More and more, modern people are turning to indigenous teachings to learn a better way to live. Perhaps acceptance of gay rights could be the next lesson.
Here are a few things Native Americans have already contributed:
- The Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Nation was the model for the United States Constitution.
- Native Americans were the original environmentalists. Care of the earth was so ingrained in their way of life that they didn’t even have a separate word for it.
- In making decisions, Native peoples would first ask how it would affect their descendents 7 generations into the future.
- Though they generally had separate roles, women were honored members of most tribes and could own property.
- Healing the whole person, body, mind and spirit was how they approached illness.
- The earth, and women, were viewed as sacred.
- They taught acceptance instead of judgment.
Many Native American and First Nations cultures accepted gender variation. In fact, lesbians and homosexuals were often considered sacred.
Yet, in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges conferring the right to marry to same-sex couples, many in the United States still oppose same-sex unions.
We have so much to learn.
“Winter Solstice is the time when light is born out of the womb of winter’s darkness.” Mara Freeman, in Kindling the Celtic Spirit: Ancient Traditions to Illumine Your Life Through the Seasons
To original peoples around the world the Winter Solstice is a time of great celebration. This year it takes place on December 21.
It signifies the return of the sun through longer days and shorter nights until the sun reaches its zenith at the Summer Solstice.
Many ancient cultures considered it to be the true beginning of the “new year.”
It’s something modern society takes for granted, and may not even notice. We always assume the sun will rise and set every day. But what if it didn’t?
What if it gave up because we never said, “Thank you!”
Have you ever wondered what the Native American perspective is of the song, “America the Beautiful?” Here is your chance to find out.
The song’s original lyrics sing the praises of the natural beauty of this continent, referring to it as wilderness. There is no mention of the original inhabitants.
My Native American friend, songwriter Tia Shawnté, wrote “Native Son” in 1990 for Mother Earth, set to the melody of “America the Beautiful.’
She has performed the song across the United States and the mayor of Austin, Texas declared February 4 as Tia Shawnté Day. She has just released a music video of the song, which you can watch below.
There is always much to be learned from the animal world, even about courtship . . . and even from eagles.
I myself made many bad relationship choices in my youth; I always seemed to go for flash and no substance in men. And part of that came from not valuing myself enough.
How many of us settle for less than we deserve, rather than be courageous enough to be on our own? I believe it’s a common issue among both men and women.
Thankfully, I eventually matured and learned that not wanting to be alone was a poor relationship standard. Once I learned to respect and value myself, I no longer made those poor choices.
I believe learning to value ourselves, just as we are, is one of the most important, character-building things we can do for ourselves.
So I really enjoyed reading the following two teachings from Native American elders about how to choose a mate.
The iconic view of “medicine men” is that of healing. But their abilities often go far beyond the healing arts.
The following is an excerpt from The Wind Is My Mother,” as told by Bear Heart.
The Creek Tribe had about as many medicine women as men and their knowledge and abilities went far beyond the healing arts.
In the old days, when our medicine people were not doctoring their patients or away on some quest, they would occasionally get together and take some time for themselves, meeting and drinking and kind of letting off steam.
I don’t know where they got the liquor because in those days it was illegal for Indians to drink but they managed it somehow. They didn’t do this all the time, just every now and then as it was one of their ways of staying connected with the earth and humanity.
My mother told me about how they would show off in front of one another while they were drinking. As a child she saw one instance where one of them took a whisky bottle, said a chant, blew on the bottle, physically twisted the glass in his hands and set it down — it was still glass, but it was as though it became something else in his hands, something which allowed itself to be re-shaped.