of awakening. In the northern sky he has put a Great Bear. All year long it will travel around a fixed star which is the opening of its den. In the summer the Great Bear will be above his den, and we will know it is the right time for us to stay above ground and enjoy the warm weather. When the winter cold comes, the Star Bear will be below his den, and we, too, will go below the ground."

    "It is indeed wise," said the old bear. "Now the winter will be just a short dream."

    And so it has been from that day to this. The bears go into their cozy dens to sleep away winter's cold, and come out when the sun warms the earth again in the spring.

  4. #254


    Strange, I thought I had posted to this thread. Haven't kept up with your stories currently, but will do so soon. Love the stories but too stressed to read and comprehend the messages.

    If you haven't done so, please read the book, Ishmael. It sheds a lot of light on the human plight. Best wishes always. Sumas

  5. #255


    You did post, #251. I commented about Ishmael, #252. I do plan to read it after looking it up.

    The stories are meant for many levels of listening. Remember, children growing up would hear these stories many times, and each time they might take a different message from them. Storytellers might vary things enough to make things interesting, and to emphasize different points. When you have time, just enjoy them. They are supposed to be fun.

    I'm sorry things are so tough for you.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; January-24-10 at 10:08 AM.

  6. #256

    Default Chickadee and Spruce

    I love birds of all kinds. A special favorite is the tiny feisty little chickadee, so brave to stay and face winter and so cheerful. The chickadee, when he somehow missed flying south one winter had no idea how to survive at first. He flew from tree to tree looking for shelter from the icy fingers of the north wind. The maple tree, so accommodating and shady in the summer, said, "I am sorry my little friend, but I have shed my leaves and have no shelter for you now." The poor little bird flew from tree to tree and the message was the same from the birch, the oak, the tamarack, the beech, and many more. Shivering, the little bird espied the prickly spruce tree and flew carefully up to it.

    "Can you help me, mighty spruce tree? I am so small and so cold."

    "Fly in through my branches, little chickadee. You are welcome here near my heart. I love your cheerful music and will be happy to shelter you."

    And so it has been ever since, the spruce and the chickadee, inseparable friends.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; January-25-10 at 09:07 PM.

  7. #257

    Default Bonus story --Bird Power

    We'll talk about Thunder-Lightning and the Eagle. They say that Thunder and the Eagle are fast friends. Long ago, Thunder spoke to every wild creature -- everything that flew or everything with four legs -- and to the Eagle he said,"I appoint you ruler.

    You must have a meeting with all the wild creatures, and you must answer all their requests. If you think they should be a certain way, you make them that way. You must ask them what they want to be," said Thunder.

    So the Eagle called a meeting. All kinds of birds came to it. When they arrived, the meeting was called to order. Eagle asked each of them what he wanted to be able to do.

    Quail, who was very selfish when asked about anything, immediately arose and went and stood beside the Eagle. "Couldn't you give me power so that when a man sees me fly he will instantly die of fright?" the Quail asked the Eagle.

    "No," said the Eagle. "You are entirely too small. I could not give you that kind of power. But I can go this far: I can let you fly, and when a man hears you fly, he will become frightened," said the eagle to the Quail.

    Quail said,"All right."

    That's the reason why when we hear a quail flying, we become frightened because he makes a whirring noise. That's all the power he was allowed.

    Chickadee was given the power to be something like a fortune teller among people in that he could go where people were, and if they were going to have visitors, he could inform them ahead of time. This could be done by flying to a tree near them and singing a joyous song.

    "Would you give me that kind of power?" asked the Chickadee. So he was given that power. That's why the elders say when they see a chickadee fly into a tree, "The Chickadee says somebody is coming." That's the power that was given to him they say.

    Then the Redbird, the beautifully singing bird, came up: "Let people have faith in me. I want to be able to sing joyful songs when it is going to rain."
    So he was given that power. That's why the elders believe that when they see this bird singing atop a tree it will rain. That's all the power he was given.

    The Shrike came up and said,"All I want is to be an expert dance caller." And so he was given that power.

    Said the people long ago: the Eagle was the Ruler of the Earth, but Thunder was the Ruler of the Whole Universe, and they got together to decide if all their distributed powers were going to be satisfactory. So said the people of long ago.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; January-25-10 at 09:09 PM.

  8. #258

    Default Cobell Settlement, Second Thoughts?

    On Dec. 8, post 200, I posted news that the long-running Cobell case against the US Dept of Interior BIA has a settlement proposal. Summarizing:

    The Obama administration has taken a definitive step to settle a long-running trust mismanagement class action lawsuit involving hundreds of thousands of Native Americans.

    The Department of the Interior announced Dec. 8 that it had negotiated a settlement to the
    Cobell v. Salazar litigation, which could amount to a $1.4 billion payback to Indian plaintiffs involved in the case.

    I ran across a commentary by William E. Martin, Alaskan Tlingit man who believes the settlement agreement unfairly requires all class action plaintiffs to accept nominal payments in return for terminating their claims. He compares the nominal payments to the huge settlements accorded to the principal claimant, Cobell, and the lawyers.

    I personally do not find the legal fees excessive, considering the case has been active for more than 15 years, and has involved considerable time and commitment from Cobell as well.

    Here is an excerpt from his commentary requesting review of the settlement prior to approval. Some points seem valid, the total settlement amount may well be insufficient to cover the claims fairly. Link to the full article is at the end.

    The settlement agreement should be given careful public scrutiny and hearings because it involves such large amounts of money, and thousands of claimants, and the extinguishment of many claims, and the payment of millions of dollars in attorney’s fees that could otherwise be spent on pressing needs in Indian country.
    I am particularly troubled by questions regarding the ‘new’ class of plaintiffs this settlement would create whose claims would then be settled and extinguished.

    So far, the only persons who have been asked to testify on the settlement are Cobell and the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the federal defendants. There is no public hearing record of the views of any of the hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs who are slated to realize only $1,000 each from this settlement.

    That amount for each plaintiff pales when compared with the $50 million to $100 million slated to be paid to plaintiffs’ attorneys. When lawyers are set to be paid 50,000 to 100,000 times what any plaintiff is to receive, the Congress should first ask plaintiffs other than Cobell what they think of the settlement. Especially when the settlement appears to call for Cobell, along with three other named plaintiffs, to receive more than $15 million even as all other plaintiffs’ claims are extinguished for $1,000 each. This is particularly problematic since there are reports, which I have been unable to verify, that a detailed accounting of her trust accounts, including predecessor accounts, indicates she would recover less than $50 in any court judgment on her individual claims.

    I am particularly troubled by questions regarding the “new” class of plaintiffs this settlement would create whose claims would then be settled and extinguished, especially when these individuals, including Alaska Natives, have been repeatedly assured for years that only accounting claims, and not asset-based or mismanagement claims, are at issue in the Cobell litigation. Many of us now have reason to fear what is being done for or to our claims in this settlement.

    We need much more time to analyze the impact of this far-reaching proposed settlement.

    For these reasons I am urging Congress to hold more hearings and subject the proposed settlement to extensive public scrutiny in the bright light of day. We need much more time to analyze the impact of this far-reaching proposed settlement. It needs to be aired out. At a minimum, it should be substantially revised by Congress.

    Any hasty approval of this proposed settlement, without extensive review and investigation and revision on the part of Congress, would be unfair to tens of thousands of Indians whose claims will be extinguished for a paltry $1,000 each while a handful of people walk away with millions of dollars the taxpayers think are helping Indians.

    William E. Martin is president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska.

    Here is part of an article about the lead plaintiff, Elouise Cobell, and her thoughts on the settlement. Link to full article is at the end:

    Cobell has also long-held economic interests. She was formerly the treasurer of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana, and she established the Blackfeet National Bank. She currently serves on the board of the Native American Bank and First Interstate Bank.

    It was while serving as treasurer of Blackfeet that Cobell discovered many irregularities in the management of funds held in trust by the United States for the tribe and for individual Indians.

    After calling attention to the matter and getting a class of hundreds of thousands of Indians to sign on, Cobell became a phenomenon. Even before it was announced in early December that the Obama administration would move to settle the case, hundreds of articles had been written on her plight.

    In light of her conviction – and the promise of a $3.4 billion settlement it ultimately achieved – hundreds of Native Americans have told Cobell they are grateful. Some have called her a “warrior woman.”

    Cobell is thankful for the settlement, and believes Indians now have a presidential administration that is listening.

    Yet, she was quick to note that the settlement amount is “significantly less than the full accounting to which the class members are entitled.”

    Estimates of lost principal and interest offered by lawyers for the Indian plaintiffs during legal proceedings ranged much higher than the Obama administration’s offer, with some figures towering as high as $58 billion.

    Cobell said it was a concession she was willing to make, because, as the case has progressed through the years, some class members have passed away, and many are living in extreme poverty.

    “A settlement can address the situation,” Cobell said, adding that she doesn’t believe trust reform should stop at this point.

    Last edited by gazhekwe; January-27-10 at 11:49 AM.

  9. #259

    Default Two Stories Tonight!

    The first is Tponetom's, along with Black Elk, in Tom's post Paging Bobl and Gazhekwe. Please check it out if you haven't already.

    This one is good fun, an Anishinaabe story, The Man and the Ravens.

    There once was a man that enjoyed watching the black Ravens fly around, play, squawk, and chatter. He enjoyed them so much he would climb trees just to be closer to them. For many months the Ravens ignored the man, but after awhile, one of the Ravens flew from a nearby tree and landed directly next to the man.

    To the man’s utter amazement, the bird spoke to him and asked, "You have been watching us for a long time. You have tried to get close to us. Why do you do this?"

    The man replied, "I mean no harm. I have become enchanted with you and all your relatives. I enjoy the play, the squawking, and I wish I could learn your language so I could understand more about you."

    Then the Raven responded, "We are honored that you want to know us, and as long as you do not cause harm, we will teach you our language."

    For many months the Ravens taught the man all about the language and how the Ravens lived from day to day. The man became so educated that he knew everything there was to know about the Ravens. Many of the Ravens saw the man and accepted him as a friend.

    One day, an older Raven was flying far over the man, and he dropped a walnut perfectly on the man's head. It was done on purpose and all the Ravens almost fell off their branches laughing so hard the way they do. One Raven was flying and was laughing so hard he had to crash land right in front of the man.

    The man was feeling bad and was hurt by being made fun of, so he asked the Raven in front of him, "Why are you all picking on me."

    The Raven stopped laughing and became very serious. "We thought you understood us, but apparently you don't. If you did you would know that we are not mocking you... well maybe a bit, but it is done in our way of having fun. We are 'playing' with you and that is all. It is not to be taken seriously. You should know us better."

    The man took sometime to understand this and over time a few more practical jokes were played on the man and he in turn pulled a few "good ones" on the birds. A good time was had by all and the man became even closer to the Ravens.

    Then another event occurred. A young Raven swooped out of the sky and pecked the man on the head. Then another young Raven swooped down and did the same thing. The man ran across the field and into the woods but the Ravens kept chasing him and very skillfully they flew at high speeds through the woods tormenting the man. Finally the two stopped and started to yell mean words, fighting words at the man.

    Again the man did not understand, but he knew the two Ravens were very mad at him, so he decided to leave and let the Ravens be. The man went away for many months.

    As he did his duties in his tribal village, he told all the people about his adventures and what he learned about the Ravens. Some listened with intent, others just thought the man was a fool to study the Ravens so. The villagers gave the man a new name of "Black Feather" because of his close relationship to the birds, but the man objected and said, "I am no longer close to the Raven people."

    From above there was a squawking sound of a single Raven. Some of the people looked up and were surprised that they could understand the Raven, others just looked around because they could hear nothing but squawking. The Raven was speaking to the man and said, "It is true, you are closer to us than any Anishinaabe (Human) has ever come. You are close, but you still don't understand us fully. I invite you to return to us, many miss you."

    Black Feather started to follow the Raven but then stopped at the edge of the village. He looked around to make sure no other Anishinaabe could hear then asked the Raven, "Why do you ask me back when the two Ravens where fighting with me and were mean."

    "The Raven landed at Black Feather’s feet and said, "See how little you understand us. The two young Ravens did not fight with you because you are Anishinaabe, it is because they accepted you as a member of the Raven people. You should know that we fight among ourselves too. It is a part of our way of life. Instead of sulking and leaving you should have fought back."

    Black Feather stood in silence and said, "There is much about Ravens I don't understand. Maybe we are too different people to ever understand each other. I should stop and return to my people in the village."

    The Raven again shook his head and told Black Feather, "That is your choice, but again I tell you that you have come closer to us Raven people than any other Anishinaabe. Would you throw this all away just because you can't understand us yet?"

    Black Feather responded, "It's useless, how can I ever understand you, I can't even fly!"

    A thousand bursts of laughter was heard from all the surrounding trees and Black Feather knew that all the Raven People were there, hiding and listening.

    "Of course you can't fly. You are Anishinaabe and we are Ravens. But we accept you as one of us. We play with you. We fight with you. We love you and want you back. We also recommend you don't try to fly in order to be like us, because then, you would not be Anishinaabe nor a Raven but something else. We like you as an Anishinaabe that understands us as Ravens. Join us or not, the decision is yours."

    Black Feather returned to the Anishinaabe village and bid everyone farewell because he had decided to live with the Raven people. After all the farewells and such he started to leave the village. All the Anishinaabe people were there to see him off, and high over head were a thousand Ravens.

    Then from high above one of the older Ravens dropped a walnut shell and again with remarkable aim, plunked Black Feather right on the head. All the Ravens started laughing hard and all the Anishinaabe were laughing too.

    Black Feather laughed and looked up at the old Raven and said, "Good one."

    Charles Phillip Whitedog

  10. #260

    Default Big Bird finds a Fine Husband for her daughter

    This story is from the Chipweyans in northern Canada.

    Big Bird was a widow of the tribe's most famous Chief, Peace River. She lived with her son and beautiful daughter on the bank of a large stream. Her great ambition was to secure a rich husband for her daughter, suitable to her birth position, so she asked her son to go to the riverbank and watch unceasingly to see if he could discover a stranger passing through suitable to be her son-in-law.

    One day the boy came running home to his mother with a beaming face and reported, "There is somebody passing by whom I would like to have for a brother-in-law."

    Big Bird seemed delighted with the news, and took an armload of bark and went down to the river to meet the expected bridegroom. On her way, she placed the bark on the path for him to walk upon. She saw how magnificently dressed he was in a white skin costume covered with shell-beads. At their camp, she and her daughter had prepared a meal of unusual splendor and set it before their handsome guest.

    Now it happened there was an old dog in the camp, which the young man objected to, and he would not eat until the dog was removed. Big Bird, wishing to show her guest every courtesy, complied with his request, took the dog out, and had him killed and left in the bush. The invited guest then enjoyed his supper, and they all went to sleep.

    Next morning when Big Bird arose to make a fire, no wood was in the tipi. She went out to fetch some, and became startled to see the dog lying with his eyes removed, with his flesh pecked all over, and with the footprints of a three-toed animal all around him.

    When she returned, she asked everyone to take off their shoes. they all did so, except the stranger, who said he never removed his shoes. However, Big Bird kept insisting, telling him she had a beautiful pair of new moccasins for him that would match his handsome costume. At last, she appealed to his vanity and he consented.

    While quickly removing his shoes he said, "Kinno, kinno," meaning "Look, look!" but just as quickly put them on again.

    The boy saw his feet and called out, "He has three toes!"

    The stranger denied this statement and said, "I did it so quickly that you just imagined I have only three toes. You are mistaken."

    After breakfast, he told his new wife that he wanted to go for his clothes, which were some distance upstream at his camp. He wished for her to accompany him. She thought her husband's conduct rather strange and not according to their tradition. At first she objected, but when he told of the many gew-gaws he wished to show her, she decided to go with him.
    They got into their canoe and started off, the man sitting in the bow and the woman in the stern. In a short time, rain began to fall heavily. She noticed the rain washing off the shining white stuff from her husband's back and black feathers began to appear!

