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This primer was originally constructed for the purpose of explaining to the indigenous Americans how far removed from reality they’d become; on account of a mandatory Western education and the direct imposition of Platonic-Cartesian philosophy having shaped their mentality in this modern day.

But now, it occurs to me it might be even more useful to pop the fantasy reality bubble of those people expecting they can adapt Native American spiritual practices to their Western lifestyle and somehow expect this is valid. Even if you have a bonafide Native American elder teaching you, chances are 99.999% you will simply have deceived yourself and it is how your mentality had been culturally shaped prior to encountering Native American ways, determines this.

Then, there is the problem of MOST Native Americans, even those (or especially those) who believe they can teach you, are dead wrong. If they are Western educated, they have a useless intellectual grasp of their own ways and if they are NOT Western educated, they will have no real grasp of how your mentality had been shaped in such a way as to make the bridge of understanding impossible.

Now, with that said, there is an ancient Native American rule of paradox allows for the possibility there are Western women will be able to fathom what Western men cannot; the ancient principles of matriarchy which, integrated to nature as a lived philosophy, allow for an evolutionary understanding of our existence.

And as for the Western males (includes most Native American males in this modern day) wishing to grasp these principles as a valid, lived, philosophical system, you’re just out of luck unless you can accept there are areas of knowledge will be denied to you and that is immutable law. The key here is MATRIARCHY and that word is supposed to denote something specific: A women’s rule of law based in female intelligence form with elements of the male intelligence (female intelligence based, psychological androgyny.)

Male hierarchy has no place in this system and that fact excludes Judeo-Christian monotheism. It also excludes Plato and everything based in ‘objectivity.’ No matter were you practicing anything else, the very fact you’d been shaped (as a man or in the case of some women ‘into’ a man) by the civilization based in male hierarchy determines; even if you can wrap your head around what follows with ‘intellectual grasp’ .. as a man you will never be a real part of it except as the women’s servant.

In the pages that follow, first a bit of history in cultural context and then, the principle lessons –


“The ones who complain and talk the most about giving away Medicine Secrets, are always those who know the least” -Frank Fools Crow, Lakota

I’m glad Frank stated this, because I am going to give away some ‘medicine secrets’ in this essay of what is intended to become a series (in which I will be giving away more so-called ‘medicine secrets’)

First off, there were no ‘secrets’, only a reluctance to share knowledge with people who live stupidly. In today’s world, where the majority of MANKIND is living stupidly, including many so-called ‘traditional Indians’, the native principle of paradox comes into play. That is to say, when an old habit has come to be counter-productive, the old habit must be turned on its head.

The old native world was never ‘traditional’ in present day context or in the way people seem to think this definition applies, because the native reality was fluid, dynamic, evolving, the dream changes. New dreams revealed themselves and life adjusted accordingly. Within this context, there were some immutable rules, including exceptions to immutable rules! The rules of ‘tobacco’ were not an exception except in the case of a law-breaker chief, an accepted (but rare) phenomena. So, turning this all on its head (again) I will point out the rules of tobacco should be kept in the old way, mostly without exception. And these rules are not what many people might think.

The ‘Sacred’ is Sensual

So, tobacco goes into a pipe, correct? Well, not in every case. But in the same moment, yes, it all does, or should, sooner or later. Am I speaking in metaphor? Maybe, it all depends on how far ‘tobacco’ has taken you in understanding or negotiating reality, which is multi-layered, multi-faceted.

300 years Jesuit poisoning of Native American mentality might jolt some of you (Indians particularly) when I point out the stone appendage jutting out from beneath the bowl of the MAN pipe is your boner (that’s right, a man’s erection.) A woman’s pipe does not ‘sport’ this. So right off, sex is integral to the ‘sacred’, which has absolutely nothing to do with those modern cretans or so-called Medicine Men or Holy Men who use the power of their position to gratify themselves sexually, by preying on their female students. In fact, ‘traditionally speaking’ men did not have female students until a woman had reached menopause, and then only if a woman wished to exercise her ABSOLUTE right to enter into the male knowledge. Men did not, DID NOT, on the other hand, have any ‘right’ to enter into the women’s knowledge but only arrived there by invitation of the elder women and this invitation only extended to man reaching the women’s knowledge in a limited way and was highly restricted. Got that? The point is, this was matriarchy (which is different to matrilineal, don’t confuse these two.) The main point of these initial paragraphs are to point out the rules of tobacco originated with the women, and the man’s pipe (ancient tribal law for men) originated with women. A woman might exercise her right to smoke a man’s pipe but a man had no right to smoke a woman’s pipe. A woman smoking a man’s pipe is not recommended in these modern times because most women would not know (have the cultural teaching) how to properly do this (something where even the men often come up short, regarding the present times.)

Recalling an old Indian healer stating “the only worthless person is someone who cannot appreciate a good joke”, I’ll close these initial thoughts with a real life joke I pulled on a ceremonial leader; he is gay, no big deal, celibate gays were among our tribes most effective shamans, historically. This guy was sitting outside his sweat lodge, cleaning his man’s pipe. When he began to suck on the opening where the stem goes, to clear it, I told him, “No, the other end” and he snorted his laugh through his nose.

If you are a so-called ‘traditional’ Indian and you have a problem with these preceding paragraphs, well, indeed you do have a problem, it is called a Christian cultural mentality, pointing to the Jesuit poisoning of your cultural understanding.

The Rules of Tobacco

The ancient native world was separated into what I will call the ‘heavy’ (when the women sent their men to learn, to be healed, to war, the hunt, to council and to perform ceremony) and the ‘serene’ (which is supposed to be everything else.) Tobacco is central to the ‘heavy.’

Modern people seem to think they can own a native person of knowledge (get what they want) by giving tobacco when in fact in the old way, the person you give tobacco to, actually owns you. Lets’ do a hypothetical circumstance with healing, learning or ceremony employing the old rules, as I have both witnessed or participated in, many times, here is example of seeking a healer:

In the old way, when approaching a person of knowledge/healer (man or woman, if a woman is the healer you employ a woman’s pipe you will not smoke with her if you are a man, this is set in stone, if a woman recruiting a male, the reverse is generally but not always true), you bring certain gifts, typically ‘smudge’, a blanket, prints (uncut cloth) of specified color(s) and you have to ‘catch’ them. If you can catch them (find them, if they know you are coming, it is perfectly permissible to hide from you), they will sit and you must kneel and plead your case. To initiate the relationship of healing, ceremony or learning, et cetera, the prints are to acknowledge ‘spirit’ and the blanket is about ceremonial respect for the earth, or ‘sitting on the ground.’ This must be acknowledged with gifts. The tobacco itself is communion and the ‘smudge’ (typically sweetgrass, proper cedar or a special pine) is communicating through spirit.

If the healer accepts (they are not required to) the pipe you have pointed at them, wedged into the blanket and prints, they OWN YOUR LIFE. You have already failed in your own knowledge to solve the problem by this time and this is why you seek out the healer. The healer will perhaps give physical remedies (especially if a medicine woman, less typically a man), and look at your life, make some changes and return it to you with a new rule or set of rules (the anthropologists might call these ‘taboos’ but they really don’t have a clue.) And you MUST live this, to honor what you have set out to do. This same ceremonial surrender is required to initiate finding a teacher, a trained ceremonial sponsor or person (for the duration of the ceremony beginning with the ‘acceptance’) and much more.

What you see today, simply handing tobacco to someone, to get what you want, is patent bs. How this came about is likely mixing up the ‘giving tobacco’ ceremony (utilizing the pipe) with the sincere native ‘thank you’ gift of tobacco to someone you felt grateful to for some reason.

All that said, if you had example of someone come in looking for an elder, perhaps to ask advice, you might see something like this: an old woman in a room apart, talking one on one, alone except for the one other person. A new arrival might ask ‘are they smoking’ which is an inquiry into whether they are in deep discussion or ‘council.’ It is a figure of speech alluding to more formal proceeding on a larger scale of ceremony. If the answer is ‘yes’, they will not invade. Maybe that person only brought tobacco. This would be like ‘thanks in advance’ and is only permissible within extended family or intimate associations with close relationship of longstanding and does not apply to interaction as pertains to formal learning, ceremony and healing. And there is so much more… things are not as they were and ‘traditional’ in the modern day is a complete misapprehension of reality in too many cases to count. If by chance you know how to submit yourself to women and are culturally in contact with some strict old ladies who are willing to kick your butt until you can get it right, count your blessings… because you might become a real Indian in authentic sense of ‘traditional’


The sa-ar-si (Sarsi, Sarcee) people don’t like their Blackfoot name. It means something like ‘doesn’t listen’ or ‘stubborn’ in a sense a native grandmother would be irritated with an out of control child. It never bodes well to irritate the women.

