Wisdom of Silver Eagle

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Location: Flat Creek, Alabama, United States

A dear friend of mine once said, "I've been around this rodeo enough, to enjoy life as it is dealt to me each day." It has given me an entirely new perspective on life. To describe myself, … I am an easygoing, very low maintenance, down to earth kind of person. Keywords are honesty, truth and integrity. What makes me tick? I guess you could say life. I am a spiritual, but not religious. I do not believe any one set of people, beliefs or teachings have the sole method of what is truth. I accept and respect all beliefs. I believe that is more important to walk your path, than it is to talk your path. Personally, I am more "aligned" with what can be called the "natural-way" or the Ancient and Olde Way.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Who is Native American ...

Since Teresa and I hosted our first powwow, of which some in the "Indian Community" called a "White-man's Powwow", we have continued to receive flack and negative comments about being wannabes or psuedo-indians. It continues to amaze me on how many full-bloods or half-bloods or members of federally or state recognized tribes, bands, or clans are behind much of the negativity. It also amazes me how so many members of federally recognized tribes call members of state recognized tribes the same names.

As I look across the spectrum there seems to be a common thread, that is, many who belong to the federally recognized tribes often feel or comment that members of state recognized tribes, bands or clans, or those who are not affiliated with any group, are trying to steal the heritage or rights or ceremonies that "belong" to federally recognized groups.

I will concede that among every organization spectrum or grouping, whether they are Native American, African American, or they are doctors, lawyers, or others, there are going to be "bad-apples."

But here we are in 2009, 141 years after the Ft. Laramie Treaty, and 179 years after the Trail of Tears, and I'm sure we can come up with many more dates more than two or three generations ago that Native American People were removed from the homelands.

Does the fact that some members of the Native American People decided that instead of removing themselves to reservations, opted to remain on or near their homes and adopt the ways of the conquering white culture, make them any less Native American? By some "definitions" many of those who opted to stay are still technically considered as "hostile" by the federal government.

In addition because of the situation of society in the late 1800's and early 1900's many of those who did stay behind, when it came time for the Census by the Federal Government were enumerated as "mulatto" and some were even classed as "white". Because of society many of these Native Americans were forced to keep their heritage "in the closet", much like gay and lesbians had to until the late 1980's. Does that change who they are?

Does that little piece of federal government paper called a CDIB card mean that one person is more Native American than another person? Sometimes, especially for descendants of those who stayed behind and intermixed with the dominant society, it takes a couple generations to recognize a part of one heritage. Around the turn of the 1800's into the 1900's it was truly a social stigma to be Native American. For someone born in the late 1950's, their grandparents were likely born around 1900, at time of not publically admitting Native American heritage. If it was the grandparents, grandparent that was Native American, thus the 1950's individual's 2nd-great grandparent ... the blood quantum is 1/16th.

Many of us who are 1/16th or 1/8th already have a living, most of us don't want federal aid, or anything else, but the right to return to our heritage of our grandparents and the freedom to practice it. If federally recognized tribes, bands, or clans are concerned about those of us who are in that 1/8th to 1/16th quantum doing ceremonies wrong, come teach us, instead of criticizing us.

In closing ... my wife and I purchased the forty acres we have for one reason ... the furtherance and perpetuation of all Native American Cultures and Traditions. We've created powwow grounds through sweat and blood equity, we've privately financed a monument to 32 Native American Veterans that received the Ultimate Eagle Feather, the Congressional Medal of Honor, we've set up a food bank for all Veterans in southwest Geneva County, Alabama, we've initiated a toy drive in conjunction with our annual powwow to provide toys for underprivileged Native American Children. Please do not criticize those who are wanting and willing to learn the heritage of their ancestors. It may be a white-man's saying, but ... Never criticize unless you've walked a mile in your brothers moccassins. If we can get by our differences, the Native American People can again become a strong voice in this country.

That is all I have to say.

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