Tecumseh’s Curse: There was a deep mystical tradition among the Shawnee
Indians of the Ohio valley, embodied in the teachings and practices of a sage
called "the Prophet," emboldened by his brother, the great Chief Tecumseh.
Tecumseh felt that all Indians were one people, and insisted that only with the
consent of all — could land rightly be ceded by or purchased from an individual
tribe. For several years, he successfully journeyed from tribe to tribe, working
with Indians of all sections to secure their cooperation in this great work of
unification. Tecumseh was a daring visionary -- a powerful orator, remarkable
military chief, successful negotiator, and enthusiastic leader. Indeed, the
flame of hatred for the white man burned in his heart, and he swore eternal
vengeance against the white race for decimating his proud nation.
When the United States refused to recognize
Tecumseh’s unification principle, he bound together the Native Americans of the
Old Northwest, the South, and the Eastern Mississippi Valley as a military force
to defend Native American rights to the land. His plan failed with the defeat of
his brother, the Shawnee Prophet, at the battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Although
history reports the battle of Tippecanoe a draw, it nevertheless broke the power
of the Shawnee, and became known historically as marking the collapse of the
Native American military movement. Legend transmits that after the historic battle
of Tippecanoe, Tecumseh released prisoners with a prophetic message for General
William Henry Harrison -- a prophecy that has come to be known as -- "Tecumseh's
Curse." "'Harrison will win next year to be the Great Chief….... He will die in
his office….. I who caused the Sun to darken and Red Men to give up
firewater tell you Harrison will die. And after him, every Great
Chief chosen every 20 years thereafter will die. And when each one dies, let
everyone remember the death of our people." Indeed, in 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of Pneumonia, and for 140
years every President elected every 20 years died in office ...
Anthony North: One area of spirituality often ignored by the wider world is the Native American. The Native American mystic is often known as the Medicine Man, principally because of his power to heal, but also to communicate with the supernatural. A continuation of the early shaman, endemic to most tribal societies, he also bears many similarities to the guru. The ‘Medicine Man" most likely survived from before the migrations across the Bering Strait over twenty thousand years ago. Mystical apprenticeship: Such a mystic is thought to be chosen by the spirits, indications of an ability to communicate with them beginning in childhood. Continuing visions and omens will lead to the child being taught by anexisting mystic.
A right of passage for the growing mystic will be his first vision quest, of which he will have many in his life. Such quests happen after a period of asceticism, such as going to a remote place to meditate. Another method is the sweat lodge in which saplings are covered with blankets and hot stones placed within. The mystic will go inside and pour water on the stones, his sweat causing purification. The vision quest: During his visions he will meet his guardian spirit. Granted a dream or vision of this spirit, it will usually be in an animal form and will grant the mystic special powers. He will be taught a spirit song and given a number of talismen - eagle feathers, shells, animal parts. These bestow the mystic"s new powers and represent omens. They will be kept in a sacred bag known as his medicinebundle. The mystic will, of course, become much more than a relationship between himself and the supernatural. In classic tribal style, he will also be the bridgehead between his tribe and the guardian spirit. Ritual life: In this sense, he is responsible for the tribe"s culture and well being. He will be the storyteller who tells of the tribe"s origins as told by the guardian spirit, and he will be the symbol of totemism, giving the tribe identity and a moral code through animal or plant representations of natural phenomena and events.
When humans first trekked from Asia to North America, perhaps as long as 25,000 years ago, the continent was gripped by ice sheets and glaciers. Those hardy immigrants probably traveled by boat or along the shore, where finding food and shelter would have been easier. The trouble for archaeologists is that as the ice melted, the seas rose and covered any traces of this early migration. Now marine geologists and archaeologists are hunting for underwater clues in the Gulf of Mexico.This morning, a research expedition steamed out of the Port of Galveston, Texas,for the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, about 180 kilometers off the coast of Texas and Louisiana.
Led by Robert Ballard, president of the Institute for Exploration at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, and Kevin McBride of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Connecticut, the expedition consists of a 44-meter-long Navy research submarine, two ships, and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV).The submarine and ROV will survey the bottom of the reef, 120 meters deep, which is thought to have been the location of the shoreline some 20,000 years ago. The reef is built atop large reserves of salt, and Ballard saysit's possible that Native Americans would have mined it from caves or tunnels. "We're confident something is out there; we just need to see if we can find it," Ballard said at a press conference yesterday. The research isn't all archaeology; scuba divers from one of the research vessels will also observe conch, parrotfish, and manta rays on the shallow reefs.To view the rest of this article, please visit the source
Native American men often returned home from battle haunted. The violent images of actions including their own left their spirits wounded. To mend that which had been broken, many tribes welcomed the warriors with the warmest of embraces. A sweat ceremony, a purification ritual, helped bring the men peace and make them whole.Fast forward hundreds of years to Vietnam flashbacks, IEDs in Iraq, foreign deployments that last for months, even years, on end. Today psychologists regularly invoke the term "post-traumatic stress disorder."Combine combat trauma with perhapsa history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, divorce, unemployment or even homelessness, and it's no wonder substance abuse programs at Veterans Administration hospitals see a steady flow of patients.
Shame and guilt, after all, can drive the most well-meaning of individuals to self-destruct.
Salt Lake City's VA Medical
Center is tapping into an age-old tradition to help these troubled
veterans, inviting them, voluntarily, to sweat, regardless of their
"Oftentimes vets who have
been in combat, their spirit is still overseas," says Arnold Thomas,
the spiritual leader who conducts the twice-monthly and year-round
ceremonies in the VA hospital's sweat lodge.
We want to bring "his
spirit back into his body and welcome him home again."
Tucked behind Building4 on
the sprawling VA hospital campus, beyond the metal gate featuring a
medicine wheel and the word Purtkwahgahm (Ute Indian for "healing
ground") sits the sweat lodge, established more than four years ago.
A handful of veterans,
including alumni and others currently in the North Star substance abuse
program, help prepare for the ceremony. They chop kindling, for several
hours, to fuel the fire that'll heat more than 30 lava stones. Several
men, including one Native American in a T-shirt featuring an eagle and
the phrases, "Pure American" and "Live Free," stand by ready to assist
in building the fire, setting up the altar and doling out prayers.
James, an Anglo veteran in
recovery after a 30-year addiction to cocaine, says the treatment
program and the sweat ceremonies have saved him.