The Fox River extends from Green Bay, Wisconsin at Lake Michigan, two hundred miles south to the Illinois River in Illinois. Along the Fox River, many Tribes migrated, gathered and settled for brief periods where they married people from other Tribes. Some stayed in the area at reservations that resulted from the encroachment of the American Frontier as it crept ever westward. For many of us of indigenous ancestry, that time in history was a truly Intertribal experience. People migrated north or south depending on the seasons, relying on hunting and gathering cycles. Some became involved in the fur trade, others in war over native lands and still others married into the dominant non-native culture during the 1800s. The Fox River Indians are not a federally recognized Tribe. They are a mixture of many Tribes who arrived in the area as the result of a very wide variety of historical events. Read the rest of this entry »
The ancestors are the propagators of our DNA, our ancestry. They tell us things about ourselves. Ancestors are relatives who have passed away either long ago or within our lifetime. In the year 2000, my oldest son Mukwa, received another ancestor when his biological father passed on to the spirit world. His name was Jack. During his lifetime Jack became a father to some children who are siblings. He lived out his life the best way he could. He was half Apache and was well-known for his extraordinary gifts as an artist. Like most other people, Jack experienced many successes and failures, perhaps in very passionate ways both wonderful and quite painful. Today he is remembered as having been passionate, slim of build and possessing the spirit of a warrior. He had thick dark hair and deep brown eyes. He loved music. At the time of Mukwa’s birth, Jack had painted an incredibly captivating seascape. The sky was clear with only a few clouds. The waves of the Pacific Ocean approached the sandy shoreline with a kind of quiet strength. The observer could see the delicate dimpled sunlight as it shined through the largest wave captured in time, just as the white water began to break at the top. The oil painting was exquisite in definition and beauty. As the eye rested upon the serenity of the scene, the observer was taken quickly in flight from a painting sitting on an easel in the second bedroom of a small apartment in Hollywood, and swept to the seashore. It was a pleasurable journey and one I will never forget. A true artist can often do that for us. They can take us places far from the present moment and circumstances of our daily lives and teach us to contemplate the workings of the Divine. Jack was employed by the Hollywood studio filmmakers as a set designer. My relationship with him was brief and accented by my immaturity, alcoholism and a restless untamed nature. When Mukwa was a just a year old, Jack and I separated bitterly and permanently for the last time. Read the rest of this entry »
They used to tell us kids that our Granma moved from this earth to the moon when she passed. There in the big moon, she shared her home with the other clan mothers and together they made the biggest medicine there is. It is only after we leave this earthly body behind, that we can make the really big healing ceremonies for our children and the next generations. This may or may not be true so the story is not to convince you that Granma lives there for sure. The point is just that gazing at the moon and wondering of such extraordinary things is a mystical experience in and of itself. It’s the gazing and the allowing of ourselves to take the journey of imagination that brings healing and truth to the human soul. Grammas were strong women in the old days. They were amazing. Most of us who have gazed at the fullness of grandmother moon will say that the light from her is very bright. The gazing makes you feel things sometimes. It can make us feel stronger or weaker or that the drama of life is somehow powerfully magnified. Read the rest of this entry »
As the fog lifts, we can see the world more clearly. The colors of the sacred earth come to life in stages as the misty morning gives way to the light of a brighter day and a sustaining future filled with hope and renewal. The ways of the earth remind us that our soul cycles just like the seasons of time. When we first enter recovery, the future is dimmed by the fog of unknowing. We are told to put one foot in front of the other and stay focused on today. We learn to walk in the moment and live just one day at a time. Entering recovery is a solemn commitment. It requires courage. Read the rest of this entry »
Eagle circles the earth watching everything from above. He soars in an unpolluted vision as the planet changes. Polar ice caps melt before his eyes and the tides move differently along costliness of the world everywhere. Rivers change course and the weather becomes unpredictable. Always the eagle watches, soaring silently from his place above it all. The song of the “Elk Whistle” can be heard as Eagle flies. The vision is captured in a video entitled, “Dawning of the Fifth Fire” and Bill Neal is the native musician.