There is one clan of ‘Sa-ar-si’ that claims no Blackfoot descent (due to their pure luck of absence from the area during a particular incident) in the history of the tribes the outsiders never hear about because “Us Indians don’t air our dirty laundry in public” as one Blackfoot had put it to me. So these people stereotyped as ‘noble red savages’ are burdened with more typical human frailties despite the romantic view. Maybe certain Indians are not proud of everything that has happened, as in in the case of the Sa-ar-si, and perhaps they just don’t care to share history the outsiders would not understand, in the case of the Blackfoot.

Related to this ‘suppressed’ history and attending underlying behaviors, there is an incident of a grandmother’s discipline of a male Pikuni (southern Blackfeet or Piegan) child that stands out in my memory. Indians allow children to learn from making mistakes, and one of the biggest mistakes you can make, is to piss off the women. This little kid (by his own admission, when relating the story to me as an adult) was a real terror who simply would not listen. After the ‘fourth’ warning from an old lady (his grandmother), she suddenly grabbed this four year old by his ear and pulling him to his toes with iron grip, she shoved her large buckskin stitching needle through his outstretched ear and kept him like that for a long moment while she explained to him the practical function of learning to listen.

Sort of like the Cheyenne women who guarded and refused to allow Custer’s body to be mutilated, but put their buckskin sewing awls through Custer’s ears, so he would ‘learn to listen in the afterworld’ (to his own words, Custer was related to these women by a child he’d had with a woman of the Cheyenne southern branch and had promised he would never make war on his relations, the Cheyenne.)

When the Sa-ar-si people encroached on Blackfoot territory, they not only refused to listen, they were misbehaved. The record of this is sketchy but a few things are known. The Sa-ar-si broke away from their main group in the north because they had no choice in the matter. A small tribe cast adrift in hostile territory which does not belong to them, is invariably a group of miscreant exiles. They had been expelled.

Reinforcing this is, when they necessarily entered into a hostile relationship with the Blackfeet subsequently, the main group in the north did not come to their aid. The Blackfeet finally, after the ‘fourth’ warning, killed every Sa-ar-si male from puberty and up, every one of them (except for an extended family group that happened to be absent.) After, the Sa-ar-si women were given Blackfoot husbands, Blackfoot Sundance (Okan) and were told ‘now you can stay.’

When the one small group of Sa-ar-si who’d been absent showed up and discovered what had happened, they had no choice but to adopt the Blackfoot cosmos, with a decision taken ‘I guess we had better behave, we see what happens to people who don’t listen.’ For whatever reason, this entire event had been engineered at the insistence of (ordered by) the Blackfeet women, the Sa-ar-si must have done something that really made the Blackfeet women angry.

Pointing to the practical aspect of matriarchy, the Sa-ar-si, although now entered into the Blackfoot cosmos via Okan and Blackfoot tipi designs reflecting this, a requirement of residing in Blackfoot territory, they did not adopt Blackfoot language because it is the women educate all the children to the age of puberty, at which time the male children are exiled to male society. Thus, the Sa-ar-si kept their distinct identity but now as a related people and hybrid cultural entity.

Previous to this, there was a near identical reverse circumstance relating to the Blackfeet and Crow. The ‘Small Robes’ were an expatriate Blackfoot speaking band, belonging to the Crow tribe. They had no choice but to adopt the Crow cosmos to occupy Crow territory, excepting language. Because they had been rehabilitated as Crow Indians and because of the indisputable rights of women in matriarchy determining they would keep Blackfeet language, the relationship to the greater Crow tribe in relation to the greater Blackfeet tribe, was one of circumspect enemies with a great deal of respect. They recognized they were related. It was the women of both tribes, determined this relationship. In the present day, if you go to a meeting of the Crow council, it is yet clear who runs the show and it’s not the men. These people had been allowed to keep a more traditional form of government (likely their reward for being ‘army scouts’)

If it was the women who sent the plains nations to war, and it certainly at times was, no Blackfoot man wished to endure the public shaming they would receive from the women if they did not do so, so far as the women would, in extreme case of male reluctance, sometimes threaten to make up their own war parties and the men knew this would be followed through. It was also the women made these men humble themselves in a case of a (senseless) war gone wrong, such as when the Amskapi Pikuni (South Piegan branch of the Blackfeet) became embroiled in a hard hitting war with the Atsina (Gros Ventres, Arapaho speaking former allies.)

This war had begun with a patent male stupidity, some members of the old Mutsaix (previous incarnation of the Crazy Dogs, the old Brave Dogs warrior society) had made fun of an Atsina warrior ritual and this caused a war of male pride. When the Blackfeet women had become utterly exasperated with it, as a war that simply went on and did not wind down, they intervened and the Blackfoot males were forced to adopt the ritual they’d made fun of, as an honorable gesture to bring peace with the Atsina. This is the ritual dance you see to this day, at the Blackfeet Crazy Dogs society events.

The Women Warriors

“Always when there is a woman in the charge, it causes the warriors to vie with one another in displaying their valor” -Rain in the Face, Lakota

Moving Robe was a Lakota woman who was a leader of the initial counter-attack against Custer’s surprise of the Sioux and Cheyenne camps at Little Big Horn.

Consistent with the statement of Rain in the Face, it is clear this was not a unique event but had been repeated throughout Lakota history; because a woman’s leadership in war is long known in the Plains tradition of warfare:

“Moving Robe: One of the best-known battles in the annals of Indian-American warfare is the 1876 Battle of the Greasy Grass in Montana where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was defeated. One of those who lead the counterattack against the cavalry was the woman Tashenamani (Moving Robe)”

Next, note the Crow chief and warrior Fallen Leaf, a person of great recognition, was married to two women and this is not in any sense considered unusual:

“Fallen Leaf: While Fallen Leaf was a Crow warrior, she was actually born to the Gros Ventre nation and was captured by the Crow when she was 12. After she had counted coup four times in the prescribed Crow tradition, she was considered a chief and sat in the council of chiefs. In addition to being a war leader, she was also a good hunter and had two wives”

And we have two Cheyenne woman warriors, absolute peers to any male. The first, Buffalo Calf Robe is accorded recognition for high valor in combat, equal to any man:

“Buffalo Calf Robe: In the 1876 battle of the Rosebud in Montana, American troops under the leadership of General Crook along with their Crow and Shoshone allies fought against the Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux. The Shoshone and Crow shot the horse of Cheyenne Chief Comes in Sight out from under him. As the warriors were closing in to finish him off, Buffalo Calf Robe (aka Calf Trail Woman), the sister of Comes in Sight, rode into the middle of the warriors and saved the life of her brother. This was considered to be one of the greatest acts of valor in the battle”

When I move on to Pita-makan, our famous Blackfoot war chief, there is a special noteworthiness in the Cheyenne warrior Yellow Haired Woman, per the notation of her membership in a closed (to men) women’s society:

“Ehyophsta (Yellow-Haired Woman) was a Cheyenne woman. She was the daughter of Stands-in-the-Timber. She fought in the Battle of Beecher Island in 1868, and also fought the Shoshone that same year, where she counted coup against one enemy and killed another. She fought the Shoshone again in 1869. She was also a member of a secret society composed exclusively of Cheyenne women”

With its many differing superficial details between tribes, original Plains culture (matriarchy) is remarkably consistent nevertheless:

Pita-makan was the last great awau-katsik-saki (Blackfoot woman war chief). Her story as commonly known in the literature is difficult to accept for the fact of male reporting on her history, particularly the reporting of James Willard Shulz. Shulz was a self aggrandizing liar who romanticized his life among a Christianized band of Pikuni (southern Blackfoot.) His reports were from an European male perspective, for articles he sold to eastern publications. Another complication would be any native narrative solely from the man perspective, there were distinct oral histories, the woman’s and the men’s. These histories would not differ so much in metadata content, but in the nuance of the telling and the men refraining from telling women’s aspect of the history, which is the province of women. Nearly the entirety of history reported from the Blackfeet nation has been from western cultural perspective, essentially male oriented anthropological reporting and almost all of this reporting is unreliable.

What we can reliably know is, Peta-makan was a war chief of many years. She was successful in war leadership against the Crow and Salish on multiple occasions. When she was killed during a raid, she was a war leader of the ‘Braves Society.’ Her authority as a war chief was never questioned by anyone. She never married and when at war, was considered in the eyes of the Nitsiitapi (Blackfoot law of citizenship or the wider Blackfoot community) as equal to any man. Pita-makan was highly respected by male Blackfoot society as the absolute equal of, and even superior to, many competent male warriors in combat.

What has been unknown in the literature to now but we can also reliably know is, Peta-makan would have been determined as suitable for leadership in war by the women who educated all Blackfoot children to puberty. This would have happened when the ‘Motokis’ leadership of the Pikuni tribe, made this determination. The Motokis were the Blackfoot nation’s sole (and secret) women’s society that all Blackfeet women (and only women) belonged to.

