Rethinking Native America To Save Ourselves!

Op-Ed by Neenah Payne

There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.Victor Hugo.
We are all Indians now,” — Russell Means (Oglala Lakota actor, writer, musician, activist).

We were robbed of information essential to our survival when we were taught that Native American cultures were/are “primitive”. So, this corridor between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day may be a good time to rethink our relationship to the Indian cultures of the Americas – to reclaim knowledge vital to creating a sustainable future now!

We continue to be deprived of knowledge that we need to survive now as the 500 Native Nations of this hemisphere are ignored in the media, by government, and in our educational systems as though they don’t exist. They are the Big Pink Elephant in the living room – ignored through a conspiracy of silence.

Yet, we are increasingly turning to Native America now for guidance, inspiration, healing, and wisdom – as we did in the past. It is time to acknowledge our debt and to create a new partnership because our own survival now depends on understanding the profound knowledge of these ancient cultures.

As we rediscover our own roots and shamanic knowledge, the wisdom of Native America is becoming self-evident  — again. That helps create a healing and reconciliation that will facilitate a more sustainable future for all of humanity and the Earth. It is about understanding our real history and our shared identity that is emerging as the West reclaims its own lost heritage.

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Ayahuasca Tourists

Westerners are flocking to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca with shamans in an attempt to recover the profound knowledge the West lost during the 700 years of the brutal Inquisition. Many people report dramatic physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing from one or more ayahuasca ceremonies.

The film Amazon: Healing With Sacred Plants is available as a DVD and in Instant View on Amazon. Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D. shows the sacred relationship with “plant teachers” and plant medicines that the West has forgotten. The film allows viewers to experience the power of the shamans and plants to heal individuals and cultures. It represents a radical transformation in our thinking. The word “radical” means “root”. Knowledge of Native American healing traditions takes us back to our own lost roots.

The ayahuasca plant, known as the Master Teacher, is also called the Vine of the Dead because it causes old ways of thinking to die. People who drink it go through a re-birth and evolve a higher consciousness.  Villoldo explains that the ayahuasca ceremonies facilitate the 4 Steps of Initiation lost in the West:

  1. The Great Awakening: We realize most of our life is a dream based on what we were taught.
  2. The Great Departure: We leave everything familiar to overcome our ego/persona to be reborn.
  3. The Tests and Challenges: We overcome our fears/anger to experience forgiveness and peace.
  4. The Return Home: We share with humility the gifts we have received and help heal the world.

Through the ayahuasca ceremony, people access their Right Brain, the intuitive side our nature that Western science ignores. So, their minds become more balanced. They restore their connection to Mother Earth and are made whole again. The word “heal” and “whole” have the same root.

Drug companies know the value of indigenous botanical and medical knowledge. However, they exploit it rather than help ensure its survival. ​​Bioprospecting and Biopiracy in the Americas says:

A study by ethnobotanist Darrel Posey published in 1990 estimated that the annual world market for medicines derived from medicinal plants discovered from indigenous peoples was $43 billion. However, writes Posey, ‘less than 0.001% of the profits from drugs that originated from traditional medicine have ever gone to the indigenous peoples who led researchers to them.'”

Meanwhile, we continue to destroy the Amazon, the home of many shamanic cultures. Is that wise?

Swiss anthropologist Jeremy Narby warns: “75% of the modern pharmacopoeia’s plant-based remedies were first discovered by ‘traditional’ societies….less than 2% of all plant species have been fully tested in laboratories, and the great majority of the remaining 98% are in the tropical rainforests…without the botanical knowledge of indigenous people, biotechnicians would be reduced to testing blindly the medicinal properties of the world’s estimated 250,000 plant species.'”

Anesthesia before and after curare points out the modern-day surgery was made possible by the introduction of curare – long used by Native Americans in the Amazon. It says:

“Before the advent of curare, muscular relaxation essential for upper abdominal and intrathoracic surgery adequate operating conditions, could only be provided by deep ether or cyclopropane anaesthesia…. For fear of anaesthetic mortality, essential life-saving operations were often abandoned in poor risk patients….

