First Nations Drum
On Our Sacred Journey
Robertjohn Knapp and Danny at Parliament of Worlds Religions Salt Lake City Utah Photo by Oren Lyons 2015
In memory of Alicja Rozanska
When we give thanksgiving we honor the plant life first in our way of life, then we go to our Sacred Mother Earths blood, rivers, oceans and ponds the sacred drink that our mother give all Creation. After the plant life and rivers its our relations who we thank and honor four-legged, winged ones, fish life and insects these are the ones who share this sacred mother earth with Humans On Our Sacred Journey. When we all start our day this way, how can we go wrong, how can we we ever feel alone when this respect we have for life grows every day, when we connect our self to life, life can connect itself to the Humans. Our old ones teach us Indian people that all Creation can hear and feel our love when we speak to them, our trees, our plant life, the sky,Grandmother Moon, Brother Sun every insect can hear and feel our love ,respect and thanksgiving for sharing this sacred journey with us Humans, as we share this Sacred Mother Earth in that sacred oneness with the Great Mystery our Great Creator the Universe the Cosmos the life-giving forces Earth Air Fire and Water we are all one in the eyes of the Universe/Creator.
Indigenous people have showed Western ideologists and early explorers the oneness of living in harmony with Mother Earth from first contact 500 years ago and were called inferior beings, how can humans become so confused over the years about the Sacredness in life, how can the natural life become so meaningless to humans and become a commodity, a resource to extract and profit from for short-term profit and destroy our relations, fish, animals, birds and insects who need plants, forests, mountains, gardens, swamp, wetlands to live in as humans do, our relations need rivers, lakes and oceans to thrive, multiply and survive. Our oceans were once full of life species, sharks, whales, tuna, cod, shrimp, octopus endless fish life nurturing breeding endlessly with algae, plankton, seaweed, Our oceans are a source of air supply possibly 75 percent of our fresh air supply comes from the oceans biodiversity and web of life support. Yet the governments of the world in charge have left the oceans to factory fishing to destroy and rape as does the mining industry /corporations pillage and rape Mother Earth for minerals, gold, diamonds, ore, nickel zinc and taking the organs out of Mother Earth then sucking the oil from her body till there is nothing but huge gaping wounds on her body. Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants have created higher cancer rates and leukemia since having uranium, plutonium extracted from Mother Earths body to support nuclear energy. Mismanagement after mismanagement of the world’s resources are killing all life on our Sacred planet.
The Sacredness of Life must be taught to those who have fallen asleep spiritually, the children of the world are now suffering and this suffering is growing everywhere as our hospital are filling up with cancer, diabetes, heart diseases depression are rampant. Every major river in the world is polluted. All of this was foretold to us in our Sacred Circles and Sacred Councils by our old elders 25 years ago in my lifetime, yet it was all prophesied by most cultures hundreds of years ago. Our work/jobs are to help those who are asleep spiritually each and every one of us people can do something positive to help Mother Earth or support justice and peace somewhere as the negativity is growing and the Fire Keepers of the world the Medicine People need to speak up of respect, equality, unity, peace and righteousness. Our Old Elders would say we need The Good Mind it is our way of life and we need to put our Minds together to solve these problems of the world, As One Minded People!
Twenty-five years ago I remember waking up to the sound of the Sacred Drum and the songs of the morning, the Dawn Song to honour all life coming alive from a good night’s rest. We were gathered up by The American Indian Institute the united nations of native tribes based in Bozeman Montana, the elders and youth who were carrying traditional indigenous culture or better known as The Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth the wisdom keepers of North America. We gathered up to maintain our sacred culture and way of life to honour the Great Mystery our Great Creator Wakan Tanka, Mother Earth, all our Relations the Great Spirit and life-giving forces. We became Creators extended family and like Chief Tom Porter would say every man is a brother on this continent and every woman is a sister in this country that is the law of the land. Every person is indigenous every person has a homeland and territory we are the indigenous people of this continent.
The first year I attended sacred ceremonies was suggested by Chief Oren Lyons in 1990, Oren was one of the greatest environmentalists I ever met or have known in my life a Wolf Clan adopted into the Turtle Clan a spokesperson for the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth and Indigenous Working Group On Climate Change with the United Nations. The peace and respect on the Onondaga Reserve was overwhelming in Syracuse New York the community was the strongest place I had ever seen or been to in my life full of calmness, intelligence and respect and traditional Iroquois culture, Onondaga may be one of the only places that is free from the US government control and still organized by traditional Iroquois people. My first year attending sacred ceremonies was an experience that helped create the person I am now, I had already been attending sacred sweat lodge ceremonies in Guelph with elder Vern Harper but with the grassroots spiritual leaders of North America was a whole new awakening, It seemed like there were at least a hundred old elders with us that year in Onondaga with all the family’s there it was the largest spiritual gathering I had ever been to. Once the Sacred Fire was started by our Fire Keeper the Fire Keepers kept the fire going for 4 days and three nights. The day would start at sun rise and then Sacred Sunrise Ceremony with blessings from elders of the Four Directions. Then the prayers would continue from all the elders, clan mothers, chiefs, medicine people and runners who had gathered there at ceremony to give thanks to Great Creator/Wakan Tanka Creation the Universe/Cosmos and Mother Earth for the gifts we as Humans Beings were blessed with and our Relatives and Ancestors. We honoured the Spirit World we honoured the Four Directions we honoured Natural Life Natural Laws Earth, Air, Fire Water the Life Giving Forces from everything that moved or lived on Mother Earth to everything in the Sky world to everything invisible our old elders taught us we were at one with throughout Our Sacred Journey on this Sacred Mother Earth. That we as humans had a duty and responsibility to give Thanksgiving for All Creation. Uncle Robertjohn always told me that everything in the Spirit World can hear us Human Beings we were given the Sacred Tobacco to communicate with Great Creator with our Sacred Pipes and that our Songs were the highest form of prayer we could give each and every day.
When we as Indians or non-Indians spend time with our old wisdom keepers/elders the ones who still laugh and joke the ones who still pray and understand the life around us and traditional culture we are being taught our relation to all life around us! When we spend time talking, eating, sleeping, praying, singing, drumming and being with elders who are peaceful healthy, we have a chance to learn stories and teachings of the way life was and should be. When we attended our Sacred Circles in our old days we was loved and nurtured by our elders because that is the way of life that they were taught and it is passed on to us then we pass that Healing and Wisdom on to those who are On Our Sacred Journey.