For thousands of years indigenous people have held council fires. The Sacred Fires are kept so that our children and grandchildren may understand the collective wisdom that is preserved from generation to generation around these council fires.
In times before the coming of the boat people we sat in peace, listening to our Elders speak. The “words that come before all things” were held by the Keepers of the Wisdom. Great respect was given when the elders shared the sacred ways of life. Our Elders, who spoke the wisdom, were revered and cared for, as they are the heart of the people.
This spoken wisdom was the Great Law that we all lived by, one of simplicity, honesty, and respect. All was in balance and all in peace within our land and our lives.
As the Native peoples were uprooted and moved to strange lands, many turned away from the traditional Council Fires and adopted new cultures. One by one the Elders stood and pulled their blankets around themselves. The Elders then turned their backs on the fire and walked away from the people. No one noticed, because they no longer listened to the “Old Ways.”
The gourd of ashes, that held the council fires of long ago, was put away and not added to, or taken from. All things ceased to flow in a balanced way. Our disconnection from the Tree of Life had started.
Soon, our ears were taken by the monsters of ego and greed, and many forgot the Old Ways completely. Our languages dried up and were sifted into dust on the land. The raven came and spoke to the people in a harsh loud voice asking them to listen to the voice of Creator, but they turned a deaf ear.
There have been many messengers that have come to share and warn the people to return to the Sacred Fires. Many of the people’s ears have grown closed to even the voice of the birds. The signs of destruction in our family and our Nation can be seen in the faces of our children and the open gaping wounds that lie on our land.
As we who remember, now return to the council fire, our elders are not there, because they were not honored. During this time the prayers were forgotten, and a time of great sadness has started to cover the Earth Mother.
The Sacred Ways were held only by a few who risked their lives to continue the prayers, prayers it was illegal to utter in the United States until the late 1970s. The native american people were the only ones in this country who faced laws that said their religion was illegal. The rope that held the wisdom was stretched thin and held many knots.
Now the gourd is taken out of hiding and the fires are rekindled. We sit in the circle waiting for the wisdom to return. Hollow words and anger pour out into the circle of our people. All this finger pointing, and separation serving some self-appointed need to revenge ourselves on each other.
I sit and watch this and listen with ears that are trying hard to hear the truth and the justice of the words. I see much, and hear much, but the words that come before all things are yet to be spoken. The Elders stand in the distance with their blankets wrapped around them, shadows in the darkness, watching and waiting to return to the Council Fire.
When the wisdom returns to the Sacred Council Fire, when the words that come before all else are spoken, then will the Elders who still keep the wisdom of the Sacred Words return and sit with us.
I wait for you to return, I make a place ready for you to sit, I will prepare the food for you to eat. My heart cries out for the words that are waiting to be spoken, with the old truth that will return reason to our people. I am listening, my Grandfathers and Grandmothers, for your voices to Speak. I sit with my ears, and heart, wide open for your healing wisdom.
I watch as the old ones with tattered blankets turn to the fire where only a few who remember sit waiting. It is time to open the Sacred Hoop and return the children to their home.
Only with the true sharing of the old ways will the peace and harmony return to the hoop and heal the people. We must place the words that come before all else in our hearts and live them every day. When our leaders are walking in a good way, the children will see the truth and learn once again to respect the elders.
For many years now we have walked our pain and suffering into Mother Earth. Now she too is feeling the need to shift and cleanse the land of pollution and disease. Instead of sleeping in her soft white winter robes she is still awake. The land is bare of snow and the water is rising fast to cover the scared land.
Today I place my pouch of ashes that was handed to me by my Grand Mother into the Sacred Council Fire.
With corn, sweet grass, sage, and tobacco, I feed the fire. With my breath, and the branch of the cedar tree, I send life so that the flames will grow and be a light to those who wander in the wilderness.
Truth burns the brightest and those who speak the truth will return the wisdom to the people and their ears will once again be opened and hear the wisdom around the Council Fire.