Consequently Pita-maken would have been sent with the young Blackfoot males about her age to become a ‘Moskito’ when she entered higher education at early puberty. Pita-makan’s peer group, when entering the male Moskitos society, would have averaged 9 to 12 years age and they would be a band of ‘brothers’ kept intact by tribal custom, throughout their lives. Blackfoot law would determine Peta-makan advance through subsequent Blackfoot age-determined male warrior societies, together with her peers throughout her war career. Subsequently we can know as a member of the ‘Braves’ society, she had advanced as a war leader to about age 40-44, when she had been killed in combat by the Salish.

In her personal life, Peta-makan would have had a choice of whether to live as a man or woman (she chose to be a woman and accordingly did not take a wife or wives but also did not marry any man.)

It is worth mentioning here, the women had their own warrior tradition altogether distinct from that of the men, as defenders of the camp. When the men were largely absent on the hunt or at war, the women were organized as a military force and would engage any attempted predations by enemy tribes.

The Plains women were absolutely entitled to exercise male rights and authority. When I’d initially asked Floyd HeavyRunner about a Blackfoot woman’s chief authority, whether their rank put them a par with men, his answer was the women chiefs were “a little bit higher”


“They [the Blackfeet] are plunged in coarse superstitions which brutalize their souls, they worship the sun and the moon and offer them sacrifices and propitiation and thanksgiving” -Pierre-Jean DeSmet, Society of Jesus (Jesuit)

Lying was not a common phenomena in the ancient Native American world. Likely this stems from the fact a high value was placed on interpretation of reality as accurately, factually as possible. Not only would this factual perception of reality through reliable reporting lend itself to survival in an existence fraught with danger, it would lead to a tendency to develop a high state of personal evolution.

There is a story of occasion where the Salish had captured a Blackfoot warrior, I do not recall his name, and tied him to a post at the center of their camp. The community then had gathered to witness his death by torture. The point of the torture was to see if this warrior could be made to cry, as he was slowly cut to bits. If this could be accomplished, it could then be reported back to the Blackfeet people how their warrior was weak when faced with death. It would never occur to the Salish to send a false report of the man’s behavior when meeting his end.

As it happened, this warrior fully being cognizant of the purpose of his death ritual, devised a strategy to circumvent the intended outcome. When the Salish man with first right to begin slicing him with a knife had approached and proceeded to cut and taunt the Blackfoot, the Blackfoot had kept his cool and returned insults as to be so vile, the Salish lost his temper and swiftly killed the Blackfoot in a rage. And this fact of circumstance of death is what was reported to the Blackfeet people.

The arrival of the Jesuits changed all this. If the destruction of the Buffalo had destroyed the Blackfoot nation physically, it was the Jesuits broke the spiritual back of the community. The Jesuits destroyed the lived truth of these people, destroyed the equilibrium between the sexes, destroyed the respect they had enjoyed in relation to each other as a whole and destroyed their spiritual relationship with nearly everything under the Sun. Here is how it happened:

It was inconceivable to the Indians a lie would be told by holy people. As Floyd HeavyRunner had precisely, correctly stated, this phenomena was exploited by the Jesuits, when using the Blackfeet women to make their inroad into the spiritual life of the community. It was the tempting (and subversive) idea if the Blackfeet community would embrace the Jesuit philosophy of only ONE man had to die, to correct everything in the afterlife, these women would be reunited with the many fine men they had lost to the extreme peril of historical Blackfoot existence, an existence that claimed a disproportionate number of men. The woman allowed the Jesuit Nicolas Point (sent among the Blackfeet by ‘Father’ DeSmet) to arrange the education of a number of children and in a single year’s time, with children taught Original Sin caused all of our world’s ills and this is the fault of WOMAN who is cursed, and that because ONE man died, you may be excused from taking responsibility for your own actions in this life, the damage was done. By the time these woman realized a great mistake had been made, it was too late. If these children had been killed outright per the native philosophy of eliminating any ugly life aberration, the Blackfeet would have been better off per their own cultural view, but the law of Blackfeet citizenship these new aberrations violated, in a paradox, prevented this. Nor would the consequence of not killing these children be seen immediately, it had to wait for them to grow up and see the infection mature.

The result had been, in a single generation, fratricide, it came to this; certain men had begun abusing women and became rapists, nearly unknown social phenomena in previous times. Subsequently, the worst of these among the Pikuni became exiles, they were pushed out and formed a distinct breakaway tribal entity. This in turn saw the group’s Pikuni men experience their women turning on them and become killers of their husbands, when the Blackfoot women’s warrior tradition in egalitarianism became socially inverted (these Blackfeet families know who they are, it’s not important to identify them by name here.)

This preceding is but early example of what occurred on a society-wide scale, with the badly damaged larger Blackfoot nation forced onto reservations and the subsequent kidnapping of entire generations of children into missions for education. Life became a lie and the law of Niitsitapi as had been known and practiced for countless generations, had become largely dead.

It was the great priest of Okan, Brings Down the Sun, made it his life mission to correct these mistakes in the Pikuni people. Recognizing the new Christian way could not be rolled back, one compromise he tried to make was to advise women to begin to submit to their husbands, but this was not easily swallowed by the women. What finally happened was, a compromise of Okan and other Blackfoot practices pursued distinctly and altogether separately from the Christianity forced onto these people, one might belong to both but they were carefully separated, never mixed. But these were never again Indian people in any sense close to what had been, lying and abuse of women has become a way of life in the case of by far too many Indians to count. And since the forced mission education days, the added curse of inter-generational pedophilia has gained a foothold as well. Of course the Jesuits will NEVER take responsibility for having wreaked this havoc, they can always arrange to be ‘forgiven’

“Christians are the meanest people on Earth” -Pat Kennedy, Blackfoot elder & Plains Ojibwe Peace Chief

All that said, my experience has been, because of the unique traditions which had survived in small pockets, I discovered some of the finest, most brave, generous, kind and ethical people in this world, whilst living among the modern Blackfeet.


I had stated I would be giving away ‘medicine secrets’ in this series initial essay. Here is something almost no one knows or understands anymore.

The bird you have affinity with is the one that ‘talks to you.’ You can make a small experiment to determine this. When you walk in nature, allow your thoughts to be free, to roam where they will with no concentration to control. A little bit like daydream but no specified subject. If it happens there is a bird calls at that very moment a point is made, seen or discovered in your wandering thoughts, a sort of conclusion, this bird has just spoken to you (in the mind, not only the ear.)

The birds are the messengers who can pass understanding of events to you, to (among other things) know if a thought is correct.

If you can learn to do this in such a competence as to become ‘easy’ or ‘natural’ with the experience, it is the bird most often speaks to you, is your affinity. There you have it, how people were integrated to nature in times past. This is example of what had been ‘normal.’

To learn to accomplish this in practical reality would be difficult for many within the modern mindset. Men, particularly, would experience difficulty with this exercise in ‘female intelligence.’ The reason is, Judeo-Christian cultural shaping, mental stricture and taboo on the exercise of a feminine understanding of reality in Western Civilization (which has taken over the world.) In order for there to be a ‘rise’ of civilization, people had to come under the control of male dominated thinking or ‘hierarchy.’

Mosaic law is one example, where there is prohibition of sorcerers and necromancers, a crude demonizing of female intelligence to preserve the male hierarchy. Examples related to this sort of control would be (about equally) Saudi Arabia executing women as witches and western science panning any understanding of female intelligence that cannot be achieved via the constricted logic of empirical method; both science and religion are firmly rooted in a cultural system that fears and condemns or persecutes anything which threatens the ascendancy of male thought (and hence male hierarchy.) Civilization and ‘civilized man’ are both determined this understanding of the female ‘Nature’ is not to be acknowledged because it is a threat to male dominance. In the greater male hierarchy’s endeavor to suppress the feminine, the gynophobic Plato and the God of Abraham are peers, little different to the misogynist Confucius who serves this same purpose.

So, to understand the birds is tricky, it is important not to fool oneself, with how this works. The most common mistake (in the modern mentality) is when the bird makes its call, this can evoke another thought instantly from the self (not the bird) and you miss what the bird said, the thought the bird has brought has already been pushed aside by your thought and the real information is missed. This mistake is consequence of male oriented culture shaping the modern mind (regardless of skin color, we’re nearly all ‘apple indians’ these days.) Simply put, the alien (to original native thought process) ego won’t shut up and will be in your way. Why thank you, Jesuits and the boarding schools, for making the males, nearly all of us Native males, into modern whore-boys who, when we’re not busy chasing skirts while trying to get our dicks wet, only know how to run our mouths and cannot know how to listen. The consequence likely will be males who think they actually get this, are only hearing what their subliminal ego entity wishes them to hear. Those women with less male shaped mentalities, particularly those women less educated in science and least indoctrinated in religion, will have better outcome in overcoming the modern mentality obstruction, and more likely achieve understanding of this natural phenomena.