The introduction of curare into anaesthetic practice by Griffith and Johnson in 1942 caused profound changes in the efficacy and safety of anaesthesiology…The concept of “inoperability,” due to severe pathology or extremes of age became obsolete. It would be hard to envisage how open heart, organ transplant, and radical brain and cranio-facial surgery could have developed without muscle relaxants.”

Incan Brain Surgery in the 15th Century

The Inca were performing brain surgery with a 90% success rate in the 15th century, while the operation still had a 100% fail rate in Europe three centuries later.

Inca Brain Surgery 
Brain surgery in ancient Incan society
Preconquest Peruvian Neurosurgeons:
Inca Skull Surgeons Were “Highly Skilled,” Study Finds

Functional Medicine: Convergence With Shamanic Traditions

A growing number of MDs have discovered that to heal their own serious illnesses, they had to abandon Allopathic Medicine and turn to Functional Medicine. It is called the “Third Era of Medicine” and is based, for many MDs, on the same Hero’s Journey that is the basis of the shamanic healing tradition.

Dr. Amy Myers’ May 2017 book The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases is an Amazon Best-Seller. Dr. Myers turned to Functional Medicine when Allopathic Medicine failed to heal her autoimmune disease. She regrets that she did not learn about Functional Medicine earlier – in time to protect her thyroid. However, the shift to Functional Medicine was what she had been looking for – both as a patient and as a physician.

The 2016 book The Evolution of Medicine: Join the Movement to Solve Chronic Disease and Fall Back in Love with Medicine discusses the exciting, growing, powerful shift to a new medicine that is known by many names including holistic, naturopathic, and Functional Medicine.

In the DVD Fed Up, Dr. Jeffrey Gladd describes his transformation from an obese over-worked doctor. He said that he had to go back to school because he had gotten only about 15 minutes of nutrition in seven years of medical training! After he followed the adage “Doctor, heal thyself“, he started Gladd Integrative Medicine at:

Dr. Craig Hauser, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Dr. Terry Wahls are also interviewed in the film. These MDs  experienced the Hero’s Journey described by  Joseph Campbell in The Hero With A Thousand Faces. The Hero’s Journey is at the core of the shamanic experience. Shamans go through a life-changing transformation that gives them profound knowledge and healing abilities. This kind of initiation experience has been missing in Western society. It redefines what “knowledge” is.

In the Hero’s Journey, the hero experiences a transformation that allows him to return with the gift of knowledge that is personal and deeply felt. It is not based on belief in what “authorities” have said or just on book learning, but includes his own experience. So, he speaks with personal authority and his own healing is his proof. MDs are becoming a form of modern-day shamans!

Values Change For Survival

It is widely acknowledged that we are now facing a Sixth Extinction Level Event. If we don’t change course, we are going to destroy the Amazon, the oceans, sea life, our food system and much of the life on Earth – including ourselves. So, we need a very dramatic change of course – but where will we find the inspiration for that more sustainable way of thinking and being? The answer will not come from this party or that one. Neither communism nor socialism has the answer.

The Bible tells us in John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” A self-evident truth that is ignored by our culture is that we are all dependent on the Earth for our health and survival. This is truth Native Americans have never forgotten. In the 2014 video Take back the Earth, John Trudell discusses the crisis all humanity faces and explains that we have the power to change the world by changing our own thinking.

The Swedish-American company Plantagon pioneered vertical agriculture and an ethical business model. Hans Hassle, the CEO of Plantagon wrote the book Business As Usual Is Over. Chief Oren Lyons of the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) is the Chairman of the Board of Plantagon. He is also on the Executive Committee of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival. In his report to the United Nations, Chief Lyons said the Global Forum had summarized their deliberations with four words: “Value(s) Change for Survival“– unless we change our values, we won’t survive. We must shift our values from short-term profit to long-term survival.

The 500 Native Nations of the Americas have survived here for tens of thousands of years, including 500 years of oppression. They now offer us our best hope for realignment with the Earth and a value system that can help ensure our health and survival. We continue to ignore these ancient cultures and their sustainable values at our own peril.

Fortunately, we are beginning to shift our thinking now. The 2014 TEDx talk What is the sharing economy and why does it matter? explains that we are beginning to embrace the value of giving rather than taking which creates a great sense of community. When we expand that community to include the 500 Native Nations, we will empower ourselves. We will restore our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health and help ensure our survival. We much to learn of great value from Native America – again!

