Jan 4, 2013 - Building Upon the Energy of Idle No More
“My friend, they will return again. All over the earth, they are returning again. Ancient teachings of the earth, ancient songs of the earth, they are returning again.” –Tasunka Witko
Mitakuyapi. Cante waste nape ceyuzapi pelo. My relatives. I shake your hands from my heart.
Beautiful, smiling, happy faces singing, drumming and round dancing or coastal jamming. Eyokipiya wacipi. They are happily dancing. Elders dancing, youth dancing, Mothers and Fathers holding precious babies dancing- all united in spirit and prayer.
I, like so many others around the globe, have been inspired by the Idle No More movement, and the incredible sacrifice of Chief Spence as well as the round dance revolution that has followed. We are witnessing a moment born out of our ancestor’s prayers and the unfolding of ancient prophecies- the eagle and condor flying together again, the return of the white buffalo calves, and the rising up of the seventh generation.
Idle No More has brought with it not only the urgency of standing up to multinational owned corrupt politicians and their corporate agendas to rape and pillage our beautiful Maka Ina (Mother Earth) while enslaving the masses to enrich themselves, but to do so from a spiritual center. In the 1970’s, the American Indian Movement helped bring about a shift in identity; one that brought a sense of Native pride to the masses stating that is was good and ok to be Indian. Idle No More, in its wake, promises to expand on this in that not only is it good to be Indian, it is good to be Indigenous. Indigenous and spiritual, connected again with all relations.
At a recent flash mob round dance in Tulalip, I was overwhelmed, and overjoyed, to see so many teens and young adults attending. The energy they emitted spoke volumes to which their nagi, their spiritual being, had been awoken. They danced, sang, drummed, and smiled- unafraid to show that they are Indigenous and spiritual and connected by the common plight of their neighbors to the North. They were joined together over concern for the continued desecration of Maka Ina. Similar scenes are playing out throughout not only Turtle Island, but across all Maka Ina.
That night, I thought about energy and communication. I have learned that in our Lakota ways, communication is the transfer of energy- whether it is from our thoughts, words, or actions. That energy emitted is like medicine and can be either transferred as negative or positive energy. The energy being released from the round dances is strong and beautiful and it is helping to awaken the spiritual beings inside the world over. It is this spirit, our nagi, that we need to nurture, embrace, and walk with. Hecel canku luta ogna, this is the Red Road way.
It is in this vein, the transferring of energy as medicine, that I think about our beautiful Lakota language, and all other Indigenous languages. Our languages are filled with words so simple, yet so rich, complex, and meaningful. Words like mni, meaning not simply water, but meaning life. Wakanija, meaning not just children, but rather sacred beings. I wonder how different society would be if it looked at the world through the lens of just these two words alone; children treated as sacred beings and water treated as life.
Let us carry that spirit of love and good energy that we feel at the round dances with us, in not only our efforts to support our First Nations relatives and Chief Spence, but bring it with us into our homes, our Tiospaye (extended families) and Oyate (Nations), and with us in all our interactions with all of creation. Let us send that sacred medicine, that energy, out into the cosmos so that we may live below as they do above.
Mitakuyapi, my relatives, lastly let us not forget that Tunkasila gave us the gift of each other. Let us not forget this prayer, this incredible gift, which has already been answered and given to us. Let us stand and support one another, for Indigenous peoples, for Maka Ina. Live, and as Chief Spence is showing us, be willing to die for one another, for all of creation.
by Wakíƞyaƞ Waánataƞ (Matt Remle- Lakota)