Walking with Their Ancestors

In a world where the squeaky wheel always gets the grease and negative thinking through scare tactics inspired by end times fanaticism can feel like “the truth”, that approach to life isn’t the only one out there !

I wanted to shine a light of love and respect on two Native American men that as of this past week are now walking with their ancestors. Quiet, gentle men with a vision of love and unity in this world. Men whose ears worked better than their tounges. Men with a deep connection to Mother Earth, balance, harmony and justice.

Oct 2012

The Meeko of my Perdido Bay Lower Muskogee Tribe, Bobby Bearheart Johns, quietly crossed over on a beautiful Pensacola Morning. Less than 48 hours earlier, my wife and I among many others were with Bearheart as he released a rehabilitated Red Tail Hawk back to Mother Earth. Watching the joy and connection of freedom on Bearhearts face as the Hawk soared high above the Gulf Coast Pines was a fitting flight that Bearheart himself was set to take. Pictured is Bearheart with his son, Cedarbear. The Native way of honoring elders was never, ever more apparent than in the lives of these two men. I am honored to be a member of Tribe. Cedarbear will lead us on the path of love and unity that his Father set. I was proud to know Bearheart. He was my friend and in the highest of compliments, he was a true human being.

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With the crossing of these two men I have seen an outpouring of love and respect shared on-line. Comments that make me think that the world is by and large in good hands. Hands of care, and honor. Hands of thought and heart. While humans will always be humans and are capable of the darkest of deeds, we are also capable of great light.

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Richard Twiss, activist, author, speaker, and co-founder of Wiconi International, went to walk among his ancestors this past weekend. Gone way too soon, Twiss for over 35 years has been a wonderful, solid voice for Native American rights. Wiconi’s mission as a Christian belief-based organization is to let Native people s know that they don’t have to give up their heritage to be a follower of Christ. That Christ can be experienced through all cultures.

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I saw Richard Twiss speak at Belmont University in Nashville and was really affected by his message. A message that had lived too long dormant and in the bottom of my heart.

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I read a quote by Bearheart one time that said “Take pride in your culture and self. Surround yourself with like friends. Refuse to be coerced into joining habits and events that would harm your mind, body and welfare. You and only you can make life good”. I could camp out in those few words for a lifetime and I know many of my troubles and worries would fade away.

So to all of my relations, be good to yourselves and one another. Is it really as simple as do unto others……………………

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Honoring Hickory Ground

In Wetumpka Alabama, the once Muskogee (Creek) Capital and now a part of the Poarch Creek Reservation, there is a disruption of one of the last and most important vestiges of sacredness we as a culture of human beings have left. Our final resting place. It matters not the culture in which you are a part of, laying your loved ones to rest with love, ceremony and dignity is universally deep and personal.

As a person with some Muskogee blood I may very well be the least qualified to speak to this, yet as a human being, I am quite qualified. In the early 1980’s the Federal Government recognized the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. With this recognition they received reservation land in Atmore Alabama as well as land in Wetumpka Alabama, the site of  their traditional homeland. These lands were left upon the forced movement by the government known as the Indian removal act. Better and far more accurately known as the Trail of Tears. Upon the Poarch people receiving the Wetumpka lands known as Hickory Ground, in part the agreement was for Poarch to honor and respect the traditional values and ways of life that the Muskogee had known for centuries upon centuries. This agreement has been breached.

Upon federal recognition, they began building a casino on ceremonial grounds and with the expansion project currently underway, burial grounds have been dug up and remains of many ancestors are now being housed in storage sheds. Think if that was your family. In our culture we seem to have short memories and what happens beyond a few generations seems to hold little honor or value.

This is not true in the Native communities. The past and the present hold hands, we are all connected. Promises made to the Creator and to the ones laid to rest must be honored. If not, where as a society do we stop? What is sacred? We are already living in a youth driven, forward progress society. We hold little value to our elders and traditions. They don’t seem to serve us because we are focused on what the future will do for us as individuals, not as a family or cultural unit.

But no need to listen to me. I am but a small voice. But I do value all people and their ancestors. We are the family of man, we are all related. What we do to one, we do to all. But make up your own mind. Below is a you tube video of Muckogee Mekko George Thompson speaking to this heartbreaking issue.

Please know there is no judgement or ill will towards the people and members of the Poarch Creek Tribe. We just feel this is in every way a wrong thing to do both spiritually and culturally, so our words are to the ones making the decisions and holding the power to effect change. The Beloved Path of harmony is calling you!

Also if you are moved by this story, please go to the following link and sign the petition to save Hickory Ground. If also compelled, share it on your Facebook page and with anyone you want. This is a human rights issue, not just a Muskogee one. I hope these words reach your heart. They have been written with a good heart and a strong desire for fair treatment for all people, the ones with voice as well as the voiceless. Mvto (Thank You) !

Save Hickory Ground