Epic Irony

( – promoted by navajo)

Cross posted from Daily Kos and Blue Jersey

Diary updated by navajo to include video

In lower Manhattan, on what will now be known as Native American Heritage Day, November 27, 2009, in front of the Museum of the American Indian, a historical event centuries in the making occurred as the Collegiate Church, formerly known as the Dutch Reformed Church, apologized to three of the four Lenape tribes left – NJ The Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians, the Oklahoma Delaware, and the Lenape of Ontario, Canada, the Munsee.

The irony is that the very same NJ tribe that the Collegiate Church apologized to, and the one recognized by the State Department of the Federal Government and the Obama Administration, is the very same one that the State of NJ and its Commission on Indian Affairs REFUSES to recognize as indigenous and is attempting to write OUT of history.  History 400 years in the making was taking place in lower Manhattan while a few miles west across the Hudson, 12,000 years of history was being systematically, ruthlessly, maliciously erased.

The NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs needs to do some explaining. The Chair of the NJ Commission is a Ramapough, who are Tuscarora in origin, with Cherokee and Lenape having married into the tribe.  Also represented on the NJ Commission are the Nanticoke, who are from what is now the state of Delaware, who arrived here in the 1970’s and the Powhatan, from Virginia, also new (1970s) arrivals.  Conspicuous by their absence from the NJ Commission are the two oldest tribes in NJ, the Lenape – who are revered in song and story from one end of the state to the other because they were the original inhabitants of NJ going back 12,000 years, and the Cherokee tribe here since 1830, whose relatives walked the Trail of Tears.  These two tribes have been ignored and lied to by the very Commission which is supposed to represent them.  The Chiefs of both tribes have been requesting since the Commission was formed a decade ago, to be represented.  Even the Governor has refused their request.  This is what has prompted the Sand Hill Band to file a lawsuit in February which Judge Haden appears to have allegedly stalled in Federal District Court in Newark to this day.

One of the members of the Church happened to be a Ramapough Indian and was a speaker.  However, because the Ramapough had been invited to attend, the last remaining Lenape tribe left on Long Island – the Shinnecock – refused to come to the event.  The reason being was that they do not consider the Ramapough a Lenape Tribe.  To understand how large the rift is now between the last Lenape tribes here and the Ramapough, consider that the Shinnecock did not want to give the current Ramapough even the appearance of legitimacy as a Lenape tribe. The difference between the two is as different as Italy is from Russia. The Lenape are Algonquin while the Tuscarora are Iroquois.  Different customs, different language, different culture.  Over the years Cherokee and Lenape married into the Ramapough tribe as did the Dutch, but the fact that the Ramapough are passing themselves off as a Lenape “nation”, is quite offensive to the last true Lenape tribes left in NY and NJ. The Shinnacock would not bear the insult.

It is ironic that a chosen few of the Ramapough would attempt to prevent any recognition whatsoever of the Lenape grandfather tribe in NJ, while passing themselves off as a Lenape “nation”, and again, quite offensive. The fact that the State of NJ allegedly is going along with the charade is beyond the pale as well as costing the taxpayers over 25 million dollars to date.

And so, while history was being made in NYC, just across the river in NJ, history was being undone, erased, and a revisionist history being jammed into place to benefit a few, unscrupulous folks who appear to be allegedly committing identity theft on a huge scale.  They are even using the internet to wage their misinformation campaign.  Wikipedia has even been changed to leave out the Sand Hill altogether and erroneously states that NJ has three recognized tribes – which, according to Governor Corzine, it doesn’t.

We arrived by ferry and walked to the Bowling Green in front of the old Customs House which now houses the Museum of the American Indian.  The sky was gray and the wind was picking up, but thankfully the rain held off.  The covered stage was set up in the plaza with a huge color backdrop of what Manhattan had looked like before the Dutch came.  It had been a beautiful sea of green forest with a few small smoke plumes from Lenape villages visible.  It was truly beautiful.  The name of the event was “Healing Turtle Island”, which is what the Lenape called the land.  Facing the stage were 200 folding white chairs that would seat the families of the Church members and the Tribal Chiefs and elders.

Despite the absence of the Shinnecock, it was a happy reunion for many of the participants.  Chief Darius J. TwoBears Ross of the Ani~Tsalagi Onaselagi Northeastern Band – a cousin tribe and ally to the Sand Hills, arrived with his tribal members, elders and family. In attendance was ShadowWalker, Red Chief of the Ani~Tsalagi,  tribal elder Ed TwoBears Peart and his family and Tribal Elder Diane BlueSkyLenapeWoman Crawford, who was a Ramapough and who is now a member of the Ani~Tsalagi Onaselagi Northeastern Band.  

Then the Sand Hill members started to arrive. I met Principal Chief MedicineCrow Holloway and his family including his son, Chairman Ron Yonaguska Holloway, who would give the keynote address.  Arleen Richards, great granddaughter of Chief Crummel of the Sand Hill was also present with her family.  There was also tribal elder Yvonne Dennis, the children’s book author,  Also in attendance were two Delaware tribal representatives who came all the way from Bartesville, Oklahoma, Curtis Zingha, and Carmen McKosato Ketcher, as well as Lenape from Ontario Canada, The Munsee.

It was a virtual who’s who of NJ’s Lenape and Cherokee tribal elders and chiefs.  It was wonderful to see them all in one place.  There were smiles and hugs all around. These were the first contact Lenape Nations (The Sand Hills, The Delaware from OK, The Munsee from Canada) who had suffered the most from the discovery of the New World.  The speeches by the Oklahoma Delaware and the Sand Hill about forgiveness would be the most emotional and touching of all the addresses at the event.

To the curiosity of many, Dwayne Perry, CEO of the Ramapough, was also in attendance.   Recently the Court had ruled that the Ramapough are no longer a tribe but simply a non profit 501.c3. They must have their election this coming June and it will be closely monitored. Allegedly, days before the last election, when Perry was named Chief, nearly 25 families were kicked out of the Ramapough tribe and not allowed to vote until two weeks AFTER the election when they were re-instated.  It reminded me of a BCDO election under Joe Ferriero.  The very sad part of the whole Ramapough story, is that there are Lenape members of this “Tuscarora” tribe and they are related to the Sand Hill.  

At 11 am, the event began. The drum circle included half a dozen tribal members singing in strong, clear voices while striking a single large drum with large sticks, buffered by soft cloth at the ends.  The strength and power of the vocals struck me.  It was mesmerizing and incredibly stirring.

The blessing came first, then a description of what Manahatta was like before Henry Hudson arrived.  The Church members described their role in the settling of New Amsterdam, and why we were here this day. The Church representative publicly apologized for their painful role in the exploitation of the resources of this new world and the resultant displacement and suffering of the Lenape people.

Chairman Ronald Yonaguska Holloway accepted the apology on behalf of the Lenape in an eloquent speech that ended with a promise of hope for the future.  Rev. Chase, a descendent of the very first Dutch child born here in the New World, then embraced Ron Holloway, the son of the current Principal Chief of the Sand Hill, in a symbolic gesture of forgiveness.

The representatives of the Bartesville Oklahoma Delaware followed, explaining that the Lenape thought that no one could own land – it would be like owning the wind – recounted how the misunderstandings began.  The Lenape from Oklahoma then spoke of forgiveness and how it was freeing.  In a symbolic gesture of peace, they brought the Church elders wampum beads that recorded this event. The son of the Oklahoma Delaware representative and the daughter of a Church elder then exchanged necklaces in a show of harmony for the future.

Chief MedicineCrow Holloway of the Sand Hill and his son, Chairman Ron Yonaguska Holloway played a haunting flute and drum piece written especially for the occasion by Chief Holloway, a gifted, critically acclaimed musician.  The haunting melody evoked the spiritual feeling of the day, sorrowful remembrance, but beauty as well.  The softness and clarity of a message waiting to be heard by those of us willing to finally listen.  Elegant in its simplicity.  

The theme spoken of again and again was the future and where to go from here. We have changed each other forever, but while the Church admitted to regrettably imposing their will on their “brothers and sisters”, they called now for learning FROM the Lenape on how to live sustainably and care for Creation.  Creation was a repeated idea throughout the day. It is the central idea that both the Church and the Lenape have most in common.  The Lenape creation story of the land being created from the back of a turtle was invoked.  Creation should be the common ground going forward.  How we protect and cherish our natural world and each other.

Outside in the windy day, with the Hudson’s waters lapping against the shoreline nearby, the grey sky showing nature’s power over us, it somehow made sense that this event was not held indoors.  The Lenape have always revered the earth, and perhaps that is what held the rain back that day.  The sun broke through at the end of the event while the public and the elders of the Church and the tribes shared steaming cups of bison chili with cornbread. Yvonne Dennis shared her books with crowd eager to learn more about Native Americans. The drum circle that had begun the day’s events played on as we all shared in the meal together and got to all know each other better.

Somehow I could imagine the Creator up there, smiling.

