Tag Archives: Cherokee

Sexual App

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Isn’t it fascinating? A simple app turns on the music on my kitchen-radio. Another app starts the hoover if there is any dirt on the carpet. My fridge just has the latest update and it orders milk, cheese or butter online  – whenever needed. My electronic maid does the cooking, she puts on fresh linen. Her audio-system and the integrated camera enables her to follow each of my commands. Whenever I need some fun, I plug in a latex-hand and a tiny dildo to my computer’s usb-port and it interacts to the chat in my favourite forum. A linguistic program analyses the chats and the latex hand with it’s smooth fingers does the rest.
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It was getting dark and when I looked out the window I watched the new, sexy neighbor. Mmmhh… long hairs hold by a hair-band, nice hips… much better than any app or usb-driven tool. So I started to investigate. Google maps showed me everything about her property, another telescope-app was useful to get more information about her house and her security system.
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Just when I went online to find out more information about her security system – some exploids or leaks – suddenly the bot I started popped up_ “Looking for hacking Security System Cherokee 69? This app cracks any version!”
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I started the download and installed it to my android. It already was dark outside and in the house of the new girl with the hair-band all lights were off. Why not start now? I went to my pc and copied a fresh image onto my system to cover all tracks. Then I left my house.
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The electronic watch-dog was no problem. The app found his MAC-address within 30 seconds. I changed his MAC-addresses and the dog had no idea what he was doing here. I took a stone and threw it away. The dog quickly run after the stone and never came back. 
hack1The door-lock was not that easy. I had to download the Linux-OS to my mobile. Then I started it on an Apache environment using an old PHP-version which enabled me to alter the source-code of the OS. Then I copied it back and… voila! The door opened.
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The alarm-system was quite easy to hack. I changed the IP-addresses of the secret alarm to now pointing at a grocery in Hong Kong. It was most unlikely that they were sending a security team.
hack2.
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So finally I was about to use the app in order to unlock her bedroom-door…. and much to my surprise the door opened! In the dim light I heard a soft, luring voice:
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Welcome Sally! You never noticed my signs because you always were into computers. But I was sure you would notice my forged message to hack Security System Cherokee 69...”
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I needed no more apps that night….
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Starbride

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Introductions

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Since this blog is still pretty new and we haven’t attained a following yet (and may never!) I’ve been writing about topics that interest me, trying to gain some insight into who our readers are and how they feel about our subject matter. Unfortunately, the dearth of comments on our posts so far indicates that its still too early to gauge who is reading or if you’re even staying past the first paragraph. I hope you are, dear reader because despite the millions of blogs around the net that you might choose from, ours is unquestionably the best (of course)! Maybe you’d like to know who ‘we’ are, because if you knew us you couldn’t help but love us. This blog-site was created by my good friend Sally, who is very talented at creating and operating websites and social-sites, mostly for girls of the lesbian persuasion. We met years ago online and have been hanging around together ever since. And honestly, what can possibly be more fascinating than a couple of hot lesbians baring their souls for you right out in public?! I’ve already bared more than that on one of my posts for those of you with sharp eyes and a prurient nature. Mild nudity will not be uncommon here when topically appropriate so if you are shocked by women’s bodies… fair warning! I used to be a photo and life-model in college ten years ago so I’m not exactly the shy type! Sally and I have both owned our own online social networks, but she is much better at it than I am, so when mine folded four years ago I started working for her and together our individual talents seem to complement each other. She has the internet skills and I have…well nothing really, I’m just a big flirt, so… okay, she could have obviously succeeded quite well without me, but she kindly keeps me around because she is just a wonderful friend and knows I need looking after to keep me out of trouble, which is maybe why she created this blog. I’m the more talkative if not more outspoken of the two of us, and probably the one who’s more likely to offend you unless you’re a flaming liberal feminist like me.

Sally lives and works in Germany now but her heart is still in Scotland where she has a lovely home on the north coast. She is 100% lesbian. I’m 50% lesbian… maybe 60%, which is to say I’m a lesbian at heart, but happen to occupy a bi-sexual body that can’t seem to give up the attention I get from men. Sally forgives this slight flaw in my character for which I am grateful because if we both weren’t involved with other people we’d almost assuredly be involved with each other! We are both business managers by vocation. I live and work in America in a small college-town in east-central Ohio. I grew up out in the country with horses, a twin sister and a slightly dysfunctional family, then went off (a whole thirty miles!) to live in the city for college, modeling and my early business career and after ten years returned to take over my parents’ family-business. I’m also half-Cherokee by blood and Native American culture was a strong influence on me growing up thanks to my grandmother, so you will be reading a lot of Native American lore if you stick around. Sally and I are both very vocal about politics and social issues, environmental issues, and of course women’s issues, so if you are a male chauvinist we’ll be happy to convert you to fair-minded feminism, but if you’re a hard case, please don’t be a troll. We welcome all opinions (some more than others) but you know whether or not you’ll be comfortable with our slant on things here, but we ARE feminists, so our opinions may seem uncompromising if conservative orthodoxy is your thing, or if you’re a Republican, about whom I have absolutely nothing nice to say. Please feel free to contact either one of us, especially if you’re a beautiful lesbian or bi-sexual. Sorry… old habits die hard! ~smile~

