Article Overview:   Have you blessed your Children of Vigilance today?   Perhaps it's easier than you think.  Maybe it only takes a Pledge of Vigilance and a dreamcatcher.   Find out how Custer's Last Stand can help you remember to pass on a legacy of Vigilance to your children and loved ones.


Sunday--June 29, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 655
A Shaman's Blessing of The Children Of Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--June 29, 2003-- The garden was magical, dotted with fireflies trying to hover in swirl of cooling winds whipping about, shuffling the molecules of a hot, humid day into a whirlpool of comfort.

The garden was magically aglow from the fireflies and an Ojibwe Shaman

     My friend, Clinton, a Native American Shaman who worked at the Smithsonian American Indian Museum in Lower Manhattan until he was laid off after Nine Eleven, was sharing the legacy of his tribal lore with my wife and daughter, my son-in-law and our three grandchildren.
     We were enjoying a respite from the sweltering heat in the backyard of the apartment complex in the East Village.    The space behind the apartment is a lush garden, bursting with flowers and a peach tree--a small but poignant reminder that nature can live amidst the concrete jungle of one of the world's most urban cities.
      "I thought Indians were extinct," commented my grandson, Matt, about to turn seven years of age.  Matt is fascinated with dinosaurs, and can rattle their history off in encyclopedic fashion.   In his evolving mind, he thought all the stories he had heard of Indians were from the pages of history.
      "No," Clinton softly stated.  "Once there was 20 million of us, now there are about 2 million.  We are still alive."

The fireflies caught by the children sparked .....

       Earlier, I told the children a "shaman" was coming.   My grandchildren's mother was recently graduated from Union Theological Seminary with a Masters in Divinity.  She and her husband dedicate their lives to working with the disenfranchised, marginalized members of society.   They advocate the rights of all, but focus on those whom society seems to ignore or sweep into dusty corners.


....the fires of storytelling and BBQ-ing

       As the welcome evening breeze dried off the perspiration from the earlier heat swept through the backyard sanctuary, we discussed the ritual of baptism.   I  listened as my daughter reviewed the sacraments of the Catholic Church to Clinton, and the meaning behind each.   Then Clinton explained the Native American rituals of his tribe, and how a new child was presented to the tribe.
      "All the people in the community become the parents of the child, their spiritual parents, there to guide and protect the infant."
      It was similar to the baptism rites of the Church, my daughter commented, where the congregation reaffirms their baptismal rites along with the child, and forms a spiritual circle around the new member.
     I asked Clinton about the issue of Original Sin, or evil, and if the newborn was given protection from the "evil spirits.

An Indian Maiden in the forest holds a dreamcatcher which ensnares the flowing images of her dreams

       He said there was no emphasis on the idea of the child being born with any "sin" as the dogma of many Christian religions embrace, but that dreamcatchers were placed on the papoose board near the child's head to catch any "evil spirits" that might try to attack.   "The dreamcatcher is like a spider's web," he said.  "Anything bad is caught in the webbing.  There is a hole in the center so all the good can pass through to the child."
       I thought about the two cultures.
       Native American spiritual customs reach back tens of thousands of years.
      Christianity finds its foundations dug two thousand years ago.
      Yet, when listening to the structures of the two processes of baptism, both were almost parallel.   The child was being christened into the community.   Any "evil" was being diverted from the child. And, most importantly, everyone in the community was assuming parental guardianship over the child in a spiritual sense.

Parents of Vigilance are like dream catchers helping to  protect  their children from Terror

       I thought of the Parents of Vigilance--those who willingly accept the role of protecting their children and loved ones from the ravages of the Triad of Terrorism--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency with the Principles of Vigilance: Courage, Conviction and Right Actions in behalf of the Children's Children's Children.
        Parents of Vigilance ultimately include the tribe of all humanity.    It is the role of all who belong to the human race to protect the children from harm.  It is their inherent duty, superceding all selfish desires.  Without the duty of protecting the future, there is none.  Such duty is demanding if the human race is to survive and prosper.
       It pleased me that as the evening grew late and it was time for the kids to go to bed, Clinton offered a blessing to each grandchild.   First, there was Matt who lost a tooth that night.   Clinton blessed Matt and the tooth, relating a story of how in his Native American culture a pulled tooth represents the tooth of a wolf.   And it gets stuck in a tree.   And when the child pulls it out it is like an arrowhead, reminding the child he will be a great hunter and tracker, like the wolf.   And how it unites the child with the wolf, as friends.