For a Timeline of the Sand Hill saga, here is my Blue Jersey diary:


Here are the primary source documents that I have posted regarding this story:


The attempts to punish tribal members for speaking out about their mistreatment:


A comprehensive diary with links to yet more diaries on this:


An video Interview with Chairman Ron Yonaguska Holloway:


What you all can do:  There are bills stalled in Committee in the NJ legislature right now that would rectify this travesty of justice by giving seats on the NJ Commission on American Indian Affairs to Reps of the Sand Hill Band and the Ani Tsalagi Onaselagi Northeastern Band.  CALL and WRITE to your representatives and tell them to support Senator Loretta Weinberg’s bill.

Native American Heritage Day: No No Keshagesh – Buffy Sainte-Marie

( – promoted by navajo)

The Cree Indian folksinger Buffy Sainte-Marie has often complained that too many people saw her as Pocahontas with a guitar. She’s anything but. Her career, which began in the early 1960s at beatnik coffeehouses in Canada and the United States, has been marked by political controversy, drug addiction and numerous hiatuses. This year she broke her most recent 13-year-long pause with a new album, her 18th, Running for the Drum.

If you know Buffy’s songs – love songs, ballads, political – but haven’t yet heard any takes from Running for the Drum, you may be surprised by her fresh sound in this new album, although that haunting voice hasn’t disappeared. There’s a message, however, that won’t be a surprise to anyone. The lead song is called “No No Keshagesh.” In her native tongue, Keshagesh means “greedy guts.” “It’s what you call a little puppy who eats his own and then wants everybody else’s.”

Here are the lyrics (audio with the whole band here):

I never saw so many business suits

Never knew a dollar sign could look so cute

Never knew a junkie with a money jones

Who’s buying Park Place? Who’s buying Boardwalk?

These old men they make their dirty deals

Go in the back room and see what they can steal

Talk about your beautiful for spacious skies

It’s about uranium. It’s about the water rights

Got Mother Nature on a luncheon plate

They carve her up and call it real estate

Want all the resources and all of the land

They make a war over it; they blow things up for it

The reservation out at Poverty Row

The cookin’s cookin and the lights are low

Somebody tryin to save our Mother Earth I’m gonna

Help em to Save it and Sing it and Pray it singin

No No Keshagesh you can’t do that no more.

Ol Columbus he was lookin good

When he got lost in our neighborhood

Garden of Eden right before his eyes

Now it’s all spyware Now it’s all income tax

Ol Brother Midas lookin hungry today

What he can’t buy he’ll get some other way

Send in the troopers if the Natives resist

Same old story, boys; that’s how ya do it , boys

Look at these people Lord they’re on a roll

Got to have it all; gotta have complete control

Want all the resources and all of the land

They break the law over it; blow things up for it

While all our champions are off in the war

Their final rip-off here at home is on

Mister Greed I think your time has come I’m gonna

Sing it and Say it and Live it and Pray it singin

No No Keshagesh you can’t do that no more.

Sad to say, unless the guys slowly slowly slowly rewriting regulations for the financial institutions of our country don’t stop saying yes, yes keshagesh, to the very people who did so much to bring on the worst economic crisis of the past 75 years, Buffy’s description of their behavior will still be apt decades from now. Not that mere regulations will do all that needs to happen.

A beaming Amy Goodman interviewed Buffy and played a few of her songs for an entire hour that was cablecast on Thanksgiving.

Here she is with one of her lesser-known light-touch songs.

Here she is with “Cripple Creek” on Sesame Street, where she performed from 1975 to 1980.

And here she is singing the iconic, but still controversial “Universal Soldier.”

145th Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre of Nov. 29th, 1864

( – promoted by navajo)

Chief Black Kettle:

I want you to give all these chiefs of the soldiers here to understand that we are for peace, and that we have made peace, that we may not be mistaken by them for enemies.

A Cheyenne cemetery is in the same direction as where my mother told me she watched gypsies camp through her west window as a girl, about ½ mile from that house. I have reverently walked though that Cheyenne cemetery as early as ten, looking at the headstones and wondering who they were and where they came from. I did not know then, that in that cemetery were descendants from the Sand Creek Massacre.

The Approaching Genocide Towards Sand Creek

Simultaneously, Roman Nose led the Dog Soldiers in battle while Black Kettle strove for peace.


“…Roman Nose made his record against the whites, in defense of territory embracing the Republican and Arickaree rivers. He was killed on the latter river in 1868, in the celebrated battle with General Forsythe.

Roman Nose always rode an uncommonly fine, spirited horse, and with his war bonnet and other paraphernalia gave a wonderful exhibition. The Indians used to say that the soldiers must gaze at him rather than aim at him, as they so seldom hit him even when running the gantlet before a firing line…”

Why did Roman Nose and the Hotamitanio (Dog Soldier Society) feel the need to defend their sovereignty and way of life? The answers to that one question rest in at least the following: the Great Horse Creek Treaty (1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie), volunteer soldiers, John Chivington, white encroachment with the Pike’s Peak gold rush of 1858, the “renegotiation” of the “Great Horse Creek Treaty” at Fort Wise, the Civil War soldiers who encroached on promised land, and the murder of Lean Bear.

The first core point is that hunting rights and land claims were not surrendered in the Great Horse Creek Treaty (1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie).


The following are facts with regard to the 1851 TREATY OF FORT LARAMIE, known as the “Treaty of Long Meadows” to the N/DN/D/Lakota and the “Great Horse Creek Treaty” to the Cheyenne;

1. It is a sacred document, unanimously agreed upon by each camp of each band, of each of the seven signatory nations. During the three week long 1851 Treaty gathering, the sacred White Buffalo Calf Canunpa (misnomer “Peace pipe”) of the N/DN/D/Lakota, the Four Sacred Arrows of the Cheyenne, as well as the most sacred items of each of the other nations were present during the historic signing.

2. It is a unifying document among the seven allied nations to forever protect their sacred homelands.

Second of all, the Pike’s Peak gold rush of 1858 brought white encroachment by ways of pony express riders, telegraph wires, stagecoaches, and more and more military forts whose soldiers (at least in the Sand Creek Massacre) included volunteer soldiers under the command of Col. John Chivington.(1)

To illustrate, here is a poster from 1864 that portrays the recruitment of volunteer soldiers, which helped to result in the California terrorist attacks. That was the same year as the Sand Creek Massacre.





The 1849 agreement between California territorial and federal governments provided $1,000,000 for the arming and supply of persons who would seek out and destroy Native American families.

I don’t know if such posters were in or near Colorado, but John Chivington who led the “Bloody Third” scorned Indian children.


COL. JOHN CHIVINGTON: Ex-Methodist Minister, Heroic Indian Fighter, 1864

“Nits make lice,”
he was fond of saying, and of course, since Indians were lice, their children were nits. Clearly, Chivington was a man ahead of his time: it would be almost a century later before another man would think of describing the extermination of a people “the same thing as delousing”: Heinrich Himmler. [LN477]

Clearly, Roman Nose had a more than sufficient reason to defend his people.

Matters continued becoming worse for the Cheyenne and Arapaho as the white encroachment increased dramatically with the Pike’s Peak gold rush of 1858, despite the land being promised them in the Great Horse Creek Treaty (1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie). The Territory of Colorado was then “declared” a decade after that treaty, and politicians wanted to “renegotiate” the Great Horse Creek Treaty at Fort Wise. It was far from a compromise, it was theft.



The said chiefs and delegates
of said Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes of Indians do hereby cede and relinquish to the United States all lands now owned, possessed, or claimed by them, wherever situated, except a tract to be reserved for the use of said tribes located within the following described boundaries, to wit:…”

Some “negotiation…” 38 of the 44 Cheyenne chiefs did not sign it.

Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” p. 69:

“…When the Cheyennes pointed out that only six of their forty-four chiefs were present, the United States officials replied that the others could sign it later…”(1)

Adding still more misery, were facts that hunting was scarce on this land tract, nor was it suited well to farming. Also, the white encroachment from the Pike’s Peak gold rush escalated, while Civil War soldiers roamed onto their grounds. Then, Chivington, the butcher of Sand Creek, began his campaign of extermination and genocide.


In the spring of 1864, while the Civil War raged in the east, Chivington launched a campaign of violence against the Cheyenne and their allies, his troops attacking any and all Indians and razing their villages. The Cheyennes, joined by neighboring Arapahos, Sioux, Comanches, and Kiowas in both Colorado and Kansas, went on the defensive warpath.

Chief Black Kettle was promised complete safety by Colonel Greenwood as long as he rose the U.S flag above him.(1) Black Kettle persisted in his calls for peace in spite of the continuing exterminations and the shooting of Lean Bear.

(All bold mine)


Lean Bear, a leading peacemaker who had previously met with President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., was shot from his horse without warning by U.S. troops during a Kansas buffalo hunt.
The troops were acting under orders from Colonel John M. Chivington who commanded the military district of Colorado: “Find Indians wherever you can and kill them” (The War of the Rebellion, 1880-1881, pp. 403-404).

Perplexed by the continuing genocide, Black Kettle sent for Little White Man, known as William Bent.Almost prophetic, both agreed in their meeting that a war was about to be born if nothing changed. Black Kettle’s peaceful attempts tragically failed, even though he took his people to Sand Creek, fully expecting peace.His last effort for peace was raising the U.S. flag just prior to the massacre.