US Constitution Based on Iroquois Great Law of Peace

The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) in upstate New York are the oldest living democracy in the world. In 1987, Cornell University held a conference to discuss the link between the Iroquois Confederacy and the U.S. Constitution. In 1988, Congress passed H. Con. Res. 331 to acknowledge the contribution of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations to the development of the United States Constitution.

Chief Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee, holds a poster In the photo on the right that shows the first draft of the US Constitution. The Founding Fathers of the US used the Haudenosaunee tradition to form the U.S. government.  The Haudenosaunee flag depicts the story of the White Roots of Peace and the foundation of Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

Chief Lyons is co-editor of Exiled in the Land of the Free: Democracy, Indian Nations, and the U.S. Constitution. This book, written into the Congressional Record, presents the strongest case for Native American sovereignty and has major implications for relations between Indian nations, the United States, and other nations. It has been adopted for courses at 12 universities.

Bill Moyers interviewed Chief Lyons on the Haudenosaunee land in 1991. Chief Lyons explains that despite 500 years of opposition, the Haudenosaunee and their traditions are still intact. The Haudenosaunee are a sovereign a nation and travel on their own passport.

In 1977, the Non-Governmental Organizations’ (NGO) Indigenous Peoples Conference was a turning point for the indigenous peoples’ movement. When Chief Lyons spoke for the Haudenosaunee, he pointed out that other species also need representation: “I do not see a delegation for the Four Footed. I see no seat for the Eagles. We forget and we consider ourselves superior. But we are after all a mere part of Creation. And we must consider to understand where we are. And we stand somewhere between the mountain and the Ant. Somewhere and only there as part and parcel of the creation.

Philip P. Arnold, a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) and associate professor of indigenous religions at Syracuse University, points out:  “As was said in 1977, how we in the larger society regard indigenous peoples — who have an ongoing relationship with the living earth — will determine our ability to survive. The world owes a great debt to the Onondaga Nation for their clear, unwavering efforts over many years on behalf of the life of Planet Earth.

Native American Languages Best Express Quantum Physics

The DVD The Language of Spirituality documents the discovery by physicists and linguists that the verb-intensive Native American languages better convey concepts of quantum physics and consciousness than the noun-heavy Western languages. The DVD can be purchased or streamed.

In his book Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, Carter Phipps shows the key role of language for individuals and cultures. Since language influences how we understand reality, Native American languages provide a more accurate view of the universe.

Phipps points out the importance of the concept of process, movement, being, life: “In discipline after discipline, statis is losing the battle to movement, process, change, and contingency….These are insights that go to the core of what it means to be human…..We are moving too. In fact, some might say that we are movement itself. In so many ways, this fundamental insight is emerging everywhere.”

Phipps cites Henri Bergson: “Life in general is mobility itself….we treat each of them as a thing rather than a process, forgetting that the very permanence of their form is only the outline of a movement” Phipps states that Alfred North Whitehead “…called our failure to recognize this movement, our tendency to turn flow into fixity ‘the fallacy of misplaced concreteness’“.

Phipps adds that German philosopher Jurgen Habermas, “argues that both psychological development and cultural development are ultimately based on linguistic structures and it has since been convincingly demonstrated by Piaget, Kohlberg, Kegan, and others that if a development logic exists in the maturation of the individual ego, then there is every reason to suspect that social evolution would exhibit and similar trajectory.”

However, as the DVD The Language of Spirituality shows, the noun-heavy Western languages make it difficult to convey this essential understanding of fluidity and motion that is inherent in verb-intensive Native American languages. This indicates the importance of ensuring the survival of these languages and cultures. With their sophisticated understanding of reality, they have much to teach the West.

…the first time in the post-colonial era where indigenous ways of knowing and leading edge science meet on truly equal footing — Tiokasin Ghosthorse, radio talk show host.

How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World

The National Geographic article 16 Indian Innovations: From Popcorn to Parkas points out:

Nearly half the world’s leading food crops can be traced to plants first domesticated by Indians. Native farmers introduced Europeans to a cornucopia of nutritious plants, including potatoes, peanuts, manioc, beans, tomatoes, sunflowers, and yams. Maize, or corn, was by far the most significant contribution, now grown on every continent except Antarctica.”

Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World is by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. Amazon points out: “After 500 years, the world’s huge debt to the wisdom of the Indians of the Americas has finally been explored in all its vivid drama by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. He traces the crucial contributions made by the Indians to our federal system of government, our democratic institutions, modern medicine, agriculture, architecture, and ecology, and in this astonishing, ground-breaking book takes a giant step toward recovering a true American history.”

In Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America, Weatherford’s continues this important discussion. Amazon says:  “Conventional American history holds that the white settlers of the New World re-created the societies they had known in England, France, and Spain. But as anthropologist Jack Weatherford, author of INDIAN GIVERS, brilliantly shows, the Europeans actually grafted their civilization onto the deep and nourishing roots of Native American customs and beliefs. Our place names, our farming and hunting techniques, our crafts, the very blood that flows in our veins — all derive from American Indians ways that we consistently fail to see.”

Bolivia honored Weatherford for his work on the indigenous peoples of the Americas. A specialist in tribal peoples, Weatherford taught for 29years at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he held the DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Chair of Anthropology.

Astounding Tenochtitlan: Aztec Capital Awed Spanish

Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Mexican Empire, was a city-state founded in 1325 on an island — the largest city in the pre-Columbian world. With its population of 200-300,000, only Paris, Venice, and Constantinople were larger. Hernán Cortés and his men were in awe of the splendid city and wondered if they were a dream. Two double aqueducts constructed during the reign of Montezuma I provided the city with fresh spring-fed water – good for baths twice a day!

Bernal Díaz del Castillo said in The True History of the Conquest of New Spain:

When we saw so many cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land, we were amazed and said that it was like the enchantments…. I do not know how to describe it, seeing things as we did that had never been heard of or seen before, not even dreamed about.”

The video Tenochtitlan (The Impossible City) explains that Tenochtitlan (aka Mexico-Tenochtitlan) was a gleaming white city — one of the most awesome cities the world had ever seen. With 250,000 people, it held twice the population of London or Rome.  Tehnochtitlan was five time the size of the London of Henry the VIII. The city had great symmetry. Three main streets wide enough for 10 horses crossed the city. In the center of the city were 45 public buildings, temples, and palaces. Floating gardens surrounded raised causeways.

The Spanish were astounded by how clean the streets were. Two double aqueducts provided the city with fresh water from the springs at Chapultepec for cleaning and washing. Most of the population bathed twice a day. For drinking, water from mountain springs was preferred. The palace of Moctezuma had 100 rooms each with its own bath for lords and ambassadors of allies. The palace had a botanical garden, an aquarium, and two zoos with 300 people dedicated to the care of the animals.

Moctezuma Xocoyotzin II, who ruled the Aztecs from 1502 to 1520, graciously received Hernán Cortes and his men in Tenochtitlan in 1519. In August 1521, life in this magnificent urban center changed forever. Cortés besieged Tenochtitlan for 75 days, causing the inhabitants utter famine. The Spaniards razed the city and built the capital of the Viceroyalty of New Spain on its ruins. They named the new metropolis Mexico City.

Re-Thinking Columbus Day

Columbus Day celebrates the conquest of the Americas and honors a man whose actions none of us would endorse today. Native Americans cannot, of course, celebrate Columbus Day. So, if we want to partner with the 500 Nations of this hemisphere to create a more sustainable worldview that will help ensure our own survival, we need to rethink this holiday.

Columbus Day? True Legacy: Cruelty and Slavery helps set the record straight when it points out:

“If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Columbus’ reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish. Question: Why do we honor a man who, if he were alive today, would almost certainly be sitting on Death Row awaiting execution?…. Let’s come clean. Let’s tell the truth about Christopher Columbus. Let’s boycott this outrageous holiday because it honors a mass murderer.”

In the video American Holocaust: The Destruction of America’s Native Peoples, David Stannard, professor and chair of the American Studies Department at the University of Hawaii, discusses his book American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. Stannard shows that the European and American destruction of Native peoples of this hemisphere was the most substantial genocide in history. A combination of atrocities and imported plagues resulted in the death of 95% of the Native population.

