Cherokee

I had been doing some reading on the Cherokee and I suppose it had a hand in giving birth to these words. I have re written it several times and the subject focus has shifted as well. Right now it’s a poem. It may grow to a song one day but maybe not.

Cherokee

I am the dark skin….long forgotten kin

ancient as the four winds….blowin’ again

I bring strong words to you….but in your heart you know are true

oh won’t you hear me now

The earth is cryin’ for us to treat her better

it’s gettin’ late if we don’t get it together

our future’s in the balance of now or never

 this is where we can help you see

we’re as old as these hills- Cherokee

this is our homeland…right where we stand

and we may shake hands…. but I don’t understand

how you kill the water and the trees.. clear cut Mother Nature at her knees

oh won’t you hear me now

the earth is cryin’ for us to treat her better

it’s gettin’ late if we don’t get it together

our future’s in the balance of now or never

this is where we can help you see

we’re as old as the hills- Cherokee

@glenn simmons music 2015

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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

Not Currently !

I will speak for me here, but I wonder if to some degree it isn’t true for many of us. When I was a young man, I was trying to create who I was. I was doing this by sort a sculptors approach. I was defining myself or my image by what I didn’t like. I used a lot of “nevers” and “not in a million years”, and “I wouldn’t be caught dead” type of language. Like most young people I thought I was chiseling these things I stood against out of  stone, and they would carry me through my years. As anyone with some years on them that is reading this, you know how this doesn’t really hold true for the long road.

I was talking with someone the other day and they asked if I read the Bible. Well, I’m not a big Bible reader, in fact very rarely. In my younger years I would have felt compelled to state my case strongly and adamantly. Giving all of my reasons why, and if they read between my lines they would sense from me why they shouldn’t either. Fill in the blanks, I would have said I hate _____, I would never do ______. Again trying to project my image by defining what I’m against. In this situation I found myself just saying, , not currently. It kind of surprised me, but it felt good that finally at 51 I was realizing that I should be sculpting out of soft clay instead of granite. That life is soft clay, full redefinition, re learning, second chances and forgiveness. Now I’m thankful I have lived long enough to let go of “nevers”. I find great warmth and value in things that I couldn’t have in my youth.

It kind of opens life up and allows so many avenues of learning and understanding. It takes pressure off. So you may find me one day doing things I never thought I’d do ! You may see me with a Bible in hand, watching a musical, driving through Massachusetts, saying no to an island trip (ok , maybe not that), but I’m open to whichever the winds of growth and expansion are blowing. I might even wrap a fork around sushi !! There’s hope for us all. Maybe “not currently” is the way to go.

Does this resonate with any of you? Any value here? I must confess, I write this just days before an island trip, and I’m listening to Jimmy Buffett’s “Trying to reason with hurricane season”, a song I loved for 30 years. Did I forget to mention, I love traditions !!