1840 - 1904
Native name: Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt
(Thunder coming up over the land from the water
CHIEF SEATTLE (facial cast)
1780 - 1866
Native name: Sealth, Sealthl, See-ahth
Chief of Squamish and Duwamish tribes
of Washington state
Chief Joseph was the leader of the Nez Perce people, whose lands were in what is now Oregon and Washington, in the western United States. In 1877 he led his people in a 1400 mile retreat from U.S. troops, which ended in the Battle of Bear Paw Mountains in Montana. Joseph is now especially remembered for the statement he made then: "From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever
." Chief Joseph is often said to have died of a broken heart after spending the last 2 decades of his life on reservations.
I have included Chief Seattle, as he played a role in the history of my Pacific Northwest region. He is known for a famous speech, but much controversy surrounds it, however I feel these quotes by Chief Seattle, whom Seattle Washington is named for, are most appropriate to this moment: Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. My people are few. They resemble the scattering trees of a storm-swept plain...There was a time when our people covered the land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea cover its shell-paved floor, but that time long since passed away with the greatness of tribes that are now but a mournful memory.
It seems there are varying historical perspectives on Chief Seattle. In doing some research I decided to allow anyone interested in learning more about Chief Seattle to rely on their internet searches, but will share this link: CHIEF SEATTLE
Because I was born in Oregon, I guess the world would consider me a native Oregonian. I felt it fitting to begin my tribute to the Native American, with Native American Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce. I was so moved, during the creation of my blog series in tribute to Mother Earth, by the strong connection between Native American peoples and our Earth. This blog entry tribute was simply the next step in human understanding and my blog's evolution.
I was compelled to follow those feelings of gratitude toward the wisdom of Native American cultures. And further... to seek forgiveness from all the ancestors of those Native Americans still living, for the injustices brought about them by their fellow Americans. Thus I dedicate this blog post to current NATIVE AMERICAN peoples and their generations to come.
I begin with a tribute to Chief Joseph, one of the most eloquent speakers of all the Indian leaders. This song, Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood
. Robbie Robertson wrote, attributing the inspiration behind it to the wisdom of Chief Joseph's words...
which are used as the
lyrics in the song. WORDS of FIRE
DEEDS of BLOOD
Chief Joseph: Perhaps you think the Creator sent you here to dispose of us as you see fit. If I thought you were sent by the Creator, I might be induced to think you had a right to dispose of me. Do not misunderstand me, but understand fully with reference to my affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to do with as I choose. The one who has a right to dispose of it is the one who has created it. I claim a right to live on my land and accord you the privilege to return to yours. Brother we have listened to your talk coming from our father the great white chief at Washington. And my people have called upon me to reply to you. And in the winds which pass through these aged pines we hear the moanings of their departed ghosts. And if the voice of our people could have been heard, that act would never have been done. But alas though they stood around, they could neither be seen nor heard. Their tears fell like drops of rain. I hear my voice in the depths of the forest, but no answering voice comes back to me. All is silent around me. My words must therefore be few. I can now say no more. He is silent, for he has nothing to answer when the sun goes down.
In this next video you'll notice a community drum with the drumsticks lying atop it, later in the video a group of drummers are seen seated at their community drum. If you ever have an opportunity to be witness to and experience up close the magnificence of drumming by a group of Native Americans... you will become intoxicated by the beat, the chanting and the energies around the endeavor. The overwhelming feelings of connectedness and comaradery are unmistakeable. You will not soon forget the experience.
This video is inspiring. Although
I know little about it, it felt good
deep down so knew to include
it. The song is Darlin' Don't Cry
song by Buffy Sainte-Marie and
the Red Bull Singers THE SIGNALS of CHANGE
This next video takes place in a recording studio
and features 2 songs.
The first is GHOST DANCE
written by Jim Wilson and Robbie Robertson. Robertson's lead vocal is backed by the voices of sisters Rita and Priscilla Coolidge and their niece Laura Satterfield. There are better quality videos of this first song but because this video offers the other song, Mahk Jchi(Heartbeat Drum Song)
and a chance to experience the 3 Native American female vocalists(Ulali: Pura Fe, Soni, Jen
), who perform it... it was a good choice for this tribute.