(c) March 13, 2013 Bethany Ariel Frasier

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The Legend of U`TLÛÑ’TÄ, a Cherokee Oral Tradition

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U`TLÛÑ’TÄ is a skin-changer…a brujo… a Native American witch. In her true form she is an old hag with skin hard as stone which made her impervious to all weapons. She roamed the Cherokee homelands of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina preying upon our Tsalagi* ancestors by changing her shape, disguising herself as members of their clans and sneaking amongst them un-noticed. When she found them alone and at unawares she would stab them with her deadly spear-point finger and steal their livers for her sustenance, then return to her mountain lair to hide. 3109762_tufted-titmouseHer predations went on for years but the Cherokee finally learned to recognize her disguised form by her clenched hand which concealed her deadly sharp finger. A pitfall trap was dug into which she was lured by the warriors, but when they flung their spears and shot their arrows into the pit at her they were deflected by her rock-hard skin. The tribal augur saw a titmouse above in the trees. Hearing its call which sounded like the Tsalagi word for ‘heart’ they aimed their weapons at her heart but to no avail. She would not die. In anger, they captured the bird and cut out its tongue naming it a liar, whereupon it flew away disgraced. 2227163314_f5bd9c2314But later in the battle a brave chickadee flew into the pit and landed upon the finger of the witch. The augur took that as a truer sign and they aimed at her hand finally killing her, for her heart was really in her hand. The chickadee is now still honored by the Tsalagi, but the unfortunate titmouse never redeemed its honor, even though the clue it provided was correct.

* Tsalagi is the word for ‘Cherokee’ in our tongue

(c) March 5, 2013 – Bethany Ariel Frasier

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Welcome to the Pow-wow!

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For those of you who know me well, you know I am part Cherokee and grew up learning Native American traditions from my grandmother. Sadly, she died almost a year ago at age 80 having fought a valiant struggle with lung-cancer. We treasured the time we had with her and the last Native American event I was able to take her to was a Pow-wow at the Great Circle Mound near where I live in the center of Licking County. The site is a 2,000 year old Native American earthwork mound built by the Hopewell Civilization and having the Pow-wow at such a sacred site was a great honor to the members of our Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio who organized the Pow-wow. My grandmother and I have participated in these events when I was younger and you can see a picture of me dressed in Native garb above, but this time we just attended as visitors since my grandmother needed so much assistance. My boyfriend took some video of the drum-circle showing some of the dancers in the background which I uploaded to another site. Here is an article from our local newspaper describing the event:

Click here for the Link

Every Pow-wow is different but there are a few common aspects which are important rituals so I’ll describe some of them here:

The Drum Circle: Gathered around a large, traditional Native drum, a group of men led by an elder pound out the drumbeat to which we dance. The drummers are usually men because most Native American tribes are patriarchal with only a couple exceptions, my Cherokee tribe and the Navajo of the desert southwest. Among the Cherokee, the women hold dominance, hold the land and property rights, and hold all the important decision-making positions. Perhaps this is why the Cherokee have always had a tradition of being the most peaceful of all the Native tribes. However, at a Pow-wow, all the different tribes come together and the drum-circle is nearly always made up of men. The drumbeat symbolizes the heartbeat of the Great Spirit which brought us forth on the Earth.

The Dance: Around a central point marked by either a totem, a bon-fire, or other symbolic focal-point, the dancers circle in a slow procession to the beat of the sacred drum. There are many different dances, but usually at least one foot makes contact with the sacred earth in either a tapping step or a supportive step for every beat of the drum. Beyond that nearly every individual has their own stylization based on a common dance-type. We enter a deep communion with the heartbeat of the drum and some even enter a trance-state. It is a deeply personal and meaningful connection to our spirituality.

The Welcoming Line: It is important to respect and honor your guests. As a Pow-wow can go on for days and newcomers are always showing up, the welcoming line is periodically set up by the organizers of the event to show respect to their guests and visitors, be they participants or onlookers. A receiving line of all the hosts draws new arrivals into the inner circle of the event welcoming them with a big hug and pat on the back. Touching each other is an important part of feeling communion when we gather from many different tribes, clans, or walks of life.

Native dress: At any Pow-wow you will see many of us dress in our traditional clothing, especially the dancers. Sometimes we dress in full Native regalia according to our tribe or our clan affiliation within the tribe, from feathered head-dress to beaded moccasins and everything in-between! But many times we just wear simpler outfits: jeans and a tee-shirt embroidered with a tribal design. Sometimes I wear just a headband and Native jewelry with a couple brightly-colored feathers laced into my hair. Every tribe has different beadwork patterns to differentiate themselves and they are always very colorful! Feathers from different bird species have different meanings too.

The Gifting: The Native American host is always a generous provider to his guests. At every gathering a blanket is spread and an array of gifts are presented. The hosts of the event first call up the elders of each clan to receive first choice of the gift selection. Then one by one, other designated groups are called up to the gift-line until finally the children are turned loose to claim the remaining treasures. The gifts can range from hand-made native crafts to boxes of pencils or other every-day useful items, but everybody gets something.

Sacred moments: Each event is blessed, but some dances and rituals are especially sacred to the elders. These events are announced, but in the noise and confusion many outsiders do not hear the announcements and usually a member of the organizing council will go around politely asking observers not to take pictures, videos or do other intrusive activities while a sacred moment transpires. It is simply a matter of respect. I forgot to mention this to David when he began video-ing one of the ceremonies over my shoulder and that is why he didn’t get to record much. He and several others were asked to stop shooting their cameras during that particular dance. But that was my fault for not paying attention.

