Post by Unregistered Cherokee on May 10, 2012 9:37:48 GMT -6
Thank you! You might want to include the stand on this from the Eastern Band and the Cherokee Nation in OK. I'd like to see what differences there are, to get a feel for the political climate as far as modern vs. traditional goes. I'm just now trying to get into this, for real.
I had managed to find a couple of books on Cherokees in the book store prior to the Internet, and I was looking at the traditional, pre-contact belief system. I knew that I couldn't be Christian (and never have, even though I read parts of the bible to get an understanding of what Christians were thinking like and why they behaved the way they did). I learned about some of the legends of the traditional beliefs, and early in the learning process about 12-14 years ago, I stopped learning about it, because I was too despondent about the whole "whites got you down" thing of the past and the pain of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It hurt to embrace it, and it still hurts for some reason, but this time, I have to work through the pain or I won't survive.
Maybe I should explain my position in life. I am profoundly deaf, and no one knew until I was nearly seven and a half, when they finally did a SIMPLE hearing test. My parents couldn't believe that there was anything wrong with me and wouldn't speak to my much older sister for a year (she noticed my brightness and yet lack of response to noises or people around me) until the test was done. By then, I had already gone through Kindergarten and the first six weeks of first grade (I flunked out and was placed in a school for children with mental/developmental disabilities for the remainder of the year. Strange things happened in that school that I apparently can't remember).
I had completely missed the Christian indoctrination process because they didn't know I was deaf. I had gone to church with Mom, but I had no idea what was going on around me, except that people behaved strangely, like in a reserved manner and had strange customs, like getting up and sitting back down together. I went to a small room with other kids, and it had chairs that fit us, and the teacher was doing something by looking at this thing (the bible I later realized) and doing something with his mouth. NO idea what this was about.
During this time, I was wild and easily frustrated, because I couldn't communicate and because I was acting completely human. I did what I wanted and when I wanted, except at times I was forced to, say go to bed, take my bath, or brought to the dinner table (though I have always loved to eat) when I was really focused on something I was playing with or doing. I only had a small vocabulary, to name things, living or inanimate, but I couldn't speak English nor hear it, of course. and because of my position as a child, my perception of my parents were that of people with small vocabularies, and I thought everyone was like that. I would have been similar to communicating with people of the distant past.
During this time, when I was in my own mind without outside influence, my worldview was forming, and it is based on the physical world and is silent. Sure, I can hear myself, "Ah F*, girl... D it! I forgot to bring that thing in for Sarah" in my head, just like the average hearing person would, but as far as explaining certain things on a spiritual level, I can't explain it, as there are no words for it, just emotions, sight, and some sense of knowing. Basically, I'm an Ancient, the only commonalities with a person of the very distant past (possibly 50,000 years ago, assuming the linear model of anthropology, which I'm not too sure about) being 1) relative linguistic isolation (being able to form my own mind without impressions from others) and 2) lack of exposure to today's religions until I was well past the critical age of being mentally captured at eight and a half. Of course, I have no idea what an Ancient of that time thought about, how much language development had occurred, or what the belief system was. Not to mention, I'm speaking English, using a computer and a cell phone, and I can go grocery shopping instead of hunting for food much of the day while keeping abreast of enemies and dangerous animals. But those commonalities apply.
And therein lies the pain of my life today... Not to boo hoo, but to find out where to go next. Being someone like me (can't be an atheist, either) is hard, because the people who were like this 50,000 years ago are long gone. I feel like I don't have a connection with people around me because I see them trapped in the ways of the Christians. I feel like I don't belong in this world. I feel like I'm by myself. I don't even have family in the city I live in, but at a distance, and they are Christians for the most part. I am still wild. I think whatever I want, whenever I want. I can't be broken for church, so to speak. However, I am looking for connections with people. It has to be something that is close to me, spiritually, and Native American belief is the closest thing I can see. Dad and I shared just a little bit of the belief that still struggled to stay alive in him by the time I was growing up in his sixties, though I'm sure he wished he knew more. I have looked at many other things, and it was FAIL. The connection for me is respect for ourselves, the animals, and the Earth. Another one is sustainable living on the only home we have to live on.