It cannot hurt to recall here, the modern ego construct mentality, considered normal in western culture, is a construct which had been diagnosed and treated as a mental disorder in the ancient Plains culture. Modern Indians who most suffer from the modern mentality are least aware they suffer the problem and this is ultimate irony because it is those Indians who most loudly strut the proposed idea they are ‘traditional’ are those who most suffer from the modern mental disorder (and you can forget about the western anthropology program euphemistically named ‘native studies’ altogether.)

Another mistake is to expect you can discover something you wish to know with this. This second one is a mistake because it is not about what we think is important to know, but rather what nature (the spirit) thinks is important for us to know. This is again, the western culture’s male ego issue, unknown in the native past. This is why the point is made to NOT control the direction of thinking, for the process to actually work.

As for broadcasting versus receiving (the modern mind is stuck in broadcast mode and mostly cannot receive) et cetera, there is much, much more to know, but I expect this is challenge enough and will end it here, renamed ‘Birds 101’

Cosmos & Cosmology

The order of priority in the ancient native way had been:

1) The great community or cosmos (interpreted as territory)
2) The environment (within the cosmos)
3) The nation (within the environment)
4) The clan/band (within the nation)
5) The family (within the band)
6) The self (within the family)

This essay will point to the considerable difficulties inherent in maintaining the elements necessary to any authentic Native American spiritual awareness in relation to one’s surroundings and oneself.

To begin, there requires an intimate understanding of a living cosmos. To know a living cosmos requires a unique relationship to environment, commonly misconceived as a relationship solely to the land. It’s actually much bigger than this. To have some beginning idea of this cosmos, one must surrender any thought of ‘I’ and ‘me’ because ‘you’ cannot exist in this cosmos as an individual entity. Without the cosmos, you don’t exist. Within the cosmos, you cannot exist as an individual. This is because all of the cosmos is integrated. In the ancient Native American way, your cosmos is reflected (interpreted) as a territory where all is a single organism made up of inter-dependent parts, including every individual, and not only persons but every individual of every species, and what’s more, every stone and tree, down to each individual blade of grass.

The Blackfeet had their cosmos. The Blackfeet neighbors, whether Cree, Sioux, Crow, Cheyenne, Salish, or Shoshone, had their cosmos, each its’ own functioning universe with unique cosmology, within this concept. This had been the template on which Native American spiritual understanding had functioned; at the macro-level. To have a relationship to, and within, this cosmos, required a functional understanding of attending cosmology, that can be interpreted as laws immutably tied to the physical environment sustained within this cosmos. MOST IMPORTANTLY, this cosmos is its’ own self-conceptualizing, aware, seeing entity, a feeling or sentient being; in and of itself. “YOU” are ultimately unimportant to this cosmos -except- you were to know your place within this cosmos and that is the point of the cosmology.

Per example of this, I will point to the work of Karl Schlesier where he noted the Chiricahua Apache precursor people had “asked the spirit of the land to accept them” when migrating into those lands they were subsequently ‘discovered’ to inhabit; by encroaching European culture.

The original indigenous tradition required an aware, seeing, sentient being or ‘cosmos’ accept those who would inhabit it; and to accomplish this integration had little to with exploiting environment and everything to do with finding a niche contributing to the cosmos health. Finding this ‘place’ for an entire people determines whether you have a successful spiritual life and we are still a long ways from discussing the spiritual life of any individual person, or the bottom of the hierarchy.

Already, the implications are quite profound; not only would those of European cultural heritage be far removed from authentic Native American spiritual experience, but so would many who actually believe they are Native American .. because cosmology had been embedded in the native languages and those languages’ stories. It would be the case in every instance where a tribal people had lost their language, they had also lost their cosmology and authentic relationship to their cosmos.

Moreover, every tribal council applying the Western culture’s economic principles of exploiting resources is removed from their own cosmos and cosmology. It’s not just ‘White people’ these days. How it came to this is not the subject of these essays; the point is to go to the facts on the ground in the present. In the next essay we will go to the environment and the fact from an ancient indigenous perspective, a cosmos doesn’t care whether your skin is Red or White. The road to health in any living cosmos would be equally challenging for both.

Cosmos & Environment

I’ve given a LOT of thought, over time, to try and bring across some semblance of intelligent description to Western terminology; of how a concept of deity is grasped within the environment – recalling the Native hierarchy:

1) The great community or cosmos (interpreted as territory)
2) The environment (within the cosmos)
3) The nation (within the environment)
4) The clan/band (within the nation)
5) The family (within the band)
6) The self (within the family)

Our existence is Macro-Gaia (in the big picture) or all is [inter] related, from sub-atomic particle to planetary structures, with an element of Vitalism (the ‘great mystery’), taken together presenting as quasi or mimic intelligent design. The intelligent design would be ‘quasi’ because the native take on this aspect would be better described as intelligent expression, ‘design’ implies an egoic projection or attribution, whereas ‘expression’ should not. This thought goes to the native persona of humility: There are some things one simply cannot know.

Within the environment, which is perceived as social rather than physical, all surrounding natural phenomena is perceived as intelligent expression. ALL. There is no western concept of ‘God’ within this expression, and what might translate as ‘gods’ and ‘heroes’ from the cosmology, are the lessons drawn from historical markers integrated to natural events, whether celestial, earthly or in some combination.

When the environment is seen as social, permission is required to pursue not only specific activities within this community, but even to exist. Because the environment is seen as not only aware, but socially aware, there is an greater understanding of impacts directly relevant to undertaking responsibility; this is an environment with the ability to identify specific actions and react accordingly. From this aspect is drawn the native value of self-restraint; not only does any nation hosted within an environment possess no right whatsoever to aggressively exploit, the environment has the power to expel any nation inimical to its health.

Noting the horns sprouting on my forehead, it occurs to myself to mention in relation to the immediate preceding; if any indigenous person who perchance did not speak their language but in the English of the Europeans having read here and thought to themselves “But I knew that!” .. this would only go to demonstrate any Whiteman could know the same.

It should be noted this aware social environment required a different development of intelligence; where there is a necessary system of practical communication. Herein lies the difference between the isolated and remote from reality ‘dreams’ of the Western culture and the larger sense of ‘dreaming’ of the ancient Native American. Where everything in one’s surrounding is awake and aware puts focus on developing intelligence external to the narrow confines of any individual self; in the words of Karl Schlesier:

“to be open to the mysteries of the natural world and it’s manifestations, to be sensitive, aware of the manifold possibilities of seeing the world, to be free and unhampered in one’s thinking, to be generous and kind in regard to others, to let everything have it’s own voice”

To ‘let everything have its own voice’ is inclusive of all of those things the Platonic-Cartesian of the Western world has denied as a matter of static perception in the pursuit of knowledge focusing on the human species presumably the sole species capable of conscious awareness; but this lens had been a trap. As the Western culture has made its ‘advances’ within a framework of quite literal subjective damage while dismantling its surroundings in a thirst to ‘know’ (individual ego & related greed, actually), it had been inevitable the blind futility of this approach should manifest; as when theoretical physicist Bernard d’Espagnat can state:

“The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment”

In which case the Native American dream awareness has been quite consistent; as we see creatures going away due to our denying them the right to exist, we see our own right to exist vanishing as well. One only must consider the amount of damage to reality (our surroundings) required to develop Western Civilization to a point of building laboratory models leading to atom smashers necessary to arrive at what had already been known. As things stand today, our cosmos are well underway in the process of expelling our nations .. in that we’re surrendering our right to exist, a subject to explore in the following essay.

Cosmos & The Nation

The Nation, to incorporate to the environment, had to integrate to the intelligence of the cosmos. This integration required merging two kinds of consciousness; female and male. The result had been androgynous thought reflected in the many genders in the language; where these many gender actually reflect the many varying degrees of androgyny in the observed processes of nature from whence the ancient ways of knowledge had been derived. This salient fact is what altogether set the ancient intelligence apart from the modern. The parallel I would draw is this: the two human brains, right & left, female & male, were not split as is reflected in modern experience. Awake time had its’ consistent dream element and sleep time was consistently informed with lucid dreaming. Never was a strict line drawn between, or boundary established, between the two. One reality was as valid as the other. Or, perhaps better said, they were never considered to be distinctly separate reality or experience. This integrated intelligence is what had made it possible for the Nation to exist within the social context of nature (or environment) within the cosmos. This unique (by comparison to the modern) integration is what enabled sight capable of ‘reading’ the language of other creatures, inclusive of trees, even stones. Also, within this integrated framework existed a ‘greater’ intelligence where time could be perceived in motion; a living clock could be its’ description. A Nation’s collective ability to ‘read’ this clock was an utilitarian principle allowing for the Nation to function as an organism within the environment hosted within the cosmos. Everything remained attuned within this clock, of which the Nation was a functional part (of the clock’s many parts, inclusive of ‘other nations’ such as the elk, antelope and bison.)

