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Unu la ta nee'
The Cherokee people stand upon new ground. Let us hope the clouds which overspread the land will be dispersed and that we shall prosper as we have never before done.
CHIEF JOHN ROSS
OCTOBER 9, 1861
If, like a Cherokee warrior, I can look at the new year as an opportunity to stand on new ground, then strength and courage are on my side. If I have waited a long time for everything to be perfect - and there have been moments, brief as they were, that filled my expectations - then I can face the challenges. I will remember that things do work out, bodies do heal, relationships mend - not because I said it, but because I believe it. But it is time to make things right, to stay on the path. As water runs fresh and free from the woodland spring, so new life and meaning will bubble up from my own inner source. I will be still and steady, because there is nothing to be gained by showing fear in a chaotic world. I can turn from ignorance and prejudice toward a light that never goes out.
The death of fear is in doing what you fear to do.
This morning, snow wrapped every tree and rock in soft white, and promised to keep the outline of distant hills hidden against a gray sky. But it could not keep its promise. After a few hours the sun came out and turned it all into nature's jewelry, beautiful dew gems sparkling on the grass. We can be so busy that we miss the little things that sweeten life, the way a pet waits to be noticed, the way an owl, a wahuhi, hoots in the woods, and a bluejay chortles in the middle of winter. It is a lovely thing to turn away from busy work to pay attention to our loved things and loved ones. We know how we wait to be told we are important. We should never wait to say or think something beautiful that will make someone's day easier and more secure.
We do not want riches. We want peace and love.
RED CLOUD 1870
When we last saw Essie she had been ashen and without the strength we see in her now. Now she sits flat on the ground, legs straight out in front, and reeds tumble across her knees and lie around her. Nimble fingers seek the perfect one to start a basket. Essie is close to our hearts. She has our Grandmother's name. Her reticence does not inspire idle talk, so we ask what happened to change her. With a quick glance, she says, "God heal." "Is it possible? So quickly and completely?" Hesitantly, she asks, "You got fast oven?" I say I do. "What make it work?" "Why, microwaves - energy. They change the molecules, the structure of the bread from cold to hot." Seconds pass. She says, almost too softly, "Prayer energy. Make me well."
I love a people who have always made me welcome to the best they had ... who are honest without laws ... who never take the name of God in vain ... who worship God without a Bible ... and I believe God loves them too.
GEORGE CATLIN, ARTIST 1830
To the Cherokee, worry is the dalala, the woodpecker, pecking away on the roof. It is easy to understand that even new wood cannot bear such hammering without giving way. Imagine what would happen to a roof which has already been through storms and many hot summers. But how do we handle this woodpecker called worry? By seeing it for what it is - a bird that causes damage. We can shout and scare it away for awhile, but as soon as we drop our guard it is back again. Worry did not crash in suddenly. It entered our lives little by little, so that we did not notice. Surely it will go away, but it takes its toll so gradually that we grow accustomed to it - thinking it is just a normal part of living. When we hear worry rapping on the roof, we can ask ourselves, what have we talked about? What have we heard or dwelled on that distresses us?
Udadolisdi nuwhtohiyada Jalagi. Cherokee pray for peace.
Excerpted from A Cherokee Feast of Days by Joyce Sequichie Hifler. Copyright © 1992 by Joyce Sequichie Hifler. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted February 20, 2010
Posted August 4, 2009
I have had this book for many years! Calendar day reading.
Thought for the day if you will. I purchased this for a friend and will
order more. It is Native American inspired, My heritage is Polish
and Ukranian. Our family grew up with traditions. This book speaks
to ones heart. It is truthful and at times funny. Makes you see where
you need to change! I am no writer as you can tell. If you love the
history of the our first American's you will enjoy this!
Posted January 4, 2008