“…Though no treaties were signed, the Indians believed that by reporting and camping near army posts, they would be declaring peace and accepting sanctuary.

However on the day of the “peace talks” Chivington received a telegram from General Samuel Curtis (his superior officer) informing him that “I want no peace till the Indians suffer more…No peace must be made without my directions.”

Chivington, the Butcher of the Sand Creek Massacre:

COL. JOHN CHIVINGTON: Ex-Methodist Minister

“Nits make lice,”

he was fond of saying, and of course, since Indians were lice, their children were nits. Clearly, Chivington was a man ahead of his time: it would be almost a century later before another man would think of describing the extermination of a people “the same thing as delousing”: Heinrich Himmler. [LN477]




“the Cheyennes will have to be roundly whipped — or completely wiped out — before they will be quiet. I say that if any of them are caught in your vicinity, the only thing to do is kill them.” A month later, while addressing a gathering of church deacons, he dismissed the possibility of making a treaty with the Cheyenne: “It simply is not possible for Indians to obey or even understand any treaty. I am fully satisfied, gentlemen, that to kill them is the only way we will ever have peace and quiet in Colorado.”

(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)

Unaware of Curtis’s telegram, Black Kettle and some 550 Cheyennes and Arapahos, having made their peace, traveled south to set up camp on Sand Creek under the promised protection of Fort Lyon. Those who remained opposed to the agreement headed North to join the Sioux.

The Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864

Black Kettle and his people had every reason to expect complete safety from their bloodshed after agreements for peace were made and the Dog Soldiers left to join the Sioux. Nonetheless, Chivington’s troops advanced on the Cheyenne and Arapaho near dawn. The sound of those approaching hooves must have sounded ominous.

U.S. soldiers inevitably chased the defenseless Cheyenne and Arapaho by horse and foot with knives and guns in hand. Their victims had to be positioned before ripping off their scalps, cutting off their ears, smashing out their brains, butchering their children, tearing their breastfeeding infants away from their mother’s breasts, and then murdering those infants. The “Bloody Third” soldiers necessarily had to kill the infants before cutting out their mother’s genitals.

The one question I never saw asked in the congressional hearings was, “Didn’t you disgraceful soldiers realize they were family?”

Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” pp. 58-59:

-The report of witnesses at Sand Creek:

“I saw some Indians that had been scalped, and the ears cut off the body of White Antelope,” said Captain L. Wilson of the first Colorado Cavalry. “One Indian who had been scalped had also his skull smashed in, and I heard that the privates of White Antelope had been cut off to make a tobacco bag of. I heard some of the men say that the privates of one of the squaws had been cut out and put on a stick…”

John S. Smith…

All manner of depredations were inflicted on their persons; they were scalped, their brains knocked out; the men used their knives, ripped open women, clubbed little children, knocked them in the heads with their guns, beat their brains out, mutilated their bodies in every sense of the word…worse mutilation that I ever saw before, the women all cut to pieces…children two or three months old; all ages lying there.

From sucking infants up to warriors.

Sand Creek being a deliberate massacre is not contested, especially since the “Bloody Third” set the village in flames and took all the evidence back to Washington to hide it.


Letters written by those at Sand Creek From Lt. Silas Soule to Maj. Edward Wynkoop, Dec. 14, 1864:

“The massacre lasted six or eight hours…I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized….They were all scalped, and as high as a half a dozen [scalps] taken from one head. They were all horribly mutilated…You could think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did there, but every word I have told you is the truth, which they do not deny…I expect we will have a hell of a time with Indians this winter.”


Before departing, the command, now the “Bloody Third”, ransacked and burned the village.
The surviving Indians, some 300 people, fled north towards other Cheyenne camps.

Medicine Calf Beckwourth sought Black Kettle to ask him if peace was yet possible, but Black Kettle had moved out to be with relatives. Leg-in-the-Water replaced him as the primary chief; so, Beckwourth asked Leg-in-the-Water if there could be peace. Principle chief Leg-in-the-Water responded with these powerful words.

Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” p. 94:

“The white man has taken our country, killed all of our children. Now no peace. We want to go meet our families in the spirit land. We loved the whites until we found out they lied to us, and robbed us of what we had. We have raised the battle ax until death.”(1)


…despite broken promises and attacks on his own life, speak of him as a great leader with an almost unique vision of the possibility for coexistence between white society and the culture of the plains…

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown. p. 92.

Chivington and his soldiers destroyed the lives or the power of every Cheyenne and Arapaho chief who had held out for peace with the white men.

Thanks to Meteor Blades from a previous post of this diary

Here are some of the names of those reputed to have been killed at Sand Creek, according to various sources:

Vo-ke-cha/White Hat

Na-ko-ne-tum/Bear Skin or Robe

Na-ko-yu-sus/Wounded Bear

O-ko-che-voh-i-tan/Crow Necklace

No-ko-a-mine/Bear Feathers

Ne-sko-mo-ne/Two Lances

O-ne-mok-tan/Black Wolf

Vo-ki-ve-cum-se-mos-ta/White Antelope

E-se-ma-ki/One Eye

Ne-so-min-ni/Tall Bear

Co-kah-you-son-ne/Feather Head

On-ne-ma(hito)/Tall or Big Wolf

O-ka-cha-his-ta/Heap of Crows –

killed were both a father and son

of the same name,

and the sons wife and children.

O-ko-che-vo-voi-se/Spotted Crow

Ma-pa-vin-iste/Standing Water

Make-ti-he/Big Head

Mah-she-ne-(ve)/Red Arm

No-ko-ist/Sitting Bear


Mak-o-wah/Big Shell

O-ne-ah-tah/Wolf Mule

Ve-hoe/White Man

Oh-to-mai-ha/Tall Bull

Mok-tow/Black Horse

Oh-co-mo-on-est/Yellow Wolf

No-veh-yah/Loser in the Race


Ta-ik-ha-seh/Cut Nose


No-ko-nis-seh/Lame Bear

Oh-tam-i-mi-neh/Dog Coming Up

Why-mih-est/Foot Tracks

One-vah-kies/Bob-Tail Wolf

Mo-ke-kah/Blue Crane


Ni-het/Mound Of Rocks

Vos-ti-o-kist/White Calf

Oh-e-vil/(Morning Star or Dull Knife,

   listed as Black Kettles brother)

Min-ne-no-ah/Whirlwind or Standing Bear

   Mi-hah-min-est/Spirit Walking

Wost-sa-sa-mi/White Crane

Wi-can-noh/Forked Stick


Mah-hite/(Iron ?)

Mah-ki-mish-yov/Big Child

Man-i-tan/Red Paint

To-ha-voh-yest/White Faced Bull

No-ko-ny-u-/Kills Bear

No-ko-nih-tyes/Big Louse

O-ha-ni-no/Man On Hill

Mah-voh-ca-mist/White Beaver

Mah-in-ne-est/Turtle Following His Wife

Mak-iv-veya-tah/Wooden Leg

O-ma-ish-po/Big Smoke

Ne-o-mi-ve-yuh/Sand Hill

Mo-ha-yah/Elk AKA Cohoe

Van-nit-tah/Spanish Woman

O-tat-ta-wah/Blue Horse


Cut Lip Bear

Smoke or Big Smoke

One Eye

Big Man

Cheyenne Chief Left Hand.

Kah-makt/ Stick or Wood;

Oh-no-mis-ta/Wolf That Hears;

Co-se-to/Painted or Pointed Tomahawk;

Ta-na-ha-ta/One Leg;

O-tah-nis-to(te)/Bull That Hears;

O-tah-nis-ta-to-ve/Seven Bulls

Mis-ti-mah/Big Owl

No-ko-i-yan/Bear Shield

Vo-ki-mok-tan/Black Antelope

O-to-a-yest-yet/Bull Neck


Non-ne/Lame Man, White Bear or Curious Horn

O-ne-na-vist/Wolf Horn

Com-sev-vah/Shriveled Leg

O-ne-i-nis-to/Wolf That Speaks or

   Howling Wolf

No-ko-i-kat/Little Bear

O-ne-mi-yesp/Flying Bird

Moh-sehna-vo-voit/Spotted Horse

Ish-ho-me-ne/Rising Sun

Wip-puh-tah/Empty Belly

Mah-oist/Red Sheath


Meh-on-ne/Making Road

O-ko-oh-tu-eh/Bull Pup,

Male Crow O-ye-kis/Man Who Peeps Over The Hill

O-ne-i-kit/Little wolf


Mok-tok-kah/Wolf Road

O-ha-va-man/Scabby Man


A-st-yet/Bushy Head

Ca-sum-mi/Wolf Grey

Kah-i-nist-teh/Standing Skunk

Kast-yah/Lean Belly

No-ko-mi-kis/Old bear

Tah-vo-tuveh/Mad Bull

Vo-tou-yah/Tall Bird

No-ko-se-vist/? Bear

Es-toh/Stuffed Gut

Oh-mah/Little Beaver

Mah-hi-vist/Red Bird

Ve-hoe/White Man

O-ko-che-ut-tan-yuh/Male Crow

E-yo-vah-hi-heh/Yellow Woman

Min-hit-it-tan-yeh/Male Cherry

A-ya-ma-na-kuh/Bear Above

O-kin-neh/Smooth Face

No-ku-hist/(Possibly White Bear)

Day After Thanksgiving Observance: Native American Heritage Day

( – promoted by navajo)

Native American Heritage Day

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving

Most people aren’t aware of this, but last June, President Obama signed into law a joint resolution of the House and Senate, sponsored by Rep. Baca of California and Sen. Inouye of Hawaii, naming the Friday after Thanksgiving Native American Heritage Day, “to honor the achievements and contributions of Native Americans to the United States.”

The general truth, that we little understand the implications of what we celebrate, and that we should become more aware of our history and how others view it, is very appropriate to carry in our thoughts on this supposedly contemplative occasion.  

My family origins are with an ancestor who came over from England in 1680.  Nearly a century later, a descendant of his fought in the American Revolution.  My great grandfather learned a portable trade growing up in Litchfield, Connecticut, as a wheelwright, and made it all the way West – to Albion, NY.  Despite the long history of my family in America, I largely am an expert in the ignorance of Mainstream America in this subject area, beyond the Disneyfied bubble many of us have lived in. I feel I should comment from my attempts to overcome this.  

So, as a non-expert, how to get across some things about American Indian ways of life that enrich us?  There are so many ways one might go about this.  A list of things like corn, so much a staple of our diets that our bodies are nearly identical to corn in chemical analysis?  Quinine?  The insight into political process and governance that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson gained from meeting and talking with councils of the Six Nations confederacy?  

Given the spiritual and family nature of this holiday for many people, maybe it would be interesting to explore something most people might not consider.  

Several years ago I was living on the main campus of the Navajo Nation’s tribal college, in Tsaile, Az (derived from the Navajo word for a place where water enters the canyon) at the head of Canyon de Chelly in a stunning setting on the flanks of the Chuska (Ch’osgai – white spruce) Mountains, high up at 7200 feet.  

I thought I was going to a public lecture, but found myself in a large meeting convened on the Navajo Nation by many medicine men, tribal college leaders, tribal government and legal experts and others concerned about the issue of spreading water from sewage treatment onto the slopes of a sacred mountain.  This was approved by the National Park Service under Bush.  Fake snow  for ski tourism on the mountain near Flagstaff.

The purpose was to review  the legal strategy for opposing the Park Service action before the appellate court and possibly the Supreme Court on behalf of the Nation, and some fifteen other tribal entities as well.  

Harry Walters, a well known expert on Navajo culture, a teacher at the college and a tribal elder, explained the difference between “Western” viewpoints on issues such as this and “Indian” ways of seeing it, thus to explore the problem of translating the issue into language useful in a courtroom.  

I should mention that Dine’ College was founded on the principle that Indian youth could best be prepared for a future as leaders for the Nation, and successful people in the larger culture, through an education that honors traditional Indian views of life, as well as the accreditation requirements for US colleges.  The educational philosophy uses an ancient wisdom tradition description, Sa’a N’yae Bikeh Hozhon.  It isn’t translateable directly.

This is the sort of issue at the heart of the cultural divide between the two different traditions.  Language is a real limitation when it really represents different ways of thinking.  

Specific breaking down into atoms, molecules or logical bits that can be categorized is the “Western” gift to mankind.  It creates science and the benefits derived therefrom.  It also creates problems when people and cultures are subjected to compartmentalized thinking that allows them to be dismissed as less than human or irrelevant.  This is the source of war and horrible legacies that we know all too well, unless we dismiss the truth of history as many do – also made possible by compartmentalized, limited, left brain thinking.  

The more fluid, open and right brained intelligence welcomes more subjective experience as truth.  Poetry and art are more congruent than, say chemistry.  More comfort with ambiguity.  Less comfort with regimentation.

Walters drew a line and a circle.  More or less, straight line logic that sees things in terms of a continuum, such as a timeline or a process is one way of looking at the world, and a circle, where all things are seen as a gestalt with no beginning or end is another.

One might compare this to an Eastern, maybe Buddhist philosophy.  But it goes further.

The wisdom to be found in American Indian philosophy cannot be separated from ancient experience of place.  This is why land issues are so vastly crucial.  Dine’ people, especially in the very center of the Nation, have the fortune of living on land that direct ancestors walked going back at least into the fifteen hundreds.  Maybe further back.

The reason that there is a dispute over the sacred mountain is that there is no distinction between the time of Creation – back then in ancient times – and now.  The figures in the myths of origin, notably the Yei, are still alive and present within the four sacred mountains that define the Dine’ world.  These are deities.  Peeing in the baptismal font, as it were, is not only disrespectful, but could harm balance on a profound level and cause a drift into negativity across the land, increasing criminal thinking, drug and alcohol abuse, and bad public leadership.  Maintaining balance in the world is the essential issue.  

One could talk about this in terms of String Theory.  Time exists all in one place and we live in a dimension of it, not able to experience beyond what our senses are designed to process.  We are limited beings who cannot take in more than a small amount of reality.  We live in very limited ways.  We need some kind of help with enlarging into our potential as individuals and as a society.  What we seek, that we may lack, is proper balance.  Calibrating balance is the larger work of consciousness leaders.  The ideal is what is meant by the word, “beauty.”

The insight that we live in a landscape that we ought to open ourselves to having reverence for, is a valuable insight.  Heedless existence that has no respect for Others, is completely selfish and allows unchecked consumption of everything without respect for any consequences in the future is the opposite of balance, of beauty.

Navajo families gather in the fall and winter for Yei Bi Chei ceremonies.  These may be open to the public, with hand painted signs visible along roads pointing to them.  Traditionally, they last for nine days.  People do take off work, telling supervisors that they must go to a family ceremony and this is acceptable, with compromises.  There are now short form ceremonies lasting maybe only a day or so.  But there are still very lengthy observances among the most traditional folks.  

I attended a Christmas Eve Yei Bi Che a few years ago, up the road a few miles at Lukachukai, as it happens, an historic center of ceremonialism.  Here’s an image: http://www.ed-resources.net/…

The elaborate ceremony involved a specially built ceremonial Hogan (an eight-sided log house) a lighted area out front, four ceremonial bonfires in a line on either side of a dance runway leading out into the sagebrush, and a large area for parking in an adjacent field.  The medicine man conducting this performs a long series of complex songs that are the equivalent of a libretto for a long opera, and executes sand paintings and other rituals in private, in the hogan.  He also manages and oversees everything so it is all done right.

A line of dancers comes in from the field, approaching the patient, seated in front of the hogan.  At night, the area between the bonfires is lit, and the dancers enter from complete darkness.  Out here, there are no city lights.  No lights at all.  Only stars, which are bright and close enough to almost touch in the high altitude air far from traffic or smokestacks.  It was cold.  Fifteen degrees.  No one in the large crowd was complaining about it, so I didn’t remark on it either. But I did get some hot chocolate from the guy in the trailer with the fry bread, Navajo tacos (mutton in fry bread) and coffee.  

I contemplated, among other things, the license plates on about a hundred pickup trucks and cars, some idling with people inside warming up.   When the call goes out, family gathers as they might for a wedding, driving in from everywhere imagineable.  

Navajos are unified by a strong sense of family, clan, community.  It is a healthy support system.  For those who participate in this, resources can be shared that might help get someone through a distant college,  create a great network of caregivers for children, even capital for business investment.

The line of dancers, dressed in white body paint and the unique masks representing the Yei, move through the ritual in stages, calling out in the strange hooting that evokes supernatural utterance.  At some point, the dancers may be “possessed” (a western term that will have to do) by the actual Yei who enter them and bring healings and blessings.  This is one reason so many people are so dedicated to dropping what they are doing and driving however many miles they have to in order to make it.  

In “The Web of Life” Fritjof Capra points out the work of physicist Ilya Prigogine, who won a Nobel Prize for postulating systems theory.  In this “New Physics” everything is connected to everything, in a giant web, and not in straight line sequences.  The world wide web is an example.  The Gaia system is another.  I guess one could say String Theory extends this.

The first Europeans to come to these shores, like the Pilgrims, did not understand ecology.  (anybody talking about String Theory back then would have been accused of blasphemy, or worse.)  They believed in Man’s Dominion over Creation.  A sense of reverence for all things, seen or not seen, understood or not understood, a sense that man does not have the right to dominate but is an equal part of the whole web of life –  is an essential indigenous wisdom.  This is ancient human heritage for all cultures, but it has been a lost wisdom through the European Christian era, with its war on the indigenous world of Europe, brought here by the settlers.

Perhaps one of the great gifts of the meeting of the “Western” and Indigenous minds can still be a rediscovery of that deeply ancient wisdom which might be relevant to our future survival as Homo Sapiens.  

Last Thanksgiving, or around then, we had a dinner guest from Lukachukai, a graduate faculty member in the education department who had lived for some years in San Francisco and was on his way to an Ivy League university to do a lecture.  I remember him saying, “We have no wisdom to share with anyone. Look at us.  We are a devastated people.  We live in poverty.  Look at the alcohol, the domestic violence, people leaving the reservation for jobs a long way away.”