I post this as a call for help, as I live in one of the largest cities in Texas. I'm going NUTS here. There's too many people, too many cars, lots of strange white people (believe it or not, I have always connected better with people of color than whites with rare exceptions) coming into the place I work at. At times, I want to flee and leave everything behind. I had a friend who worked with me do that, with an old flame mixed in with his situation (I have no old flame, thankfully). He fled to Arizona, and after a falling out with his girlfriend and the subsequent alcoholic collapse that destroyed his life, he took his life last late summer. It becomes stronger every year that I want to pack up and flee elsewhere. Already, I'm working down my obligations for that eventuality, but I don't want to flee to a dead end. I want something that takes me to a whole new life that is rich in culture, history of being close to people, and feeling secure in my place in life. Right now, I have none of that.
No wonder modern civilizations are destroying everything around them, because they are lacking in a spiritual foundation in spite of their faiths.
Post by Unregistered Cherokee on May 10, 2012 10:10:21 GMT -6
Last night, I was reading something on a forum I found through google. I learned that my white side of the family were once like the Native Americans, back in Europe, only in their own ways. It never occurred to me until just now, as I was looking at the wallpaper that makes the base of this forum, the repeating images of the Indians in their colorful clothes, that I have NO IDEA of what my ancestor's beliefs were prior to the Roman conquests of Europe. We were once like you, only thousands of years ago.
It's not the "white people" who are our enemies. It is whoever dreamed up the roman beliefs who are our enemies. But they are long dead and have reached out beyond the grave over the millenia. The people alive today are victims in this and are blinded to what they do. They really cannot see what they do wrong. I see it in them EVERY DAY. They may give thanks for the food at break time, or they may not do that, but I DO NOT SEE THEM ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS FOR THE ANIMAL BEING KILLED IN THE MEAT PROCESSING PLANTS. They talk about their pets, as though they were possessions. I do not see them asking for forgiveness for breaking up the family of animals for sale to new homes. I don't see forgiveness for animals who are run over in the street. If anything, the animals are the closest beings to me, because they feel more like me than a modern person could. Oh, how about the zoo? There is where they teach children the Christian dominion over animals, as opposed to the respect paid to animals.
Those of us who are not Christian by choice are survivors. Especially in the context of the Americas, the Modern Inquisition began when it was no longer officially permitted to kill people for refusal to convert. The next best thing for them became going after the children while they were still at am impressionable age. That is what they do today.
I AM a survivor. All of us here are trying to survive a terrible, yet most promising time in Earth's history.
I'm sorry for going into it here, but I needed to make clear where I stand.
I do not follow the Christian belief system, you could say "been there, done that", the concept doesn't make sense to me. When I met my second husband, he is NA, he was very spiritual and the things he told me made sense to me! At the time I had no idea I had Cherokee blood, my great, great grandmother was full blood. I could never understand the Christian concept of having to go through a priest or Jesus to have my prayers answered or the concept of humans having dominion over all other beings. In my mind we are all related and we all have a purpose. It makes more sense to me to pray with a pipe and the smoke carry your prayers to Creator than to have the need to confess my sins to a priest or to have to go through Jesus to have my prayers answered! I can relate to you living in a city with too much noise, too many people! We moved up to the mountain where is it absolutely beautiful, I was amazed at all the stars I could see on clear nights. Up here you are pretty much right on top of nature, simply love it! I pretty much have become also a hermit, I go to town once a week to grocery shop....if I had a freezer I would probably goes once a month. Do you use a hearing aide?
Post by Unregistered Cherokee on May 11, 2012 9:35:25 GMT -6
Yes, I wear two hearing aids, and I am a drummer and recently started to learn to play the didgeridoo because of my connection to the ancient incident of growing up with low language skills in the beginning. It really calls out to me because the primitive me is trying to break out of the western music system.
What is a didgeridoo? That's pretty cool you play the drums! At first I was a little confused with you talking about the ancients and having a connection with them, but after reading again I think I understand...lol
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