    "Oh, I have married a crow!" she thought to herself. When he was not looking, she tied his long tail to the crossbar of the canoe.

    He turned and asked, "What are you doing?"

    "Your coat is so fine, I'm working with the beads to lay them straight."

    "I see I have married an industrious wife," he said as he resumed his paddling.

    She then wondered how she could escape. So she said, "This point we are passing is famous for wild duck eggs. I'd like to go ashore and get us some for our supper."

    He consented, but as soon as she was out of the canoe, she ran up the bank and disappeared into the forest. The crow tried to get out quickly to follow her, but because his tail was tied to the canoe, it was impossible.

    So he had to content himself with calling after her, "Caw! Caw! Once again I have tricked your people."

    He leisurely proceeded to untie his tail, and in his original black crow feathers flew away in search of another mischievous episode.

    Big Bird welcomed her daughter home, grateful to be rid of the three-toed stranger. "We can all be more selective in the future when it comes to choosing in-laws," she advised her two children.

    NOTE: While I had not heard this particular version, there are many stories of girls married to disguised creatures, from serpents to bears. I thought this version was fun after yesterday's Raven story.

  11. #261

    Default The Story of Redfeather

    There once was a little boy called Redfeather who lived with his great-grandfather. His great-grandfather taught him to shoot with his bow and arrows. They lived in a village near a great big frog-meadow. The old grandfather told Redfeather stories about the different ways of creatures.

    Springtime came, and in the evenings the old lady frogs would croak and sharpen their knives to butcher the crawfish. That is the noise they make. Every day Redfeather would take his bow and arrow and kill all the frogs he could get and the crawfish too.

    One day a heron came along and told Redfeather that she would give him her best feather if he would leave the frogs alone. She told him that she had a nest of babies to feed and that he was wasting her food by killing all the frogs and crayfish. Redfeather said, "Ha! I don't want your old dirty feathers. You can keep your feathers and leave me alone. I can do what I want."

    So the birds met together to figure out what to do about Redfeather, who was making life difficult for so many of them. Near Redfeathers's village there was an island with some large trees on it, and on this island lived a very old and very wise owl.

    Every evening Redfeather would go out and refuse to come in to bed, and run around and be noisy. The crane and the owl and other birds all complained about him because he scared away all the rabbits and small birds. They said he must be punished. The crane said that she was starving because he killed the frogs and the birds. No one could live in peace.

    One evening, the owl perched himself on a tree close to Redfeather's wigwam, and said, "Hoo Hoo!"

    Redfeather's great-grandfather said to him, "Redfeather, come in, don't you hear that owl calling?"

    But Redfeather said, "I'll get the biggest arrow and shoot him."

    Grandfather said, "The owl has large ears and he can put rabbits and other food in them. He might catch you too. You'd better come in and go to sleep."

    But Redfeather disobeyed his Grandfather and went out and shot at the owl. He missed, and while he was out looking for the arrow, the owl swooped down and picked him up and stuck him in his ears, and flew off with him. The owl flew across the lake to his island, and up into an old oak tree where the nest of baby owls were.

    He put Redfeather down there, and told his babies, "When you get big enough to eat meat, you shall eat Redfeather."

    The little owls were quite excited at this. Then the owl flew away. The next day, the owl called to the crane and the other birds and said, "When your babies are old enough we'll have a feast of Redfeather. I have him imprisoned in my oak tree." So Redfeather was kept a prisoner, and he cried, but he couldn't get down.

    Back in the village, all the Indians knew Redfeather was lost. His great-grandfather asked all the living beings to help him find Redfeather and at last they found him a prisoner in the owl's tree. The spirits told the great-grandfather to give a great feast and ask the owl to return Redfeather. His great-grandfather gave a huge feast, and Redfeather was returned to him.

    Redfeather also promised that he would never again misuse the food that Wenebojo had made for the birds.

  12. #262


    The stories may be sporadic for the next week or so. Don't be alarmed, I am going into travel mode and won't be able to post regularly for a while. February will bring some more bear stories, as the bear cubs are born, and the Earth prepares to wake up from the long winter's nap.

    If anyone else has stories, this would be a good time to tell them. I'll probably be able to tell tales tonight and tomorrow night, but the rest of the week will be silent.

  13. #263

    Default Partridge and his wonderful wigwam

    Once a man was traveling through the woods, and he heard a far off a sound as of footsteps beating the ground. So he sought to find the people that made it, and went on for a full week ere he came to them. And it was a man and his wife dancing about a tree, in the top of which was a Raccoon. They had, by their constant treading, worn a trench in the ground; indeed, they were in it up to their waists. Then, being asked why they did this strange thing, they answered that, being hungry, they were trying to dance down the tree to catch the Raccoon.

    Then the man who had come said, "Truly there is a newer and better way of felling trees, which has lately come into the land."

    As they wished to know what this might be, he showed them how to cut it down, and did so; making it a condition that if they got the game they might have the meat and he should get the skin. So when the tree fell they caught the animal, and the woman, having tanned the skin, gave it to the man, and he went his way.

    And being afar, in a path in the forest, he met another man, and was greatly amazed at him because he was bearing on his head a house, or a large birch wigwam of many rooms. He was frightened at first at such a sight, but the man, putting down his house, shook hands with him, and seemed to be a right honest good fellow.

    Then while they smoked and talked, the Man of the House, seeing the skin of the Raccoon in the other's belt, said, "Well, that is a fine pelt! Where did you get it, brother?"