You can certainly see a lot of cultural devastation and the history is full of causes for grieving.  But on deep reflection, I believe that if the core of indigenous experience is ever lost, all mankind will suffer from that in ways we may never grasp.  I prefer to take what opportunities there might be, to honor what wisdom I might be able to comprehend.  That isn’t an easy process, and yes, it is full of contradictions.  

A line came to me for a poem once:  “we will be shown what we can see.”

Wisdom begins with being fully open to the idea that we may not know everything or understand everything, but we might do better at that if we try, in time.  

What I am saying is that the differences between perspectives have in the past led to killing and huge conflict.  We should contemplate, instead, the ways that we can learn to open our minds to new dimensions of understanding and gain new ground in the process.  That is something to consider and give thanks over – for the future.

Hozho Nahastle

Hozho Nahastle

Hozho Nahastle

Hozho Nahastle  (May there be Beauty)  

More on the Navajo sacred mountains by Wilson Aronilth, a medicine man and teacher at Dine’ College:


The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named (Pt.2)

( – promoted by navajo)

and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.

Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre

William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.

– small snip –

—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”

Without having the book or being able to see it online, the proclamation appears, according to Richard Drinnon, to have come from William Bradford. I’ll be buying the book. “‘Thanksgiving Day'” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637,” as from Newell, which was John Winthrop.

But “William Bradford became the governor of Plymouth after the first governor died in 1621.”

And in “1631, John Winthrop (1588-1649) became the first elected official in America-governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.”

They were both Puritans, they both probably said it.

Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating & Empire Building

The original Thanksgiving was marked by prayer and thanks for the untimely deaths of most of the Wampanoag Tribe due to smallpox contracted from earlier European visitors. Thus when the Pilgrims arrived they found the fields already cleared and planted, and they called them their own.

– snip –

He was inspired to issue a proclamation: “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.” The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.

The following source cites Drinnon in the next paragraph, so I assume the following came from Drinnon as well.


Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed “first Thanksgiving.” There is not much documentation of that event, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots. “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots,” read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. Few Pequots survived.

The first Official Thanksgiving was gratitude for genocide in 1637, and in 1676 – 1677 “a day was set apart for public thanksgiving,” because nearly all of them were exterminated by then.


3 See Sylvester, op. cit., ii, p. 457, for expedients adopted by Massachusetts to obtain money to defend the frontiers. Yet the number killed and sold, along with those who escaped, practically destroyed the warring Indians. According to the Massachusetts Records of 1676-1677 a day was set apart for public thanksgiving, because, among other things of moment, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them (the Indians) but are either slain, captivated or fled.”


In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The “Praying Indians” who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with “hostiles.” They were enslaved or killed. Other “peaceful” Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts – and were sold onto slave ships.

– snip –

After King Philip’s War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan’s New York colony: “There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts.” In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a “day of public thanksgiving” in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”

Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.

Furthermore, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named was in the context of “slave-producing wars in New England.”

The war consisted of two battles: the Mistick Fight, and the Swamp Fight. In the first of these two events, but seven captives were taken.1 In the second, the Swamp Fight, about one hundred and eighty captives were taken.2 Two of the sachems taken in the Swamp Fight were spared, on promise that they guide the English to the retreat of Sassacus. The other men captives, some twenty or thirty in number, were put to death.3 The remaining captives, consisting of about eighty women and children, were divided. Some were given to the soldiers, whether gratis or for pay does not appear. Thirty were given to the Narraganset who were allies of the English, forty-eight were sent to Massachusetts and the remainder were assigned to Connecticut.4  

During the years 1675 and 1676, one finds mention of the sale of Indians in Plymouth in groups of about a hundred,2 fifty-seven,3 three,4 one hundred and sixty,5 ten,6 and one.7 From June 25, 1675 to September 23, 1676, the records show the sale by the Plymouth colonial authorities of one hundred and eighty-eight Indians.8

    In the Massachusetts Bay colony a similar disposal of captives was accomplished. On one occasion about two hundred were transported and sold.9 There is extant a paper written by Daniel Gookin in 1676, one item of which is as follows: “a list of the Indian children that came in with John of Packachooge.” The list shows twenty-one boys and eleven girls distributed throughout the colony.10

Hence, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named: “In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a ‘day of public thanksgiving’ in 1676, saying, “there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled.”

A cold question arises about whether “the sale of Indians in Plymouth” was at least silently appreciated by the colony. Did they? Were they glad “the Indians” were almost exterminated? They never actually said they were far as I know.


It all began when Philip (called Metacom by his own people), the leader of the Wampanoag Indians, led attacks against English towns in the colony of Plymouth. The war spread quickly, pitting a loose confederation of southeastern Algonquians against a coalition of English colonists. While it raged, colonial armies pursued enemy Indians through the swamps and woods of New England, and Indians attacked English farms and towns from Narragansett Bay to the Connecticut River Valley. Both sides, in fact, had pursued the war seemingly without restraint, killing women and children, torturing captives, and mutilating the dead. The fighting ended after Philip was shot, quartered, and beheaded in August 1676.

How many were glad Saddam Hussein was hung? How many would be glad if all the perpetrators of 9-11 were shot? One last question, how many realize that then and now,  colonialism always brings more violence as “a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction.”  

Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 – 76

…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized…

Some have lost careers over stating the obvious: the US brings it upon itself.

Howard Zinn. A People’s History Of The United States. p. 682.

We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism.


“And in secret places in our minds, in places we don’t talk about, we can’t handle the truth.”

That is true now, and it was true then. Genocide and slavery “saved lives,” just the lives the dominant culture wanted to live. And for that, the dominant culture (a mind set) is grateful.


William Bradford, in his famous History of the Plymouth Plantation, celebrated the Pequot massacre:

“Those that scraped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escapted. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente there of, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to inclose their enemise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enimie.”

“William Bradford, the author of Of Plymouth Plantation (c. 1630, c. 1646), has been hailed as the father of American history.”– He sure as hell is.


The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s Puritan’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide.

A Navajo Veteran’s Day Appreciation Event w/ Photos

I spent last weekend visiting my family on the Navajo reservation in Northern Arizona to attend their 3rd annual Veteran’s Day Appreciation Event at Inscription House where my mother was born. My family honors the local veterans and families of fallen soldiers with a flag ceremony, luncheon and gift baskets. The whole family gathered early to cook a feast, reservation style while enjoying a snow storm, hail storm and then beautiful sunny skies.


The last two years our Code Talker Bahe Ketchum from Navajo Mountain attended but this year he was still in NYC attending the festivities there.  I was very disappointed to miss meeting him.

Below I have several (70+ hi res) photos of the event to give you a little taste of what celebrating is like on the Navajo Rez.

As the 20th century comes to a close, there are nearly 190,00 Native American military veterans. It is well recognized that, historically, Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. The reasons behind this disproportionate contribution are complex and deeply rooted in traditional American Indian culture. In many respects, Native Americans are no different from others who volunteer for military service. They do, however, have distinctive cultural values which drive them to serve their country. One such value is their proud warrior tradition.

In part, the warrior tradition is a willingness to engage the enemy in battle. This characteristic has been clearly demonstrated by the courageous deeds of Native Americans in combat. However, the warrior tradition is best exemplified by the following qualities said to be inherent to most if not all Native American societies: strength, honor, pride, devotion, and wisdom. These qualities make a perfect fit with military tradition.



We begin the drive to Inscription House, that snow storm there in the distance is our destination



The flag is put out as a road marker for the event next to Inscription House Trading Post.




My mother, an elder, arrives to hold court and see her beloved family.  She is escorted by my little brother Nate who is her caregiver.



My cousins, nieces and nephews are busy building juniper fires and prepping food



Making fry bread



Grilling dry bread



The dry bread is starting to stack up



Chopping juniper wood is an everyday task on the rez



My family gets warm while the fire stokes down so one can cook on it


On a visit to the rez you must include pics of the kids, these are the offspring of my nieces and nephews, cute or super cute?  Our tribe’s future…















My niece and her family, she served in Iraq



A young Navajo singer and drummer performed


More elders arrive




The veterans begin to arrive:






Must photograph this Navajo bun hairstyle (note Navajo cradle board in car in background)


Organizing for the flag ceremony







Impromptu rehearsal (note the trumpet player on the far right, he is the music teacher at nearby Shonto school where my cousin Judy teaches kindergarten)


Everyone lines up for chow:





That’s me serving chow on the far right





My 88 yr. old mom is pretty happy to be eating mutton stew (actually we have no idea exactly how old she is…she has no birth certificate.)






Presenting the flag to a mother of a fallen soldier





This is the impromptu color guard, job well done!



