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Native American Culture

The Way of Council

Oki Ni-Kso-Ko-Wa (Hello All my relatives) ' This is the traditional greeting in Native American Culture and specifically of all Blackfoot people. It can be used in a pluralistic sense or singular as the situation dictates. What this greeting implies is much more than what initially meets the eye. It is an acknowledgement that says that no matter who you are or where you are from, I recognize that you are my relative, a part of my DNA deserving of respect and kindness.
Oki Ni-Kso-Ko-Wa ' is used in all areas of our Native American Culture and of our lives. When we greet the Morning Star and acknowledge our eternal and life sustaining connection to our Father. When we greet Mother Earth and acknowledge that She is indeed our true mother and our initial responsibility is to her before all else. The greeting says that we KNOW that through all things of material and etheric substance there is a common thread of DNA, which originates in Mother Earth and then is disseminated throughout the genetic makeup of ALL things, from the Grandfather's we call the Stone People to the human physiology that we have presently incarnated in.
Oki Ni-Kso-Ko-Wa further implies that because we consider all things as part of us, that we have as great a responsibility to maintain balance, harmony and peacefulness in those whom we are greeting as we do to ourselves. It implies that we are willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to maintain balance and harmony in those who cannot on their own, follow the process of self-healing.

Calling the Council
 


Where I sit is holy
Holy is the Ground
Forest , mountains, rivers
Listen to the Sound
Great Spirit Circling
All around me


- Native American Chant


This brings us to the subject of the purpose of the Native American Culture and the Way of Council! We are here to fill a glaringly empty space of non-connection in our society, one in which in times past was used by all tribal people to learn to heal, to harmonize, and to communicate without fear. If one searches their own heritage, they inevitably will find that all people of all places of Earth have their roots deep in a tribal existence. If you will take time in the silence, and search back into your memory banks, you will perceive the truth in this statement, no matter how subtle it may appear to be. People of these tribes because of the necessity to maintain their survival, if for no other reason recognized that in order to thrive all people had to have common purpose. They knew that the only way to do this was to maintain their role in the universal thread of family, which made up the tribe. The way to do this was through the process of council, which was done on a daily basis at the end of the day.
It was a time to 'check'in, show up and be present', in the process of the maintenance of life within the tribe and the history of Native American Culture. All things were discussed in a coming together of minds that agreed to the solution to all problems no matter how minuscule they may seem on the surface. No subject was out of bounds within the Circle, which could range from who would gather wood for the next day to how do we heal a member in need of intense care. We follow this ancient tradition of the 'Talking Stick' or 'Prayer Stick' and recognize that whoever is holding the sacred stick has the floor and has a sacred duty to tell the truth. We acknowledge our duty to this person, to listen without judgment or interruption as this person talks of whatever subject they wish to talk about. If that person needs input, it is up to him or her to ask for that help and to respect in non-judgment the answer, which is given regardless of its validity.
Healing in Native American Culture and how to integrate healing into our personal lives is the mainstream purpose of the Way of Council. I maintain the belief that as long as we are not provided a True method of learning to Self-Heal the whole body, we will continue to be trapped in a, less than empathetic society in which we have to live with no long term solution to our suffering. I further believe that all physical maladies are a direct result of our mental and spiritual imbalance, which is exacerbated by a society caught up in a robotic existence of maintaining an illusion that we are OK. In the process of Council, we attempt to show that there are real solutions to what seems to be overwhelming, unsolvable issues, which we perceive to have no real place to go to overcome.
In the process of Council, we provide the function that mainstream religion and government has failed to do. We go deeply into the process, by the creation of True family, which again this society has sadly missed the importance of in it's insane endeavor to produce more riches to buy more goods to produce more riches, etc. etc. etc. in maintaining an uncaring, ego driven, self asserting Government 'Not by and of the people'! We realize the importance of regaining control of our lives from egocentric, unenlightened entities that go to great lengths to attempt to portray anything or anyone that is different from their narrow awareness as invalid. I further maintain that Creator in His eternal wisdom has provided in each of us the gift of teacher, and that when we get to a certain level of balance and harmony; we are expected to then share this knowledge with other people who need help to change perceptions.
Only when we as a society gain the ability to direct our independent spiritual path which we must realize as part of the lesson can we then expect to achieve a better life for ourselves and for the generations to come after us. This is our personal responsibility to achieve and further it is incumbent upon each of us to connect with all life in the same manner that a fully realized spiritual person would do.
When practiced devoutly in Native American Culture, council is an accessible spiritual process that can be a catalyst for transformation. It may take a while, but I've seen the practice of council bring important changes to participants for more than 12 years that I have been a leader. The changes are subtle at first, but clearly detectable. When council takes hold, one could say that decision-making and other interactive processes become more democratic in a more spiritual way. From a purely spiritual aspect, we are more confident of our path and more likely to flourish in it when we learn to take control of our own spiritual life.


Air moves us
Fire transforms us
Water shapes us
Earth heals us
And the circle of the wheel goes round and round
And the circle of the wheel goes round'


Grant Redhawk - Blackfoot Nation
AKA (Two Feathers)


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      --- Two Feathers
 






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