WEB GRAFFITI ZINE
Zine 20v6: First Nations
Collated by William Hillman
Assistant Professor ~ Faculty of Education ~ Brandon University
Native American Words of Wisdom
Raymond Castel Pukatawagan Art
Woman Who Fell from the Sky
NATIVE AMERICAN WORDS OF WISDOM
The only thing necessary for tranquility
in the world is that every child grows up happy.
Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.
We will be known by the tracks we leave
Good words do not last long unless they
amount to something.
We are what we imagine.
Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves...
The greatest tragedy that can befall us is to go unimagined.
~N. Scott Momaday
Before you put on a frown, make absolutely
sure there are no smiles available.
A handful of pine-seed will cover mountains
with the green majesty of forest.
I too will set my face to the wind and throw my handful of seed on high.
When a white army battles Indians and wins,
it is called a great victory,
but if they lose it is called a massacre.
These stories were the libraries of our
In each story, there was recorded some event of interest or importance...
A people enrich their minds who keep their history on the leaves of memory.
~Luther Standing Bear, Lakota.
"There is no doubt that the Indian held medicine close to spiritual things. As a doctor he was originally very adroit and often successful. He employed only healing bark, roots, and leaves with whose properties he was familiar, using them in the form of a distillation or tea and always singly. The stomach or internal bath was a valuable discovery of his, and the vapor bath was in general use. He could set a broken bone with fair success, but never practiced surgery in any form. In addition to all this, the medicine-man possessed much personal magnetism and authority, and in his treatment often sought to reestablish the equilibrium of the patient through mental or spiritual influences.
The Sioux word for the healing art is "wah-pee-yah," which literally means readjusting or making anew. "Pay-jee-hoo-tah," literally root, means medicine, and "wakan" signifies spirit or mystery. Thus the three ideas, while sometimes associated, were carefully distinguished.
It is important to remember that in the old days the "medicine-man" received no payment for his services, which were of the nature of an honorable function or office. When the idea of payment and barter was introduced among us, and valuable presents or fees began to be demanded for treating the sick, the ensuing greed and rivalry led to many demoralizing practices, and in time to the rise of the modern "conjurer," who is generally a fraud and
trickster of the grossest kind."
"You have noticed that everything an Indian does in in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion.
Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where the were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation's hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children."-Black Elk Speaks, John G. Neihardt, University of Nebraska Press Lincoln and London, 1932
Raymond Castel Gallery
Visit the Raymond Castel Gallery
to see more art from this fine artist from Pukatawagan
Woman Who Fell from the Sky
from the Iroquois Creation Story
In the beginning, in the Sky World, a pregnant wife asked her husband
to fetch the delicacies she craved. But she wanted the bark of a root of
the Great Tree in the middle of the Sky World, which none were
permitted to touch. Finally, however, he gave in, and scraped away
soil to bare the root of the Tree. Underneath was a hole, and as the
woman peered down into it, she fell through. The birds helped
transport her as she fell, and the great Sea Turtle received her on his
Here, on the Sea Turtle's back, she planted bits of the roots and plants
she had brought from the Sky World. And she walked across the
turtle's back, planting, praying and creating the Earth that we know as
The woman who had fallen from the sky then had a daughter, who
became impregnated by the West Wind. While in the womb, the
daughter's unborn twins began to quarrel about how they should
emerge, the left-handed twin refusing to be born in the usual way.
Instead, he forced himself out of his mother's left armpit, killing her as
a result. The newborn twins then buried their mother, who became
Corn Mother, source of corn, beans and squash, the Three Sisters of
the Iroquois. From her heart grew sacred tobacco, used to send
messages and thanks to the Sky World.
The two brothers continued to compete with each other as they created
the animals and plants, and in the process, represented different ways
of living. Right-Handed Twin created the beautiful hills, lakes,
blossoms, gentle creatures; Left-Handed Twin, the jagged cliffs and
whirlpools, thorns and predators. Right-Handed Twin was always
truthful, reasonable, goodhearted, and "straight-arrow"; Left-Handed
Twin lied, fought, rebelled and made "crooked" choices.
Because Right-Handed Twin created human beings, he is known as
"Our Creator," and "The Master of Life." But Left-Handed Twin
helped, and invented rituals of sorcery and healing. The world they
built included both cooperation and competition, lovingkindness and
After they finished their creations, the continued to compete in other
ways - by gambling, by playing lacross, then fighting with clubs. One
day, grasping a deer antler, Right-handed Twin finally prevailed, and
killed his brother, throwing the body of Left-Handed Twin over the
edge of the earth. As a result, Right-Handed Twin rules day and the
Sky-Worldand Left-Handed Twin prevails over night and the lower
Grandmother Skywoman was furious that Right-Handed Twin
murdered his brother, and accused him of wrongdoing. Angry, and
believing that grandmother had always favored the errant Left-
Handed Twin, he cut off her head and threw it up toward the sky,
where it became the Moon. Then he threw her body into the ocean,
where it became all the fish of the sea.
The Iroquois believe that both Left-Handed Twin and Right- Handed
Twin are necessary for the world to be in balance. During festivals,
day activities honor Right-Handed Twin, and night activities such as
feasting, singing and dancing honor Left-Handed Twin. This tension
and struggle for balance between the two brothers and principles of
life is incorporated into Iroquois festivals and cycles of life.
Up To Webzine 25 Title
PUKATAWAGAN: Reflections of a Wimistikosiw Visitor
Pukatawagan: The English-Cree Dictionary
David Westfall's Northern Manitoba Mosaic
Index of Native American Art Related Exhibits on the Internet
Honoring Our Elders
Red Hawk Woman
This Day In North American Indian History
Tipis for a New Generation
American Indian Studies
Iroquois Indian Dreamwork
Pukatawagan: Reflections of a Wimistikosiw Visitor
From the Past: Archive
Elders ~ Work & Play
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