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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
ride across Last Stand Hill at the ceremony
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
Bighorn National Monument unveiled this Wednesday reminds us to
stand up against Terrorism so our Children's Children's Children
will not become extinct
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
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.
children a dreamcatcher to help them battle the Beast of Terror
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
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
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved -