Edward S. Curtis books and stories

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spirit
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Re: Edward S. Curtis books and stories

Post by spirit » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:08 am

somehiker,

This topic went far off the course as soon as I entered. I was told, “ this is a place for white man’s words”, and that turned out to be true. My comment about the white man buying his religion was offensive and I understand that, but it is what I believe. I deal too often with the white man’s world which is very offensive to myself and my people but understand that is what they believe and they speak what is in their minds. I may be offended but I know exactly what is in their heart. From what I speak, from what I say, from what I write you know my heart. I do not apologize because I do not expect the white man to apologize.

What I can do, is show you why I have that belief. When I was small I was sent away to the white man’s church because I was a heathen and needed to be saved and civilized. I admit I was wild and did not know of the white man’s god or his church. I liked the mission church, I liked the singing best but didn’t understand why they got mad when you talked about dancing with the singing. I worked hard to learn the songs. I didn’t understand all the words or their meanings, but I liked the music and the singing part. The missionaries were very strict and got angry if you didn’t learn quickly enough.

One day they passed around a bowl and most of the children put something in the bowl. When the bowl got to me I looked and there was nickles in the bowl. I didn’t have a nickel to put in the bowl and didn’t know what to do. The missionary told me I had to put a nickel or a dime in the bowl for god. I went home and asked my father for a nickel for the bowl god but he told me he didn’t have a nickel to give to me. I worried about going back to the mission and not having anything to put in the bowl for their god. I asked my grandfather and he gave me a blue stone, he said it was very valuable, it belonged to Duklishi-skhin born in the blue clouds and had great power to keep you safe. He told me it was much more valuable than a nickel.

I went to the mission with my blue stone and when the bowl was passed around I put my stone in the bowl and I was happy. But when the missionaries saw the blue stone they got very angry and demanded to know who put it there. I stood up and they brought me in front of everyone and held up my blue stone. Then they whipped me in front of the other children. I didn’t know why I was being whipped. The missionary said I was the devil for putting the stone in their bowl. They said that I could not be Christian until I learned to give the church the proper things it called for. Then they made me to sit in a corner and would not let me sing. They told me until I brought them a nickle for their bowl I could not learn to be a Christian in their church, that the bowl god hated all heathens and devils. To an Apache male, even a small boy, being whipped in front of other Apache is the highest indignity you can endure.

I went home and told my father I was not going back to the mission. I asked my grandfather what I did wrong. He just shook his head and said he did not know, he told me with the white man there is no right way. I never went back to the mission. I was wild again for a couple years. I only learned the traditional ways, the old ways from my grandfather and my uncle.

Then the great di-yin Sailis Jaan, bi-okqqhi Edwards, the Nayeeneezghane Nde, the Apache Jesus came to me and said you can’t be wild anymore and I was to come with him and learn the way of the white church that was the right way. I learned the holy ground way. I learned the way of Nayeeneezghane (Jesus) but not the way of the mission or the missionaries and their bowl god.

With holy ground I could keep most of the traditional beliefs of my grandfather and I was happy again. I felt like I could be good Christian and traditional with holy ground. Kuterastan (yosen) and the Nayeeneezghane (Jesus) of the holy ground didn't have any need for nickles.

This is why I believe the way of my heart.

spirit

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Re: Edward S. Curtis books and stories

Post by alan m » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:41 pm

Spirit
I am sorry for what you have experienced.
Many of us Whites do not follow the teachings of that church.
I can say that you are truly blessed and know of a spirituality that many of us will never experience.
Alan

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Re: Edward S. Curtis books and stories

Post by somehiker » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:22 pm

spirit:

Although I can claim no acquaintance or friendship with any Apache, your own experience while in the care of the missionaries does echo that of the Chippewa/Ojibwe,Iroquois and Mohawk friends, whose words I have listened to in the past. I have always done my best to understand what was being said, regardless and without reference to my own beliefs.

Thank you for your response.

Regards:somehiker

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Re: Edward S. Curtis books and stories

Post by spirit » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:51 pm

alan m , somehiker,

I know all white men are not bad, just like all indian are not bad. I have a few friends in the white world, I went to the university, Eastern Arizona. I learned much about the white mans world there. There will always be a culture difference between us. White people don't understand much of my ways and I don't understand much of theirs. You can still be shils-aash, my friend, and we can respect each others lives and shortcomings where our different ways are involved if we remember to speak, nohwijii biyi yude ya itsil akoshyo, from inside our hearts where our thoughts dwell.

spirit

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Re: Edward S. Curtis books and stories

Post by alan m » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:55 pm

Spirit
I am honored by your words
Shils-aash
Alan

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