In this world each person has the freedom to do whatever they want, whatever they can imagine, and possibly whatever they dare.
When, in American Indian culture, we use the term “Grandfather”, then we are saying to the world that we have made a very different choice. When we use the term Grandfather to talk about our life we are saying that we give up this absolute freedom. We are saying that we are taking into consideration the wishes, direction and ideas of the tribal elders. We are saying that while we still have and preserve every freedom, we choose to understand the law and the hopes of the tribal elders before we take action.
When we talk about the sacred of the American Indian, we are also talking about Grandfather, in the same breath. When we invoke this privilege, we also invoke this responsibility.
Objects like the sacred pipe and ceremonies like the Sweat Lodge are the intellectual and moral property of Grandfather. These many sacred things do not belong to the world of freedom where you can do and say whatever you please.
Yes. It is possible to disagree with Grandfather. If your evidence and your arguments are good, if they are perfect. Yes. Disagreement is possible. But. Only after agreement. Only after that search to understand what Grandfather has to say.
Grandfather often speaks in silence. Sacred Silence is filled with powerful information. Sacred Silence is filled with the truth. Learning to listen to the direction of Grandfather also means learning to truly listen to his silence. That is why the sacred people are so important. They understand this. Perfectly. That is why they are in the positions to hold and practice with the sacred.
When we hear the words and songs and silence of those who hold this faith with Grandfather, the sound is very different than the educated noise of those people who have the absolute freedom to do whatever they want.
I can make no judgement as to which system is better. I can only say that to invoke the sacred of the American Indian is to always invoke this law of the Grandfather. There are no exceptions, no chosen ones, who are allowed to violate this principle. Ever.
Grandfather is not just some old American Indian man. This has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Grandfather. He is an idea. An identity of reference to those who have gone before us. Grandfather is a specific and recognizable force which transcends the identity or face of any living person.