Ohentonkariwatehkwen (2014-12-02)

And so it is, that as I prepare to begin this new day, I take a few moments to centre myself and reflect on who I am. I reflect on my place within the circle of Creation. I reflect on my responsibilities as a person. I understand that life, in all its fragility, exists by pure chance. I celebrate the fact that I am here. I give thanks for this new day. I give thanks that I’m here to enjoy it. I begin by acknowledging you, Ietinistenhen Ohontsa, our sacred Mother Earth. We were born of you in the early days of our time on Turtle Island. You provide all we need to survive on a daily basis. All you ask is that we give thanks for all we receive. All you ask is that we take only what we need to survive. All you ask is that we waste none of what we take. All you ask is that we share in order to live well. When we die, we return to the warmth and safety of your womb. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, Ietinistenhen Ohontsa. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. For this I am grateful. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. I understand that I share my time here with many different nations of Creation. I turn my mind to the different forms of life that exist here with me: the no-legged, the two-legged, the four-legged and the more-legged. I acknowledge the smallest micro-organisms and insects that live in the body of our Mother Earth. It is your responsibility to keep our Mother healthy and strong. I know your task is great at this time because of the demands we the two-legged place upon you. Despite this, you continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, the nations living within the body of Ietinistenhen Ohontsa. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. I acknowledge you Okwaho, (wolf), Okwari, (bear) and Anowarah (turtle). You represent the clans, the families, of my nation. There are those of you who provide us with shelter, tools, clothing and food. We call you Skanionsa (moose) and Oskenonton (deer). You give of yourselves so that I may survive. You provide me with food, shelter and tools. I acknowledge the insect nations. I may not fully understand you but I know you serve a purpose or you wouldn’t be here. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, the animal and insect nations. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. I turn my mind to the nations that live with the bodies of water. There are the Turtles and other amphibians that live in and around the waters, the Beavers, Otters, Muskrats and other animals that live in and around the waters, the Sharks, Salmon and other fish that live in the waters, the Whales, Dolphins and other animals that live in the waters. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, the nations living with the waters. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. I turn my mind to the rooted nations of Creation. I acknowledge the grasses. There is no such thing as a weed, only a plant whose purpose we don’t yet know. I acknowledge the medicine plants. I acknowledge you, Wahtha (the maple). Some of you provide us with wood for heat, tools and shelter. Some of you provide us your life’s blood so that we may have Wahtha osis (maple syrup)—the first medicine of spring. It is indeed a happy time when you give us this gift, for we know that Creation is awakening and the cycle of life continues. I acknowledge the trees in general. You are the lungs of our Mother Earth. There is a relationship between us that must not be broken. We each provide what the other needs to breathe and survive. I greet you, Niiohontesha (Strawberries), medicine of the heart. You are the first medicine to show itself in the early summer. It is a happy time when you return to us for you signal the promise of another good harvest. I acknowledge you, Oienkwen:onwe (Sacred Tobacco), medicine of the mind. I greet you, the Three Sisters—Onenste (corn), Osaheta (beans) and Onononsera (squash). You are the staple of my people. I know that, when we plant you together, you will protect one another from harm. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, the rooted nations. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. I turn my mind to you, Ohnekonos—the waters. You come to us in different forms: rivers, lakes, oceans, springs. The Thunderers bring you in clouds that bring rain to quench Creation’s thirst. You play a vital role in the cycle of life. You are the most powerful medicine there is. You have the ability to give and to sustain life. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, Ohnekonos. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. I look now to all the winged nations that are around us. In the beginning, the males among you were given feathers the colours of the rainbow. This is so you can ensure your survival of your nation. Each of you was given a beautiful and distinctive song to identify you. Each morning, you bring your beautiful and distinctive voices together to greet the day. Your beautiful chorus reminds of the importance of diversity and harmony. From among the birds the Creator chose you, Akweks, our brother the Eagle. You are the strongest, are able to fly the highest and have the keenest eyesight. This allows you to see the Creation. Upon your shoulders, the Creator placed the added burden of being his messenger. As such, you carry our thoughts to the Creator and warn the people of any danger that may be approaching. I’ve been taught that, should you appear and speak to me in a dream, that you are bringing a message directly from Creation and that I should pay particular attention to your words. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, the winged nations. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. As I look around me this morning, I see, Karahkwa, our elder brother the sun, that you have chosen to grace us with your presence once more. You bring the warmth of a new day. You bring light so that I may see the beauty of Creation that surrounds me. You have great power but you use it in a gently way, working with the other life-giving forces of Creation to keep the cycle of life going. I know that your time with us will be short this day and that you will soon disappear where the earth and sky come together in the west. I know that, as the darkness of night falls around us that you, Ahsontenka Karahkwa (Grandmother Moon), will take Karahkwa’s place above us. You watch over us this night. You work with all female life in Creation. You work with the life-giving forces of the waters. You decide when new life will come to us. I take comfort in knowing that you, Ahsontenka Karahkwa and Karahkwa, continue to dance across the sky with each daily cycle. Your dance reminds me of a teaching: that of the importance in maintaining balance between the roles of the female and of the male in all Creation. I am reminded of the equal importance of both. I am reminded that without the one there is no other. As I look up to the night sky this evening, I may see you Tsiiotsistokwaronion (the Stars). I’ve been taught that you represent the spirits of our ancestors: those who have gone on before us. You represent our past—our history—and yet your teachings are here in the present. Your teachings are as old as Creation and yet they remain unchanged by the passage of time. I know that you can show me the way if I look to you for guidance. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, the sky beings. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. Once again, I feel the presence of unseen forces that are around me. The winds remind me of the presence of air. Coming from the four directions, you bring the changing seasons. You help to keep the air I breathe clean and pure. The air represents the breath of all Creation. All life is tied by your unbreakable bond. Even though I cannot see you, I know that survival is impossible without you. I understand that I must respect your gift. I know that if I ever succeed in destroying you, I will have succeeded in destroying all life. I will have brought the cycle of life to a halt. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, the unseen forces. You continue to carry out your duties and fulfill your responsibilities. Because of this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to be here. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. And so, I once again acknowledge all the nations of Creation. Even if I have not called you by name, I acknowledge you. I know that you are struggling at this time because of the disrespect we, the two-legged, show you. We pollute your world and treat you as “resources” and products”. We kill off many of you so that we may sell few of you to market. To our Mother Earth, I know that you are sick and you are dying at this time because of the way we disrespect and abuse of your gifts. And yet, despite this, your love for your children is such that you continue to provide all I need to survive on a daily basis. And so it is, I turn my mind to you, nations of Creation. You continue to fulfill your responsibilities and carry out your duties as you were asked to in the beginning of time. Because you do this, the cycle of life continues and I am able to enjoy this day. For this I am grateful. I acknowledge you and I give thanks. So be it in my mind. I now turn my thoughts to the people, the two-legged. I acknowledge you. I give greetings and thanks that we have this opportunity to spend some time together. The issues we are struggling with are great and we carry a heavy load. There are others who are not with us in this Circle. I turn my thoughts to those who are stuck in bad places due to physical, mental or spiritual challenges. I hope they can be freed. I turn my mind to our families, our friends and our loved ones. I hope they are well. I ask that Creation watch over all of us and keep us well. We two-legged are frail. We are the only nations not able to survive naked in Creation. We are often afraid. We build many things to help us survive—but we end up using them to control Creation. The Ohentonkariwatehkwen helps to remind me of my duties and responsibilities—not only to myself but to my children and the future generations. Hopefully, one day, we will all begin to see the wonders of your Creation. Perhaps we will learn to live in harmony with it, rather than try to control it. Perhaps we will see that all things, and all people, have their rightful place in the Circle. I know the day will come when I will be called away from this place. I know this because others have gone on before me. Those have been sad times and I have grieved. I understand, however, that this is the greatest honour one can achieve. I have tried to not let my grief hold them back from the journey they have had to make. And for those who believe, we now we come to you, Sonkwaiatison, our Creator—now part of Creation. I see how many nations of Creation struggle to find or keep their place. Many struggle to continue fulfilling their responsibilities and carrying out their duties. It seems that we, the two-legged, have face the greatest struggle in finding our place in the Circle. We seem blind and deaf to the teachings placed all around us. I invite you to spend some time with us this day. You know our hearts and our minds. You know the burdens we carry in our lives. Using the Ohentonkariwatehkwen, I remember my place within the Circle of Life. These words remind me that, as I walk the path that is my life, I should walk softly, for I walk on the faces of the unborn: the future generations that have yet to rise from Mother Earth to take up the challenges of life that we will pass on to them. I know that the time for giving thanks is not the time to be asking for anything for myself. I do ask one thing, however. I ask that Creation give me the courage, the strength and the wisdom to use the power of a good mind and a good heart in all I do. That I may speak clearly and honestly so that all may understand the how I feel and why. That I may listen carefully to what others have to say. That I may avoid reacting in anger if negative things are said about me. That I may understand that even harsh words contain teachings. That I may understand that I must sometimes look and listen hard to find them. That I may be good medicine today. That I may be a better person today than I was yesterday. That I may live in peace and balance. With that, I am now ready to experience my day in a way that honours Creation. Nia:wen…

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5 thoughts on “Ohentonkariwatehkwen (2014-12-02)

  1. Sandra Dan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your gift of understanding and shaking my spirit.

  2. Sayata says:

    Nia:wen, Uncle. I treasure our conversations and my deepening understanding of the Kaniekahaka side of my heritage. Although I’m one of many born into muddled confusion of race and belonging, I forge forward knowing only to honour the Land and act with Compassion.

    “I ask that Creation give me the courage, the strength and the wisdom to use the power of a good mind and a good heart in all I do. That I may speak clearly and honestly so that all may understand the how I feel and why. That I may listen carefully to what others have to say. That I may avoid reacting in anger if negative things are said about me. That I may understand that even harsh words contain teachings. That I may understand that I must sometimes look and listen hard to find them. That I may be good medicine today. That I may be a better person today than I was yesterday. That I may live in peace and balance. With that, I am now ready to experience my day in a way that honours Creation.”

    These parallel my requests of every day.

    Konoronkwa!

  3. Sayata says:

    ** kanienkehaka

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