Ceremonies

Fred Wahpepah
[from newsletter 9]

There are many paths to the Creator. We call our spiritual path the "Red Road." The sacred pipe is acknowledged. There are different views on the pipe; this one is mine.

When we walk behind the pipe, we have our priorities in order. The sacred pipe symbolizes the People—then the Creator is number one in our lives. We never take this for granted.

Gifts from the Eagle Nation—the fans, feathers and Eagle Bone whistles on this road—are sacred. There are ways to keep them properly stored and maintained. As with all sacreds, we are only the custodians. Nothing is for sale.

Air, Fire, Water, Mother Earth, Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. Gifts from the Creator. Water? Ask a Sundancer about the sacredness of water, and of food! Dancing four days in the sun on our Mother Earth around the tree of life without water brings home how sacred these things are.

How about tobacco (used in a sacred way), sage, sweet grass and cedar medicines; Grandfather Peyote—another medicine—the gourd, staff and water drum? So many gifts to help us in ceremony. Our devotion to all of the above makes it work.

The Elders of the Mountains, Lakes, Rivers and Streams: What we can learn from them is sage. Beauty is reborn within us.

The Natives of the Western hemisphere, "Turtle Island," followed the Creator's original instructions before Columbus hit these shores. Think about it: clean air, clean water, no noise pollution, no jails, no skid rows, no Bureau of Indian Affairs. And I'll bet they had a lot of laughter too. Columbus, in a letter to Queen Isabella noted that the people he encountered were "en Dios" (Indios)—of God.

The Elders are our umbilical cord to the past. They are leaving us fast. We need them for direction. It's time to start paying attention.

Prayers, contemplation, commitment, integrity, honor—these are action words. The universal law is basic and simple. A smile begets a smile, all good is returned. The heartbeat of the people comes from the drum. We dance. There is a song within us; it's called the sacredness of life.

Our ceremonies: every step we take, every breath. Well, you know what I mean.

—A ho, Fred Wahpepah

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