How delicate cultures can be is reflected in how the nations became dismembered. Already under pressures on account of European expansion and technology exerting forces preceding the actual Whites arrival, for example the necessity to acquire guns to compete with tribes being pushed into their territories, the Pikuni nation (a Blackfoot branch) was in a high state of male mortality. This was to have unforeseen consequence where the nation’s disintegration actually began before any organized attempt to bring these people to heel by government. The disintegration began with the poisoning of the nation by the Jesuits.

It was a mistake made by the women. The Small Robes band of Pikuni Blackfoot, also some other Pikuni aligned with them, invited the Jesuit DeSmet into their band, when they met him on a visit to the Salish. DeSmet learned their stories and subverted them (the stories) to Christian ideology. He accomplished this with convincing the women only one man had to die and if they celebrated that one death, they would be reunited with all the men they’d lost; in a paradise of immortals.

This deeply appealing (to the women) idea set loose in a world where lies were an almost inconceivable phenomena and lies about matters of spirit were beyond comprehension, turned Blackfoot society on its head in a single generation. DeSmet assigned two priests to followup on his stay with the Blackfeet and they were allowed (by the women) to educate a group of children. That fact destroyed the fabric of Blackfoot society, upending the principles of matriarchy. This infection of the Blackfoot mentality was the cause of future generations of women taught to submit to men and all balance was lost. This in turn made the men weak.

Over a longer period, this infection of Western thinking caused all of the males to become weak and ignorant by comparison to the ancients; because they lost their integrated intelligence or androgynous conceptual thought beginning with the Jesuit poisoning of Blackfoot understanding.

Illustrating this, there is an interesting piece of Blackfoot oral history that is a revisionism, related to McClintock in his ‘The Old North Trail.’ Here you see a modern ‘original sin’ story where the Blackfoot male at fault is named “Motokis.” This is interesting for two facts; it was Blackfeet men who’d capitulated to Christianity informed McClintock in oral history and the fact the story’s male protagonist name is Motokis, the name of the universal society of Blackfeet women who’d been the source of matriarchal intelligence. The cynicism of the Jesuits is stark, to use this name in a story manufactured to educate future generations of Blackfoot children to the idea of women’s intelligence being a source of bad luck.

The main group of the Small Robes associated with DeSmet suffered a terrible fate; when their men were wiped out by the Crow and the survivors became a Blackfeet speaking satellite band of the Crow nation. The other Pikuni group, those who did not suffer the Small Robes fate, were subsequently expelled by the larger Pikuni nation because the children educated by the Jesuits matured into pedophiles and rapists.

It happened that fast. The surrender (or poisoning) of native intelligence fractured the nation within the environment, and for all practical purposes, the environment integrated, ‘living entity’ had ceased to exist.

Cosmos & The Clan

Within the circumstance of the nation’s beginning disintegration (dismemberment) there were the several aspects of a web that could be described as a tapestry. This aspect of reality were a weave of tensile strength made up of several societies, clans and bands determining all of a greater Blackfoot society of nations, of which there were ultimately five, Siksika, Kainah, Amskapi Pikuni, Skinee Pikuni (derogatory) or Aputosi Pikuni, and the Sarci (who are a Dené amalgamated or half sibling nation.) The Atsina were associated but not related in a siblings sense. Taken together, these were the so-called ‘Blackfoot Confederacy’ which is a Whiteman’s label that is inaccurate. Excepting the Atsina, this was not a political association, rather instead were a larger alignment of closely related peoples or nations with a common concept of citizenship called Niitsitapi. Recalling…

1) The great community or cosmos (interpreted as territory)
2) The environment (within the cosmos)
3) The nation (within the environment)
4) The clan/band (within the nation)
5) The family (within the band)
6) The self (within the family)

…this citizenship was interwoven throughout the nations but more specifically per nation in several ways. In some respect the several Blackfoot nations were consider to be clans of the Niitsitapi or overall recognition of a relationship between what are more properly nations in their own right. In this respect we could define the several Blackfoot divisions as ‘nation-clans.’ Within any single nation, for instance the Amskapi Pikuni where I am related most closely, we have (speaking only of the males) patrilineal descent within what had been a system of matriarchy. Of my Pikuni ‘parents’ (by native kinship law), my father was a Black Door and my mother belonged to the ‘Worm Clan.’ This determines I am a Black Door. Now, had I been of the ancient times, in simplified terms it would have gone something like this:

As a male I would have been a lifetime member of the ‘all friends’ which makes a brother of every Blackfoot male throughout the several nations in a warrior tradition. As a Black Door, I would be the relative (brother) of every male or daughter of that clan, no matter which nation and affiliated band, as well as, a member of my nation and band. All of these interwoven relationships are pointed to integrated social fabric where we had consensus (elected) band chiefs, hereditary chiefs, society chiefs and chiefs as determined by the Motokis who had a large say (in former times, close to absolute authority) in affairs of the nation. None of these chiefs were an authority in their own right within the community with the exception of those drawing their authority from the Motokis (and this authority was specific to certain matters) and very term ‘chief’ should not be looked at in terms of the western culture’s hierarchy. In almost all cases, each were a spokesperson for the several societies, families, clans and or bands. A spokesperson. Nothing more.

The point of this devolved and interwoven leadership had been to gain as clear a view possible of the cosmos; pertaining to any direction taken within the nation. The needs of the cosmos, the maintenance of the cosmos health, and the conforming of the nation to demands of the cosmos, was primary, all else came after. With many eyes and ears attuned to the environment within the cosmos, what was looked for in the nation, in a foundation of government established at the band level, was consistency of perception. Prior to the ‘split’ of Native American consciousness, these many eyes & ears gave intelligently informed, consistent and wide view of all elements necessary to receive direction as determined by the cosmos .. stemming from interpretation of Nature with sight unknown in the modern world. Essentially there was a well founded, unmitigated trust in this greater collective view of reality. This system had allowed for sensible living for millennia; that is until the Europeans had arrived.

The infection of (an eventually enforced) Christian mentality and thinking upended all of it. This alien concept of a primal male ego, that is ‘God’, and the fact any self-centered act, no matter how damaging to the cosmos and all life therein, could be ‘forgiven’, became the great destroyer of the Native nations with the destruction of intelligent sight. It is an European death cult had destroyed Pikuni life within the cosmos

Cosmos & The Family

The females were all educated by the Motokis society, to which no male ever belonged or was admitted to. This secret tradition is therefore a matter on which I cannot comment except to say anything which has been written about the Motokis in modern times is almost certainly perverted-poisoned by Christian influences and consequent male view.

In the male educational tradition, if the band were largely an extended family made up of mostly cousins (1st cousin & brother are the same word, likewise uncle & father and so forth) as a matter of cultural habit, the nuclear families within the band were those several parts making up a clan’s patrilineal education system. Similar, but not precisely identical, to government, the male education reflected both consistency and diversity. In this case, had I been a male of former times, chances are most of those surrounding me would be Black Doors and this tradition would be the bands primary education model at the nuclear family level. Additional (compulsory) education would be the province of the warrior societies and elective education could be found in the ‘medicine societies.’

Throughout one’s life, defying the western stereotype of ‘shiftless, lazy Indians’, so-called ‘leisure time’ was much preoccupied with education.

When necessity of acquiring western technology (firearms) preceded the actual arrival of the Whites, this new pressure had already begun breaking this system down, through the erosion of values. To acquire guns required violating the most basic tenets and associated values of one’s education to sustain life within the cosmos. This requirement was reflected in the so-called ‘fur trade’ where the ‘Beaver Nation’ (mostly) was assaulted and nearly driven to extinction. With the new steel traps, the Pikuni (and nearly every other native human nation) set out to alter the cosmos as the skins of their sacred companions were harvested en mass, setting into motion a chain of events; whiskey came with the steel traps & firearms they traded the beaver pelts for and the rank and deep fear (a new concept) of what they were doing within the cosmos, created the opening for alcohol to make deep inroads into Pikuni society.

This knocking the cosmos out of balance had been deceptive in the perception of one’s surrounding in the environment. Already dealt a death-blow, the dying cosmos appeared to live on; very much like the individual cells of a complex organism die over time following a mortal blow and cessation of brain function. There could be breath went on for awhile but then this ceases as well. At the end, a corpse’s hair and nails continue to grow for a bit longer. This may sound harsh but is an accurate reflection of what had happened since; within the families who’d kept their traditions more intact, in vicinity of vestiges of undisturbed nature, the original knowledge continued (in ever diminishing form.)