As stated, the second song is Mahk Jchi or HEARTBEAT DRUM SONG
, written by Pura Fe, Soni, Jen and performed by Ulali: Pura Fe, Soni, Jen. Robbie Robertson had heard of the group and was drawn to their sound and harmonies. He had recorded a track consisting of only drums with Benito, the keeper of the drum in Taos NM, and his partner Mazatl, an Aztec musician. He then took the track to New York and the studio...
where Pura Fe, Soni and Jen added
their voices ~ innertribal Unity.
I decided to share
the words to Heartbeart Drum Song...
besides being beautiful
to listen to
they are amazingly
to the eye
also: Mahk jchi tahm buooi yahmpi gidi
Mahk jchi taum buooi kan spewa ebi
Mahmpi wah hoka yee monk
Tahond tani kiyee tiyee
Gee we-me eetiyee
Nanka yaht yamooniaeh wajitse
Here's a little background
on the Native American
In the moon of black cherries, Kicking Bear brought news of the Paiute messiah, Wovoka, the prophet of the ghost dance. It spread across the badlands like a prairie fire from tribe to tribe. When the government got wind of this they said, "I don't know what this, Ghost Dance is, but I don't even like the sound of it. Tell all the Indians it is now illegal
." When they refused to stop practicing their form of worship
, on December 29, 1890, the calvary massacred 300 unarmed Sioux, mostly women and children, at Wounded Knee.
Here are the words of
a Souix Ghost Dance Song... The whole world is coming
~ a nation is coming, a nation is coming.
The eagle has brought the message to the tribe.
The father says so, the father says so.
Over the whole earth they are coming.
The buffalo are comig, the buffalo are coming.
The crow has brought the message to the tribe.
The father says so, the father says so
So here you have GHOST DANCE and Mahk Jchi or
the HEARTBEAT DRUM SONG
When I bought my first CD of Robbie Robertson & The Red Road Ensemble, I wore one CD out, the one cut on the CD that moved me the most in the beinning was, IT IS A GOOD DAY TO DIE
, written by Robbie Robertson. I feel it so moved me because it said so much about Native Americans and their absolute kinship to earth and understanding of everlasting life. Also of their deep pride in who they were and what they stood for, though I am certain that's not how they saw it, for they felt life way before they ever thought about it.
When Robbie Robertson first heard about the story that the song is about, he was fascinated by what the reaction of the soldiers must have been when the Chief's reply to their threats was, "It is a good day to die." According to Robertson, the other meaning to this phrase is, "I am so grateful for each day of life, that any day is a good day to die."
Robbie Robertson wrote the lyrics to this song, female vocal
backup comes from the Coolidge sisters and their niece.
Black Elk... Then another great cry went up
out in the dust: "Crazy Horse is coming!
Crazy Horse is coming!" Off toward the
west and north, they were yelling.
"Hoka Hey!" like a big wind roaring,
and making the tremolo: you could
hear eagle bone whistles screaming.
Here then is a video
featuring the song
IT'S A GOOD DAY TO DIE
along with a
of black & white
images. IT IS A GOOD DAY
I cannot explain my deep abiding respect for and admiration of our Native American peoples. As far as I know I do not carry any of their blood in my veins, although I had a great Aunt, bless her soul, who was born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. And it's interesting how she was the only one of all her siblings to have dark skin, high cheek bones and very black hair. I of course didn't ever inquire of my relatives before their passing, of how this might have come about. I hadn't put it together until they were all gone. But I've often wondered if my Great grandmother might have had an explanation. Perhaps it's my aunt that is working with me at this time to create this tribute blog entry???
Time for another video...
This one features Kashtin: Florent Vollant from the Innu tribe in Northeast Quebec, Canada.
