Tuesday, December 02, 2008

msi kah miqui

This is my tribe's tribal council house. I have a lot of fond memories of this place. The building has twelve sides and twelve posts. These posts represent the twelve clans of my tribe, as well as the twelve disciples of Jesus. In the center of the building is a center pole. It holds the weight of the building. It represents the shawnee nation as a whole, and the God of all creation who sustains all of life.

I'm writing this blog entry not just to tell you about the building. Although I could go on and on about memories of this space--it's a pretty sacred place.

This weekend at chestnut ridge church, I shared a little story about my chief. He was asked to speak on American Indian issues at a nearby National Park, and he had invited some of us younger guys to join him. It was pretty exciting--we were dressed in our traditional ceremonial regalia, and were walking along a footpath at this park.

Sometimes at these parks they have historic re-enactors around. At this event they had some folks who were representative of "redcoats" british soldiers. They had a guy playing a flute, a drummer, and a guy playing bagpipes. They even had folks carrying around black powder rifles. It was when I saw these guys marching along the footpath that I got an idea.

The area along the footpath was a marsh--there were cattails and bulrushes growing along both sides of the path. I told a couple of young guys with me that we should form a "war party" and "ambush'" these soldiers. And so we hid among the cattails until they passed us, and then we rushed out with blood-curdling war-whoops! We scared the daylights out of those "soldiers". It was like re-living some aspect our our ancestors lives.

But then the park rangers caught up to us. They began to lecture us, and even threatened us with ejection from the park. And then one of the rangers asked if we were Shawnees with Chief Raincrow. I answered yes, and then we got an even greater tongue lashing. We were representatives of my tribe and now we had created an "international incident."

I knew we had to tell my chief, so our little "war party" went down the path for our confessional. We were so bummed about the thought of disappointing our okeema. But he told us not to worry--that if anybody from the parks service talked to him he would deal with it. He thanked us for being honest and telling him what we had done. And then he winked at us.

He was kind of impressed with our tactical strategy among the reeds.

My chief had a way of letting people know they were accepted, protected, defended, and cared for. That's a very special thing. Everybody wants that. Why wouldn't they? it's great to belong to a community and have a strong leader.

Even greater than that gift, is the gift that God offers us--we are uniquely blessed by the creator of the universe. We belong to Him. He has reconciled us to Himself, and He is our great leader.

Just some old memories and reminders of great truths from a Shawnee.


Willie said...

Thank you Billy

Anonymous said...

I think that your "war party" idea is hiliarious. That ranger is lacking a sense of humor.

Kara A