Monday, August 18, 2008




Generosity among our people is revered. Greed strangles the soul.

These seeds of destruction come as a set. You let one in your heart and the others are right behind. It’s hard to separate them.

Greed is many things. It is wanting what someone else has. It is wanting more than anyone else. It is stinginess.

We see greed in our elected officials. They are tempted by money. It is not only Native politicians but our senators and representatives.

A presidential candidate started out working for adequate health care for all citizens and ended up working to make money for insurance companies. That person threatened to take insurance money out of the poors paycheck to pay for health insurance. That threat was made because the poor said they couldn’t afford it.

We see Tribal employees and Tribal councils using programs and money to buy votes. Only certain Tribal members will get services and goodies. In our greed we may accept favoritism at the expense of Tribal members who really need help.

Our becoming lost on the wrong path happened when our thinking changed from we to me. We stopped thinking of ourselves as part of a greater whole. We bettered our position as the expense of someone else.

The Creator doesn’t ask us to be better than anyone else. He asks us to do the best we can.

In our prophecies we knew that somewhere on Mother Earth there was a white race. We were told that if they ever became lost they would be sent to us. We were supposed to help them get back on the right path.

The right path is praying, talking with and listening to the Creator. The right path is maintaining balance in our lives and therefore in the world.

We were also told what could possibly happen when and if those lost ones showed up. It was impossible to our Ancestors to understand the possibility of genocide. They took precautions just in case.

Young boys and girls were selected from each Tribe. They were sent to other Tribes for fostering. This was to keep Tribes from becoming extinct. If all the people died then the children would be returned to repopulate the Tribe.

The white man was crazier than our Ancestors could imagine. The greed that drove the white race from their own lands to conquer the world was impossible to comprehend.

The white race did not see the sacredness of our land or our people. They saw our land in terms of personal wealth though it belonged to another. They saw us as being in the way of that wealth.

Our Ancestors would not put children in danger. Those destined to save their Tribes were absorbed into their foster families. We think that some Tribes are extinct. We may carry in our blood the seeds to save that Tribe.

Our cedar trees which covered us from birth to death were stripped from Mother Earth. Lumber mills powered the economy of the Pacific Northwest for generations.
We had recognized the life and intelligence within the cedar tree. We asked permission before we took it’s life. We recognized the sovereignty of the cedar.

We prayed and blessed it. The cedar was then cut to make homes or a canoe. We did the same when we took it’s cedar bark for our clothing or ceremonial use.

We prayed and purified ourselves before hunting or fishing. We readied ourselves in honor of the one that would give up it's life to feed us. We told the hunted one why we needed help, we needed to feed our families, or perform a ceremony or to feed guests at a feast.

We didn’t take more than we needed.

That kind of honor isn’t always seen today. We have people who have adopted the white ambition. We see money not life.

Money is paper, it burns then it is gone. Life is eternal.

Greed has separated us into individuals. We no longer see ourselves as part of a greater whole.

Chiefs were trained to think of the whole Tribe. They did what was best for everyone. We lived as one.

We can see that the other seeds of destruction contribute to greed. Lust for power can make us step all over our people and abandon them. Jealousy of another can cause us to take from them in many ways.

Greed is different from healthy ambition. It rots the desire to do good. It is selfish.

When we banish greed from our soul we will work for the good of all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008



Healing may be like lancing a boil. We have to clear out the poison so that the flesh and skin can heal. It is a very painful process.

Healing sexual abuse can be like that. If the abusers are respected people in our communities, it hurts as if they are a part of our own family.

We have been praying for the healing of women and girls that have been sexually abused. Statistics say that 3 out of 4 Native women have been abused as women or girls.

That means out of every four Native women you know three have been abused.

When the abusers are respected members of our communities and families our first impulse will be to protect them. We may even say the child is lying.

What if he or she is not lying? What happens to the body, mind and soul of the child if we cover up the situation?

We have told them that they are not worth protecting. They will think that they have no sovereignty over their own bodies. They will have no healthy boundaries to protect themselves.

A child may begin to think of themselves as dirty or ugly. They may assume that something is wrong with them. Their life has been ruined.

We may have protected the accused one. We have done so at the price of a child.

The horror of child sexual abuse cuts across every political, economic and cultural line in our communities. We find ministers, medicine people, political leaders, parents, family members etc that are child molesters.

When a child makes an accusation of sexual abuse, they are usually telling the truth. If the accusation is false it is still an indicator that something is wrong.

Our communities are out of balance. We can trace the introduction of child sexual abuse back to residential schools and boarding schools. We can place blame directly into the hands of the Catholic Church.

Healing will come from us. We are the ones that must say “This sickness stops here and now.” No one will do that for us. No one can do that for us.

It will be like an amputation to lose a respected community member and family member if they are found guilty of child sexual abuse.
If we are to survive as a healthy People once again we must allow this part of the healing process. We can only love the perpetrator and allow him or her to go through his healing.

That may mean that he or she will go to prison. They won’t be allowed around young children. That will hurt them and us. It is necessary for the healing of our community.

For a long time we have turned a blind eye to this issue. If knowledge surfaces that someone has molested a child we say, “That’s the way he is.” We have allowed our future to be abused.

The introduction of child sexual abuse was a part of genocide as much as small pox and alcohol. It has been the longest reaching and created the most turmoil in our lives.

We must send out the message that child sexual abuse will no longer be tolerated in our communities. We will no longer allow the beating and rape of our future. Our children are our future.

The amputation of a loved one from our communities is a sacrifice we must make to stop this atrocity. It is a process we must go through for our healing.

Alcohol and drugs have been a balm for sexual abuse. Many prostitutes were abused. Many abusers were abused.

We have carried this secret far too long. It has festered for generations. The only way to begin the healing is to acknowledge its existence.

Our children are worth protecting. Our future deserves a chance. We must allow the process to run its course.

We must make sure that our children know we still love them. That what happened wasn’t their fault. There is nothing inherently wrong with them. Counseling is a good idea for the child and perpetrator. We need to change our thinking.

Cecelia Fire Thunder of Pine Ridge says that incidents of domestic violence, rape, and child sexual abuse fell once arrests and convictions were instated. Men realized that there would be consequences for their transgressions of women and children.

Violence, rape, and abuse of children are signs that our world is way out of balance. No one will right it but us.

May we bring healing to our communities with love, kindness, understanding and the Creator’s help. All of our people deserve healing. We are one people.