"Someone must speak for them. I do not see a delegation for the four footed. I see no seat for eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior, but we are after all a mere part of the Creation."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
Whenever we make decisions, we need to look around to see who would be affected. If we change the course of a river, who, what will be affected? If we put poison on the gardens, who, what will be affected? If wee cut the trees and too many are cut, who, what will be affected? We need to become aware of the consequences of our actions. We need to pay attention to our thoughts. We are accountable to our children to leave the Earth in good shape.
My Creator, help me make right decisions
"Life, the circle, a measurement with no beginning and no end."-- Phillip Deere, MUSKOGEE-CREEK
The circle teaches us how the Creator made things and how to live. It teaches us how we should look at creation. Life travels in a circle. In the East is the baby, to the South is the youth, in the West is the adult and in the North is the Elder. Then we return to the Earth Mother to start the cycle again. We observe what is `around us' from the center of the circle. This develops our point of view. We must be careful not to become self-centered.
Great Spirit, let me observe life from the circle's point of view.
"People say that crisis changes people and turns ordinary people into wiser or more responsible ones."-- Wilma Mankiller, CHEROKEE
There is a saying, conflict precedes clarity. The Medicine Wheel teachings say, in order for something to change it must first go through a struggle. When a crisis enters our lives, other powers are there to help us. We will learn some lessons. Will I honor and respect the next crisis?
Great Spirit, if a crisis occurs today, let me learn the lessons of wisdom.
"The Natural Law is a spiritual law. Its powers are both light and dark."-- Oren R. Lyons, Spokesman Traditional Circle of Elders
There are some characteristics that are evident in the system which the Creator made. He made balance, harmony, and polarity. In other words, every (+) plus has a (-) minus. Every positive has a negative; every up has a down; every problem has a solution. The Spiritual Law is the same - it has light and dark. Both are good, so both need to be honored. Lessons can be learned on both sides.
Great Spirit, teach me the powers of the Natural Laws.
"In our traditional ways, the woman is the foundation of the family."-- Haida Gwaii Traditional Circle of Elders
We must pay attention to the role of the woman in the family. She is the heartbeat of the family. She should be respected and treated in a sacred manner. We should listen to her guidance. We should help make her role easier by helping with chores or just telling her how much we appreciate her.
Great Spirit, I ask you to bless all the moms.
"People and nations who understand the Natural Law are self-governing, following the principles of love and respect that insure freedom and peace."-- Traditional Circle of Elders, NAVAJO-HOPI Joint Use Area
The Natural Laws work hand-in-hand with the circle. Each part of a circle will look to the center and will see something different. For example, if you put an irregular shaped object in the center of a circle and you have people standing in a circle around the object, each one will describe it differently. Everyone in the circle will be right. Only by honoring and respecting everyone's input, can the truth about the object be revealed. We need to learn to honor differences.
My Creator, let me honor all differences.
Elder's Meditation of the Day - November 24
"Things would go well for us if we would think positively about everything." -- Mary Hayes, CLAOQUOT
Each of our thoughts are like individual seeds. These thoughts will plant our life garden. Whatever our thoughts, they grow in our gardens. Each day we will process about 50,000 thoughts or thought seeds. Positive thoughts will produce positive results. Have you ever been aware of what you are thinking about during the day? Of the possible 50,000 thoughts in one day - if the positive thoughts were flowers and the negative thoughts were weeds - how would your garden look at the end of the day?
Great Spirit, let me plant positive seeds.
"We're sitting on our blessed Mother Earth from which we get our strength and determination, love and humility, all the beautiful attributes that we've been given. So turn to one another; love one another; respect one another; respect Mother Earth; respect the waters-because that's life itself!"-- Phil Lane, Sr. YANKTON SIOUX
Our entire point of view can be altered by making one change to align with the principles of the Great Spirit. Let's say we decide to become respectful. As we become respectful, our attitude will change. We will automatically draw into our lives knowledge about the other principles of the Great Spirit such as love, appreciation, trust, beauty, and peace of mind. By focusing on these principles, we will let go of selfishness, self centeredness, self pity, dishonesty, and fear. You focus on respect, you get respect; you focus on love, you get love; you focus on the Red Road, you get peace of mind.
Great Spirit, let me learn the lessons of respect.
