Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Grey Area

Many people are confronted with the grey area when it comes to climate change. How can I, as an individual, have a positive effect on climate change? Climate change can be defined as prolonged periods of drought, hazardous fires, the melting of the ice caps, just to mention a few symptoms. The bigger picture is - Mother Earth is changing.

The grey area of our human dilemma is that change can be construed as a negative or a positive. The impact on Mother Earth and human beings could be either negative or positive or maybe both. Individuals say, "What can I do to help the change in a positive way?" Here is the dilemma: most people find themselves caught up in a grey area of not knowing what to do and feel helpless into doing nothing.

Doing little simple things, however small it may be - such as recycling household waste or growing a garden - this is a step in the right direction. Little steps by many people can have a positive impact.

The macro issues (such as constructing pipelines all over the North American continent to carry toxic oil or bitumen) are an assault on Mother Earth and Her people. Dealing with the macro issues requires a desired effort of political leaders to stop this insanity. Things like that are part of the grey area, too. The grey area renders a helpless feeling.

What do people need to do about helpless feelings? They need to join together and lobby for change. The needed change is away from fossil fuels, and things like that, which will help to restore balance to the Earth. Meditating with the Invisible Helpers and with the Creator and seeking their guidance and direction is the way to deal with helpless feelings. This will help mitigate the grey area.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Idle No More and Traditional Teachings

The Seven Grandfather Teachings and the Idle No More Movement

            First we will list the Seven Grandfather Teachings:

1.      Wisdom – to cherish knowledge is to know wisdom

2.      Love - to know love is to know peace

3.      Bravery – to face the foe with integrity

4.      Honesty – to understand honesty is to know how to be authentic and real

5.      Humility – is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation and Creator; we are all equal, no better or worse than any other part of Creation

6.      Respect – “re” means again, and “spect” means to look; we look twice at everything to gain understanding

7.      Truth – is to know all of the teachings and apply them in your life; there is only one “truth” which is yours and yours alone, but to understand truth is to know and recognize the truth of others

The Idle No More movement began in the heart of community life and was started by four women, but it has no official leaders. It has a wide base of support among Native peoples, and non-Native peoples have joined with their support, even around the world.

Basically Indigenous peoples around the world, like here in Canada, are seeking justice for the Earth and for their communities. There is a strong emphasis on respecting the environment, the life of Indigenous communities, and respect of Treaty agreements going back hundreds of years. More specifically, it seeks to reset our relationship with the Federal government. This reset means honoring the Treaties, and the sacredness of life.

The wisdom of the Idle No More movement is based in the love of the Creator and the Earth. It asks the people to bravely face their foe with integrity and non-violence. Like Chief Therese Spence modeling her love and her insistence for fairness and principles, people are asked to sacrifice with honesty and humility, with respect and truth, and to seek right relationships with each other and in all their actions.

Following the Seven Grandfather Teachings, or the Seven Wisdom Teachings as some say, will help us each to know what right action can be taken to support Idle No More. It will be different for different people, and it must remain peaceful in order to find its greatest effectiveness. When we meet resistance from those who are misinformed or lack understanding and respect, we can rely on these traditional teachings to guide our appropriate responses in peaceful ways. We use bravery to speak our truth, and help others step aside from their fear. Frightened people who lack knowledge can act in threatening ways, but if we face them with the traditional teachings we can deflect their negativity and continue to move forward in a good way.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Time Eras

The first time era is: Fire. Fire was first introduced to human use many milleniums ago. First, they observed fire, then they experienced its fearful power, then they began to use it to help their lives. Eventually humans used fire to heat minerals to make metal. Metal was used for tools and weapons in the early days. Once people learned how to control and use fire it became an early survival tool in deep history.
Learning about fire lead into the early era of language development. Humans gathered around their fire for cooking, warmth, protection and everything. Language developed to further their survival abilities, and their relationships. Before language, humans used symbolic images and other ways to communicate. We still use art. Language development helped lead to the next time era which was agricultural development.
Agriculture on Turtle Island has been here for milleniums alongside the hunter-gatherer peoples. The first known agriculturalists in the northern parts of the continent were the Iroquoian peoples. They introduced the modern vegetables that we know today such as corn, beans and squash. We're just talking about the northern part here. There was a commerce developed by the Cree, the Ojibway, and the Huron with the Iroquoian speaking peoples. This trade consisted of agricultural products from the south, and raw materials from the north such as copper, canoes and other technologies such as snow shoes, etc.
It should be stated emphatically that shifting from one era to another often resulted in resistance to change thereby causing conflict within relationships with each other.
The next time era is industrialization. The roots of industrialization came from early developments of metals, and fire used to work with these metals. Agricultural communities made it possible for stable communities with less reliance on hunting and gathering to provide a base for minobimaadziwin. This was in the early beginnings of industrialization. However, as industrialization progressed it was based on control (private property) and the capitalist system. This system is based on exploitation of natural resources as well as people and communities. Under this system the good life began to disappear.
Now we are entering into the fifth time era. This is a time of developing the Green Economy. Under the Greening humans will start to give back to the earth, and the earth will begin to heal itself. So things will start to come full circle. All the time eras take a long time for the transition to be completed and the Greening is no exception. People are comfortable with the known rather than the unknown. Resisting the change as in previous time era shifts will generate conflict. Humans have to learn how to deal with the conflict in a respectful way. This time shift may not be completed for a long time, and the only question that remains is: do we have the luxury of time to complete the shift? The earth may complete the time shift for us, e.g., the melting of the ice at the poles, the climate change, etc. And finally, will humans survive this time era shift?
The Elders, my teachers, told me very bluntly that the Creator will not allow the Creation to be destroyed by a handful of fools. The essential teaching in this dialogue is learning how to live in harmony with the earth and with each other. The Earth herself has her own deep wisdom so we can learn from her how to do this Greening.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bringing the People Together into One Space for the Good Life