Indian food: Modern Indian Pow-wows are usually welcoming of all comers, Native and non-Native alike, so thousands can show up! The Native American tradition of feeding all their guests has of necessity had to be modified for the modern Pow-wow. In other words… food ain’t free! It is plentiful however and there is a large variety offered for sale in a giant food tent. You can usually find Indian chilis, Indian taco’s, fry-bread, and other common Native staples along with more traditional American food, but the custom of ‘pigging-out’ at a Pow-wow is alive and well!

Trading: Invariably you will find all sorts of Indian-crafts for sale at numerous vender’s tents set up all around the perimeter of the event. Beads, jewelry, art, and Native-crafts of every variety can be found at a Pow-wow. I play the Native American 6-hole flute so I always look for the flutes whenever I go. They are made of cedar mostly, which has the softest and most resonent sound, but more beautifully-figured hardwood flutes with a brighter sound can be found too, and I have a collection of both which I’ve purchased from Native craftsmen from Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico to the Cherokee reservations of North Carolina where our tribal lands were originally located. Some Indian flautists amplify their flutes and run the signal through an echo-processor so the sound is reminiscent of the rich, atmospheric sound of a flute being played in a box-canyon. You can hear the sound on many recordings and CD’s available by Native flautists like Coyote Old Man, and R. Carlos Nakai. I was trained to play by a Pueblo Indian in Santa Fe named Sky Redhawk, and I go back to visit him whenever David and I travel out west. But at most any Pow-wow you can hear an Indian flautist performing.

I hope some of you have read this through to the end because we Native Americans love to share our culture with everyone and we are a very proud people, even though many of us are now of mixed blood. The Cherokee women of the lower Appalachians commonly married Scottish men who emigrated and settled in our mountains because it reminded them so much of the Scottish highlands they left behind. Many Scottish traditions are similar to native tradition insofar as clan denominations, clan-markers: Tartans for the Scots and beadwork for the Native Americans for example. A strong oral tradition of story-telling is common to both nations also as well as sharing a tradition for being fierce warriors. You can tell by my Scottish last name that I’m descended from one of those Scots-Cherokee pairings. I hope you all get to experience an Indian Pow-wow someday! I’ve enjoyed them all my life! O-si-yo!
woodland beth

(c) February 19th, 2013 Bethany Ariel Frasier

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The Land of Legend

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Land of LegendThe Native American tradition is one of preservation. We are many tribes, many clans, but our stories carry on our history. Some have been nearly lost and forgotten as the young look to the future and forget the past. But here we remember and carry on the tales given to us from earlier times. That is our heritage. It is in fact the only thing we have left of a once-vast and diverse civilization, now gone.

Where I live there are no Indian reservations. The Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio which hosts our annual pow-wows is made up of members of numerous tribes which have reservations and enclaves in other parts of the country, some very far away. My Cherokee tribal reservation is in North Carolina. I’ve visited there many times, but here in Ohio Natives are dispersed thinly throughout the population and when we come together from different tribes we bring traditions and customs carried on more through our families than by immersion in tribal reservation life. My maternal grandmother was nearly full-blooded Cherokee and she has been the source of my interest in my tribal roots even though I am less than half Native. Although there are no tribes or reservations left in Ohio, there are many abandoned places where the Native Americans left their mark, and they are vast and awe-inspiring. The most impressive of these were in the valley of the Licking River where I grew up, also known as the Land of Legend.

The Land of Legend… a sanctuary of peace.

Few today who live in the area where I grew up are familiar with the term ‘Land of Legend’. The last vestiges of its usage are in the names of a local transit company and a driving school. Most inhabitants of this area are unaware of its rich history. It was once an important center of Native American life and culture before the Europeans came. I am a native of the Land of Legend and this is its story. It has been so-named because it was rich in the history of the American Indian going back two millennia, but it is a name now lost in time to all but a few who are aware of what happened here. You will not find it on a map, but for nearly two thousand years it was a center of commerce, and a sacred place of peace. The commodity that made this area so important to the Indian was flint. Abundant natural outcroppings at Flint Ridge supplied the Indians with the sharp-edged mineral with which arrowheads, tools, and axes could be fashioned. It was quarried from the flint-pits here and traded throughout the midwest by Indians of all tribes going back to the the Middle Woodland period when great earthwork mounds were built as temples and effigies by the pre-historic tribes now known as the Hopewell and Adena civilizations. Today the area is known as Licking County, Ohio, named for the Licking River which meanders through it from west to east. The river is shallow and muddy now like most rivers in the American midwest, choked and silted-up by the agricultural run-off of modern farming but the rivers and streams once ran clear and clean, surrounded by tall stands of virgin forests. The largest forest of cherry trees ever to grow in the world once grew here. Where this forest stood is now just a suburban neighborhood whose inhabitants have no idea why their main street is named Cherry Valley Road. This was part of the vast Northern Woodlands, where numerous tribes of the Algonquin and Iroquois-speaking Native civilizations thrived hundreds of years ago. It was said that a squirrel could jump from tree-to-tree from Lake Erie to the Ohio River without once needing to touch the ground.

