Another book of some white guys grabbing up crystals and trying to find out why the Indian is “one with nature”. Another book just to make a buck and done in a way that makes less of an authentic life. A life lived close to the ground. Well not only no, but in this case, it’s the furthest thing from the truth.
Former National Geographic journalist Harvey Arden, and Steve Wall, were relentless in gathering stories from the elders of many Native American peoples. And done in a way with nothing but respect.
They visit elders from nations that we’d expect like Ute, Lakota, and Hopi. But they also visit with elders from peoples that aren’t as common to the tongue such as Lumbee, Onandoga, and Seminole. Folks living close to the ground, close to the Creator, and a life that is entwined with God at every breath.
The gentle love story of Mohawk Tom Porter, or the wise words of Oren Lyons who is Onandoga “Man sometimes thinks he’s been elevated to be the controller, the ruler. But he’s not. He’s only part of the whole. Man’s job is not to exploit but to oversee, to be a steward. Man has responsibility, not power”.
Lumbee elder Vernon Cooper says “Everything I know i learned by listening and watching. Nowadays people learn out of books instead. Doctors study what man has learned. I pray to understand what man has forgotten”.
Understanding of the natural world has no equal. It’s straight from God.
I’ve had my copy of Wisdomkeepers since 1992, and have re read it almost every year since. It’s been great to point the way. To remind me where wisdom is to be found. In nature. In the quietness of a winter morning, or the sunset on a California beach.
Wisdomkepers is a wonderful read. Done with care and respect. Words worth hearing.
For those of you in the Nashville area, Belmont College is hosting a great conference of Native American leaders and teachers from October 10-13. Open to the public.