    And he, answering, told all the story of the Dancing Man and Wife; whereupon he of the House became mightily anxious to buy it, offering one thing after another for it, and at last the House, which was accepted. And, examining it, the buyer was amazed to find how many rooms it contained, and how full it was of good furniture. "Truly," said he, "I can never carry this as you do!"

    "Yes, you can," replied the Pil-wee-mon-soo-in (one who belongs somewhere else,--a stranger). "Do but try it!"

    So he essayed and lifted it easily, for he found it as light as any bassinode or basket. So they parted and he went on carrying his cabin till night-fall, when coming to a hard-wood ridge, near a good spring of water, he resolved to settle there. And, searching, he found a room in which there was a very fine bed, covered with a white bear-skin. And as it was very soft, and he was very weary, he slept well.

    In the morning, when he awoke, what was his astonishment and delight to see above him, hanging to the beams, all kinds of nice provisions, venison, hams, ducks, baskets of berries and of maple-sugar, with many ears of Indian corn. And as he, in his joy, stretched out his arms and made a jump towards all these dainties, behold the white bear-skin melted and ran away, for it was the snow of winter; and his arms spread forth into wings, and he flew up to the food, which was the early buds of the birch, on which they hung. And he was a Partridge, who after the manner of his kind had been wintering under a snowdrift, and now came forth to greet the pleasant spring.

  14. #264

    Default Iktomi and the Fruits

    This is a Lakota story warning of the dangers of eating things you don't know about. Iktomi is the Lakota version of Nanabozho. This is usually preceded by the invitation to hear a funny story about Iktomi. It's very scatalogical, so if you are sensitive, maybe you want to skip this one.

    Iktomi set off on a journey. On his way, he ran short of food, and he got very hungry. At last he spied some big plants that looked pretty good.

    "Well, brother," Iktomi asked the plants, "what kind of plant are you?"

    "Wild turnips," responded the plants.

    "Are you good to eat?" asked Iktomi, hopefully.

    "Well, if you eat us, you'll have trouble," the wild turnips warned.

    "What kind of trouble?"

    "Expelling gas."

    Iktomi decided if it was a food, he could eat it, and he would be all right, so he ate quite a large quantity of the wild turnips, for he was very hungry. After eating, he stretched and felt pretty good, and set off on his way, keeping his eyes open for something else to eat. Before long, "Wanh, wanh, wanh." Startled, Iktomi looked behind him, but no one was there. He thought someone was talking. He kept on walking and the expellations kept on coming. They got so bad, he couldn't stand on the ground when the explosions came and he had to lie down and hold onto a stump with all his might.

    "The turnips were right," he thought.

    There would be a lull, and he would think finally, he was all done, but then he would get another blast. Finally he was able to get up and walk on. He came to some rosebuds, so beautiful and delectable looking.

    "What kind of plant are you?" he asked them.

    "Rosebuds, and if you eat us, you will get itchy piles in your rectum."

    Iktomi thought to himself, "I'm too tough for that, I can eat those," and so he ate his fill. Pretty soon, he did get itchy, and started to scratch.

    "Darn, it was true what they said."

    He walked on scratching and scratching, even rubbed on a tree but to no avail. He found a thornapple and pulled off a thorny branch, and scratched to his heart's content. He scratched so hard he pulled out his guts and gizzard. Finally he got well and continued on his way.

    He came to some chokecherries, hanging there on their tree, nice and black and juicy looking. "What kind of fruit are you?" he asked.

    "Chokecherries, and if you eat us, you'll be sick."

    "What kind of sickness?"

    "Constipation," warned the chokecherries.

    Iktomi wouldn't believe it, so he stuffed himself with chokecherries and continued on his way. After awhile, he wanted comfort, so he stopped and tried in one place with no luck, tried another place, still no luck.

    "Well, I'll walk along, and maybe I'll walk it off."

    He came to some pretty red berries. "What kind of berries are you? he asked them.

    "Buffalo berries," they said, " and if you eat us, you'll have trouble."

    "I don't believe it, I've had all kinds of trouble," protested Iktomi.

    "You'll have loose bowels," they warned.

    He ate them anyway, stuffed himself, and walked on. Well, they started to work, and he had to keep stopping to relieve himself. He got so tired and weak, he could barely walk.

    "Well, I've had a lot of trouble," he said to himself. "I guess I'll go home."

    Coming near home, he sat down to rest. A member of his village came along and asked him why he was sitting on a pile of coyote dung. It was too much. Iktomi fainted.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; February-01-10 at 11:10 PM.

  15. #265

    Default News from Indian Country Today, today.

    Update on the Arizona sweat lodge deaths.

    Retreat owners stand behind sweat lodge as built

    By Felicia Fonseca Sedona, Arizona (AP)

    The owner of an Arizona retreat where a sweat lodge ceremony turned deadly said the man who led it was a perfectionist who controlled every detail of an event meant to push people beyond their physical limits.

    California-based motivational speaker James Arthur Ray is the focus of a homicide investigation that began shortly after three people died following the ceremony he led at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in Sedona in October. His attorneys have suggested the sweat lodge was unsafe and that Ray cannot be held liable because its construction was the responsibility of retreat owners Amayra and Michael Hamilton.

    But Amayra Hamilton said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that Ray “absolutely” would have pointed out anything he saw wrong with the sweat lodge before he led more than 50 people inside. She stood by previous statements that the sweat lodge was sound and that its construction was not to blame.