Contrast this to the modern tribal council and its western economic development model and here I will note a few salient examples of how we, as native peoples, have embraced a lie; the native corporation throughout Canada and Alaska, the Navaho tribal council forcing through gambling after it’d been twice rejected by tribal referendum, the Navaho tribal council forcing electricity (with attending television) on all rural or remote households against the will of those wishing to keep to tradition (and off the grid), the Shoshone-Arapaho of Wyoming chasing the antelope to extinction on their reservation with all terrain vehicles, the Blackfeet of Montana aspiring to get a family member into tribal council so “it will be our turn” to loot that nation’s resources, such as clear cutting the Hudson Divide of premium house logs, sold to sawmills off the reservation – while the Amskapi Pikuni throughout have suffered chronic-critical housing shortage. And those many tribal members employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs who’ve made a career of bringing the nations into the ‘modern concept’ (while stealing the people blind), those several nations where one faction gained control over another faction and expelled their own people with dis-enrollment (such as the Cree had done to many of the Chippewa at Rocky Boy) and it just goes on. Tell me; just who among these can claim to be Indian?

Cosmos & The Self

Finally, we have reached that space where it becomes clear what had been expected of every individual at the level of microcosm. Essentially there was an expected practical behavior; under pinned in approach to life along these lines:

The ancient Blackfoot approached life like this … every impact, down to so much as a bruised blade of grass, in the course of going about anything, whether daily sustenance or whatever, generated awareness of impact. This in turn demands a life of ‘right action’ in relation to all things, as one’s life foundation, to live in the balance. It is within the cosmos’ ‘living clock’ this principle was observed and followed in such a way as to discover what would be ‘gifted’ to sustain the people. In the western culture Jung observed this principle as synchronicity but I will the note the Pikuni knew how to read the clock, it wasn’t ‘coincidence.’

This preceding demanded an integrated approach that precluded ego in the western sense .. it was never about ‘me’ but about sustaining a system of perpetual motion which depended on all; right down to awareness of impact to the single blade of grass and the correct action or ‘lived awareness’ demanded of that fact. Development of the individual was integrated to the whole of it all, precluding any practical separation. As this system of perpetual motion moved through the seasons, this living clock was acknowledged with ceremony. Everyone in the ancient way could read this movement until the Europeans arrived. And we should all know the consequence of this ‘new’ education.

Now, when we flip a light switch, everything it had meant to honor life within the cosmos is dishonored in a practical sense for the sake of ‘convenience.’ Think about it. Whether solar, wind generator, hydro-electric, gas-fired, strip-mined coal or nuclear generated; you just contributed to death within the cosmos with so small an act as the flip of a switch. Each of these systems required dealing death within the cosmos, to construct a grid that is putting the planet to death. This gives me a cynical laugh when considering the circumstance of people paying for plane tickets to attend workshops on what it means (or meant) to be Native American. Whether these are new age self-delusional souls seeking meaning or modern tribal mentalities meeting to consult on issues of ‘culture’, one is no different to the other, each has just contributed to death within the cosmos. And the cosmos doesn’t care whether your skin is Red or White. Quoting Karl Schlesier, a son, brother and father to three generations of Cheyenne Arrow Keepers:

“In the long and disturbing history of Indian-White relations in North America there have been other Whites, men and women, who became full fledged members and shared the fate of the tribes in the struggle for survival. These, often, had been taken as prisoners when young, and they grew up with new siblings and new parents and a new, wide range of relationships. They were not discriminated against because in the old world of the tribes skin color never mattered; what mattered were the expressions of one’s spirit and the voice of the heart. But adoption by a human alone was not enough. The adoptee had to open himself/herself to the spirit world of the specific tribe and had to be embraced by it. Thus, adoption was made final or was denied on the highest spiritual level beyond a first move made by adoptive elders”

What Karl is referring to, is whether to environment within the cosmos had embraced the concerned individual; as would have been recognized in the long ago ‘lived philosophy’ or the foundation all had been based on, in the living clock .. recalling the order of priority in caring for things:

1) The great community or cosmos (interpreted as territory)
2) The environment (within the cosmos)
3) The nation (within the environment)
4) The clan/band (within the nation)
5) The family (within the band)
6) The self (within the family)

What chance do you suppose ‘the spirit’ will recognize ANYONE in a so-called ‘native studies’ program, where light switches are flipped everyday; to study in the western culture’s classroom at the same university hosting departments teaching the European civilization’s philosophy and technology? This, contrasted to; in the ancients’ days, one would not so much as consider any association with any entity at odds with living intelligently in the cosmos. Forget romantic love; if your interest did not bring harmony into the family at the nuclear level, the relationship would never develop. This is because you have no right to disturb the peace of any other, and on realizing that person or institution interested in associating with you would be in conflict with the values upholding your family, within the band, within the nation, within the environment, within the cosmos, is antithetical to the greater social health; you would, at the individual level, deny any possibility of a relationship developing. Already, if we have ‘elders’ approve sending us to university, we can see how lost our peoples have become.

Cosmos & Consciousness

Of course it is unrealistic to expect we can live again as had been in the past; in modern times where our nations’ cosmos as we’d known them, no longer exist. The first step to experience any event other than altogether completed extinction, is to recognize our nations previous circumstance cannot be recovered. Any pretense to the contrary is a self-deceit. That was then, this is now and everything is changed. As the living clock moves to erase humanity as we know ourselves in the present, one should look at where might any possible remedy be within reach. To discover such an avenue would require the great mystery again recognize our value as a species.

That most changed has been our mentality, and certainly not for the better. Related to this, the European mentality which has overtaken us will end in one of three ways, in this order of possibility; 1) we will see this culture blow itself to bits, together with all the rest of humanity 2) social-environmental collapse will bring everyone down, no matter their role or possible intention or 3) self-dismantlement. Our duty is to work for this third, most remote possibility. To accomplish this, the first priority is to point as many people as possible (no matter the color of their skin) to disconnect from the grid. To disconnect absolutely will require recovering from the poison of the Western culture’s thinking.

The essential beginning would be renewed practical thinking that can be recognized as healthy by the cosmos. Without this, there is no future for any of the human species. In fact, without enough of this, there is no human future, no matter had some small communities accomplished a recovery or preserved some understanding of what it meant to ‘live in the clock’ where all had been balanced. This would require a lot of people. And you don’t get a lot of people with prejudices of whether someone is ‘White’ or ‘Cree.’ You arrive in that space by shutting out stupid people and opening to intelligent people, no matter their relationship to you, tribal affiliation or color of skin. Recreating a healthy cosmos would require solely people who understand how not to step on other beings lives. And that fact excludes many tribal people and includes people with no tribal affiliation. If there is any future people, it is those who can put European cultural mentality out of their lives, no matter their origins. What would be the test? For those raised primarily in European culture, this will be a more difficult road; except for those in the native world who’d sold out altogether or have become too stupid to understand they’re stupid (perhaps the harshest reality.) The Europeans because they do not know how to be silent and listen (to nature.) And those natives who believe a Red skin makes them Indian (as opposed to the fact they are e.g. culturally Blackfoot-Americans little different to Irish-Americans.)

So, who among us native peoples will put television entirely out of our lives and the lives of our children? Who with more money will, instead of buying a new car, rather pay a native language granny to teach our pre-school children and the children of our neighbor without funds to do the same? Who will have the courage to stand up to the band councils and tell them ‘it’s going to be this way and now get out of our business’?

What Europeans would have the courage to pool their resources to buy land or other means to pull up fences and turn land back to the cosmos to mend, declaring it belongs to none other than life? And fight for the right to hand the land back, as well refuse their children educations intended to prop up a state that exploits with endless development? To be willing to have their children taught an alien language incorporating values far removed from Western Civilization and its historical ideals?

Who, between the two communities preceding, would have the courage to care for and depend on each other in a growing environment of trust where the White child is educated no differently to the Red; where the only idea worthy of spiritual reverence is the idea this world is not ours, it belongs to all life, where we have clearly demonstrated to step out of place is to step out of everything it could possibly mean to live in any positive way. And tell everyone else ‘there is no place here for stupid’

Even with all of this accomplished, it falls short, if you cannot clearly grasp your life is no more important than a beaver your ancestor either trapped or traded for. There are no innocent parties. So, what is consciousness? Certainly it is not the ‘self-aware’ preoccupied ego (‘it’s all about me’) of European concept. Consciousness is the gift of the cosmos to an entity that is an organism of many parts .. in which humans have become a cancer. Consciousness is nothing more and nothing less.

