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TURTLE ISLAND CHAUTAUQUA

WE TEACH FROM OUR HEARTS, NOT OUR HEADS:
  
THE WISDOM OF THE ELDERS:

A MESSAGE FROM TECUMSEH

 When you meet a stanger in a strange land
 greet him as a friend
 For we are all
 One family,
 One Tribe,
 One Nation.

 

Chief Joseph
1877

Let me be a free man --
free to travel, free to stop, free to work,
free to trade where I choose,
free to choose my own teachers,
free to follow the religion of my fathers,
free to think and talk and act for myself --
and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.

 
RED JACKET

A Chief of the Senecas

We do not wish to destroy your religion,
or to take it from you.
We only want to enjoy our own.

POETRY OF THE PEOPLE

                                       
A sea of Beauty lies beneath me
As I soar upwards
A sea of Beauty is in front of me
As I soar upwards
Green and brown beneath,
Blue and white above
A sea of Beauty which is Life

A wisp of smoke 
Rising upwards
Voices calling and called
Rising upwards
From the Sea of Beauty
Beneath Me
Into the Sea of Beauty
Above Me
From temporal to eternal Life

The Bird of the Beauty
Looks downward
The Spirit of the Beauty
Looks downward
Man, who lives in the Beauty
Looks upward
And sees perfection

Then he who lived in Beauty
Looks into the Sea
Then he who sang in Beauty
Looks into the Sea
Then he who spoke in Beauty
Looks into the Sea
and he sees nothing


Oh man, who was of the Beauty
What did you do?
Oh man, who sang in the Beauty
What did you do?
Oh man, who spoke in the Beauty
What did you do?
                             


Bird of the Beauty
Can You give me comfort
Spirit of the Beauty
Can you give me comfort
This smoke which is of the Beauty
Calls to You.

I hear the Man of the Beauty
Calling Me
I see the Smoke of the Beauty
Seeking Me out
I see worthiness from the Beauty
Coming forth

I will return man
to the Beauty
I will return the song
to the Beauty
I will return the wisp
to the Beauty

You must keep the Beauty now
Or I will not soar
You must keep the Beauty now
Or I will not hear
You must keep the Beauty now
Or I will not see

Keep the Beauty alight
With the Flames of history
Keep the Beauty Singing
With songs of the past
Keep the Beauty Speaking
With desires of the future.

Then the Beauty will be forever yours.

WORDS OF TODAY

               
 THE CONTINUING AMERICAN HOLOCAUST
          
          WHERE WERE YOUR ANCESTORS
          Over 2,000 Years Ago
          
          The North American Continent was filled with vibrant people over 2,000 years ago, just as Europe and Asia.  Estimates are that there were over 40 million Amerinds living on this continent in peace,
love, war, dislike - just as in Europe and Asia.  They were eating animal flesh and wearing animal skins as clothing - just as in Europe and Asia.  They were living in huts; they were hunting and          fishing; they were laughing and crying; they were making love and children; they were hating and killing - just as in Europe and Asia.

  WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR ANCESTORS?  This is what we wish to discuss with you.
          WAS YOUR HOUSE MY HOUSE?
          
          What was "home" to the Original Peoples of the North American Continent?  Home was a forest or a desert or a mountain.  Home was where the "old ones" were buried.  Home was where the
"young ones" played.  Home was where there was an abundance of animals which were hunted in order to sustain the basic life forces of the living.  Home was near fresh water so that their thirst
could be contained.   Home was, to utilize a much-used cliche, where the heart was.  As a matter of fact, home was just like the homes in Europe and Asia.
          
          True, there might have been some slight differences.  Perhaps the European and Asian home was not made from the same materials as the Original Peoples' of the North American Continent. 
Perhaps the food eaten was slightly different from the buffalo meat which was a mainstay in the diet of those who lived in the western part of the continent.  Perhaps instead of using skins for       tents, those in Europe and Asia used another source of material.  But that really isn't relevant. 

          Each area of the world used the materials to sustain their life force which was abundant in their own locale.  Whether it be wood, brick, clay, straw, canvas -- whether it be honey, corn, beans,
olives -- whether it be cloth made of silks, deer skins, bear robes, cotton.
          
          In other words, Your House and My House really could be interchanged without much of a cultural shock.  Therefore, Your House was My House.
                             
