Monday, July 28, 2008

Turtle Heart || Public Record

I am by traditional birth into the family of the Ahnishinabeg. This happened through the bloodline of my father. Through my mother I have bloodlines that are Welsh and Catawba.

I am highly and determinedly independent. First and formost I believe I work for the ancient future, for this Mother Earth who gave all tribal people their original instructions. My work is with and for the human spirit, of and for all people.

By accepting responsibility for understanding who my ancestors were, I placed myself under the direction of my tribal relations. Not all of them loved me for making this choice. However, wherever I have lived or walked I have received love, support and guidance.

I have received teachings from more than forty tribal elders over a period of 30 years. When I was a young man I was given Sacred Pipe. As I traveled with Sacred Pipe I was given the education which I now treasure and hope to share with others. My teachers and I agreed that I might in my own way share what we learned together.

My ceremonial work does not come from a political, governmental or ethnic agenda or authority. This bundle of sacred ideas and objects, which are the instruments of my work, was created by the male ancestors of their male children according to the rights of freedom and their own responsibility to do what they hope is right.

Following the historic and spiritual tradition of my own cultural relations, the Ahnishinabe of the Northern Woodlands, I have started a long vision quest to carry Sacred Ppipe around the circle of Mother Earth. Many of our most ancient sacred teachers made this choice and returned after great time and experience, to enrich the lives of all Ahnishinabe people. I am a child of that ancient family.

I am not a part of any other alliance with any tribal organization or tribal government. My work is spiritual, traditional and the birth rights bestowed upon me by my tribal elders. There are no tribal authorities other than the living tribal elders that can say or should say who may be a child of the Ahnishinabe. I accept no money or services from any tribe or any government.

It has been my view that the combined stress and problems of nearly all tribal religions, culture, language and ritual has created confusion, pain and rage. There is also a lot of confusion and bad information coming in and going out from modern society. Sometimes I feel like tribal people are either drowning in an ocean of bad information, hunted by the sharks of intellectual good intentions….or starving in the windless desert of societal indifference.

I believe that Sacred Pipe and many of the original instructions are floating in a sea of mud, in cloudy water and gray skies. From the long life I have made with my teachers we came to believe that a strong ceremony made by one man could bring new information and open new and needed possibilities to everybody. Everybody.

As Keeper and Protector of Sacred Pipe Four Directions Unity Bundle I have a responsibility to use the ceremonial instructions it contains to respond to the world and journey within myself for all my relations. I have that right absolutely and without question.

I am a volunteer who accepted this responsibility 25 years ago from my tribal relations face to face, breath to breath, eyes wide open. We believe this is a ceremony created and supported by the original instructions and by the rights of personal vision, which is the right of all people who hold tribal sacred objects and who place themselves before the living faces of their tribal elders.

Because I had taken it on myself to travel all over the United States on long journeys to seek out tribal elders and tribal teachers, I seemed like a good candidate for this work. My education took me to many tribal communities. I also have a well-founded education in modern society. Under the guidance of my teachers I studied many of the world’s religions, as well as world history, medicine, art and much of the world’s fine literature. I created this educational journey myself and went out and found the teachers who gave it to me.

The world journey of Sacred Pipe inside the Four Directions Unity Bundle is an extension of those ideas, those rights, and those hopes of those tribal elders and teachers whom I believed spoke only the truth to me. Truth which I accepted as my life's work.

My work takes place many times in solitude as I move around this Mother Earth. When I meet and work with other people it is always in small groups over several days. In this way the work has time to produce the rich details which come from taking real time, a few days, to sit and understand what this world ceremony is about, and what it can accomplish.

I receive no personal payments for my work. Sometimes the people I work with help with the expenses of travel and support for things like our computer system. Sometimes they give me nothing at all.

We have never needed or required the permission of anyone except ourselves. I am satisfied that I have lived before and under the direction of my Native American Elders, who are the final and only proper authority for Sacred Pipe and the Ceremonies of Four Directions Unity Bundle.

Turtle Heart
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