The Condensed Lesson

At a certain level, it’s pretty funny Plato had it wrong and Indians running around in breech-cloths had it right. Here’s one to print out and give to people to think about, recalling the theoretical physicist Bernard d’Espagnat states:

“The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment”

Consider that and then have a look at how it is Indians were thinking:

“In 1918 Christian missionary A. McG. Beede took Yale graduate Harry Boise to the Standing Rock Sioux and Turtle Mountain Chippewa reservations on separate occasions, where Boise explained scientific ideas to tribal leaders. Beede wrote in his report that both groups immediately understood the concepts without difficulty, saying: “There is no difficulty in leading an old Teton Sioux Indian to understand the ‘scientific attitude’ that the processes that give rise to phenomena may be more and more known by man and may be, to some extent, controlled by man, and that in this way the forces of nature may become a mainspring of progress in the individual and in the human race. The idea of atoms and electrons is easy and pleasing to an old Indian, and he grasps the idea of chemistry.” -Vine Deloria, Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths

The two tribal groups spokesmen replied to Harry Boise, following discussion among themselves:

”The ’scientific view’ is inadequate to explain … how man is to find and know a road along which he wishes and chooses to make this said progress, unless Manitoo by his spirit, guides the mind of man, keeping human beings just and generous and hospitable” -Rising Sun, Chippewa

“The knowledge and use of any or all the powers of the objects on Earth around us, is as liable to lead a man wrong as to lead him right, because it is merely power, with no way of knowing how to use it correctly- except that spirit is with a man’s spirit for the light” -Red Tomahawk, Sioux

When Rising Sun says ‘Manitou by his spirit’ he is speaking of collective creation, our very surroundings are intelligence integrated to nature. When Red Tomahawk says ‘spirit is with a man’s spirit’, he is saying the same thing, both these men, at the end of their cultures’ many millennia era of knowledge, are looking at what d’Espangnat stumbles upon nearly 100 years later; recognizing consciousness embodied in our surroundings plays in everything we experience.

Moreover, Red Tomahawk is discriminating between intimate knowledge of any object’s raw power, and an understanding of the nature of something, recognizing these are distinct things. His understanding (different to the European concept) opens to the possibility of allowing for the trees, stones, or for that matter, everything surrounding us, to possess consciousness and to ‘know’ purpose exterior to our (western) self-centered cultural shaping. And it is only when this door of understanding is opened, we can know how to listen, know the ‘timing’ (the knowledge of creation as synchronized, to grasp nature as a living clock), and to ‘see’ our way through, as the nearly extinct Native thought embodied in now past elders so often attempted to point out to us, when pointing to ‘it’s all related.’

Now days, when modern Indians hear, say or think the words ‘Our Creator’ .. they think along the lines of ‘god.’ Well, they missed it. When the old people of past times stated ‘Our Creator’, they were looking at our surroundings (creation), at the very expressions nature has given birth to, at a process which nurtures and sustains us. These days, truth be told, Native peoples have become as dumb as the Whiteman. Who’d have expected stupidity could be a contagious disease (looking around you, anyone?)

Post script would be, it wouldn’t matter if you had all the technical ceremonial knowledge on earth memorized, if you don’t grasp the preceding in a practical approach to life, you’re just dumb.

On Keeping a Pipe

Wooden_Indian.jpg - 1

Not ‘just anybody’ would keep a pipe.

We’ll begin with what is required to keep a pipe in the context of the old Plains Cultures, which, with their many superficial differences, were nevertheless essentially identical in core principles.

The classic Plains T pipe represents the Law of Matriarchy to which every man is bound. Everyone who partakes of this pipe in ceremony is expected to understand (have been taught the core principles) what this law demands of the community. Essentially, this law requires setting the self aside with a demand the greater good is to be found in prioritizing devotion to the whole.

To ‘keep’ a pipe is to bind oneself to this primary core principle at a high level; with a self discipline that may not be set aside. This cannot emphasized too strongly. You must discipline your mind to a degree the modern world nearly does not know. There is practically no move you can make, no task you may engage which is not self aware and thought out, even as one performs. Life itself is lived as practical ceremony where all thought is prayer. You may not engage in petty, vindictive or vain gossip, neither with another person nor within the self. You may not associate with persons who live carelessly or thoughtlessly, you must avoid them. There is no concept of forgiveness, your mistakes must be corrected with practical steps taken.

The effect or litmus test of this self disciplined life *MUST* be what a son, brother and father of three generations of Cheyenne Arrow Keepers has stated should be the consistent, demonstrable outcome:

To be open to the mysteries of the natural world and it’s manifestations, to be sensitive, aware of the manifold possibilities of seeing the world, to be free and unhampered in one’s thinking, to be generous and kind in regard to others, to let everything have it’s own voice.

There is precisely ZERO space for the typical blinding personal arrogance of self, or ego, to achieve the preceding. A result of actually attaining this level of practical intelligence is reflected in the Native American proverb:

The spirit puts into the mind of a man, to know what to do.

This is practical result of the first rule of keeping a pipe. In other words, you can be depended upon to be a wise counselor.

The second general rule of keeping a pipe would seem even more difficult to modern peoples, the practical living in balance requires one cannot be wealth focused; having secured what is required to live MODESTLY, one cannot accrue wealth beyond this, it is affront to the living spirit, nature, whose rule dictates we ‘humans’ have no more inherent right to life than any other living thing. ANYTHING that burdens nature more than necessary to our living modestly, is a violation of the Plains Law of Matriarchy. How is that? The female principle that rules us, our creation or nature, represented in our community of women, is greater than any individual and this demands the individual be sacrificed to the good of the greater living whole. Individual wealth does not, cannot, will not find a place in this scheme. By modern standard, it is a self imposed ‘life of austerity.’

The third general rule of keeping a pipe would be you had already had disciplined oneself to the preceding rules prior to ‘receiving’ a pipe. The community leadership will have recognized one’s devotion, potential for achievement and consistent exemplary life prior to being entrusted with a pipe to be used in open ceremony. Relatively few people kept pipes because of the high expectations demanded of the ‘keepers.’

The fourth general rule of keeping a pipe is, this was no absolute right. If our leaders were chosen to keep a pipe for purpose of public ceremony, they also could have a right to use a pipe in public ceremony taken away. The authority in the original Plains Culture was never absolute in those chosen to lead the people. There was oversight. If ever the leadership became inflated with their own sense of importance, this was grounds for demotion. Leaders who refused to be disciplined were invariably shunned, leading to being effectively exiled, together with any supporters, on account of energy transfers. This underlying principle is key to part 2:

Not ‘just any pipe’ would be kept.

Acquiring a useful pipe is not nearly so simple as making one, having one made, buying one or having one given to you by just anyone or even having an established one transferred to you. Energy transfers is paramount to understanding how a pipe originates and whether the pipe is ‘settled.’ This can take two directions; an old pipe or a new pipe.

First the old pipe. This is a pipe that is ‘transferred.’ It has a history of use and possibly attending items constituting a so-called ‘bundle.’ This pipe already has a working history and, if kept properly, an intense consciousness imbued in it. This is in line with modern discovery in quantum mechanics and the consequent statement of theoretical physicist Bernard d’Espagnat:

“The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment”

The history of the ‘old pipe’ will give it a form or intensity of consciousness that would give anyone but the rigorously self-disciplined, problems. And in the hands of the wrong persons, this pipe can cause extensive ‘bad luck’ in those connected with whoever might be ‘holding’ it. What’s going on here is, a pipe rebelling against the inferior energy of those persons it might have been transferred to. The pipe is demanding a certain quality of energy and when that energy is not forthcoming, the pipe, as a consciousness imbued object, pushes back against the energy it detests. This is where many pipes and bundles have been failed by their modern keepers, people without the necessary self-discipline required of the ancient native consciousness. Invariably any poor ‘keepers’ will see havoc created in their surroundings, they’ve effectively become a curse of bad luck through their blind arrogance of believing they are worthy when in fact they are not. Pat Kennedy himself told me his bundles and pipes should be ‘put out’ or retired for the fact there was no longer any assurance these items could be competently and safely kept. I don’t know if it happened but in some cases I expect not.

Now, the ‘new pipe’ is a tricky proposition as well. Here it is critical the person building it, giving it shape or form, is living the requirements set out in part one. Again, this is because energy transfers as consciousness and this will determine the personality of the new pipe. If the pipe maker is living a high form of the old native consciousness, and makes no mental mistake when working the stone, the person receiving this pipe could easily experience the same problems associated with being transferred an old pipe. On the other hand, if it is a careless person, or any person with an agenda, poor personal history or inferior habits, these all transfer into the personality of the new pipe and that will be the new pipe’s consciousness. Receiving a pipe with unknown or misrepresented history is a bit like manifesting roulette, you easily could be robbed (or shot dead.)

An ignorant person would create an ignorant pipe, a dishonest person would create a dishonest pipe, a deceived person would create a deceived pipe, a dangerous person would create a dangerous pipe, a vindictive person would create a vindictive pipe… you should get the picture. You don’t want ‘just any pipe’ and you certainly would not want a pipe without an intimate awareness of its source. Not just anyone should make pipes. In elder times, not ‘just anyone’ would dare to make a pipe.