          WAS YOUR RELIGION MY RELIGION
          
          With all the versatility of religions 2,000 years ago - some Europeans and Asians must have had a similarity of religion which was prevalent in the North American Continent at that time.  After all, most of the First Peoples of this continent believed in One God and so did a few diverse people in Europe and Asia.  The First Peoples of this continent believed that all things came from this one supreme being as did some of the Europeans and Asians at that time.  But, here it seems that the similarities seem to start flowing away from each other rather than staying on the same course. 
And we will discuss this divergence of philosophy in the later chapter.
          
          The "churches" of the First Peoples were not made of stone, unfortunately, so that one cannot go and stand in awe of the manmade architecture of what once was.  The First Peoples places of         worship were the prairies, mountains, lakes, rivers which were around them.  The First Peoples places of worship were God-made, not Man-made.  An interesting contrast -- it makes one think of what was truly important in the religious life of those who lived quite a while ago.  It is also interesting to note that HERE is one of the great major differences we have come across between the peoples of the great continents.  But the basic similarities of all the peoples were very prevalent in that they looked upon a "higher authority" as one who provided them with the necessities of life.
          
          500 Years Ago
          
          Now we come to a time much closer to our current state.  A little over five hundred years ago when the Europeans first came to the North American Continent, they found that the peoples living there
were gentle, friendly and very generous.  Columbus, himself, wrote in his logs that these people would make great slaves.  Here is where we see the great divergence among the First People of this Continent and the Europeans who "founded" this country.  It was the divergence of a philosophical nature.  One that was totally incomprehensible to those who were here when the great European invasion began.  It was the philosophical difference of two great peoples:  One fought and took for NEED.  The other fought and took for GREED.
          
          WERE YOUR THOUGHTS MY THOUGHTS
          
          When the Europeans first immigrated to the North American Continent (those who came not to explore or to steal the riches of the earth) they had thoughts of a place where they could live and
worship in a form of freedom which was not the norm for Europe of those days.  I presume one could call them "the misfits of their day."  They could not live with any comfort where they were. 
So they came to the Americas with the hopes of finding a better place to pursue their survival. But, unfortunately, they could not leave behind them that which was inherently different between them and the First People.  They could not leave behind them the concept that they, AND ONLY THEY, knew what was best for ALL.
          
          The First People, at that time, lived in villages -- as did the peoples of Europe.  They worshiped what they called the One God -- as did the peoples of Europe.  They had their own forms of
government -- as did the peoples of Europe.  They had their own wars -- as did the peoples of Europe.  In these ways there were no major differences among the First Peoples and the European immigrants.  The one major difference, which unfortunately was never reconciled, was that of a philosophical nature.  And this difference was the undoing of great civilizations.  The civilizations of the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Haudenosaunee, the Lenape, the Cherokee, the Lakota, the         Anishinabe, -- the undoing of 40 million people.  The thoughts of the First People and the Europeans -- or, in other words the philosophies of these cultures were vastly different.  The main basis of this difference was GREED vs. NEED.  And, herein lies the decline and fall of a great people.  They just weren't GREEDY.
          
          It was very difficult for the First People to understand why it was imperative for the immigrants to the Americas to take everything they saw.  It was very difficult for the First People to comprehend why one had to believe as the Europeans believed.  It was incomprehensible for those who were living in the beauty of this Continent where there were enough sufficiencies given by the One God
to make all necessities reachable that the Europeans were not satisfied with ENOUGH -- they constantly wanted MORE.  The Europeans wanted more land, wanted more furs, wanted more gold than one group could ever need.  They just wanted everything.  And, they wanted it so badly they didn't care whom they hurt in the process of getting it.
          
          But, it was just not the substantive items that the Europeans wanted.  They wanted to take away from the First People that which the Europeans, themselves, came to this Country for.  They
wanted to take away the First People's freedom.  They not only wanted his land, his animals, his food, his homes -- they wanted his SOUL.
          
          No, unfortunately, Your Thoughts Were Not My Thoughts.  Herein lies the reason for the European immigrant abandoning civilized manners and becoming the SAVAGE of this continent. 
The RAPIST of this continent.  The potential MURDERER of this continent.  
          
          The reason the Europeans came to the Americas was FREEDOM.  And they immediately began to take this basic right of man away from man himself.  They greedily tried, and in many cases succeeded, in taking away his language, his naivety, his hair, his culture.  These immigrants tried to make the First People a replica of themselves.  And they, themselves, were the misfits who could not make it from whence they came.     
                    
          WHERE ARE YOU TODAY
          
          There are slightly more than two million indigenous peoples living in this Country today.  Do you know what happened to their ancestors?  Have you ever been taught in schools about what          happened to all those people of yesterday?  More importantly, have YOU even wondered what happened?  I think not.
          