There is still great beauty to be found where the river cuts through an ancient sandstone ridge near the little town of Toboso, named for the home of Cervante’s Lady Dulcinea. The state of Ohio has made several parks and nature reserves in Licking County where the most important sites of Native American history are still preserved. The sandstone formation which runs through much of southern Ohio, even forming the magnificently beautiful Hocking Hills Parks region seventy-five miles to the south is named for an ancient petroglyph, the Black Hand left by the Indians upon the sandstone wall of the Licking Narrows where the river passes through an ancient rocky gorge left by the runoff of retreating glaciers of the last Ice Age. No one knows who exactly left the sooty-black petroglyph carved high upon the rock above the narrows of the Licking River, but it was said that one of its long fingers pointed the way to the nearby flint outcroppings south of the gorge where the Indians quarried their most important natural resource for two thousand years and traded it throughout the region.

It started long ago. Just as ancient civilizations throughout the world have been defined by the commodities which made them thrive… bronze, iron, even stone, the early Native American civilization that once flourished here was based on flint.  The ancient Mound-builders discovered natural outcroppings of this useful mineral along a ridge which today runs up the eastern edge of Licking County and for centuries the flint-pits were quarried by Native tribes throughout the region. At first the flint which was used to fashion arrow-heads, knives and axes, all the necessary tools of survival in the woodlands created warfare among the various tribes, each of whom fought to control access to the precious resource. But then these ‘primitive’ tribes did something remarkable which even modern nations today rarely seem capable of doing when struggling over natural resources. They made peace! How it was actually achieved we can only conjecture, but the Indians crafted a legend out of the event and the legend transformed this small area of the country into a sacred sanctuary where conflict was prohibited and no man could raise his hand against another. The legend tells that the chiefs of all the tribes in the area were called to a great council upon the rocks high above a gorge on the Licking River near the flint quarries. Gathered upon this high promontory the chiefs sat in a circle and were told by the Great Father that warfare was forbidden in the lands around the flint-quarries and tragedy would befall any man who broke the peace. The treaty of Council Rock remained unbroken and the legend kept the peace for centuries turning this area into a center of trade which carried flint along rivers and trails around pre-Columbian North America for a thousand miles in every direction. Flint whose geological origins can be traced to the Land of Legend has been discovered as far away as Colorado and the east coast.

With peace and commerce came civilization. Two thousand years ago in what has come to be called the Middle Woodland Period, this sanctuary of non-violence became one of the most important ceremonial centers for the tribes of the Hopewell Tradition. This was a period in Native American history when trade in exotic materials from around the country enabled a widespread culture of artistic expression in beautiful crafts created from mica, copper, pipe-stone, seashells, bear and sharks-teeth, and other rare commodities. The custom of raising enormous earthen mounds which began with the Adena culture which preceded the Hopewell Tradition was expanded and ceremonial mound-groups were built as astronomical and calendrical devices charting and predicting the points on the horizon where the moon would rise and set in each season. Mounds were built in the effigies of eagles, serpents, and flying squirrels for burials as well as ceremonial enclosures for tribal gatherings. The mound-groups were not cities, but rather holy places where all the local Indian villages gathered for special ceremonies. The Newark Earthworks in the center of the Land of Legend are some of the most extensive mound-groups in the world and are now under consideration as world-heritage sites by the UN, along with the Great Pyramids and the Great Wall of China. When the white man came into this region many of the mounds were destroyed when the forests were cut down and the land leveled to make way for agriculture. The Octagon mound group in the heart of the city of Newark is now a private golf course and access is restricted to members only. The historical and cultural importance of the great mounds was dismissed by the white settlers and cities were built up around them destroying many of them for home-sites. Only a few remain intact where once they dotted the landscape of the Midwest woodlands before the westward expansion devastated the Native American culture in the nineteenth century.

When I first saw the great Indian mounds of Licking County as a little girl I was completely mystified. They didn’t fit into the world I knew at all! They stand alone in their mysterious grandeur as they have stood for over 2,000 years, vestiges from a vanished civilization in the distant past surrounded now by the ugly clutter of modern civilization. They are amazing earthworks built in geometric shapes and animal effigies which fill central and southern Ohio. I wondered why they were there. Who built them, and when? These were exactly the questions my grandmother knew would be filling my mind when she took me to see them, for they were the same questions everyone asked upon seeing them for the first time. She took me into the museum at the Great Circle Mound State Park where I discovered some of the answers, and began to learn about why the area where I live was once called the Land of Legend.

The Legend of the Black Hand

Besides the great mounds and flint quarries Licking County is also home to another Indian legend closer to my heart, the Black Hand Petroglyph. When white settlers came to this area they found the Licking Narrows Gorge, now called the Black Hand Gorge. High up above the river on the walls of sandstone cliffs rising up to form the gorge could be seen a pre-historic petroglyph, an  ancient image engraved in the rock. It was a large black hand. No one knew who had made it or how they had suspended themselves halfway up a sheer rock cliff-face to engrave it, but the local Indians who had not yet been driven from the area told various stories, that it was a warning reminding all who entered the area that no bloodshed was allowed beyond that point. Other tales said it was a pointer to the flint ridge to the south. But the story I like best is the legend of Ahyoma, the Princess of the Woodland Tribes.