My cousin Duane, a cross between Wes Studi and Travis Bickle, he saw the Berlin Wall come down



We took two trips after this day’s main event:

1- a trip to visit my mom’s younger sister


My Aunt Mary’s home



Her home, this is one of the nicer homes on the rez




A stockpile of wood chopped by my cousin Allen for my aunt Mary, his mother



My mom visiting her younger sister



2- Bonus photos for you from Monument Valley at twilight and before a snow storm










Look along the top rim and notice the new hotel “The View”









My haul for this trip and I scored, especially with the pottery my cousin Linda made



The mutton stew I made with the blue corn I brought back with me.  YUM.



The rest of this set of photos including personal ones lives here.  I recommend the slide show first and then go to the detailed version for descriptions of each pic.

The 141st Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

( – promoted by navajo)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men
of a specific race.

We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.

Part 1: The Intent to Commit Genocide

Custer’s tactical errors of rushing ahead of the established military plans and dividing his troops are well known.


On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village.

Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer’s unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them.

Yet, what enabled him to get back “on the course” after his court martial in 1867 and his being relieved by President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily in 1876?

The answers to that question are deception, wisely having prevented Washita from being labeled a massacre by halting the slaying of women and children at Washita; thus, sidestepping a full investigation as Sand Creek was (my speculation), and more lies.

Forcing and binding those Native Nations onto land where they could not survive by hunting or agriculture, breaking promises to provide those survival means, and propaganda revolving around the Kansas Raids reset Custer “on the course.” Moxtaveto (Black Kettle) was innocent.

What about the Dog Soldiers, weren’t they somehow to blame? An old Indian joke goes, “When the whites win, it’s a victory; when the Indians win, it’s a massacre.” Let’s look at what occurred amongst the Chiefs after the Sand Creek Massacre and prior to the Kansas Raids to find some answers, in between the “victories” and the “massacres.”

(Bold mine)


And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children?
It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.

Why? George thought he knew. He had lived among the whites and had fought in their war. He knew their greed for land and possessions – Their appetite for these things was boundless. But they also obeyed rules of warfare peculiar to them. They waged war on men, and only on recognized fields of battle. In the great life-and-death struggle between North and South even then raging in the East, prisoners were routinely paroled and released or held in guarded camps, where they were fed and cared for. And the whites never warred on women and children who were protected by law and by an unshakable code of honor –

Still Black Kettle counseled peace. A war with the whites, he said, could not be won. The newcomers were too numerous, their weapons too strong. Besides, they had the ability to fight in winter when Cheyenne horses were weak and food was scarce… For Black Kettle, Cheyenne survival depended on peace. War could only bring more Sand Creeks, more deaths, more sorrow – One by one the council Chiefs smoked the red stone war pipe, each recognizing the importance of his decision. When the pipe reached Black Kettle, he passed it on, refusing to smoke. But the others took it up, indicating they would fight.

Hence, the Kansas “Raids” were the only means left available to keep what was promised to them: the ability to survive. The land “given” to them was neither harvestable nor huntable. Those “raids” were the last resort of self defense for survival.

The Last Indian Raid in Kansas


Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek reservation for reservations in southwestern Kansas but deprived the Cheyenne of access to most of their coveted Kansas hunting grounds.

Furthermore, General Sheridan never had any intention of peaceful relations with Black Kettle whatsoever.

(Bold mine)

Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P. 169.

In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”

He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”

In fact, it is owed to General Sheridan himself the “American aphorism,” “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It started as “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

Whether or not Black Kettle strove for peace or the Dog Soldiers fought, they were all as “good as dead.”  The extermination policy set Custer “on the course” to Washita.

(Bold mine)


Given the War Department’s mandate that all Cheyennes were guilty for the sins of the few in regard to the Kansas raids, there is no question that Custer succeeded in this pur­pose by attacking Black Kettle’s village. His instructions from his supe­riors had been “to destroy their villages and ponies; to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”

Part 2: The Approaching Genocide at Washita

Custer was pursuing the snow tracks of Dog Soldiers that would eventually lead to Black Kettle’s village on Thanksgiving Day in a cruel irony. The cruelest irony however, was that Black Kettle and his wife would be slain nearly four years to the day that they both escaped Chivington at the Sand Creek Massacre. Black Kettle’s honesty concerning young men in his village he could not control was of no avail. He and his village were going to be “punished” and broken beyond any immediate or distant recovery.

John Corbin, the messenger from Major Elliot, rode up and informed Custer of two large Indian snow tracks. One was recent. Preparations were then made to pursue the “savages” as covertly as possible. Smoking ceased and weapons were bound to prevent visual or aural detection. In addition, the 7th whispered and paused frequently as they rode slowly towards the future tracks that would lead to Black Kettle’s village. Simultaneously, Black Kettle received dire warnings that he and the others ignored. A Kiowa war party gave the first warning of having seen soldier’s tracks that were heading their direction. It was discounted. Black Kettle’s wife, Medicine Woman, gave another warning that night before the 7th’s arrival of an intuitive nature during the meeting in the Peace Chief’s lodge by firelight. She begged them to move immediately. It too was dismissed. They would move the next day, instead.

Black Kettle had already moved their camp recently, which the returning war party that had helped in the Kansas Raids learned upon their returning. November 25th found this war party dividing into two different directions in order to reach their destinations the quickest. Approximately 139 of them traveled to the big village on the river, while about 11 of them led Custer straight to Black Kettle. A bell around one dog’s neck enabled all the dogs to be located easily by the tribe, and after a Cheyenne baby cried, Custer pinpointed their exact location. He coordinated the attack to begin at dawn from four fronts.

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Thompson’s troops would attack to the North East, Myer’s and Custer’s troops positioned to attack to the East and South East, while Elliot would attack to the South.

Custer knew their mobility was greatly hampered in winter time; consequently, that was an important element in the “campaign.”

Part 3: The Genocide At Washita

The sensory components of the genocide at Washita in now Cheyenne, Oklahoma must be held in mind in order to capture the entire breadth of it. These are sound, smell, and sight. For example, the shrill crying of the noncombatant Cheyenne women and children, and the yelling of the charging 7th Calvary with their knives and guns would have been beyond deafening. And the fog with gunpowder smoke must have been worse than any nightmare, while the red blood – stained snow and the smell of death permeated the ground and air.

The Death & Vision of Moxtaveto ( Black Kettle)

A woman dashed into the village to warn Black Kettle of the coming troopers; he hastily snatched his rifle from his lodge and fired a warning shot for all to awaken and flee. If he had attempted to meet the soldiers and ask for peaceful negotiations, that would have been useless; as a result, he then mounted his horse with his wife, Woman Here After, and tried to escape through the North direction. His horse was shot in the leg before bullets knocked him and his wife off the horse and into the Washita River, where they both died together.


“Both the chief and his wife fell at the river bank riddled with bullets,” one witness reported, “the soldiers rode right over Black Kettle and his wife and their horse as they lay dead on the ground, and their bodies were all splashed with mud by the charging soldiers.” Custer later reported that an Osage guide took Black Kettle’s scalp.

Stan Hiog. “The Peace Chiefs Of The Cheyenne.” p. 174

Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”

Location of  Black Kettle’s death

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Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.

(Taken with permission)

The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.

She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.

Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp. 130-131

There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.

(Location of the genocide at Washita, a few yards from Black Kettle’s death)

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The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.

Osage scouts mutilated women and children. They did a “roundup” of their own by using tree limbs to herd the defenseless Cheyenne women and children back to the village, where the mutilations could continue. Custer halted the slaying of women and children at one point, but he raped them later in captivity.

One Osage scout beheaded a Cheyenne.

Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp120

They (Osages) “shot down the women and mutilated their bodies, cutting off their arms, legs and breasts with knives.”

The 7th captured the Cheyenne and started bonfires. They burned the 51 lodges to the ground. Winter clothing that was depended upon for winter survival was incinerated in the flames, as was food supplies. Weapons and all lodge contents were burned also, including any sacred items.

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Finally, 875 horses were shot, thus stripping away their last means of survival and independence.

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Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P.170

Late in December the survivors of Black Kettle’s band began arriving at Fort Cobb –

Little Robe was now the nominal leader of the tribe, and was taken to see Sheridan he told the bearlike soldier chief that his people were starving – they had eaten all their dogs.

Sheridan replied that the Cheyennes would be fed if they all came into Fort Cobb and surrendered unconditionally. “You cannot make peace now and commence killing whites again in the spring.” Sheridan added, “If you are not willing to make a complete peace, you can go back and we will fight this thing out.”

Little Robe knew there was but one answer he could give.

“It is for you to say what we have to do,” he said.

American Holocaust

(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)

The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.


Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.


Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.

Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.

Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”

This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”

Further information regarding accurate numbers of deaths, captives and list of names are in Jerome A. Greene’s wonderful book, “Washita.”


We have been traveling through a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began.

Black Kettle

Native Voices: Black Kettle

I did imagine hearing crying voices when I went to the site of the Washita Massacre and before writing

Moxtaveto’s (Black Kettle’s) Extermination on November 27, 1868 & a Request. The elders say it’s haunted, like they said they could hear children cry at the Sand Creek Massacre.

To end this, I will quote former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre, “If there were any savages that day, it was not the Indian people.”

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named

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“In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians

were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them.”

“It may be demanded…Should not Christians have more mercy and

compassion? But…sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents…. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.”