The Vows of Vigilance were passed from an Ojibwe Shaman, my good friend Clinton, to Angus (and my other grandchildren)

      Sarah's, our four-year-old granddaughter, blessing followed.   Clinton took his hand and placed it on her head, softly spewing out a prayer for her.    
     Finally, our daughter brought out Angus, who just turned one-year-old.    Clinton blessed him, chanting a prayer as he rubbed the crown of the child's head.  I felt the wisp of the wind and saw the ignition of fireflies, as though the garden setting had been electrified in the darkness by the magic of spiritual legacy.
       It was another form of baptism.

       The Vows of Vigilance were being trumpeted to the children, from the hands of a Native American shaman who transferred to them a spiritual legacy that historically paled the more modern Christian ritual.
       I wondered if, long into the future, the children would remember this night when they were blessed by a spiritual representative of a culture that Americans bulldozed over to make room for its brood.  I hoped they would.

      And then, this morning, I noted in the news that the memorial at the Little Bighorn Monument was going to include a place where Native Americans could honor the more than 100 Indians who died in the famous "Custer's Last Stand" battle.

Part of the new memorial for the native Americans who died at the 1876 battle of Little Bighorn in Montana.

     For years, the Indians had to "sneak" their way around the memorial that ignored the Indians, and offer their prayers to their ancestors in a circuitous manner.  
     On Wednesday of this week, however, a circular stone wall resembling a medicine wheel and a steel bar statue of Indians riding into battle will honor the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho fighters who repelled the 7th Calvary advances 127 years ago in the battle of Little Bighorn.

Black Hawk Helicopters fly over the old monument at the ceremony marking the 127th year of the battle

       What struck me about the article in addition to the Indians being recognized, was a statement by Earnie La Pointe, the great-great grandson of Chief Sitting Bull who was the leader of the Indians who wiped out Custer and his men.





Crow riders ride across Last Stand Hill at the ceremony







       A Vietnam Veteran, La Pointe sees the memorial as a touchstone, not unlike the Vietnam Wall, where Native Americans can come and mourn the passing of their ancestors, and sense the power of Vigilance when they made a last, futile stand against what was Terroristic to them--the removal of their right to live free on their own land.
        In the Pledge of Vigilance, we vow to protect the Children's Children's Children from Terrorism by acting today in their behalf.
        The unveiling of the $2.3 million monument this Wednesday is, in fact, a tribute to the Vigilance of Sitting Bull and the Indians who fought Terrorism back in 1876 in a final battle to stop the influx of western expansion into their land.
        For many generations Americans have neglected the Indians almost to the point of extinction.    When our grandson, Matt, asked the question:  "I thought Indians were extinct!" it symbolized the fact that many Americans have forgotten that the land we enjoy was once the land of Indians and Mexicans.

The new Bighorn National Monument unveiled this Wednesday reminds us to stand up against Terrorism so our Children's Children's Children will not  become extinct

       The monument is being raised to honor Sitting Bull and those Indians who lost their lives is a monument of Vigilance.
         It reminds us all that if we do not stand up against Terrorism, we can all become extinct.
         Few historians would disagree that Sitting Bull knew without question that there was no hope of ever stopping the white man's invasion of Indian land.    Custer's Last Stand might not have happened if Sitting Bull had become Complacent.
         Instead, he chose to fight for the rights of his Children's Children's Children.    And while, for many decades the Indian's plight was ignored by the most of American society to a critical point where the future of the Indian looked grim, that future has begun to brighten.
         Society today is beginning to the see the rich gifts the Native American culture brings to America's diversity and the value of Native American legacy.

Get your children a dreamcatcher to help them battle the Beast of Terror

        The monument at Little Big Horn is one example, but a timely one.   It reassures both the Native American and white culture that we are a "Family of Vigilance," and that the lessons from the brutal pages of our past can become tools to forge new unions of Vigilance for all our children in the present and future.
          Picking up on that, perhaps we all need to download the Pledge of Vigilance, sign it, post it on our refrigerator and then go out and get some dreamcatchers and place them on the headboards of our children's beds.   And, of course, on our own.

          Maybe one of the great acts of battle the Beast of Terror is just catching his evil thoughts in the dreamcatchera's web.
          All I really know for sure is that my grandchildren have been blessed by a Native American shaman.   They know Indians aren't extinct.
          And, they know what a dreamcatcher is.   Because today I'm buying one for the children's headboards as my gift to them and their Children's Children's Children.
         Bless your children and loved ones.  Take the Pledge of Vigilance and then go get a dreamcatcher if you don't have one already.

June 28--No Spanking, No Junk Food Terrorism

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