    “What else can you say if James does not understand what went wrong? We know that there was nothing wrong with that sweat lodge,” she said from her home at the retreat she and her husband purchased in 2002. “And yes, we know he must have or could have checked and it was not different than in previous years.”

    The Hamiltons said they knew little about Ray when he held his first sweat lodge ceremony at the retreat in 2003 and had little personal contact him over the years. They said he made sure that every detail, from the menu to the placement of stage stairs and the timing of events was precise. If it wasn’t, “we would redo it according to his wishes,” Hamilton said.

    “James is a perfectionist,” she said. “He had his retreats perfect the way he wanted it. I cannot see why the sweat lodge would be an exception.”

    More than 50 people filed inside the sweat lodge that was built in 2008 and used numerous times without incident – something Ray’s attorneys and the Hamiltons agree on. Feeling restless, Hamilton said she drove a golf cart to the site of the sweat lodge the evening of Oct. 8 and witnessed “total chaos” as it ended. She called 911.

    People were vomiting, passed out and being hosed off in an effort to cool them down. Three people who never regained consciousness died at hospitals – Kirby Brown, 38, of Westtown, N.Y.; James Shore, 40, of Milwaukee; and Liz Neuman, 49, of Prior Lake, Minn. 18 others were hospitalized.

    Ray had promised the participants that the sweat lodge would be one of the most intense experiences of their lives. Authorities in central Arizona’s Yavapai County are considering charges against him in a wide-reaching investigation that is expected to be turned over to prosecutors soon.

    Lawsuits filed after the deaths accuse Ray and the Hamiltons of negligence and fraud. Authorities have said the sweat lodge lacked the necessary building permit.

    Amayra Hamilton said she’s not concerned with the lawsuits. “We feel very much at peace with what we did and did not do.”

    Ray’s attorneys said again on Wednesday that the deaths were a tragic accident and that criminal charges aren’t warranted because holding a sweat lodge isn’t inherently dangerous, Ray took all necessary safety precautions and he acted immediately when participants became ill. Many participants have said Ray could have done more to ensure their safety.

    Amayra Hamilton said she advised Ray in 2005 to tone down his sweat lodge ceremonies after a man fell unconscious and was taken to the hospital. Ray’s attorneys said he has since limited the number of rounds, moved the ceremony to daylight hours, set up a recovery station and trained staff in CPR.

    “We were confident he had learned from that experience in 2005 and that that would never happen again,” Hamilton said. But last year, things were worse.

    “If there is something that you are taking part in and it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it,” she said in a late October interview. “Don’t give your body away to someone who is saying beautiful words. And if, as a facilitator, if you feel that people are giving you that, stay away. Beware of yourself.”

    Leader of Fatal Arizona Sweat Lodge Speaks Out

    A motivational speaker who led a sweat lodge ceremony in Arizona that turned deadly said he feels horrible about what happened but declined to comment on whether he was responsible for the deaths.

    In his first interview about the incident, James Arthur Ray instead refers to letters drafted by his attorneys that state he was not criminally negligent. His comments were made to New York Magazine for a story published Jan. 24 and later confirmed by his representatives.
    Authorities in central Arizona’s Yavapai County have focused a homicide investigation on Ray, though no charges have been filed. Many participants have said Ray could have done more to ensure their safety.

    Ray countered that he wasn’t aware that anyone was experiencing medical problems until the ceremony concluded, though many participants said he ignored pleas for help inside the sweat lodge. Ray said he made sure ambulances were called afterward, held people’s hands and talked with them, stroked their hair and held IVs for paramedics.

    “I was there the entire time doing whatever I could to help until I was detained by the detectives,” he told the magazine.

    Ray declined to give a statement to authorities as he sat in a police car, on the advice of his attorneys, public records released in the case have shown. Ray said he left the following day around lunchtime to catch a flight.

    Ray said his ego has been adjusted by the experience and he’s focused on bringing closure and finding answers to why the deaths occurred.

    Ray didn’t deny statements attributed to him before the sweat lodge that people might feel they were going to die but wouldn’t. But he said they were taken “completely out of context” and were meant to convey that people must let go of what is holding them back before they can move forward.

    “There’s no one who would say that I was talking literally,” he told the magazine
    Last edited by gazhekwe; February-02-10 at 08:27 PM.

  16. #266

    Default Ladder to the Sky Part 1

    Long ago, in the old, forgotten time, Gitchi Manitou, the Great Spirit, created only strong, healthy people. In those days, all the men were tall and brave. They could run like the storm wind. In their games, they were clever and swift, And knew all the secrets of the four-legged ones - the forest animals who were their brothers.

    The women in those times sang as they worked. Their clear voices filled the forest with melodies, and they walked with light step and straight back, even when they were very old. They copied the fragrant flowers that grew like colored stars among the grasses. They wove flower shapes into bright bands to bind their long, black hair. With nimble fingers, the women wove the rushes and reeds into sweet smelling mats to cover the floors of their wigwams. They gathered milkweed down to make soft beds for their babies. From birch bark they could make a strong container, a makak, to fill with all the plenty of woodland and stream.

    Nobody was ever sick in those days. Nobody died. When somebody grew old, Manitou sent one of the shining spirit messengers down the magic vine that grew in the very center of the Ojibwe lands. The vine grew in the earth, but its far off top was looped around a star. The shining spirit messenger would carry the old one up and up and up through the vine's great leaves, up into the sky itself. There the old ones lived forever, watching over their beloved people and the campfires twinkling below.
    The Ojibwe people were forbidden to touch the magic vine. It was a living ladder connecting the earth with Manitou's great blue sky home.