-Puritan divine Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana

Frank James, a Wampanoag tribal member, would have given a speech in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1970; however, the ones in charge of the Thanksgiving ceremony at Plymouth Rock denied Frank James from ever uttering it. I learned about this in The Thanksgiving Day Massacre…Or, would you like Turkey with your genocide?

The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide. Furthermore, the low population counts of the Pequot in more recent years points to how the devastating effects of the English’s, or Separatists’, or Pilgrims’, or Puritans’ crime of genocide almost destroyed the Pequot population. The English, who no doubt formed an American Colony in New England, claimed the land as theirs by the Doctrine of Discovery, which is still in effect today as federal law. To be accurate, the word genocide was not created until 1944 by Raphael Lemkin;nonetheless, the word genocide is appropriate when discussing the near extermination of the Pequot. To be clear, the Doctrine of Discovery legally applied to the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England, but not to the Pilgrims in New Plymouth. What was the difference?

No Doctrine of Discovery –

Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 47.

Thus it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags. To the pilgrims, this became their “deed of cession,” authorizing them to seize unspecified acreage.

– or, Doctrine of Discovery,


The Doctrine of Discovery provided that by law and divine intention European Christian countries gained power and legal rights over indigenous non-Christian peoples immediately upon their “discovery” by Europeans. Various European monarchs and their legal systems developed this principle to benefit their own countries. The Discovery Doctrine was then adopted into American colonial and state law and into the United States Constitution, and was then adopted by the federal legislative and executive branches, and finally by the U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Johnson is still federal law today and the Doctrine of Discovery is still being applied to Indian individuals and the American Indian Nations notwithstanding its Eurocentric, religious, and racial underpinnings.

It was all the same in both of their usages. There was no difference.

Patent Granted by King Henry VII to John Cabot and his Sons

…to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians…
And that the before-mentioned John and his sons or their heirs and deputies may conquer, occupy and possess whatsoever such towns, castles, cities and islands by them thus discovered that they may be able to conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands and mainlands so discovered;…

However, Roger Williams tried to “make a difference;” in good conscience he stated:

Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 48.

“We have not our land by patent from the King, but that the natives are the true owners of it, and that we ought to repent of such receiving it by patent…” For his radical ideas Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635.”

Now that all that is stated, let us go to the  specifics of the timeline.

First, the Pilgrims landed in Wampanoag controlled land in 1620.

Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

The Pokanokets (also called Wampanoags) controlled the area in which the Pilgrims settled, yet their villages had suffered terrible losses in the epidemic of 1616 – 1618. To protect themselves from the powerful Narragansetts of the southern New England coast (who had been spared the ravages of the disease), the Pokanokets decided to ally themselves with the newcomers. In the spring of 1621, their leader, Massasoit,  signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, and during the colony’s first difficult years the Pokanokets supplied the English with essential foodstuffs.


Yet, where were they beforehand and why did they set sail?

Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.

Separatists were the first to move to New England. In 1609 a group of Separatists migrated to Holland, where they found the freedom of worship denied them in Stuart England. But they were nevertheless troubled by the Netherlands’ too – tolerant atmosphere; the nation that tolerated them also tolerated religions and behaviors they abhorred. Hoping to isolate themselves and their children from the corrupting influence of worldly temptations, these people, who were to become known as Pilgrims, received permission from a branch of the Virginia Company to colonize the northern part of its territory.

Next, there was just one feast in 1621, not a succession of feasts. Why? There was probably only one feast, because “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags,” and these.

Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p. 49.

The fact is that to the Puritan, the Native American was the instrument of Satan. For Cotton Mather the Indians were “doleful creatures who were the veriest ruins of Mankind, who were to be everywhere on the face of the earth”; and even Roger Williams, the great friend of the Indians, said they were devil – worshippers.

Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving By Rick Shenkman

…the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them. Besides, the Pilgrims would never have tolerated festivities at a true religious event. Indeed, what we think of as Thanksgiving was really a harvest festival. Actual “Thanksgivings” were religious affairs; everybody spent the day praying. Incidentally, these Pilgrim Thanksgivings occurred at different times of the year, not just in November.

Consequently, the European invasion brought a whole new level of violence to the native tribes,

Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 – 76

…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized… 

and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.

Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre

William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.

– small snip –

—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”

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Historically revised events of and after 1621: that the feast was of friendly intent and not a political ploy since “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags;” that there were successive feasts which involved the Indians; and that ignore the Pequot Massacre, “For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won..” all hide the truth. Adding to every one of those assertions is Frank James’ suppressed speech that he would have spoken publicly if he had been allowed to do so in 1970.

THE SUPPRESSED SPEECH OF WAMSUTTA (FRANK B.) JAMES, WAMPANOAG To have been delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1970

…Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans.

Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.

Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years? History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch…”

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. p.  219

As difficult as it may be for non – Indians to realize the corruption of American Institutions, such as universities, or to recognize the hypnotic effect of propaganda and hegemony, it may be far more difficult for them to mitigate the shadow side of their own cultural histories. In this chapter a non – Indian (David Gabbard) scholar stresses how vital it is to do so nonetheless, for until a true realization occurs, the United States of America will likely continue its similar intrusions of colonialism in other parts of the world and on other people. He points out that for this realization to take place, we must recognize First Nations scholarship as a set of practices aimed at helping everyone remember themselves and that efforts to discredit that scholarship and the worldviews that it attempts to recover can keep us in a cycle of genocide that will ultimately consume us.

Origins Of The Native American Flute

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The clear origins of the Native American Flute date back several thousand millennia to flutes made of bone, to petroglyphs, and oral history. Unclear “origins” involve the Spanish Conquest insofar as the Spanish stealing the bamboo flute from Asia, and then introducing it to the Five Civilized Tribes. A Cheyenne Flute Maker relayed this to me. The idea goes, that the bamboo flute was made out of river cane by the Five Civilized Tribes after the Spanish “brought” the bamboo flute to the “New World.” Subsequently, river cane flutes then proceeded to be constructed out of cedar wood by the Plains Tribes; hence, its origins within this idea being called Asian – Spanish. However, the Cheyenne Flute Maker said that the tribes already possessed the flute prior to the invasion, and the Spanish may have introduced it to a few. That raises some questions, but the ultimate answer we shall see is one of mystery.

What family of trees were flutes being constructed out of then?  What are some woods that they are being made out of now? After answering those questions along with some general knowledge in that area, we will proceed to the clear and unclear origins of the flute. The only clear thing is that it’s a mystery who specifically invented the first flutes world wide as old as approximately 82,000 years ago.

The juniper family of trees, including cedar, was used to make the earliest flutes. To illustrate, flutes were possibly constructed out of the Arizona cypress, the Utah juniper, or the Rocky Mountain juniper, but definitely out of the eastern red cedar. The length of the branch used was crucial in determining the overall pitch desired in the flute being made. To be more specific, the distance between the holes on the flute determined the musical scale that the flute would play, which was a process of trial and error to achieve the desired order of notes. Generally speaking, longer and larger flutes were lower in pitch, while shorter and smaller flutes were higher in pitch.


Currently, other woods that flutes are being made out of today besides cedar are the following: maple, cherry, apple, pear, teak, walnut, purpleheart, ash, and spruce. This includes making them out of tree branches as opposed to buying a block of the relevant wood at a hardware store. There were cultural uses of the flute.

According to the guide at the Cherokee National Museum, the flute was used in courting. Furthermore, when the man was successful with the flute in his courting purposes in the matriarchal society of the Cherokee Nation, the woman whom he had successfully courted broke the flute in half. She did so to prevent him from playing it for anyone else. For the Cheyenne, it is historically for courting and personal expression. While some tribes have used the flute in ceremony, it’s crucial to state that some have not – all the tribes are different.


What does all this have to do with the fact that soldiers who became sleepy accused the Cheyenne of performing witchcraft when they heard Cheyenne flute music in the Cheyenne  camps? According to the Cheyenne Flute Maker, when the soldiers were in the camps and heard the flute music being played, the soldiers got sleepy and fell asleep. The Doctrine of Discovery states, “to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians;” and, Henry VII authorized Cabot to “conquer, occupy and possess” any discovered land whatsoever. Let’s think of the question again. What does this have to do with the fact that the soldiers accused the Cheyenne of performing witchcraft? It wouldn’t be the first time in history that fundamentalists associated music virtuosity, originality, and excellence with evil. For example, some thought Paganini played the violin so fast and furious that he was possessed by demons, and some believed Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to play the blues. It’s a very broad answer to answer why the soldiers accused the Cheyenne of witchcraft.

Regardless of the grain of truth that may exist in Spain introducing the Bamboo Flute to very few tribes, Spain wished to conquer the world. Ceremonies, languages, Indigenous musical styles, and ways of life were all affected by the invaders. Ceremonies? Hidden or now lost, yet survived in cases. Languages? Pronunciation or now lost, yet survived in cases. Indigenous musical styles? Musical influence from the “Church” modes. Ways of life? Gone as entire tribal entities when comparing past and present in the United States and in Canada; furthermore, try imagining what the above would now be if the invaders had never come. Indigenous population(s) who have been unmolested worldwide would be an exception, but the former and the latter previously mentioned affected cultural aspects and most likely unaffected cultures would require a dissertation. “Columbus was a disease” I heard it once said, as the speaker related how an entire uncommunicating network of different Indigenous tribes no longer do ceremonies to care for Mother Earth because of the genocide. But I digress even further as I add my thoughts in agreement with this (emphasis mine).


