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Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 12:26:21 -0800
Sender: NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information <NATIVE-L@tamvm1.tamu.edu>
From: native-l@gnosys.svle.ma.us
Subject: nanews03.002 (part A)
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--------- RE: Tradition ---------

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 23:15 EST
From: Steven C. Schiavi <0005408096@mcimail.com>


By Rainbow Walker, 6 January 1995

Sometimes, we can hang on to a thing or a way of doing something so tightly that we choke the life out of it.

The Spirit is a living Spirit. Visions, real visions, are now, not just back then.

I am of two minds about traditional ways. It is necessary and desirable to retain certain forms intact, in the way they have been passed down to us.

It is neither necessary or desirable to become so obsessed with these forms that they overshadow the substance they are meant to embody.

To use an example from the Jesus road...he criticized the religious authorities of his day for paying so much attention to the outer forms of their religion. He said they were like a tomb...beautifully carved and molded on the outside, but filled with decay and death on the inside.

This can happen to anyone, not just the jewish priests 2000 years ago. if the Creator is truly with us, we will not do anything wrong. If your heart tells you to wear a certain object around your neck that from time immemorial has traditionally been carried in a belt pouch.... should you be afraid to make a change?

Or would you be better off remembering...ah, a powerful word, remembering! that the very essence of what is Indian is that unique and individual relationship each of us has with our Creator, and all our cousins?

We need to respect the Creator and the creation.

Motion is the essence of life; all things are alive.

Changing, moving, dancing thru many forms and seasons and passages of time and space.

A good heart; humility before the Creator (and this is only common sense; how can anyone look at the night sky and be anything less than humble before its author?); a sense of humor and honor and respect for oneself and all one's relations.

These are the breath of life, as the steam coming off of a white-hot stone. Water becoming steam; wood becoming fire, becoming new life, a new birth, a chance to start over.

Nature is constantly breaking things down and building them again. a new elm tree looks like an old elm tree, but it is made of different stuff. It is not like its parent; it is unique. It is alive.

There is a constant renewal in creation as the seasons circle around again and again. Every summer is summer; but no two summers are alike. Every winter has its cold, but no two snowflakes are alike.

A lot of the patterns we see repeating around, and even within, ourselves, are more a matter of what we expect to see than they are of any ultimate truth - which, if there is such a thing, is the exclusive property of the Creator. We two-leggeds can't begin to comprehend such a thing.

Traditional ways are spring, summer, fall and winter. They are rain, and thunder; they are lakes and rivers.

They are forms of power.

The spirits that move within them can move differently from time to time.

If they did not, every day would be exactly like every other day. Every storm would be the same storm. Every leaf would be the same as every other leaf. It would be very much like the dominant culture would like to see things. The same, the same, the same. Row houses. Factories. Cars.

A multimedia box in your living room to suck out any pretensions you might have towards owning a soul.

Fortunately, as long as there are a few real human beings around, that won't happen to everybody.

Although it has already happened to a lot of people, and will happen to a lot more. But Mother doesn't like all this unnatural behavior. It hurts

Her in more ways than one. So She's going to cry, and Her sobs will shake Her body. She will cry out to the sky, and people will wonder at the sound.

She will lift up Her arms, and the waves will rise high. but She will hear our prayers.

What is traditional?

Prayer, and awareness of the living Spirit in all things.

Respect, and love.

Consideration for the generations gone before, and those to come.

I am of two minds about tradition; but then, I am of two minds about everything.