And finally, it must be said the modern people do not possess the proper mentality to claim any right to say ‘this is Cree’ way or ‘this is Blackfoot’ way because they are not in fact living that old cultural awareness. That ancient mentality and today’s mentality are so different as Venus to Earth or Earth to Mars.

With enforced western educations having extinguished the oral histories together with the language, and as well, reshaped the indigenous mentality, and with western cultural anthropology in the guise of ‘Native Studies’ euphemism having displaced the advanced indigenous learning format, the preceding principles are presented as superior to nearly anything you will find nearly anywhere in academia in a sense of the authentic demands of the original traditions.

With this said, what Pat Kennedy attempted to pass to us can be seen as little more than remote opportunity to explore what it means to ‘live in a beautiful way.’

To live in a beautiful way in the ancient sense understood by Pat and his peers is to know how to set aside personal arrogance that seems normal, habitual, in the modern people; to practice a humility requiring you cannot set the requirements for personal ceremony aside in relation to one’s surroundings for so much as a moment. This is because energy transfers and each of us is responsible for ourselves as a source of the energy that makes up any given community or gathering. Don’t be deceived with any thought these requirements can be in any way set aside, even for a moment, ever, at all.

Retiring a pipe

A suspect or troublesome pipe or any pipe in unqualified hands should be ‘put out’ or that is properly retired. This is the simple act of abandoning the pipe in a remote, clean place in nature, together with offerings to honor the law the very fact of any pipe’s existence is meant to signify in the sense of original intent. There is no failure symbolized in this act; it is rectifying a mistake or preventing future mistakes being made. Did you wish to follow the way of the pipe and didn’t know, weren’t aware of the dangers involved with a pipe’s pre-set state of imbued consciousness? Retiring a pipe could be a wise re-beginning while seeing if one is able to live the rules in a real and practical way. Having disciplined the self to a very high standard of consciousness, one could then set out to re-acquire a pipe, but in this case from a trustworthy source. Or in case of having discovered living the actual rules of keeping a pipe were impractical or too burdensome, retiring a pipe would be an absolutely intelligent thing to do.


In today’s world there is a false, self-deceived spirit has taken over many people’s experience in relation to ceremony. It might be manifest in keeping ceremony no one knows how to explain anymore; in other words a rote memory of things which have become completely false or hypocritical because to perform ceremony is to understand not only the how, but even more importantly, to intimately understand the why. Without the why, the how is meaningless. Or to take a place of leadership in ceremony without having subjected the self to the required advanced learning, and keeping, the rules demanded of the position. And especially to have elevated others to a role of pipe keepers, handlers or other ceremonial tasks and not having acquired critical knowledge to have trained them properly in the required elements of living the role, the prayers of these people are actually doing more harm than good, no intelligent Indian would want these people praying for them. And if informed, neither would you.

Note: This author had divested himself of his pipe over a decade ago; for the reason of personal circumstance tending to cynicism and satire, or in other words, immersion in geopolitical intrigue –

Cosmos & Consciousness (Notes)

Relating to the original perception-philosophy of North America as known by just a few Blackfoot into modern times, it was Floyd HeavyRunner had stated to me on more than one occasion his opinion “the Aztecs got the Spaniards because they had strayed furthest from the true way.” Not that he thought the Blackfeet were in any respect lucky.

Another observation of Floyd’s was to relate a story of an anthropologist who’d visited one of his elder cousins to understand matters the old people by now realized the Europeans had no capacity to grasp. When inquiring of phenomena along the lines of what the Niitsitapi had known as ‘naaks’ (the consciousness possessed by ones surroundings in nature), Floyd’s ‘uncle’ had finally stated to the anthropologist “I could explain it to you until we’re both blue in the face and you’d never get it!” Now it’s my turn to try:

There is a theory had been postulated by Princeton Professor Julian Jaynes on ancient consciousness he labelled the ‘bi-carmel mind.’ He came close to the ancient mentality I have attempted to explain but he wasn’t spot on. He expected there was no sense of ‘I’ in the ancients. In a way this is correct but his first mistake was the assumption of no self-awareness. His second mistake was of audio and visual hallucinations which must be obeyed. It doesn’t work like that. I can understand the typical western mentality could struggle with the idea one could possess self awareness without ego, but in fact this is possible. The point of explaining about the ‘living clock’ had been to illustrate one can see oneself as integrated to a larger consciousness or as a cell in a greater organism attuned to purpose stemming from a mystery one can function within but never issue dictum. Here is examples of how it practically functions:

Your mind can search but none of this is necessarily meaningful or possessed of element of reality until the ‘clock’ confirms what it is you need to know, from one event to the next. Suppose you came to a fork in the trail in unfamiliar territory; your mind puts out a question .. ‘which path?’ A large bird of prey suddenly (in that precise moment of asking) drops out of a tree and flies down one of the forks and your direction is known. This (or similar experience) will be the consistent, accurate, observable phenomena for those who keep tuned to or live within the ‘timing.’

And yes, you could hear voices but unlike the western schizophrenic, there is no imperative other than a rational trust. For instance, in a potentially lethal circumstance you might have to make a split-second decision that would determine life or death when faced with a choice; and a ‘voice’ you both know and trust states clearly what you must do and it will have been precisely the correct decision to save one’s life.

These preceding are but two examples of the ancient mentality’s capability which also included long distance sight in real time (‘remote viewing’) with phenomenal accuracy and more. I’ve lived in this world, in community which experienced these things and I know it works.

Now, if the ancient model of understanding is correct; that is our ‘cosmos’ is possessed of its own unique awareness, is a sentient being in its own right, is possessed with powers of volition altogether independent of European cultural mentality concept; and this sentient awareness cares more for the whole of everything than any individual or individual species; then it stands to reason every manipulation attempted by modern civilization to prolong itself against the will of our cosmos will be frustrated; no clever trick will suffice, no computer model sustain, no remedy be adequate: to pursue any future that does not fall into line with our cosmos determination of the direction to be taken. In which case, we’ll be increasingly ‘erased’ until humanity decides to back off and quit piling on the pressure the current model or ‘sustained development’ demands of our environment.

I’m not going into the ancient concept of ‘linear time’ for the simple reason it just seems like too much to try and explain. I’ll simply note it would be really smart to stop digging things up, whether hydrocarbons or archaeology.

Fear and survival instinct are distinct things, fear attends only the western ego ‘I’ which senses it is not real. Got a heavy perspiration-body odor problem that isn’t physical labor related? You’ve got fear. This can be shut down with reorganizing the mind on ancient model.

It was likely the common cold had depopulated the native nations first, followed by measles and small pox. These initial depopulation events had preceded Coronado from the south and had run their course before New England was colonized. The legacy of this is the tipi rings anthropologists generally (mistakenly) believe are much older. Prior to adopting wooden stakes from the early trans-Appalachia traders tents, it had been the habit of the Plains Indians to stack the stones used to secure their tipis, when breaking camp. In cases where the stones had not been stacked, leaving tipi rings, it indicates de facto burial sites where the occupants had died. I chuckle at the anthropologists scratching their heads over clusters of cairns to which purpose they’ve no idea to assign, and subject to endless speculations; failing to understand it is little more than a case of ‘good housekeeping’ where the stones were neatly stacked when the tipis had been taken down and camp moved.

Most of Big Lake’s band of Small Robes had been destroyed by the Crow .. where a large remnant of surviving women and children were the base from which a Blackfoot speaking band of Crow Indians had sprung. After this event, Big Lake’s people, the Small Robes, vanish as a proper entity from the Blackfoot oral history. There were a few scattered Small Robes remnants assimilated by the other bands.

It was the Aputosi Pikuni were expelled for criminal behaviors following the Jesuits making inroads into that group. This fact earned them the sobriquet ‘Ski-ni’ Pikuni which is hard for me to translate but means something along the lines of ‘poor’ in a sense of who they’d become.

I have to shut this off somewhere and because we should never altogether exclude humor, I’ll close with this anecdote. It was Mike Little Dog had related a story to me of stark contrast of between the ancient man and the modern. According to Mike, when he’d returned from the Korean War, there was opportunity to make money as extras in a film. This was a generation of Blackfeet who knew hard physical work, and it was the strong young men of his generation were cast as warriors. To add authenticity, real bows belonging to their ancestors were brought out of a collection .. and the bows of their grandfathers were so strong .. they couldn’t pull them!

This work is based on 30+ years immersion in Native America, primarily in the culture of the Northern Plains Indians, those who still speak their language. Attributable quotes are in italics, even those I’ve not attributed, no matter the source, on account of some quotes had been based in information taken from the several oral histories which belong to no one person.

Copyright 2015 by Ronald Thomas West
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