          You have heard some things -- the "Indian Schools," the "Missionaries," the "Reservations," the "Trail of Tears."
          
          The Indian Schools
          
          How wonderful it must have seemed to those European immigrants that they were setting up schools to teach the "Red Savage" about the good things in life.  About how to cope with the "New Generations" of which they were now a part, even if they didn't want to be.  How the children were taken from their homes and brought to the schools; how they were beaten if they spoke the language of their people; how the young boys were made to cut off their hair so they could be assimilated into society.
          
          The Missionaries
          
          What a wonderful feeling it must have been for the immigrants to this country that in order to cover up their own savagery they sent missionaries out "among the savages" in order to convert them to the one true religion.  It is rather unique that the First People never thought it important for others to worship God in the same manner they worshiped the Great Spirit of All.  They had a
TRUE freedom of religion.  Though the American Indians fought many battles with other tribes for what they felt was needed by their nation to survive, they never fought a war to convert others to
their beliefs.  It was their belief that God could defend himself if need be.
          
          The Reservations
          
          What is a reservation?  It is a preserve.  It is a place to concentrate things.  You have animal reservations, you have botanical reservations, you have Indian reservations.  You have camps to
concentrate fauna, flora and human beings.  During the Second World War, the place to concentrate a class of human being was even called a "concentration camp."  It is man's unique mind which when he hears "concentration camp" he truly believes this was a Nazi invention to
control and finally exterminate the Jewish population from Germany, Europe, and presumably the Earth.  Man does not realize that in this great country of ours, concentration camps have been in use for over a century.
          
          The leaders of the past in this country placed the First People in these reservations for their own protection, as they placed the Japanese-Americans who were living here in concentration camps
during the Second World War for their own protection.  The Japanese-Americans finally were released.  The Native American is still in these concentration camps.
          
          What have these camps done to the great peoples of yesterday?  After sending small pox infested blankets to attempt to decimate the people, they have tried to take away, and in some instances succeeded, the self-respect of those within.  Only in very recent times, have those on the reserves of the Indians come to the foreground and have attempted to shake off the stigma of living off "Uncle Sam."  Only recently, have the People started to shout that they do not need the Great White Father to care and nurture them.  Their ancestors cared and nurtured the Europeans when they came to the
Americas.  They most certainly can care for and nurture themselves now.
          
          Chief Joseph, a great Nez Perce chief, said "Let my people be free."  Tecumseh, a Shawnee who was a true statesman, said "one family, one tribe, one nation."  Chief Seattle, a Suquamish of great vision, said basically that your time will come when you will be overrun as you have overrun us.  These great chiefs only wanted their people to be free.  The same thing that the Europeans wanted when they immigrated to the Americas.
          
          The Trail of Tears
          
          I remember, when I was in school, learning about the horrors of the Second World War which was very real to me as I was a young child when Pearl Harbor was bombed.  One of the horrors which
was discussed and of which a movie was made was the horrible Bataan march.  The one where some hundreds of American soldiers were marched to the island of Corregidor in the Phillippines.  Where they were mishandled cruelly, starved, beaten.  I can remember thinking how can anyone do something like that to another human being.
          
          Then I found out about the Trail of Tears where thousands of the First People of the Eastern Woodland Nations were forcibly moved from their homes and marched thousands of miles without
medical attention, sufficient food, clothing, privacy to a land which they had never seen before.  Away from their roots as a people, away from the burial grounds of their fathers and mothers and children.  Away from the place which they felt was given to them by the One God of All as their home for eternity.
          
          CONCLUSION
          
          Where were you and where are you now when all these things occurred and are still occurring? Where are you when burial grounds of the First People are raided for artifacts?  Where are you
when museums still have the bodies of our ancestors, tucked away in thousands of drawers? Where are you when the government wants to use the "Indian Reservations" as dumping grounds for nuclear waste?  Where are you when the rights of an "Indian" are not considered as important as the rights of an "American?"  And I don't say this with tongue in cheek.  I say this because I have been told, many times, to go back to where I came from.  But, I never left where I came from.
          
          The conclusion of this is YOU.  What are your feelings of the events which occurred in the decimation of 40 million people?  What are your feelings of the events which are occurring all over
this continent today?  If YOU don't care, then the results are final and the future unchangeable.  If YOU do care, then perhaps we can do now what should have been done hundreds of years ago.
 