The great chief Pawcongah sired a beautiful daughter named Ahyoma whose hand all the braves in the tribe sought in marriage. The comely Indian maiden secretly loved a young warrior named Lahkopis, but the Princess was such a lovely prize that her father decided to let the braves contest each other for the right to marry her. The brave who proved himself the mightiest warrior would then take her as his wife. The chief let it be known that the contest would be decided by the number of enemy scalps each brave brought back from battle and placed before him. Each warrior set out through the woods on hunting parties to take enough scalps to win the hand of the chief’s daughter and when they returned they laid out their trophies one by one before the feet of the great chief. Lahkopis believed he had collected the most scalps but an older warrior named Waconsta came forward and laid out an even greater number. The chief declared him the winner saying he could take his daughter in marriage the very next day. Heartbroken, the young Princess came to Lahkopis in the night before her wedding and they ran off together through the woodlands hoping to escape to the sanctuary of Flint Ridge where no one would dare raise a hand against them. Waconsta guessed their plan however and followed them through the darkness until he caught up to the fleeing lovers at the river gorge where the Great Father had proclaimed the Flint Ridge area to be sacred ground. They climbed to the top of Council Rock where their escape was cut off by the high cliffs over the river gorge. Unable to flee any farther Lahkopis drew his hatchet and resolved to face the mightier Waconsta in battle. When the moment came Waconsta raised his hand to strike the death blow to the young brave who had stolen his prize, but Lahkopis swung his hatchet upwards cutting off the hand of his rival. So near to the edge of the escarpment were the three that in the struggle the Princess stumbled and fell into the gorge far below as did her lover as he reached out to catch her, and his wounded rival also. The severed hand however never reached the river below and became a blackened image upon the side of the cliff. The black hand grew in size and was etched into the sandstone high above the river to serve as a warning to all others who entered the narrows never again to shed blood in the Land of Legend, the sanctuary of peace. For generations after, the Licking Narrows came to be called the Black Hand Gorge, still haunted by the spirits of the two jealous warriors and the Princess of the Woodland Tribes.

These are the stories I have been fascinated with all my life. The Land of Legend has always been a special place for Native Americans of all tribes having been a center of tribal activity for two millennia. The Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio often selects sacred sites here to host their annual pow-wows so they have often been held near my home and my grandmother and I were very active at the pow-wows when I was a teenager. The Black Hand Gorge has been one of my favorite haunts since I was very young. It was designated a state nature preserve in 1975 and a bikeway was paved on an old railway bed closely paralleling the river and it is a beautiful ride! The Council Rock promontory where so much Native legend is centered is still there although it has been heavily impacted by modern man. Two railways and an interurban track were routed through the narrow gorge over a century ago, and a tunnel was dynamited beneath Council Rock in 1903 for a track-bed. The Black Hand petroglyph itself was destroyed in 1828 when the Ohio & Erie Canal builders used gun-powder to blow away the face of the cliff where the hand was visible to make way for a tow-path for the early canal-boats which were routed through the gorge between 1835 and 1861 to carry agricultural products to market. There is also an abandoned canal-lock at the outlet of the river-narrows and an abandoned sand-quarry where my friends and I used to skinny-dip. In college I worked as a model and in the years since I have used the beauty of the Gorge as a backdrop for many of my photo-shoots. It is still a remote location and only on the south side of the river where the bike-trail runs do visitors frequent the gorge. It is a place of beauty and of memories.

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(c) February 13th, 2013  Bethany Ariel Frasier

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Rainbow Warriors

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9055Author’s note: Being half-Native American I have a foot in both worlds and though I live in one world, my Cherokee grandmother whom I lost to cancer nearly a year ago instilled in me a love of my Native heritage. She shared all our stories and traditions with me when I was growing up and took me to tribal ceremonies. My perspective is colored with everything she taught me from that world because I respected her immensely. This article was written last year for my Native American friend Trudy Silverheel’s website: http://www.silverheelstradingpost.com/
It is wholly taken from the point of view of my Cherokee side in honor of the history of our people that my grandmother taught to me.

Native American Beliefs

The Native Americans sustained their civilizations for 10,000 years living in harmony with nature before the Europeans forced them from their lands and ended their culture. The white man has been on our soil for barely 300 years and has very nearly destroyed the natural environment, rapaciously taking from the land, giving nothing back. The endless woodlands are gone. The rivers and streams are muddied and polluted. The air increasingly brings asthma and other respiratory diseases to our children. Even whole mountains have been blasted away to extract the coal which dirties our air but powers our energy-intensive lifestyle. It is difficult not to draw value judgements and wonder what happens to a civilization when it has finally used up nature. Will our overcrowded parks be enough to nourish our souls. Will we even remember what we have lost? The film Avatar recently struck the contrast between modern man coming to a world of primitives to strip the resources they wanted, destroying the native society in the process. It is a distillation of the story of the genocide of the American Indian. Except that we didn’t win. Another perceptive view of modern man coming to exploit the resources of a self-sustaining indigenous society living in harmony with nature can be found in the first book of the great C.S. Lewis cosmic trilogy, Out Of The Silent Planet. What these two examples from popular fiction have in common is that the “primitive” inhabitants of paradise were able to drive their intruders out, while in reality the Native Americans and the peoples of the First Nation were brutally displaced.

The Prophesy of the Rainbow Warrior.

