Feasting The Spirit of the Eagle
By Kai Kai Kons
“Creator was angered that the Anishinabek were using the many gifts they were given in a twisted and corrupt way. The Creator instructed a very powerful spiritual being to destroy the Earth after the Sun rose four times. It looked like all life on Earth would be destroyed again.
Eagle knew what was coming so flew around the Earth in search of Anishinabek who still lived according to their ways. Eagle flew all over Turtle Island and came upon a small stream of smoke. He flew over Grandparents with their Grandchildren who had torn clothes and a broken down old lodge . They did not have much tobacco and there fire was so pitiful but still they held on to their way of life.
So on the fourth day, Eagle saw this and flew on the edge between night and day and rose and flew so high. Eagle flew to talk to the Creator. The Sun was about to rise, then the Eagle screamed four times to get Creators attention. The Creator saw Eagle and held the Sun back.
The Eagle told Creator; “I know the Earth is full of evil and corruption but there are still some who hold true to their way of life. Hold off the destruction and let me fly over each day at dawn forever and report to you on the Anishinabek.”
This is why Anishinabek regard the Eagle with so much respect, this is why we pray with its Feathers and why we blow the Eagle Bone from its wing in our ceremonies. This is why we are still here.”
– Anishinabek Eagle and Sunrise Ceremony Teaching
The teaching above is from a time in our past and is often shared to me in the context, that mass presence within our efforts is not of importance just as long as a handful remain true to who we are. Although I have faith in this we also need to reflect on all perspectives when applying and sharing what has happened in our past and what our teachings are saying so we can be balanced and true to ourselves so we may be prepared for what is yet to come.
For those who are dedicated to the Biiskabiiyang of Anishinabek Biimaadiziwiin we can get discouraged at times by the majority of our people who are not ready to fully embrace all of who we are as Anishinabek, especially in this time of prophecy.
The many experiences of our past which are expressed to us as teachings through ceremonies most times are not expressed to their full meaning, where they are utilized in a way that creates a “flowery, sugar-coated” naive culture that pacifies us into assimilating into the oppressors society. Our Spiritual and Okijida Relatives pass on the teaching above to me when I am discouraged and tend to leave out the first part of the teaching which is integral into understanding who we were and who we are today and the very real consequences.
Although there are many versions of our stories throughout Turtle Island, the heart of what is being told is always the same. The following is the first part of the above teaching which usually tends to get left out and needs to be incorporated when sharing with our people.
“After the Midewiwin was given to the Anishinabe to provide the spiritual strength we needed to balance our physical well being and after our Clan System was given to us which provided a stable, well functioning social and governing system for our peoples there followed a long period of peace and prosperity.
However conflict and warfare began to appear again on Earth. Before the Anishinaebk there were another People who were destroyed because they walked away from who they were.
So conflict and warfare began to appear in the lives of Anishinabek so much so that ceremonies became twisted and oriented towards the success in war. Elitism became the example for our young people. Face Painting and who carried the most Feathers became a practice of ego to show ones success. The best hunters became the vain warriors. No longer was humility exemplified. Certain Clans started intermarrying within their Clans and Creator sent warnings where their children were born with deformities.
At this time Nanabush reemerged among the people. He gave the people the Pipe of Peace that was given to him by his Father so long ago, he taught the people how to smoke and bring about tribes to seal peace and create unity and how the smoke carries prayers up to Creator and the sacredness of women and men working together.
The Conflicts and Warfare dwindled but the there were still people who used the Midewiwin and its spiritual powers for selfish concerns. After a time, there came to be people who choose to use the Midewiwiin as a way to build up their own personal power. This was clearly against the intentions of Creator. ” – Anishinabek Eagle and Sunrise Ceremony Teaching
Every time we shed light on divisive and negative behaviours that need correcting within our communities some of us are labelled as the ones as being divisive and negative however we need to look not only at our beauty but also our darkness, so we can ensure a brighter future for our survival.
When this particular teaching is shared we need not only concentrate on the small handful who remain true to who we are but also give the same attention an importance on the majority who encompass the same attributes of those ancestors who were misdirected in our past. Some of the parallel elements from our past to today which plague our communities may cause our destruction where we need to correct such behaviours as.
WAR War is just as common as any other aspect within our Anishinabek Way of Life. It is invoked only in times of self preservation and defence of our people and territory. In the time of this teaching our people glorified war, where brothers where killing brothers, community against community in the name of retaliation, pride and elitism. War however in the time we are in now is legitimate because our Woman, Men, Elders and Children, Territories, Water and Rights are being attacked by a Globalized Imperialist System to fuel its consumerist, capitalist society.
If ever there was a time to organize militarily against our enemy it is now. We need to understand that we are in a War and War is being waged against our Nations however we choose only to War against ourselves. In our ancient past we were led to war amongst each other as we are today, we need to be aware of who and why we are waging war against before we initiate this spirit so be aware of what is instigating us today.
– New World Order: The absence of our Clan Governance has created so many divisions within our communities that only certain Clans are being represented and benefit from our territory, rights and resources, which has created chaos in all of our affairs. The voices of the rest of our Clans and people are not being heard with the current Indian Act Leaderships in power. Our Current Governance structures uphold colonial laws that allow for the surrender of our rights and lands. Colonization as well as Pop Culture and the Mainstream Global Society has enforced so many influences and distractions where we create War amongst ourselves.
– Divide and Conquer Tactics: Although some Indigenous Communities have their Traditional Governance intact, the Oppressor funds and only recognizes its own Puppet Band Councils. As well money is allocated in Land Claims Settlements and Urban Native Organizations to create a divide and conquer tactic where our people further War against each other.
