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Monthly Archives: December 2012

A Woman’s Worth. Words of Wisdom From the Elders.

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bfswomanThe Elders say the men should look at women in a sacred way.

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The men should never put women down or shame them in any way. When we have problems, we should seek their counsel. We should share with them openly.

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A woman has intuitive thought. She has access to another system of knowledge that few men develop. She can help us understand. We must treat her in a good way.

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Dream Catcher…

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The Origin of Dream Catchers

 
Legend of the Spider and the Grandmother.  What ties together a spider and a grandmother? In an ancient Native American tale, an old grandmother saw a spider nearby her sleeping spot. She had watched the spider for days while he spun his web. Her grandson entered one day and saw the spider. He picked up a rock and was going to crush it, but the grandmother stopped him. He asked her why. But the grandmother just smiled.
 
After the boy left, the spider spoke to the grandmother who had been watching him spin his web for days and to thank her for saving his life he would give her a gift. He showed her how to spin a web. He said the web would snare all the bad dreams and only the good dreams would come through to be remembered. The bad would become entangled in the web. The legend is one explanation of the creation of a dream catcher.
 
bfsdreamcatcherThe Lokata Dream Catcher Legend:  Another legend of the dream catcher tells of an old Lakota spiritual leader who was on a very high mountain and had a vision. In this vision, Iktomi, who was a great trickster and teacher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. As they were talking, the spider picked up the willow hoop which had feathers, beads on it and began to spin a web. He and the elder spoke about the cycles of life. We begin as infants, then on to childhood and then adults. As we enter old age, we need to be cared for like children, which complete the circle. Iktomi also spoke of good and bad forces that can alter the forces of nature. When he had finished speaking he gave the elder the finished web and told him that it was a perfect circle with a hole in the center. He instructed him to use the web to help people reach their goals, using their ideas and dreams. The web will catch the good ideas and the bad ones will go through the hole. The spiritual elder passed this information on to his people and many hung a dream catcher above their beds. It is said that the dream catcher holds the destiny of the future.
 
The Lakota believe that good and bad dreams move freely about in the night winds. The dream catcher grabs the floating good dreams and holds them in the webbing until the light of day. At this point they pass to the mind of the sleeper so that he can follow his dream.
 
The Origin of the Dream Catcher Found in the Ojibwa Tribe:  As interesting as these legends are, dream catchers, a true Native American art, are attributed to the Ojibwa Tribe based on a long tradition of oral stories and legends passed on through the generations. The Ojibwa tribe, whose traditional homeland is around the Great Lakes, has ancient stories relating the tales of the use of these dream catchers with their spider like web to capture the nightmares of sleeping children. These originally were quite small, only about 3 inches in diameter and made of bent wood, and a string or leather attached to a feather. The pattern used for the webbing was similar to the snowshoes made by the tribe.
 
The dream catcher was hung by a sleeping child to prevent nightmares. The legend was that the bad dreams would be caught in the dream catcher’s web. The ancient story told by the Objibwa tells of Asibikaashi (Spider Woman) who along with Wanabozhoo brought the sun to the people.  Asibikaashi still takes care of her people today; however, since the Ojibwa nation has spread to the four corners of North America, it is difficult to make this journey. So mothers, sisters, and grandmothers took it upon themselves to make the weaving webs for the new babies.The shape is of a circle as that is how the sun travels each day. The web allows for the bad dreams to be caught and the open circle in the center permits the good thoughts to come through. It is traditional to put a feather in the center as it means breath or air which is essential for life. The baby watches the feather move in the flow of air is entertained as well as learning the lesson of the air.  The type of feather generally used signifies different properties; the feather of an owl (a woman’s feather) is symbolic of wisdom and an eagle feather (a man’s feather) represents courage.
 
Today the use of feathers of these birds is forbidden by the government, so sometimes four gems are used to signify the four directions. The Gifts of the Four Directions Each of the four directions holds the promise of attributes important to the Native American. From the East comes the eagle with gifts of the color yellow, spiritual, Father Sky, dreams, and courage.
 
From the West come the gifts of the turtle and bear; protection, the color black, and fire.
 
Next, from the South come the gifts of the cougar: the color red, summer, Mother Earth, and nourishment.
 
And finally, from the North come the gifts of the polar bear: the color white, winter, water, Grandmother Moon, and wisdom.
 
Frances Densmore’s Research Frances Densmore, after extensive research, published in 1929 a book, Chippewa Customs, in which she describes the dream catcher webs and their use of hanging over a baby’s crib to catch bad dreams. For thousands of years, the Native Americans used the dream catcher to provide only dreams of good for their children. The original dream catcher had a very tiny hole in the center and all dreams were caught in the web. Dreams have great powers according to the Old Ones and the web entangles the bad so that they do not reach the sleeper and disturbed his sleep. However, the good dreams float through the center down the trail of beads into the mind of the sleeper. The bad dreams entangled in the web would perish in the light of the sun at daybreak. Popularity of Dream Catchers During the 60’s and 70’s the dream catchers became accepted with other tribes such as Cherokee, Lakota and Navajo. These are not found in all Native American tribes.
 
