November is a month for remembrance, reading Native literature, and preparing the way for peace, even as we acknowledge the costs of war, genocide, and environmental degradation. As we remember the past, and express gratitude for our blessings, the following writers encourage us also to look to the work ahead.
Siouxhudsonliteracy asks that, in this month of remembrance, we remember the many First Nations warriors who have fought for their countries in the wars of the last century:
The story of First Nations men and women is not a well known one. It is a shame that men like Francis Pegahmagabow and Tommy King are not spoken of in the same sentence with names like Romeo Dallaire or Billy Bishop.
Let’s change the course of history and start talking about ALL the heroes of our military service.
Here is an interactive page to Remember First Nations Heroes.
Dan Curtis continues the discussion of history, noting that personal histories are sacred, and and asking that we each document the histories and lives of our families and peoples:
This past week I had the privilege of hearing First Nation elder STOLȻEȽ ( John Elliot) of the WASÁNEĆ (Saanich) territory address the 16th Annual APH Conference in Victoria, B.C. He spoke reverently of the stories that were passed down to him about the land and sea and animals and the values to live by.
I was moved by his dedication to his people and by the importance he places on the preserving and recording of their stories. Too often I find myself caught up in the mechanics of my work as a personal historian. There’s marketing to do, blog articles to write, and deadlines to meet. I forget about the sacredness of our work. And by sacred I don’t mean religious. I mean knowing someone deeply, being touched by our common humanity, and venerating the interconnectedness of all life.
What can we do to rekindle the “sacred” in our work? Here are some thoughts….
Deena Metzger, following decades of work for peace and social and environmental justice, writes:
After a lifetime of study and concern, this is what i know about war and healing: War is a great wound. We each carry it. It has gone viral, and the wound wounds everyone. Each one of us must take on the task of healing ourselves and others.
Peeweepuddle noted that maturing means opening to learning, to becoming teachable by life, and by the spirits:
When we are young we have a tendency to think we know everything and take the view that those older than ourselves are just “old fogies”. But sometimes we never change and think when we are older we know everything and get set in our ways.
When the realisation comes that we do not know everything we become “teachable”. There is a lot of truth in the old saying, “when the student is ready the teacher appears”. The ancestors are always ready to help and to teach, but we can only hear them when we show humility, respect and are ready to listen. We are then ready for the spiritual lessons to help us grow.
Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spoke about the immediate need for world healing and harmony, and the teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman. He writes from the Black Hills,
I, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, greet you on behalf of the Pte Oyate – the Buffalo People, the First People, the Original People. We come from The Heart of Everything That Is – the sacred Paha Sapa – known to most as the Black Hills of South Dakota.
EthnoLit noted November is Native American Literature month, and provided links to potential readings lists:
November is National Native American and Alaskan Native Heritage Month. That means that here at EthnoLit, we’ll be reading literature written by writers of Native American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native heritage. The Resource page gives a list of some early and contemporary Indigenous writers. You can learn more about the origins of the month here.
http://www.ipl.org/div/natam/ (a database of Native American authors)
http://www.multcolib.org/books/lists/nafict.html (list of more contemporary Native American fiction)
Theactivistwriter reminds us that hope, determination, and proper resistance can create real change:
THE STORY OF THE DONGRIA KONDH TRIBE’S VICTORY OVER VEDANTA, a British mining company, which planned to build a mine on their lands, is the subject of Survival International’s film, Mine: Story of A Sacred Mountain. The film won “Best Short” in the category of International Human Rights at The 7th Annual Artivist Film Festival. The festival and award ceremonies take place on December 1-4, 2010.
Finally, Spirit Drum wrote about being blessed with an intimate encounter with Raven.
I have never been confident about speaking about my spirit animals. But for a while ago I met a raven which I feel I can talk about. I first met him when I was waiting on the bus early one morning. I first noticed that he didn’t fly away when I came to close but stayed, confident like a dove. I walked to the station and sat there a while. Then I saw that same raven again walking towards me. When he was about 40 cm from me he stopped and looked at me. He just looked at me, and then I heard in my mind how he spoke to me saying; Good morning, how are you? I answered with my thoughts and said fine, little tired but ok. The raven answered; Ok, well im hungry, im going to look for food. And it walked away..