Columbus and the Taino of the Caribbean

The fascinating, inspiring, and shocking video The Taino and Columbus describes the warm reception Columbus and his crew received from the Taino of the Caribbean. When Columbus met the Taino, he reportedly said, “They are the nicest people I have ever met. They will make good slaves”. When he returned a year later, he brought a military fleet to subdue them. He forced each person to bring a quota of gold – and if they failed, he had their hands cut off.

By 1519, the Spanish reduced the population of 2 million people who had welcomed them to about 20,000. That experience was repeated throughout the Americas and continues today in various ways.

Re-Thinking Thanksgiving Day

For Thanksgiving Day, we are treated to paintings of Pilgrims sharing their harvest with Indians and Norman Rockwell grandparents serving turkey at a family dinner. However, the article Thanksgiving Dinner: History Designed It says there was no original Thanksgiving. “It’s a nice myth that was created in 1841”. Lincoln created the holiday in 1863 to unify the country during the Civil War.

This 1899 oil painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris titled “The First Thanksgiving 1621” depicts both the Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans in historically inaccurate clothing.

The True Story of Thanksgiving explains the much more brutal true story which explains why some Native people mark “Thanksgiving Day” as a “Day of Mourning”:

The idea of the American Thanksgiving is a fairly recent fiction, nice myth that was created in 1841. The idyllic partnership of 17th Century European Pilgrims and New England Indian sharing a celebratory meal appear to be less than 120 years old. And it was only after the First World War that a version of such a Puritan-Indian partnership took hold in elementary schools across the American landscape….

The first Thanksgiving Day did occur in the year 1637, but it was nothing like our Thanksgiving today. On that day, the Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a “Thanksgiving” to celebrate the safe return of a band of heavily-armed hunters, all colonial volunteers. They had just returned from their journey to what is now Mystic, Connecticut where they massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Seven hundred Indians – men, women, and children – all murdered.

This is still remembered today, 373 years later. No, it’s been long forgotten by white people, by European Christians. But it is still fresh in the mind of many Indians. A group calling themselves the United American Indians of New England meet each year at Plymouth Rock on Cole’s Hill for what they say is the Day of Mourning. They gather at the feet of the stature of Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag to remember the long gone Pequot.

We Are All Tribal Peoples

Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers explains that many European indigenous cultures were destroyed when the Catholic Church forced them to convert them to Christianity and to abandon their shamanic traditions. In the 700 years of the Inquisition, which began in 1231 A.D., as many as 50,000 to 100,000 women healers were tortured in the most gruesome ways and burned at the stake. This led to the suppression of herbal knowledge in the West, a severance of connection to the Earth, and demonization of all things feminine – women, the Earth, and our own intuitive Right Brains.

The FDA and AMA continue this suppression of herbal healing knowledge in the failed War on Drugs. It is primarily a suppression of Medical Hemp which is a panacea that could have save the lives of millions of people from cancer and a host of other chronic illnesses and has never harmed anyone.

My Hemp Revolution 2017 video links to the film RUN FROM THE CURE – The Rick Simpson Story. The film shows that Canadian Rick Simpson used the hemp oil he created from the hemp plants he grew to cure his own skin cancer and then to cure 5,000 people for free of a wide variety of illnesses, including “terminal” cancer. Rick was forced into exile and now lives in Europe. He hopes to find a country where he can grow hemp so he can standardize which strains are best for each illness.

In the must-see video Tribes of Europe, John Trudell, Santee Sioux head of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1973-1979, poet, actor, and inspirational speaker pointed out that we are all tribal peoples – we all originally came from tribes. There are still some intact tribes in Europe.

The Saami are indigenous people in the Arctic encompassing parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Russian Kola Peninsula. The northernmost indigenous people of Europe, they are in the “Fourth World” that spans the North Pole from Siberia to Alaska. The Saami are reindeer herders whose traditional homes are yurts (like tipis) and log cabins. The thrilling 1987 film Pathfinder, the first in the Saami language, documents the story of their founder and shows the similarity of the Saami’s lifestyle and worldview with those of Native American cultures.