The popularity of dream catchers today is widespread. You can find jewelry such as earrings, and dream catchers dangling from mirrors in cars as well as the traditional catcher hung over the bed. You can purchase a true Native American made Dream Catcher from various stores along the roads and in towns near the Reservation Lands in Arizona and New Mexico.  In addition, on line sites sell this Native American craft item. Some people want to make their own dream catcher and can find instructional internet sites and books. For many believe the legend of the dream catcher and enjoy peaceful and beautiful dreams by sleeping under its power.
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bluefeatherspirit1

Native American Crow Gods and Spirits.

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bluefeatherspirit28

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bfsraven1Many people are under the mistaken impression that crows were viewed as harbingers of death in Native American cultures, but in fact, that is not true at all. We do not know of any Native American tribe in which crows were seen as omens of death. Indeed, just the opposite, seeing a crow was (and still is!) considered good luck by many tribes. It is true that crows will eat carrion, but so do many other animals not typically associated with the dead such as bald eagles, bears, etc. In Native American folklore, the intelligence of crows is usually portrayed as their most important feature. In some tribes, the crow is conflated with the raven, a larger cousin of the crow that shares many of the same characteristics. In other tribes, Crow and Raven are distinct mythological characters.

Crows are also used as clan animals in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Crow Clans include the Chippewa (whose Crow Clan and its totem are called Aandeg), the Hopi (whose Crow Clan is called Angwusngyam or Ungwish-wungwa), the Menominee, the Caddo, the Tlingit, and the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico.

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Excerpt from a book written by James Alexander Throm called: The Red Heart.

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 “The Rainbow Crow was beautiful to hear and to see, back in the days when it never got cold, back in the Ancient Days, before Snow Spirit appeared in the World.

When the Snow Spirit did appear, all the people and animals were freezing and a messenger was selected to go up to kijilamuh ka’ong, The Creator Who Creates By Thinking What Will Be. The messenger was to ask The Creator to think of the World as being warm again so that they would not all freeze to death.

Rainbow Crow was chosen to go and he flew upward for three days. He got the Creator’s attention by singing beautifully, but even though he begged the Creator to make it warm again, the Creator said He could not, because He had thought of Cold and He could not unthink it. But He did think of Fire, a thing that could warm the creatures even when it was cold. And so He poked a stick into the Sun until it was burning, and the gave it to Rainbow Crow to carry back to earth for the creatures. The Creator told Rainbow Crow to hurry before it burned all up.

Rainbow Crow dove down and flew as fast as he could go. The burning stick charred all of his beautiful feathers until they were black and since he was carrying the stick in his beak, he breathed the smoke and heat until his voice was hoarse.

And so the Rainbow Crow was black and had an unpleasant cawing voice forever after, but all the creatures honored him, for he had brought Tindeh, fire, for everyone to use.

The Crow is to this day, still honored by hunters and animals, who never kill it for food…and, if you look closely at the Crow’s black feathers you can still see many colors gleaming in the black.”

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Tribute to Our Brothers – The Wolves.

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bluefeatherspirit28

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Native American Wolf Mythology

bfs52Wolves figure prominently in the mythology of nearly every Native American tribe. In most Native cultures, Wolf is considered a medicine being associated with courage, strength, loyalty, and success at hunting. Like bears, wolves are considered closely related to humans by many North American tribes, and the origin stories of some Northwest Coast tribes, such as the Quileute and the Kwakiutl, tell of their first ancestors being transformed from wolves into men. In Shoshone mythology, Wolf plays the role of the noble Creator god, while in Anishinabe mythology a wolf character is the brother and true best friend of the culture hero. Among the Pueblo tribes, wolves are considered one of the six directional guardians, associated with the east and the color white. The Zunis carve stone wolf fetishes for protection, ascribing to them both healing and hunting powers.

Wolves are also one of the most common clan animals in Native American cultures. Tribes with Wolf Clans include the Creek (whose Wolf Clan is named Yahalgi or Yvhvlke), the Cherokee (whose Wolf Clan name is Aniwahya or Aniwaya,) the Chippewa (whose Wolf Clan and its totem are called Ma’iingan,) Algonquian tribes like the Lenape, Shawnee and Menominee, the Huron and Iroquois tribes, Plains tribes like the Caddo and Osage, Southern tribes like the Chickasaw, the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, and Northwest Coast tribes like the Tlingit, Tsimshian, and Kwakiutl. Wolf was an important clan crest on the Northwest Coast and can often be found carved on totem poles. The wolf is also the special tribal symbol of several tribes and bands, such as the Munsee Delaware, the Mohegans, and the Skidi Pawnee. Some eastern tribes, like the Lenape and Shawnee, have a Wolf Dance among their tribal dance traditions

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If you would like to Sign Petitions to Save the Wolves of the World Please Click on the Following Links to Sign Petitions.

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http://www.causes.com/causes/610445-good-wolf/actions/1706783

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/reinstate-endangered-species-protections-gray-wolves-nationwide-prohibiting-hunting-and-trapping/W9wn6ydx

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/jens-stoltenberg-and-fredrik-reinfeldt-stop-wolf-cull-wolves-in-norway-are-critically-endangered-occupy-1#share

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