The Great Spirit
Look at my vocabulary list ShiMa. I see the word incantation. You know that is a word I don’t have to study. The stories you have told me of our spirit family offers such peace and the sacred incantation is something not to forget.
Yes my ShiPea. You have a good memory and ahh it is true; such a legend of comfort; told to me by my ShiMa and I assume passed along through the ages by all the ShiMas on our Cherokee family tree.
Can you tell me our story again ShiMa? When you speak of it I can feel the heartbeat of the spirits and someday I would like to tell my children our story just as you do to bring them the same comfort.
Of course my love. It would be my honor. We honor the spirits each time we speak of their power and we must always hold them in our hearts with gratitude. As you know, without them we may not have been sitting here as living souls. Dear spirits work through me once more as I share your wisdom:
Start at the beginning ShiMa.
Yes, my Shipea.
....There was a man that braved the sea and came to our great land in the year of 1492 named Christopher Columbus. Bringing with him, besides the notion that one could own sacred earth, he and those that followed him brought their curses. In the years that followed his first steps on our sacred land, demons traveled with Christopher Columbus that threatened our very survival.
Collectively, our tribes were said to be 90 million strong. Who were they that came but few? Why did they not want to know the true spirits living in our hearts? They spoke of their Lord Jesus Christ. They felt sure that their ways should be our ways and they should have dominion over us, but they would soon enough be proved wrong.
As expeditions continued to arrive, all praising Jesus they continually disregarded our way of life. They brought with them wares, new plants, animals and disease. Deadly curses of disease. One of them we now know as smallpox. Our healthy strong people were dieing by the hundreds, then thousands. Heads of tribes: Cherokee, Iroquois, Algonquin, Apache, Blackfeet and many more all decided it was time to unite and fight back. They held many meetings. We would stand up to the white man and Jesus. We would fight the curse with a unified strategy and outsmart them.
During that time the Great Medicine Man noticed with his keen eye that upon the animals of the wood chewing on juniper they demonstrated a surge in energy. He made a topical potion of juniper root, sassafrass, pumpkin blossoms and corn silk. He also concoted a healing tea of Black Cohosh, Echinacea and Hawthorne. His recipes were disseminated at the tribal meetings and word traveled fast and far that we believed we had found the formula to stop the white man’s curse.
But none of this would have been achieved without the help of the Great Spirit above. With the rhythm of the powwow drum and the rattle of blackeyed peas, each evening when our work was done all tribal families came together holding their wampum as an offering and recited the noble and sacred incantation:
Dear Great Spirit up above
There is a great enemy that has come
To rip you from us and destroy us
We honor you now as we always have
It was you that gave us breath and life
And it can only be you that will taketh from us
You have taught us to respect every living thing
To be good and do no wrong; to love mother earth
Will you allow the white man’s tyranny?
We beg you to save us from the wrath apparent
Let us walk in the strenght you have bestowed
Let it be only you responsible for our annihilation
And you responsible for our survival.......
And as it is known in the history books, smallpox vanished from our great land and we were once again strong in body and numbers; free of the curse. This did not stop the white man from trying to curse us again through the years and as you know they came with weapons foreign to us. Loud weapons of noise and lethal consequence. With the help of the Great Spirit, we made it be known our strength would not be broken; outsmarting them time and time again, and again their curses would be blocked. Most of the white men left knowing that their weapons could not overtake our One body of millions, but there were a small number that stayed putting down their weapons, embracing our peaceful way of life, living in communion with us, the Great Spirit and the earth and sky......
ShiMa. Thank you. I feel them. Our spirit family. I feel love. But you forgot to tell me the very end of the story.
Oh yes. Forgive me. Those that stayed gave us with gratitude the gift of their knowledge, helping us to communicate with their language and eventually opening schools of learning. We must be thankful today for the white man, for had it not been for the few you may not be studying that vocabulary list this very evening my ShiPea. But never forget. All thanks go to the Great Spirit above.
Yes ShiMa. Yes. Such truth you speak.