The Medicine Wheel has the four colors outlined through the four directions. As you know, there is only one human being - and the bodies are the four colors of that human. Red, yellow, black, and white - we are all the same but we are all different, too.
Sometimes through that idea of being different, conflict emerges between the colors. As you know, the Elders always pray for peace between and among the four colors. They seek a journey of peace by lighting the Sacred Fire within.
Reflecting on these thoughts carefully can bring one to a better understanding of the Good Life -
Peace, brothers and sisters
(Little Loon) Maungese

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I am of Oji-Cree descent, and obviously the sweats, pipe, and fasting are influenced by all aspects of my heritage.The teaching with the cedar at the sweat is wholly endosed by myself, and is something I've often used here in this region because the circle of cedar represents diversity and inclusiveness. And also because it is part of the teachings of this area that can be shared and incorporated.. One of the flaws of going too deeply into detail on any aspect of the ceremony is that it can potentially prevent an individual from understanding the Spirit, which has an individual teaching and relationship with each person. The Spirit takes you to another place, where daylight and enhancement helps us to journey with more clarity and understanding. This will be different for each person.The ritual of the ceremony can be seen like a tool to enter or engage in the ceremony, such as cedar, fire, Grandfather stones and the Four Sacred Directions and colors being used as a path into the other place, or transcendance if you want to use that word. Getting caught up in the aspects of the details of the rituals will block the true spirit of the ceremony. The ceremony is what is important, not the ritual. It is like fundamentalism - truth can evade you and the essence of love for self and humanity can be lost. The ceremony leads us to metaphor which opens understanding of Spirit to us and allows us to go to that other place. It is important to recognize that too much focus on feelings, like too much focus on detail, or too much focus on ritual aspects, will distract us from the new things Spirit is trying to bring to us. Finally, the teachings surpass all rituals. We must remember it is through living our teachings that we become who we are. Each persons path will be different. It is not our job to judge another person or their path, but to try to be helpful and loving to them in all ways. Even if that means there are times of distance or confusion. We learn from those teachers too.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Recovery of a Cracked Soul

People who have severe addictions, drugs or alcohol, often speak of a hole in their chest. This hole is best understood as a cracked soul. The recovery and healing of the soul is done by ceremony by spiritual healers.
The negative impact of alcohol and drugs (the toxicity of the substance) has a spirit. This negative spirit creates the feeling of hollowness, thereby creating a climate of negativity in the person and the immediate environment of the person and anyone touched by that environment.
You can see that in the effects in all the directions (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually) in the little children who are affected by that person and environment.
Anyone who observes this is affected by that negative spirit.
The crucial question then becomes: how do you heal that cracked soul, and those affected by that cracked soul? There are many approaches to this dilemma, by other traditions different from Native traditions. Native traditions have been healing cracked souls for millenia - cracked souls can happen from many different kinds of negative spirits (violence, war, trauma, physical illness, etc...)
Just like there are many Native traditions, likewise there are many different types of ceremonies that address the issue of cracked souls. The approach that I use is a Pipe, Sweat Lodge, Bear Grease, and Talking Circles and One-on-One Talking. There is no wrong or right way to do Ceremony. What our spiritual masters emphasize is healing the heart.
There is a lot of trickiness to that negative spirit. For example, THC is the active substance in marijuana that alters a persons perception. It can have both a positive and a negative physical affect. The negative spirit enters through the cracked soul thereby invoking trauma and in many cases violence, and other emotional damage. The Traditional medicines address the imbalance and the pain experienced by the individual. When Traditional medicines are used in ceremony they help free the person or people from that negative spirit.

An Elders Perspective on Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous Knowledge grew from thousands of years of "research and development" in the natural world. The major premise of Indigenous Knowledge is a deep respect for all forms of life. The knowledge grew from the territory itself, as did language, and the people lived in a context of relationships and responsibilities with all of that natural world, the Creator, and the invisible helpers.
An IK approach to the roles and values of each aspect of nature creates a paradigm in which relationships, and a relational guide to all human choices, holds the key to understanding. Language defines our relationships to the land, to each other, and to Shkagamik-Kwe (Mother Earth).
Language informs our spiritual understanding and the traditional structure of community.
Debwewin is truth, which instructs our own personal truths. the Ode-min (Strawberry), the first berry that grows in the spring, informs our hearts - the link to truth. The teachings around Ode-min inform us in multiple dimensions.
Our language provides a comprehensive overview of traditional teachings passed on by our Elders, commonly referred to as oral teachings.
This paradigm has been utilized by the Aboriginal community for millennia. Passions in our communities run very deeply when it comes to oral tradition and the like.