Native American legend has it that one day modern man will finally shred the fabric of his environment to the point where looming ecological catastrophe will turn him back to the Indians to teach him how to live sustainably with the world. It is a quaint thought. But if we cling to it, have the remaining Natives been so absorbed into the modern world that they too have forgotten their original path? We must at least remember the core elements of our ways, and if going back to the wilderness is not a practical option for our teeming millions, what have we left to teach the white man that he may better sustain his society while also sustaining his environment? The best answer to this may not be in presenting a paradigm for the economics of a self-sustaining society. Such models have been set forth already by progressive conservationists across the green side of the political spectrum. What the Rainbow Warriors need to exemplify are the characteristics of the radically different world-view of the Native Americans as they were before the Europeans invaded. If modern man cannot embrace these core beliefs, then he will never divert himself from inevitable disaster. But it has been prophesied in another legend that he will.

The Legend of the White Buffalo

The Lakota have carried down through nineteen generations the legend of the White Buffalo Woman and her sacred gift to the bison-hunters of the northern American plains. Centuries ago the great herds of buffalo suddenly disappeared from their wide prairies one summer and the Lakota faced starvation if the winter should come without the hunt for the great shaggy beast to provide for their needs. Indian Summer approached and no traces were found and the tribal leaders were desperate for a sign of the return of the buffalo. Scouts were sent in all directions and one day two of these scouts spied a white buffalo on the horizon. Upon their approach the creature mysteriously changed in appearance to a beautiful young woman dressed in a white buckskin hide. One of the scouts seeing her great beauty and desiring her for his own pleasure approached the girl with lust in his heart even as the other warned him that the unusual markings of her dress denoted she was a holy woman. Upon touching her the desirous brave and the beautiful young woman were instantly consumed in a cloud which descended from the sky and as the second scout watched, the swirling cloud disappeared into the ground leaving his companion a rotted pile of bones in the grass. The remaining scout turned away with his eyes lowered promising to withdraw from the sacred woman. “Wait”! she said, and as he turned to face her she told him not to be afraid, for she had merely given his companion what he most wanted, her body in carnal pleasure, a lifetime of desire consumed in but a single moment. “I understand why you are here”. She said. “Your people are in need and it is because your lives have grown out of balance. The buffalo have left your lands because you have not been respectful of what they have given you. This man’s actions have shown your people have not learned respect for women either. He believed women are at the disposal of men to serve their pleasure. Your people must learn a new way of seeing the world. She touched the medicine bundle slung at her shoulder, bound in white buffalo skin. “I come from the people of the buffalo and I bring you a gift and the wisdom to use it to live in harmony with the earth-mother who provides everything in your lives”. She told the scout to go back to his tribe and inform them that in three days she would come to their village to deliver to the elders her sacred gift.

The scout returned and told the people of his village what had happened and they prepared a sacred altar and a ceremonial lodge for their guest, and in three days the White Buffalo Woman appeared before the gathered tribe. She knealt on the ground at the altar and unrolled the white medicine bundle drawing forth a small stone bowl and a hollowed wooden stem which when joined together formed the sacred prayer pipe, the first ever seen by the Lakota. She explained that the stone bowl represents the feminine in nature, the sacred earth-mother and creative force of the world while the stem, made from wood symbolized the male, coming forth from woman as the tree comes forth from the earth. Joining the prayer-pipe together she pinched some sacred herbs from a pouch in her bundle and placed them in the bowl. “Breath is the essence of life. It is your spirit”. She intoned as she lit the prayer-pipe. She drew in the smoke and blew it out over the sacred altar watching the smoke permeating the air and enveloping those around her. “When you say a prayer with the pipe, your breath becomes visible in the smoke. Your prayer thus becomes visible to the spirit father. You can now see your prayers rising to the creator in the smoke”. She passed the sacred pipe around to the members of the tribe and while they shared the pipe she bestowed upon them the gift of wisdom. “The balance of your lives has strayed from the vision of your first fathers, and your spirits have become impoverished. The thrill of the hunt has become more important to you than the respect shown for the sacred act of the buffalos’ sacrifice for you, and so they have abandoned you. Your vision has clouded and you no longer respect the life-giving power that is the very spirit of the sacred femme. You do not honor the balance between the male and the female and believe the woman to be inferior because she is weaker in strength. But you forget the power she holds as the bringer of new life. You treat her as servile and as merely a means for giving you pleasure. The pipe will be a constant reminder of the importance of woman as a sacred being who is like the Earth Mother, the source of all life. When you embrace the spiritual and honor the life the buffalo gives up for you, and understand the esteem with which you must hold the women of the tribe, then will balance be restored to your lives and then shall the buffalo return to your lands”.

She then taught them the seven sacred ceremonies which they must perform using the prayer pipe: Purification, Naming of the child, Healing, Adoption of a blood-brother, Marriage, Vision-quest, and the Sundance ceremony to pray for the well-being of the people. She then gave them her White Buffalo medicine bundle and bade them to keep it sacred through the four-ages bound up in her existence. At the end of each age she would look back upon the people to observe their well-being, but at the end of the fourth age she would return as the White Buffalo to restore harmony and spirituality to a troubled world. As she bade her farewell and withdrew from the Lakota she changed back into a buffalo, resting four times in her departure to rise each time dressed in garb of a different color. These changes represented the four races of the world, black, yellow, red, and finally she arose again as the White Buffalo and vanished from the world.

