An Old Woman Speaks on Blood Purity, Prophecy,
and Bringing Hope to Humanity....
© March 19 2000, Rev. January, 2007 ~ Firestone, Colorado
by Stephanie M. Schwartz
I have been asked to speak on the pain-filled happenings caused by some Traditional American Indians who wish to keep American Indian spirituality strictly limited to those who are of 100% pure Indian blood or at least to those who are BIA card-carrying, Federally-registered members of a tribe/nation. I have really tried to duck this issue because I am no authority and have no BIA number. I have eight different bloods and the Nation of my dna-proven Native American blood is unknown to me.
But this is such an important question that I find I can't leave it alone. Every time I take a nap or sit quietly, its implications keep coming back to me over and over and I am literally driven to respond to this painful conflict which speaks so closely to my heart. I may get blasted here for my words but I simply say they are mine and, as such, are simply my opinion. No great wisdom or knowledge from me. Just heavy thoughts and questions. I do not wish to offend anyone by my statements so if you feel I am off-base, just chalk it off to my ignorance.
As I understand it, when the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman appeared to the Lakota, the Seven Bands had been at war with each other. In fact, life was pretty much consumed with hatred, rage, violence, and resentment .brother fighting brother. The people were starving in their hearts and in their stomachs as well.
It is said she came to bring Peace and Understanding among the People and her first gift was the Sacred C'anunpa, the Sacred Pipe, which she brought and gifted to The People. According to Nicholas Black Elk, the late Lakota Holy Man, the Sacred C'anunpa is a direct link between The People and Wakan Tanka, The Great Spirit/The Great Mystery/The All That Is.
The parts of the C'anunpa, alone, can be seen as symbols for various things. But its primary purpose, above all else, is to link The People with Wakan Tanka so that all may walk the good Red Road in Peace, blossoming in harmony on the Tree of the People, and interconnected with all life in the Sacred Hoop of Life.
The Lady also gifted ceremonies to the People. Through her words and these ceremonies, she taught the men of their power and potential to be strong, pure, and powerful as they lead The People in peace; that their power was a gift to be used in peace. She taught how all living things are interconnected.... not just two-leggeds.... as we are nourished by Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth.
Furthermore, she taught the women of their spiritual power and their vital place within the Nation as well as how to cook the buffalo which later appeared to feed the starving people. She taught of the wisdom of the Elders. She taught the young girls how to become aware of and control their spiritual power for the good of The People as they grew into womanhood. She taught to the little children of their value so that they would know that one day they, too, would have the power and would lead The People in Peace under the Sacred C'anunpa.
She taught them how to honor the dead with respect as their souls moved on into their journey and brought an ever-renewing realization to The People through the Keeping of the Soul Ceremony that, indeed, life and soul does transcend this one physical existence.
She taught the good of the whole was more important than the good of the individual... that in all things, including the Sundance, the goals should be for the good of all The People and not the individual. She taught the people to be aware of their human imperfections and to work regularly to purify themselves and their heart through the Inipi Sweatlodge Ceremonies.
She taught how each individual might humble themselves and approach Tunkashila, Grandfather Creator, personally through Vision Quests but, approaching always with the awareness that whatever benefit or gift might come from this ceremony, the primary goal is that it should transcend Self to the greater good of all The People.
According to Black Elk, she also taught that as Tunkashila loves each of them so should they love all humanity and work for humanity to live in harmony together. To this end, she taught them a Ceremony for Making Relatives of those from other Nations and Peoples, so that the Will of Tunkashila might be done and harmony reign in this world.
Not all of the seven sacred ceremonies were given at the very moment of her visit but they were promised. And in fulfillment of her promise, they were given through sacred visions as the years went along. This was no dry ritualistic set of traditions but a live, vibrant, powerful relationship with The Great Mystery, ever-evolving and leading The People to grow in their awareness and responsibility and past the narrow confines of hatred, rage, envy, and self-centered ego concerns.
Her teachings showed The People that each individual, every individual, is uniquely and supremely important precisely because what each does affects all life, no matter who or what role in the society they play. In my opinion, the prized Lakota values of Generosity, Courage, Respect, and Wisdom are simply living reflections of all these teachings.
But now comes the hard part. Here, many of the traditionalists will tell me I have no right to speak but I will say it anyway..... my heart forces me to ask...... I look around and ask myself, have we continued these teachings? Or is life much like it was when she came before...... hatred, rage, envy and violence still with us?
Do the blood quotients or blood purity of its peoples really indicate the state of The People or does its Heart? Are the white phony Indians any worse than the Indian who swindles his own People? Does not brother still fight brother? Are spurning those of good heart and intent but no tribal card helping anyone? Is the incredible, absolutely agonizing pain I see and feel everywhere as we each must wrestle with these difficult issues ever going to be resolved? How can they ever be resolved?
A wise Lakota once told me that Tunkashila calls who It will...... that the Sacred C'anunpa and the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman will speak to whom they will...... not based upon man-made rules and regulations but upon the Will of Tunkashila and the heart of the individual. And it must be from the Heart that the validity of this is recognized and valued. Until that happens, the Hoop may be mended but the Tree is not yet ready to blossom again. And some days, it seems overwhelmingly discouraging that this can ever be a reality.
It is precisely because of this that, in my opinion, the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman will honor her promise and return. Obviously we hue-mans are still too weak to get it right on our own.
It's not just a Tribal/Nation problem.... these very same problems and issues exist everywhere, in all cultures. Yet, in my view, it is truly the most tragic to see it in the Lakota Nation, the exact People who have the very most to offer the world and humanity. We need help. They need help. We all need help.
If the Lakota Nation could open its heart to all Nations, if only the Lakota Nation would share its Wisdoms, its profound Ways and Spirituality, with all the people of good heart who wish to learn, then the exploiters and phony shamans would be forced out of business.
If the Lakota gave freely from their hearts to the hearts that were drawn to them, then no one could charge money and, with no money involved, the crooks would go away. And if it was the true Traditional Lakota Spiritual Leaders doing the teaching, then humanity would learn it right and in a good way, and would know to ignore those who would teach it wrong or in a wrong way.
I believe, hope, and pray that the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Woman will, indeed, come and help guide us all, all nations, all peoples, all humanity to come together in harmony.
But I also pray every day of my life that the Lakota will be able to fulfill their potential and the charge she gave to them to lead all of us to this peace and harmony and to Her. With unified Heart, they truly could. That is my sincere opinion.
However, I am only an old woman of no significance who has no right to say anything except that of one who feels the pain everywhere intensely and wishes she could just do something to make a difference and to help. Sadly, I am as lost as everyone else as to what it might be.
Peace. Mitakuye Oyasin. We Are All Related. -steph
March 19, 2000 SilvrDrach@aol.com