"It's the most precious thing...to know absolutely where you belong. There's a whole emotional wrapping-around-of-you here. You see the same rock, tree, road, clouds, sun -- you develop a nice kind of intimacy with the world around you. To be intimate is to grow, to learn...[it] is absolutely fulfilling. Intimacy, that's my magic word for why I live here."-- Tessie Maranjo, SANTA CLARA PUEBLO
Every human being, to be mentally healthy, must have the feeling of belonging. When we have a sense of belonging we can be intimate. We can feel. We can connect. If we cannot develop this feeling of belonging, then we will feel lost of disconnected. To be disconnected from life is like walking around during the day not knowing the Sun exists. To have the feelings of intimacy is warm, glowy, joyful, loving, and connected. The feeling this Elder is talking about is available to everyone.
Great Spirit, let me be intimate.
"In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred, everything is for sale."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
The Elders often say that when something is sacred it has spiritual value. You'll hear, on the Earth there are sacred spots. You'll hear, our ceremonies are sacred, our children are sacred, marriage is sacred. When something is sacred it means it's so holy you can't attach a value to it. Therefore, it's not for sale. It's an insult to suggest buying something sacred. On the other hand, if we look at it differently, as there is no sacred land, ceremonies are not sacred, our children are not sacred, etc., then everything is for sale. Sacredness creates spiritual space. Sacredness makes things holy. Sacredness shows respect for God.
Great Spirit, let me honor things that are sacred.
"Money cannot buy affection."-- Mangas Coloradas, APACHE
In these modern times we put too much emphasis on material things and on money. We believe that money is power. If we have money, people will respect us. If we have money, people will admire us. If we have money, we can have anything we want. Maybe we can purchase anything in the material world, but we cannot purchase anything in the Unseen World. The Unseen World is not for sale. It can only be given away. Love, affection, admiration, trust, respect, commitment -- these must be earned or given away. If we use these things from the Unseen World, we are using real power.
My Creator, let me demonstrate Your power today. Let me be loving to all I meet.
Where there is vision, the people live. They are made rich in the things of the spirit; and then, as the logical next step, they are rich in human life.-- Phil Lane, Sr., YANKTON SIOUX
Since the beginning of time, Indian people have been blessed with the ability and knowledge of the vision. The vision determines our future. The concept is, we move toward and become that which we think about. We have known that all visions are about the Great Spirit. They should include God's will in every area of our lives. We should have visions about our people, about healthy relationships, about helping others, about being happy, about being educated. Each day we should renew our vision. We should ask the Creator to give us a vision of what He wants us to be and where He wants us to go in our lives. We should be the seekers of vision.
Great Spirit, give me a vision to follow today. Let me do Your will.
"Power is not manifested in the human being. True power is in the Creator."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
The Old Ones say the only true power is spiritual power. Sometimes our egos tell us we have power but really we don't. Great Spirit power is called by other names such as love, forgiveness, intelligence, life, principles, and laws. When the Creator uses this power to make the human being powerful, we must stay humble. We should constantly acknowledge that we are who we are. We do what we do because of the power of the Great One.
Great One, guide me to use Your power well. I will use it only to serve the people.
"Humbleness means peace and honesty -- both mean Hopi. True, honest, perfect words -- that's what we call Hopi words. In all languages, not just in Hopi. We strive to be Hopi. We call ourselves Hopi because maybe one or two of us will become Hopi. Each person must look into their heart and make changes so that you may become Hopi when you reach your destination."-- Percy Lomaquahu, HOPI
The Creator has made available to us all the laws, principles and values which we need to know to live in harmony. The Creator also designed each human being to learn and grow by trial and error. We have tools to help us live the right way. We have prayers, visions, nature, teachers, Elders, and we have the Great Spirit to talk to and ask for help when we have problems. We also have choice. To walk the Red Road takes courage and a lot of prayer.
Creator, give me courage to walk the Red Road.
"We do not want riches, but we want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches, we want peace and love."-- Red Cloud, OGLALA LAKOTA
The Elders say that what is important is peace and love. To have material things is okay, but if not, that's okay too. To have peace and love is more important than anything material. Our children will see the value of peace and love only if adults show they are a priority. Too often we think we can offer material things and they will replace the time spent with our children. But the most important way to give our children peace and love is to spend time with them.
My Creator, give me Your peace and love today.