          Take the beauty of both cultures and join them together.  Teach about the roots of this country. Admit the mistakes that were made.  Learn from the wise men of Europe, Asia and this Continent.  
          
          Perhaps if our children can learn from our mistakes and hear about the truth that comes from the words of all peoples, then instead of constantly fighting the system, tuning out, getting high on
drugs; they might tune into all that is good in this world, not just what is bad.
          
Doris RiverBird Woman, 1996 

 This story is dedicated to Chief Bill Thompson of the Eastern Lenape Nation who has been an inspiration to me and to many, many others over the years.


White Feathered Crow

Many, many moons ago, before the two-legged ones were on the Earth, Rainbow Crow, who was a magnificent creature, with beautiful coloring and a magnificent voice, saved the four-leggeds from the Great Snow, but in doing this his beautiful feathers became sooty black, his beak also became black and his voice became hoarse and ugly.  But this is another story.  Today, Crow is all black and has as his song, the hoarse ACAW@.

Today, one Crow was flying over the Earth Mother and looked down into a stream and saw his reflection.  All of a sudden he noticed that on one wing he had four white feathers.  AWhat is this,@ he said.  AWhat does this mean?@  He looked at himself in bewilderment.  He remembered what the Great Spirit had told him when he became all covered with black soot.  Crow flew away and then returned to the stream and look again upon his reflection and the four white feathers were still there.  AI will ask the Great Spirit what this means.@  And, he flew up towards where the Great Spirit is to ask Him about his new four white feathers.

When Crow came into the presence of the Great Spirit, he called to Him and said, AGreat Spirit, look at my wing with the four white feathers.  What does this mean?@  The Great Spirit looked upon Crow and said to him AIt is for you to find out for yourself.  But I will tell you what to look for to help you find the answer.  You, of all of your family of Crow, are very special in that you will again be able to save your People, not only the four-leggeds and the winged ones, but the two-leggeds also.@

The Great Spirit then told this special Crow to return to the Earth Mother and listen for Her heartbeat and then he will find the answer he is searching for.  He did this because it is more important for an individual to search for his own answer to a question then for someone to tell him the answer directly.

Four White-feathered Crow returned to the Earth Mother in a dilemma.  AWhere can I find the heart beat of the Mother.  How will I know it is Her=s?@  Crow was flying around in a circle listening hard to hear the Mother=s heart beat, when all of a sudden he heard in the far distance an even beat of the Drum.  As Crow flew in the direction of this Drum beat, it became louder and louder and Crow was filled with a great peace.  He came closer to the earth and he saw the two-legged ones, the People, dancing in a circle and in the center of this circle was the Drum which is the heartbeat of the Mother.  He came down closer and Crow saw the beauty of the People who were dancing and he followed them around the Circle, going from East to South to West to North.  Crow flew around again in the same direction the People were dancing - from East to South to West to North and the peace which was within him became greater and greater as he followed the Circle.  He felt a wholeness, a oneness with all: with the four-leggeds, with the ones who fly, with the crawly ones, with the two-leggeds.  He felt renewed hope.

Crow saw the People in the Circle become one with the Earth Mother.  Crow saw the continuity of the Circle as meaning the continuity of the People - that the People would always be one with the Earth Mother as long as they danced to Her glory and were caretakers of Her Earth.  He felt renewed hope for all things living.


Then, it came to Crow -- the meaning of the four white feathers on his wing.  They celebrated the four directions: East, South, North and West.  They were a reminder to him and to everyone that the Circle of Life depends upon ALL the People to care for the Earth Mother and to respect Her and to celebrate Her, for without the Earth Mother we have no life and there is no future for our children.  And Crow also realized that the Great Spirit had given him this sign so that he could save his People again as he did once before, so very, very long ago.

ODE TO WOUNDED KNEE

It is silent tonight, the moon is red
filled with the blood of the dead.
The innocents are gone, the heart beats not
The Soul is not filled with dread.

The Soul flies high, on Eagle=s wings
The Hawk is screeching its song.
The field below is a bloody view
For the buzzards to feed on our own.

But we are not gone, our song still sings
In the mouths of the People left.
And as long as that song sings loud a clear
The Hoop will not be bereft.

Doris RiverBird Woman
Turtle Clan
Eastern Lenape Nation



              









 



 




Native American Information Links

Haudenosaunee (6 Nations) Index:
Native Web:
White Bison Society:

Doris Pieschel

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1523 E. Newport Rd
Lititz, PA 17543
United States



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