    Other spirit messengers also came to earth from time to time to see that everything was going well. These spirits came down the magic vine from the North, the South, the East, and the West, from every corner of Gitchi Manitou's kingdom. They took the form of Indians, and they would walk through a village or a camp and speak to every person living there, no matter how young, no matter how old.

    "Are you content?" the spirits would ask. "Is there anything you need?" Everyone was treated the same. In the eyes of the Great Spirit, all were equal.

    But one day, in one of the villages, discontent began to grow like a dark thorn bush shadow spreading along the pathways. In this village, the people saw that there spirit messenger favored a certain young man who had lived among them all his life in the lodge of his loving grandmother. Every time the spirit appeared, it would invite the young man to walk arm in arm with it through the village. Nothing like this had ever happened before.

    The people were jealous, and their anger grew. They feared the spirit, but they did not fear the young man. Whenever he was alone, they gathered stones in secret and shouted insults at the young man. Sharp stones flew at him from hidden places. The poor young man was afraid to go about in the village. But he was afraid to stay in his grandmother's lodge too. All night he could hear the sounds of villagers circling the lodge and muttering threats. At last, he only wished to leave his village. He wanted to disappear into the sky with the spirit messenger.

    One day the spirit appeared in the old woman's lodge where the sad young man was sitting. The spirit stretched out its arms. "Your sad thoughts have reached me. You shall come with me and live in the kingdom of Gitchi Manitou, the Great Spirit forever."

    Desperately, the grandmother tried to clutch her grandson's arm but before she could touch him or cry out the young man was wrapped in a crackling blue light. It carried him in a flash through the air and up the magic vine. The spirit and the young man were gone!

    The old woman wailed and shouted for him to return. "Begawain! Begawain! Come back! Come back!" But there was no answer.

  17. #267

    Default Ladder to the Sky Part 2

    When darkness fell on the village, the grandmother crept along the forest edge until she reached the forbidden vine. When she came near the vine, it began to give off a wild light and a force from within it seemed to be pushing her away. But old women have a force of their own. She broke through the power of the vine and wrapped her arms around its cold stem. All night she climbed. The vine swayed and buckled under her weight, but still she went up and up and up.

    When the sun rose, the people awoke and saw that the old woman's lodge was empty! They searched everywhere for her. Where could she be? Then someone shouted and pointed to the sky. Ayeee! The people were horrified. They could see the old woman, but she was only a small speck climbing that forbidden vine where it nearly touched the sun. She had disobeyed Gitchi Manitou, the Great Spirit!

    "Begawain!" they shouted at her. "Come back!"

    The vine rippled and shuddered, but still she went on. The vine looked as thing as a hair.

    "You old witch!" they screamed. "Come back!"

    "Set fire to her lodge," cried the chiefs. "She is bringing shame and disaster to us all!"

    Now at last the old woman was near the top where the vine was a thin tendril tied to a star. Her tired fingers reached out to pull her weary body past the star anchor and onto the floor of the sky kingdom. But, after all, this magic vine was made only for spirits to use. SNAP! CRAAAASH! A sound like thunder followed the young man's grandmother as she plummeted to earth!

    The sound was heard in all the villages in all four corners of the Ojibwe forest nation. And from all four corners the people swept in like a great wind to gather in a circle where the grandmother lay in the cold ruins of the magic vine. They pushed and pulled at her.

    "What will happen to us now?" they cried.

    The grandmother covered her ears to keep out the angry shouts.

    "What punishment have you brought down on us, you old witch?"

    They did not have to wait long for their answer. Pain and discomfort began to strike first this one, then that one. Their legs ached. Their heads hurt. Some could not walk. Other could not speak. Some of the people fell to the ground. They looked like they were asleep, but they did not move or breathe.

    A sorrow and a stillness hung like a black robe over all the land. There was no more singing. There were no more games. No longer did the sounds of contented people soothe the heave sun to its evening rest. Now the people understood: Disease and death were their punishment. What could they do? They could only wait.

    Then one day, the air was filled with strange blue lights, and the spirit beings came drifting down out of the sky. Their faces were sad. They had no blessing for the people. They had no gifts. All the spirits raised their voices together.

    "One of you chose to disobey Gitchi Manitou. Now your punishment is upon you. From this time forward, disease and pain will live among your people. The sacred vine was always, from the beginning of all time, your connection to the sky kingdom where you would finally live forever. The connection has been broken. Your people will no longer live forever. Now all must die when their time comes. But Gitchi Manitou has sent us back to show you how to release your people from pain and misery. Watch!"

    And the spirits spread their arms until they were filled with all the flowers and all the growing plants on earth. These they dried with their warm hands and blowing on the leaves and petals, scattered them again over all the Ojibwe lands.

    "Gitchi Manitou sends us here to say that every flower that buds can serve a wise and healing purpose. Every blade of grass can be useful. Growing everywhere around you are plants that will cure all illnesses and help all those in pain."

    The spirits seemed to be speaking with one silvery voice. "You have always woven the supple reed into mats for your wigwams. You have always spread your blankets over fragrant cedar branches and pine boughs. You have always looked at the delicate flowers and twisting woodland vines and copied their shapes and colors to decorate your clothes. "But now we will choose from among you the Midiwiwin - The Grand Medicine People. We will show the Midiwiwin the secrets of the plants. The Midiwiwin will learn to use the roots and petals and stems and leaves to make you well when you fall sick. In their Medicine Lodges, the Midiwiwin will call out to the Great Spirit. They will sing their songs and dance their sacred dances in honor of these truths. From this time forward, these secrets will be known to the Ojibwe people. From this time forward, the Midiwiwin will help cure you of your miseries."