Saami survival is dependent on the reindeer — just as the Plains Indians depended on the buffalo. In addition to being a source of food, clothing, and housing, the reindeer serve as means of transportation.​

Shamanic Roots of Santa Claus

Our Christmas tradition of Santa Claus dressed in a red and white suit riding reindeer through the sky, coming down chimneys to deliver presents, and hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree come from the Saami tradition of eating the red and white amanita muscaria mushroom at the Winter Solstice (December 21st) to gain enlightenment.

Saami drive reindeer-drawn sleighs. Reindeer also love the mushroom and are said to fly! The Saami shamans wear red and white hats to honor the mushroom that is their sacrament — and red and white capes symbolizing their flight through the air when they eat the mushroom on their most sacred night of the year, the Winter Solstice (ending December 25).

Saami shamans hang mushrooms on pine trees to dry. We preserve this tradition when bring pine trees into our homes and hang ornaments on them. The shamans put the mushrooms in sacks and deliver them by descending through the roof since the yurts are piled high with snow – just as Santa comes down the chimney to deliver gifts. The sacred red and white mushroom is eaten on Christmas to provide a transcendental experience. Reindeer also like the mushroom and are said to “fly” when they eat it!

So, Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, wears a red and white hat and cape, rides magically through the sky in a sleigh driven by reindeer around the world to deliver presents through chimneys because he is based on a Saami shaman who gets his magical powers from being high on the “amanita muscaria” mushroom! Ho! Ho! Ho!

In this way, Santa Claus subconsciously preserves our connection to our shamanic roots — while hiding and disguising them. Instead of delivering the magic mushroom which is a pathway to wisdom and enlightenment through transcendental direct experiential knowledge, Santa Claus brings gifts we often don’t need or want — and ties us to the material world. Many people go into debt at Christmas

Mushrooms and Mankind: The Impact of Mushrooms on Human Consciousness and Religion shows that the amanita muscaria (fly agaric) mushroom is connected to Santa Claus, Adam and Eve, Jesus, Last Supper, the Pope, Holy Grail, manna from heaven, holy water, Knights of the Round Table, King Arthur, Ark of the Covenant, Easter Egg hunt, Catholic “communion”, four-leaf clover, Christmas tree, Fountain of Youth, Philosopher’s Stone, War on Drugs, snake, caduceus, dollar sign, etc. The mushroom provides the Near Death Like Experiences that lead to transcendence which is prized by shamans and is the root of all religions. The book shows the hidden representations of the mushroom in religious art and architecture around the world.

Restoring Our Power By Re-Connecting With the Earth

In the inspiring video, What Happened to the Tribes of Europe, John Trudell explains that Columbus and other conquistadors were so cruel because they had lost their humanity through the hundreds of years of the Inquisition. Psychologists know that people who are abused often become abusers.

Trudell explains that Columbus was carrying the “virus” of cruelty that the Europeans had suffered for 400 hundreds of years. When the Europeans lost their tribal shamanic roots, they lost their connection to their humanity, wisdom, compassion, and the Earth. So, they could not understand or appreciate the shamanic cultures of the Americas.

Trudell points out: “I’m just a human being trying to make it in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human”. In the video Take Back The Earth, he explains that our real power is in our connection to the Earth. He calls on us to recover our humanity by remembering that our primary responsibility is to be caretakers of the Earth on which we depend for survival. He points out that when we take care of the Earth, the Earth takes care of us. Just uncommon common sense.

In his role in the 1992 film Thunderheart starring Val Kilmer as a half-Indian FBI agent, Trudell gives a moving speech when asked why he is seen as such a threat. He says, “We choose the right to be who we are. We know the difference between the reality of freedom and the illusion of freedom. There’s a way to live with Earth and a way not to live with Earth. We choose the way of Earth. It’s about Power, Ray”.

The John Trudell Documentary provides more insight into Trudell’s deep understanding of the shift in consciousness we must make to survive now.

In Return of the Bird Tribes, Ken Carey points out: “It seems that humans have been so long trained for subservience that they now feel insecure under their own initiative!…The challenge before us is to reawaken ourselves and then to join with others to show through our example the beauty and power of the new way. We are called to organize in this time, not around leaders, ideologies or belief systems, but around love: Love for God, love for one another, and love for our sacred world….The new frontier is consciousness. This blessed world…needs you and me to become all that she can be. We have an opportunity to bring to her a great gift…The gift of ourselves. Awakened. Whole.”

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