After centuries and the passing of the Four Ages, the White Buffalo has returned to the Lakota and they see it as the sign of the coming renewal of the world as the white man at last sees the folly of his ways and widens his vision to embrace the spirit of the Native American and walk the true path.

Respect

When the white man arrived in the New World the first impression they made on the Indian was that they were a poor race who had no respect for the land and could barely keep themselves alive in the harsh elements of the natural world. They brought disease with them which ravaged the indigenous population and their main motivation in coming to the New World was exploitation and colonial expansion. The white man it seemed, had no respect, for either the people they found already living in harmony with the natural world, nor the natural world itself. Both were merely obstacles to be conquered, which since the Reformation has been the religious and geo-political doctrine of western civilization. Putting aside the socio-economic differences between a civilization which derives its motivations from resource extraction and mass commoditization and one which only seeks to preserve a balance with the world as it is found, the characteristic which clearly defines the moral difference in cultures is respect for things different from one’s own sphere of understanding. The Native American survives through the respect for all aspects of the world. Tribal life is inclusive, not exclusionary. We embrace all the different members of our society and understand that each of those differences brings something useful to the tribe. Homogeneity is not a virtue with us as it seems to be in western civilizations. We respect our own integrity, but we respect the importance and purpose of everyone and everything around us that is different from us without arrogance or condescension. Our spiritual beliefs before the white man came and imposed his religion upon us were animistic, not authoritarian or hierarchical. Animism is the belief that there is an unique and inherent ‘spirit’ in everything around us and that the spirit of something, even if ineffable defines its core nature, determining its meaningfulness in relationship to the rest of the world. Everything has a purpose. If we don’t immediately see it, our duty is to learn what it is, but not to dismiss it out of our ignorance. As an example, an interesting facet of tribal culture in the Americas before the white man arrived is the fact that there was no such thing as homophobia. When the Europeans arrived and began to encounter Native Americans they found homosexuality and cross-gender identity among us. This to us was normal. To the white man it was a shocking abomination that offended his sensibilities to such an extent that many homosexual Indians found their way into the records of history as noteworthy curiosities. The Europeans gave a name to the members of our society who displayed ‘gay’ behavior – berdache. It was a French term with a pejorative meaning. But until the white man arrived, the native Americans attached no shame or disrespect to such cross-gendered individuals. They were seen as having two-spirits, both male and female and often attained a higher rank as shamans, artists or medicine-men because of their broader insights and greater abilities. One of the great failings of modern civilization is that most of the dominant theologies not only reject the duty to respect those minorities with differences, but they barely even tolerate their existence. To the Native American, we are all one tribe. When we have respect for the right to be different, we are less likely to dismiss our moral obligations to treat those who are different with the same respect we treat those we identify as being like ourselves.

Communitarianism

Among the world’s economic systems, socialism is perhaps the most ethically reflective of true Christian values. From each according to his ability to each according to his need, reflecting Christ’s primary prescriptive norm for a concern for the welfare of the poorest and neediest among a society. So naturally the Christian society which conducted the genocide of the American Indian inexplicably espouses the more selfish, and non-altruistic system of capitalism instead! Native American societies are more inherently socialistic by nature in the altruistic sense, but since their was no great infra-structure, industry, or commoditization among the Indians their economic system can more properly be described as communitarian rather than capitalist or socialist. Individual hand-crafts were made and bartered (or gifted), but the services provided by the hunters, the gatherers, the planters, the warriors, the artists, the healers, or the shamans were provided by individual members of the tribe according to his abilities for the common benefit of the whole community. There was no Indian concept of money or currency until the white man arrived. Exchange was made in useful personal items like tobacco, corn, pelts and furs. The closest thing the Natives had to currency was wampum, which started out as a commemorative device preserving stories, records of events, ceremonies, treaties etc. in symbolic designs of shells and beadwork strung together in various meaningful patterns. These had a commonly accepted value as records of tribal activities since there was no written language, only a tradition of oral story-telling. The shells and beads which were used to string wampum became increasingly valuable because the technology to drill the holes for the strings was primitive and it took many hours to produce them. When the Europeans came and began trading with the Indians for furs and pelts they recognized wampum as something they could produce far more cheaply than the Indians could, so the Dutch colonists began manufacturing wampum in a factory in Passaic, New Jersey to buy valuable commodities from the natives with a currency which to them was next to worthless. Soon the market became flooded however and the value of wampum decreased with inflation. By this time the French and English were forming alliances with the tribes of the eastern woodlands and began arming them with guns with which to battle other tribes aligned with the opposing side of a colonial war. The European colonists used the pressures of diminishing lands to create and intensify enmity between the tribes that had not already been displaced by colonial expansion, and the colonists succeeded in pitting the Indians against their own best interests to fight each other in the service of opposing colonial factions.