    With relief and joy the people returned to their homes. The disobedient old woman lived with her shame until the day she died.

    All of those things happened a long, long time ago, but the Ojibwe people have never forgotten which plants cure disease. They have never forgotten the secrets that Gitchi Manitou told them. Even today, when someone is sick or in pain, the Midiwiwin can find and use the healing goodness that springs up everywhere from the earth.

    Told by George Copway ... Kahgegagahbowh, Standing Tall - Ojibwe Missauga, Rice Lake, Ontario 1818-1869

  18. #268

    Default Guess where I am!

    I got up really early and walked down to the River to watch something special, and it was scrubbed. Will try again tomorrow morning before dawn.
    Men visit the sky

    A Seminole Legend

    Near the beginning of time, five Seminole Indian men wanted to visit the sky to see the Great Spirit. They traveled to the East, walking for about a month. Finally, they arrived at land's end. They tossed their baggage over the end and they, too, disappeared beyond Earth's edge. Down, down, down the Indians dropped for a while, before starting upward again toward the sky. For a long time they traveled westward. At last, they came to a lodge where lived an old, old woman.

    "Tell me, for whom are you looking?" she asked feebly.

    "We are on our way to see the Great Spirit Above," they replied.

    "It is not possible to see him now," she said. "You must stay here for a while first."

    That night the five Seminole men strolled a little distance from the old woman's lodge, where they encountered a group of angels robed in white and wearing wings. They were playing a ball game the men recognized as one played by the Seminoles. Two of the men decided they would like to remain and become angels. The other three preferred to return to Earth.

    Then to their surprise, the Great Spirit appeared and said, "So be it!"

    A large cooking pot was placed on the fire. When the water was boiling, the two Seminoles who wished to stay were cooked! When only their bones were left, the Great Spirit removed them from the pot, and put their bones back together again. He then draped them with a white cloth and touched them with his magic wand. The Great Spirit brought the two Seminole men back to life! They wore beautiful white wings and were called men-angels.

    "What do you three men wish to do?" asked the Great Spirit.

    "If we may, we prefer to return to our Seminole camp on Earth," replied the three Seminoles.

    "Gather your baggage together and go to sleep at once," directed the Great Spirit.

    Later, when the three Seminole men opened their eyes, they found themselves safe at home again in their own Indian camp.

    "We are happy to return and stay Earthbound. We hope never to venture skyward again in search of other mysteries," they reported to the Chief of the Seminoles.

  19. #269


    Nobody wants to guess?

    We had success this morning!

  20. #270


    I'll take a wild stab at it!

    In the UP to see the ice breakers?

    Nope - I reread your post -

    You're in Florida to see the shuttle blast off???

  21. #271


    Right you are! I'll bring you a special Florida yummy if someone can cross over to get it, 'cause I still don't have my border card.

    Was it ever a blast, too. Scads of people milling all about and our neighbor made tons of $$$ parking campers in a spot he owns right on Indian River, two nights in a row. Down side, he was up two nights in a row, all night.

    Shuttle tower was all lit up like a huge Christmas tree, and when it went off, it lit up the sky like sunrise. There was no sound at first, just a collective gasp from all the people crowded around the Highway 1 corner where we were standing. Up and up and up it went, with the light fading behind it, piercing through a cloud layer, then another one, glowing like the sun. About then, the sound hit us, a huge boom and roar we could feel pounding in our chests, that seemed to continue almost as long as we stood there, diminishing gradually to silence. Then the shuttle started heading on a northern slant, getting smaller and smaller. When it was still bigger than a big star, it went behind a cloudbank and disappeared for good.

    It was like dodge 'em cars heading home, I was happy to be walking. We are staying only a block and a half from a good view across Highway 1. It was well worth getting up at 3:30 a.m. twice in a row. They say this was the last planned night launch.

  22. #272


    Oh what a special event you got to see! Last nighttime launch. You'll remember that forever!

    We were there to watch an afternoon launch in 1997. It was fabulous. I was so excited. There was a whole group from Great Britain near us that had come for vacation especially centered around the launch date. When the craft first got off the ground, they were crying and hopping around and hugging each other. I'm always in for a hug, so I got right in there. They were so moved by the sight they just could not contain themselves. They said that for years they had watched the launches on TV over there and were so pleased that they finally got to see it in person.

    It is something to see. I know I'll never forget my experience getting to watch it happen.

    Have you visited Kennedy Space Center yet? If you have not and have a day to spare, may I suggest you go. Take the tour. Take in the IMAX show. What a treat that is! Worth every penny.

  23. #273


    We feel very lucky to have seen it. There is supposed to be an Apollo launch this week, but so far it has scrubbed twice on account of a brisk NW wind. Trying again tomorrow.

    We went to the Space Center last year. I am still having a little trouble getting around so may pass it up this year. I agree, what a wonderful tour and the IMAX was grand.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; February-10-10 at 04:00 PM.

  24. #274


    Good! I'm glad you've seen IMAX. It sure did leave an impression on me.

  25. #275


    Apollo launch trying again today. The wind has died down so maybe it will take off. We have a short block and a half to walk to US1 and the Indian River for a great view of the launch area.

    I thought the five guys going to see the Great Spirit was a good clue. Tonight, I will try for a bear story.

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