Whether it’s pentatonic mode plus a note, or Dorian mode minus a note, or the six note Raga Mahohari mode, such labels are attempts to contemporize the Native American Flute.

The flute was used for courting within relevant tribal customs before and during the time of being actively hunted; it was used for personal expression; it was used for ceremonial purposes. Why is it that today some want to interpret the notes the earliest flutes may have played in terms of a sliver of music theory – the major scale of which at least 80% of Western music is based?


…most Western music is played in a major key: 97 percent of popular American songs, and 73 percent of classical music is in a major key.

Tunnel vision is being applied to universal sound which is owed to the vibrations of the harmonic series and crosses cultural boundaries as a universal language, but little minds always like things much smaller, don’t they? The scissor tail sings the Lydian dominant scale, except just prior to mating. Then he sings the blues scale.  Witchcraft indeed.


The brains behind Dreams Kaimin is Dr Takuro Endo, a neurologist who has made a science, and a lucrative CD business, out of selecting the right music to induce sleep. He divides it into three categories: melodies that fire the imagination; those that are calming and relaxing; and music that should, within ten minutes, slow the brain down to the point of unconsciousness.

But a fictitious flute spell is not what needs to be broken. How is it that all these different cultures worldwide developed the flute?


Symbols of the American Indian come down to us in many forms.  Some are beaded on elaborate wampum belts, others are found on strips of buffalo hide and more are seen chiseled on stone.  Probably the most reliable, in terms of graphic interpretation, are those found in the Southwest commonly called ‘rock art’. According to some estimates there are over 50,000 “known” stone petroglyphs and pictographs in the Southwest and West alone. Many more probably exist in remote areas or covered by modern civilization.  Certainly, more existed prior to the European invasion.  


Flutes are the earliest known musical instruments. A number of flutes dating to about 40,000 to 35,000 years ago have been found in the Swabian Alb region of Germany. These flutes demonstrate that a developed musical tradition existed from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe.[1]


Kokopelli, ancient humpbacked flute player, is the Southwest’s most popular icon. Presented here are more than 300 flute player images, including a great many that have never been published. Along with new information about the meaning and origin of Kokopelli, some of it challenges our current understanding of this unmistakable character. Explore the range of the flute player and see how it extends south into Mexico, north into Canada, west into Nevada, and east into the plains of Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma.


Flutes made of bamboo are found in many musical traditions.The Gamelan in Indonesia use them.

Some bamboo flutes include:


The Indian flute, one of the oldest instruments of Indian classical music, appears to have developed independently of the western flute. The Hindu god Krishna is said to be a master of the instrument.

How is it that all those different cultures worldwide developed the flute without communicating? My best and only guess, is they “recognized their tune.”


Shortly after this research, Maman met French physicist Joel Sternheimer, who discovered the vibratory frequency of elementary particles. Long before the “string theory”, Sternheimer was transposing certain molecular structures into musical patterns, creating “the music of the molecules.”

Like Maman’s cellular research, Sternheimer found that if there was a problem in an organic structure, the molecules of that structure did not vibrate, but if they heard the string of notes they recognized as their tune, they began to vibrate again.

There are no clear specific origins of the flute of any culture, except for the stories sacred to that culture and the obvious elements of the instrument’s construction with its cultural usages. What is clear is that each is a unique stylistic interpretation of a universal language, but let the mystery remain of who created it first individually –


or collectively in its birth across the globe.


Some likely have made false claims, but let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken – while maintaining the individual integrity of all.


…The earliest possible evidence of Shamanic activity in the Americas comes from the recently excavated Jones-Miller site in Colorado (Stanford 1979). At this Plano kill site, dating to about 8,000 B.C., bison herds were slaughtered, apparently by driving them between ice-glazed snow banks. A post hole was discerned by the excavator, and near it were found an antler flute, a miniature point, and other objects that might have belonged to a Shaman…

Action: Rescind Wounded Knee Medals of Dis Honor

( – promoted by navajo)

Petition: Medals of Dis Honor

Twenty-three soldiers from the Seventh Calvary were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee.

We are asking that these Medals of DIS Honor awarded to the members of the 7th Calvary of the United States Army for the murder of innocent women children and men on that terrible December morning be rescinded.

Credit & permission for image to & by www.myspace.com/removewoundedkneemedals


(Reposted for obvious reasons, and to firmly state the fact that a reconciliation event that ends in “native artifacts and ritual items like carved masks (were) thrown into bonfires” is NOT what is needed)

A feather was lying on the sidewalk when I left work; I picked it up and looked closely at it. Carrying it as I walked, there was a baby bird beside my car, homeless. The baby bird had no wings and just stared at the pavement in the darkness, moving its head up and down. Several thoughts came into my mind as I watched and realized picking the bird up would get my scent on it and cause rejection from its mother. I thought about the suicides on reservations, the lack of justice on reservations, climate change, alcohol and drug addiction in the American Indian population, health concerns of American Indians, and the worries of the American Indian People in general. I then looked at the bird again, relating to it.

It is precisely things like “Twenty-three soldiers from the Seventh Calvary were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee,” counties and national parks being named after Custer, streets and so on being named after Sheridan, and Chivington Colorado being named after Chivington, that can lead me to feel like that bird with no wings staring at the pavement in darkness. Interesting, there isn’t a town, street, river, tank, or monument named after Hitler in Israel, nor would any medal of honor be bestowed upon a Holocaust Overseer. But the dominant culture in America, a term applied only to those doing harm, needs a rationalization when there are “national indigenous movements fighting to protect their dwindling territories and the right to manage the natural resources.” Why rescind “the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee” when condoning genocide works so well? Let’s take a trip to the past to make a correlation in order to outline the right thing to do.

I had gotten into a discussion with a woman in Cheyenne about Washita, and she told me how a couple men coordinated an event of reconciliation. It involved a reenactment with Sand Creek Massacre descendants and grandsons of Custer’s 7th Calvary at the same location Black Kettle was exterminated by Custer. Paramount was the re-burial of a child victim’s bones.

The descendants camped where Custer’s 7th Calvary had attacked Black Kettle’s camp one century earlier; however, they were unaware that the grandsons of Custer’s 7th would be coming over the hill firing guns with blanks in them. When the 7th Calvary’s grandsons came towards them on horses firing blanks in their weapons, there were many feelings of surprise, fear, anger, and betrayal experienced by the Sand Creek Massacre descendants. Remember, the Sand Creek Massacre descendants and the ones who were slain at Washita were the same individuals.

Unknown to the Cheyenne, a California group called the Grandsons of the Seventh Calvary, Grand Army of the Republic, had been asked to join the Reenactment-

A line was formed after the reenactment with the grandsons of the 7th Calvary, who obviously wanted to help in this healing, at the front of the line. Lawrence Hart, a Mennonite pastor, felt very angry as he watched the bones of the child being passed down it towards the front. A Native woman then put a blanket over the little coffin containing the child’s bones, which continued to be passed down the line to Hart. The blanket was then handed to him.

“Among the Cheyenne was Lawrence Hart, a peace chief and a Mennonite pastor. The celebration became tense. The final event of the day was the re-burial of the victim’s remains. The small coffin was covered with a beautiful new woolen blanket. According to Cheyenne tradition, the blanket would be given to a guest.”

“The older peace chiefs asked Hart to give the blanket to the captain of the Grandsons of the Seventh Calvary! He couldn’t believe what they were asking. This man was the enemy! Hart’s own great-grandfather, Afraid of Beavers, had barely escaped the attack by hiding in a snowdrift.”

“Hart was tense. As the captain came forward, Hart told him to turn around. Hart’s trembling hands then draped the beautiful blanket over the captain’s shoulders.”

It was a grand moment. The wise Cheyenne peace chiefs had initiated peace.
The Grandsons embraced the chiefs. Some cried. Some apologized. When Hart greeted the captain, the officer took the Garry Owen pin from his own uniform and handed it to Hart.”

“Accept this on behalf of all Cheyenne Indian people,” the captain said. “Never again will your people hear Garry Owen.”

Read that last sentence again said by the captain, and remember that “Garry Owen” was the song Custer had his band play right before the exterminations began at Washita.

“Accept this on behalf of all Cheyenne Indian people,” the captain said.” Never again will your people hear Garry Owen.”

The lady I spoke with said there wasn’t a dry eye left.

Now, forty years later, it’s time for “Never again will your people see a ‘Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians.'” Please sign the petition if you haven’t already.

Petition: Medals of Dis Honor

Twenty-three soldiers from the Seventh Calvary were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee.

We are asking that these Medals of DIS Honor awarded to the members of the 7th Calvary of the United States Army for the murder of innocent women children and men on that terrible December morning be rescinded.


Mitakuye Oyasin