The Native Spirit

The Native Americans were deeply spiritual and saw influences affecting their world from the ‘anima’, or living spirit of everything around them. Their cosmologies came from stories based on the various innate characteristics of the spirits of animals, rocks, the trees, the wind, water, and everything else surrounding them. Through sleep and food deprivation, along with other tests of their physical and mental endurance, they envisioned separate realities through dream-journeys or vision-quests. Dreams and visions were extremely meaningful to the natives and they adopted guides and ‘familiars’ as spirit-helpers to interpret and lead them through the unfamiliar territories of alternate realities. Each journey into the inner self would reveal one of these guides in the form of an animal whose basic nature would be most beneficial in leading the individual towards the truths he most needed to understand. The Indians of the southwest used psychotropic plants to stimulate these inner-journeys into the unknown. The realms of their experience thus extended beyond the natural world into what could be deemed the metaphysical, and the mind-body connection was very pronounced in both medicine and philosophy. The Native Americans believed in a holistic approach to treating illness which has always eluded western medicine. The power of the mind was much more accessible to those who were more closely in touch with both themselves and the hidden forces of the world around them. Rituals of purification were performed to cleanse the body and the spirit.

Shamanism

The masters of spiritual journeys were the shamans. They served as the soul-guides to the tribe and mastered the techniques of purification of both the spirit and the body. One of their tools was the smudge-stick. This was a specially-prepared bundle of dried herbs and plant fibers, usually consisting of white sage, cedar, cilantro, mugwort, juniper, yarrow and other sources of fragrant vapors when burned as a punk. Using a smudge-fan composed of the feathers of many different bird species, the shaman would permeate and purify the air in a ceremonial space with the incense of the smoldering smudge. This was intended to clear the mind and facilitate the spiritual paths of the ‘journiers’. Another plant frequently burned by the Native American for its calming characteristics was sweet-grass. Some erroneously believe this is a native colloquialism for marijuana, but sweet-grass is actually a brittle, dried grass of the variety Hierochlöe odorata, also called Bison-grass and zubrowka (by the Poles who distill it with their vodka as a flavoring) commonly found growing in low-lying wetlands. When dried and burned, its psycho-tropic tendencies are mild and it is not a regulated substance, although it is generally only traded and used by Indians. One of the tools for the purification of the body was the sweat-lodge. Insulating skins were stretched over a framework of sticks and poles forming a lodge within which fire-heated stones were placed to create super-heated air inside the sweat-lodge. Members of the tribe would enter the lodge naked and expose themselves to the intense heat, forcing them to sweat out all the impurities in their bodies. When I was sixteen I participated in a sweat-lodge ceremony and it is grueling! It is not a test which can be taken lightly, nor without great care and attention as deaths have resulted from performing the cermony without careful monitoring and supervision. The extreme tests of endurance members of the tribe exposed themselves to all served to strengthen the mind and the body to withstand the rigors of life in the natural world. But the spiritual benefits of such quests for the boundaries of endurance cannot be dismissed. These stretches of both the mind and body are almost unknown among western civilizations where conformity to the narrow limits of thinking imposed by Judeo-Christian dogma is nearly universally unquestioned.

The Sacred

Among the most sacred of ceremonies are those involving the prayer pipe. The calumet has come to characterize the American Indian in the mind of the white man who has erroneously called it a peace pipe, but little is known among outsiders of the depth of spiritual meaning this device holds to the Native American. It does not merely represent the sacred. It is sacred in and of itself, for it manifests the living spirit, the breath of the spoken prayer made tangible and real in the visible smoke. It is a bond between brethren who share in the ceremony of the pipe. The covenants made in such ceremonies are inviolable and the very honor of the members of the tribe who participate in this holy communion is at stake should any action betray the commitments made therein. Treaties sworn to by the Native Americans by the “peace-pipe”, as the whites called it were considered a sacred contract. As these treaties were violated time and again by the white man, the Native American learned that his white brother had no honor. Honor and respect then are at the core of the relationship between the Native American and his world, and so that is what the Rainbow Warrior most needs to impart upon those whose hubris have led them to the edge of a precipice. Even now modern man is polarized between those reactionaries who struggle to keep their society in denial of the inevitable coming of a sea-change in historical eras, and those who realize the change in eras is upon them. What the reactionaries hold sacred has served their civilization in the past, but now threatens them with extinction for it is not sustainable. Rather than embracing the challenge of accepting a progression to a new world in which man must live in harmony with his planet instead of exploiting it, we are being blindly led through the political and economic power of vested interests to cling desperately to the ways which have nearly destroyed us through the destruction of our environment. Now is the time that the Rainbow Warrior stands ready to show the way to a sustainable existence through a change in world-views, and a return to honor and respect, but the message is lost to those who allow themselves to be misled by those who profit from exploitation. What is sacred to the Judeo-Christian world-view is the promise of salvation in some promised afterlife. To the Native American, what is sacred is his duty to honor and respect this world and live in it in balance so it is preserved for his progeny. This sense of humility and duty is then what the Rainbow Warrior must impart to mankind as he faces the end of the world which he has polluted and despoiled.

Myths and story-telling

Our tradition of passing on to the next generation the stories and myths which have come down to us from our ancestors is the means by which we sustain the continuity of our culture. The meanings and allegories of our stories are the core of our connection to a way of life which is sustainable. They are the heart of our wisdom and impart to us the values which keep our lives in balance. Our myths teach us the inimitable spirit of everything around us in nature, the wind, the water, and the earth. Without a belief in the living spirit of the world of which we are only a part we are doomed to lose respect and despoil it, robbing from our children the only meaningful gifts we can ever truly give them. The story of the White Buffalo is a story of hope, and the message that we can only hope to save ourselves by learning respect and living in harmony with our world and each other.

(c) 2012 Bethany Ariel Frasier

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