"Our Spiritual belief is that we were created as part of the land - so our identity, our names, and our songs are all tied to the land."-- Chief Roderick Robinson, NISGA'A
In the traditional way, the names of native people had great meaning. We even had naming ceremonies. The naming of someone was very important and had great significance because it was tied to the Earth. The identity of each member and the teachings of the songs were all tied to Mother Earth. We need to know these teachings from our culture. This knowledge will help us heal the people.
My Maker, today help me find my identity.
"The hearts of little children are pure, and therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss."-- Black Elk (Hehaka Sapa) OGLALA LAKOTA
Sometimes adults think they know more than the children. But the children are closer to the truth. Have you ever noticed how quickly they can let go of resentments? Have you ever noticed how free they are of prejudice? Have you ever noticed how well the children listen to their bodies? Maybe adults need to be more like children. They are so innocent. The children pray to the Creator and trust that He will take care of them.
Grandfather, today let the children be my teacher.
"My Grandfather survived on this earth without using anything that did not go back into the earth. The whole world could learn from that."-- Floyd Westerman, SIOUX
Our grandfathers knew how to live in harmony. They did not create poisons or technologies that destroyed things. They did not make their decisions based on greed or for selfish reasons. They did not take more then they used. Their thoughts and actions were about respect. The Elders conducted themselves in a respectful way. We need to consider our actions around respect for Mother Earth.
My Creator, have the grandfathers teach us today about the old ways.
"I don't think that anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future, the future of the Cherokee people, and of the Cherokee Nation."-- Wilma P. Mankiller, CHEROKEE
The world has changed in the last 50 years. It will change even more in the next 50 years, and it will change even faster. We must educate ourselves to ensure our future generations will maintain the language and the culture of our people. We need to be concerned about our land because when our land goes away, so will our people. We need to be concerned about leadership, our families, and about alcoholism. We need to be concerned about what's going on around the world. We can only do this by being educated. Then we can control our future.
Great Spirit, please guide our children; let me know how I can help.
"If you don't know the language, you'll only see the surface of the culture...the language is the heart of the culture and you cannot separate it."-- Elaine Ramos, TLINGIT
The Creator gave to every person their own special way to communicate and understand. Indians understand connectedness, balance, harmony, spirituality, and the relationship to Mother Earth. The understanding of these things is expressed in the language. The true understanding of culture is expressed in the language. The language is the heart of the people. If we have not learned the language, we need to find a teacher.
Great Spirit, help me to learn the culture. Let me pray and sing to You in my language.
"The battle for Indian children will be won in the classroom, not on the streets or on horses. The students of today are our warriors of tomorrow."-- Wilma P. Mankiller, CHEROKEE
The world is constantly changing. One of the strengths of Indian people has been our adaptability. In today's world, education is what we need to survive. We need doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists. We can become these things and still live in a cultural way. We need to live in two worlds; the educated world and the Indian cultural world. Education will help protect our land, our people's health, and provide knowledge for our people. We must teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Also, we must teach the language, the culture, the ceremony, and the tradition of our people.
Creator, let me remember You are my teacher.
"Language is a vehicle for carrying spirit, life, and family. Language, religion, and land base are three things that characterize culture."-- Edmund Ladd, ZUNI PUEBLO
The Elders say we need to know the answers to three questions in order for us to be connected; the Earth, the Sky, the East, the West, the South, and the North. The three questions are: 1. Why are we? 2. Who are we? 3. Where are we going? If we know the language, if we have our spirituality, and if we can pray on sacred spots, then we are able to seek the answer to the questions. We must protect the language, religion, and land so our future generations can stay connected.
Great Spirit, help us maintain our language, spirit, family, religion and our Mother Earth.
"See how the boy is with his sister and the other ones of his home lodge and you can know how the man will be with your daughter."-- LAKOTA Proverb
Very early in our lives we form beliefs, attitudes, expectations, and habits. We will live by these habits when we are older. The Elders say to watch the boy with his sister. If he is respectful and treats her good, then odds are that's the way he will treat all women when he is older. Also, watch the young girl and how she treats her brother, for that will indicate what kind of woman she will be to her man. We need to teach our children to respect one another while they are young. The best way to teach them is to show respect ourselves.
Great Spirit, let me be a role model for the children.