It is sung in their native tongue, which is spoken by only about 10,000 people. The song, Akua Tuta
, was written by Florent Vollant and Claude McKenzie. When Robertson asked
Florent about the words
in this song,
it means... Take care
Take care of your homeplace
Take care of your grandmother
Take care of yourself
This video features the song AKUA TUTA
and black & white images of great
Native American Chiefs and
Native Americans from
Enjoy this song from
the Innu Tribe
sung by Kashtin
I felt the words to AKUA TUTA
should be shared
as they mezmerized
me with their
they are: Akua tuta, akua tuta
Akua tuta tshekuan kaminekuin
Naketuenta kiei tshin tshekuan
Hey, hey, hey
Akua tuta tshekuan kakunuene mekuin?
Naketuanta kiei tshin tshekuan kauitshikuin
Hey, hey, hey
Akua tshe tessinnu
Akua tuta nete kiei tshin kanetaunekuin
Akua tshe mushumenut
Akua kiei tshukumenut eshei
Akua tshe tuassimenut
Akua kiei tsheshimenut eshei
Hey, hey, hey
Although this next song, Cherokee Morning Song
is featured in the Earth Day series, part 7,
I will share this version because it is a live concert where the 3 family members, Rita and Priscilla Coolidge and their niece Laura Satterfield perform it. Three strong women bravely
standing true to who they are and singing a traditional Cherokee song passed down
through their family.
The words are: Wi-na-de-ya-ho, wi-na-de-ya-ho
Ho- ho- ho- ho
He- ya- ho, he- ya- ho
Ya- ya- ya A song that asks the spirits of the
earth and sky.
Thus weave for us a garment
that we may walk fittingly
~ ~ ~ Anonymous
It really is a joy to get into the song and sing
with the women whose heritage brought us
this lovely song to feel and INjoy.
Here then is CHEROKEE MORNING SONG
sung by bravehearted women,
our Native American sisters
And I believe this next video will conclude Soulful Wisdom's blog tribute to our Native American brothers and sisters
. The song is Twisted Hair
, written by Jim Wilson and Dave Carson. The choir of voices you hear on this piece is the sound of crickets turned way down. This phenomenon was discovered by Jim Wilson, and the words were written by his uncle Dave Carson, also known as Red Dog. Robbie Robertson asked Bonnie Jo Hunt, a Lakota opera singer, if she'd ever sung with crickets before. She said "No
", then offered up her lovely voice over to the moment.
The male voice is Robbie Robertson's,
the still video images all feature steps
or stairways, the latter all seem to be
Here is TWISTED HAIR
and the crickets...
In going back through this tribute, editing and feeling it and exploring the Native American culture... I came across this video of a cut on Robbie Robertson's CD. As many times as I've played the CD while driving, at home, out on my porch, relaxing in a hot bath... I didn't put it together
until now. "Better late than not at all
", I always say! Turns out this Native American song, the ANCESTOR SONG
, I always experience at the regional POW WOW I attend. And always I get the most validation goosebumps, or those truth or God bumps... when community singers sing it and perform it on their drum! ALWAYS! Sitting here listening and relistening to it has me lovingly enveloped with the energies of Native American tradition and wisdom. I am most grateful to have REALized much of what I have long felt deep within me.
And I thought I was doing this blog entry for all of you out there in cyber space... turns out, it was created just as much for my Self. This is much like the movie, Field of Dreams, where Ray builds the baseball diamond in his corn field... so he and his Dad could have a game of catch.
So, though I thought
the blog entry was
learnt that to
Pura Fe, Soni, Jen
Ulali and the
The Silvercloud Singers:
Video images are a
of black and white
insight into the
way of Native
gone... ANCESTOR SONG
shared are: To our elders who teach us
of our creation and our past
So we may preserve mother earth
for ancestors yet to come
We are the land
To our brothers and sisters and
all livings things across mother earth
Her beauty we've destroyed
And denied the honor the Creator
has given each individual
The truth lies in our hands
All my relations So this song will bring
to a close a joyful
journey for me
and I hope
Nez Perce Nation
and allied Tribes