"Abuse and repression have no place in a traditional family."-- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Traditional families guided by their culture were taught how to live. The were taught about relationships, respect, and spirituality. Only since alcohol was introduced to Indians have we seen physical abuse, sexual abuse and verbal abuse. These behaviors have no room in traditional families. The cycle of abuse must be broken during this generation. We do this by asking for help to quit drinking and abusing and return to our traditional culture and spirituality.
Creator, plant inside of me the knowledge of the traditional family.
"It is well to be good to women in the strength of our manhood because we must sit under their hands at both ends of our lives."-- He Dog, OGLALA LAKOTA
The women bring us into this life and nurture us as we grow up. When we reach our manhood, she supports us and sings the songs to help the family grow. The Elders say we must look at the woman in a sacred way. We must realize how special her powers are in brining forth life. The woman will bring balance to a man. The woman will help him see. It is said, behind every successful man is a supporting woman. Maybe we should examine how we are thinking about women. The Great Spirit says we should honor them. Are we respecting and honoring our women today?
Grandmother, Grandfather thank you for our women. Today, let me honor them.
"You could study the ancestors, but without a deep feeling of communication with them it would be surface learning and surface talking. Once you have gone into yourself and have learned very deeply, appreciate it, and relate to it very well, everything will come very easily."-- Ellen White, NANAIMO
Inside of every human being are our ancestors, and these ancestors still live. Today, the white man calls this DNA, but there is more than DNA. We have the ability to go inside of ourselves and learn from the ancestors. The ancestor teachings reside in the place of the center. The ancestors are waiting for us to come there so they can share the ancient teachings. It is said, "Be still and know".
Great Spirit, let me walk in the stillness.
"The honor of the people lies in the moccasin tracks of the woman. Walk the good road.... Be dutiful, respectful, gentle, and modest my daughter... Be strong with the warm, strong heart of the earth. No people goes down until their women are weak and dishonored, or dead upon the ground. Be strong and sing the strength of the Great Powers within you, all around you."-- Village Wise Man, SIOUX
The Elders say the Native American women will lead the healing among the tribes. We need to especially pray for our women, and ask the Creator to bless them and give them strength. Inside them are the powers of love and strength given by the Moon and the Earth. When everyone else gives up, it is the women who sings the songs of strength. She is the backbone of the people. So, to our women we say, sing your songs of strength; pray for your special powers; keep our people strong; be respectful, gentle, and modest.
Oh, Great One, bless our women. Make them strong today.
"A sundance woman is like the morning star, filled with spiritual beauty, wisdom and knowledge. Men and women are the most powerful of the polarities. We walk beside men as equal partners. It takes men and women who have respect and love for one another to live within the embrace of Father Sky and Mother Earth."-- Dr. Henrietta Mann, SOUTHERN CHEYENNE
Our ceremonies bring out the best in us. It's in the ceremony that we find the place of honor and respect for each other. The place where the men honor the women and the women honor the men. We dance for each other. The ceremony helps us remember our responsibility toward each other. Men and women need to be strong, to love one another and be faithful. Only by doing this can we give our children knowledge of good relationships.
Great Spirit, today I will notice the power of the women; today I will notice the power of the men.
"Praying is what has brought us old people through life. We've all gone through hard times. We've all done our share of bad things. But through our prayers and faith in the Creator we get together again and we try hard to live right."-- Paula Weasel Head, BLOOD
As we go through life we find ourselves on track one day and off track the next day. We gain consistency through prayer. Prayer is our connection to the Great Spirit. Prayer is our channel for knowledge and wisdom. Prayer is how we keep our sanity. The Elders say we should walk in prayer.
Great Spirit, teach me to walk in prayer. Help keep my faith strong.
"Times change but principles do not. Times change but lands do not. Times change but our culture and our language remain the same. And that's what you have to keep intact. It's not what you wear - it's what's in your heart."-- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
Going back to the old ways doesn't mean giving up electricity, homes, and cars. It means living by the same principles, laws, and values that our ancestors lived by. This will allow us to live successfully in today's world. The spirituality our ancestors lived is the same spirituality we need in these modern times. There are too many influences from TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and negative role models that are guiding our lives in a bad way. Our stability is in the laws, principles, and values that our ancestors were given and that our Elders teach us.
Great Spirit, let me live my life in a spiritual way.