– Disillusion of War: When some of our People go to War for Canada and America and involve themselves in their military they are enforcing the same injustices as what is happening to us to other Nations around the Globe. The World Wars up to todays War on Terror only help to misappropriate resources and enslave other Indigenous Peoples to keep these Imperialist Structures in Power.
– Disillusion of Victories: After the protest, march, rally or blockade to protect our territories and rights we always return back to our communities continuing to be controlled, employed and benefit from the Government Indian Act Band Councils and their oppressive legislations and laws that are not are own. We return to our homes and lives participating in the same consumerist, oil addicted capitalist society and partake in a life that is in contradiction of the things we are so against when standing proud at the blockades. The small or big fights we are victorious in do not matter if we return to a life that is in direct opposition to what we stand for. If we are sincere about change, then we would change the way we live or else we have accomplished nothing at the barricades.
– Disillusion of Weapons: We fool ourselves by using the oppressors way to fight. From depending on petroleum to get to an anti-oil protest to becoming products within the enemies judicial and correctional industry. If we are going to use the oppressors tools then we must make sure it is damn well worth it otherwise it is a waste of time and energy. In order to survive our people are brainwashed that they need to depend on the oppressors governance systems, laws, economy to eat, sleep and shit, when we have all of these things to survive on the land and within who we are.
PEACE In the time of this teaching there was only one family sticking to our way of life while our people were preoccupied with War. Today there is a minority of our people who dedicate their lives to our “decolonzation” however recently there has been an explosion with the Idle No More Movement where this campaign is a form of passive resistance that is centred on reformism of current laws and not revolutionary change that is required for our liberation and the protection of the Earth.
While we put faith within our spirituality, our spirituality also requires us to play a part where we need to put into action our prayers and beliefs. There are a minority of Spiritual People and Warriors who remain true to who we are and protect our rights and lands who live amongst us in our communities however who continue to turn a blind eye to the things happening within our community. Although the protection of our rights and lands is at the forefront of our struggle we must not forget our people. The fight on the front lines is also in our communities where our people suffer from infighting, drug and alcohol abuse. There may not be an Eagle to save us this time around so it is important we help our people within our community to nurture them back to pipe of peace and create unity.
In respect to our peoples free will we must also understand we can’t force our beliefs unto one another but we can’t let our people consume themselves into destruction and turn a blind eye and work with only those who want to work together. We have to find a way. Peace is not as easy as some seem to think. For those who want to engage in Peaceful Resistance they must realize it may just be as bloody as Armed Resistance.
INTERNAL RELATIONS At the time of this teaching another reason Creator was angered is because some people were intermarrying within their Clans. Creator saw this and sent warnings through the deformities in the children.
In our communities most of our people choose to say within our villages. Nanabush who travelled in all directions for the benefit of Anishinabek, along with his brothers, brought back many things on their journey’s to help the people. This understanding helped to form the tradition that men would travel throughout our territories in search of trade, life, gifts and even a partner. Today our people choose to stay within the Government established Reserves where they are intermarrying within their own family’s/clans.
Although we make jokes of this or at times are afraid to talk about it, this is a reality within our communities where bloodlines are getting too close. Network and Community building is imperative to our survival.
SPIRITUAL MISCONDUCT Again during this time in our past of when we almost faced destruction, Creator saw people who used the Midewiwin and its spiritual powers for selfish concerns. Ceremonies also became twisted and centred on success in War.
In today’s time there are Anishinabek who are turned off from our Midewiwiin Way of Life because of the hierarchy, ego and elitism they encounter. Those people’s behaviour are just peoples behaviour and shouldn’t be reflective of the Midewiwiin however that doesn’t change the fact that people are discouraged from following the way of Midewiwiin.
This has caused a majority of our people to pick up various Indigenous beliefs and ways of being which is creating a Pan Indian New Age Ideology. Teachings, Sacred Gifts and Ceremonies which are not fully understood or mixed into a melting pot by some of these people are only helping to dilute our stories and where we come from. Ceremonies come from real experiences within out past and we can’t just do a ceremony because its the “Indian” thing to do but we also need to know where it came from. Some people pass on Eagle Whistles, Pipes and conduct Sweats without knowledge of how it came to the people or how or what spirits they are working with which can be dangerous spiritually and physically.
Although it sounds nice to say that as long as our intent is good, when we employ sacred medicine or ceremonies would we say the same thing about ourselves if we were to conduct heart surgery. If our intent was good and if we used this and that knowledge from here and there would we allow this kind of thinking in western medicine? Why do we think we can just pick up teachings and mix various Nations understandings into one pot when it comes to our own medicine. Our understandings and ways is just as powerful as western science and medicine.
Patriarchy has invaded some of our most sacred understandings such as our Creation Stories where we have forgotten who the true leaders are, the Women, which affects our Clan Governance System.
CONCLUSION Our Teachings, Ceremonies, Clan Governance and all the gifts given to us by Creation in order to keep us strong and which make us Anishinabek need to be fully expressed in its entirety otherwise we allow ourselves open to extermination. Invoking a Ceremony connects us to our past and spiritually opens doorways for the wellbeing of our future. Feasting the Spirit of the Eagle is not only the aspect of offerings and giving thanks but like every teaching and ceremony and institution of our people we need to continue to physically and spiritually stay connected to who we are in our day to day lives after the ceremony, protest and meeting is over.
I am Kai Kai Kons, “Young Hawk” which is my Great Great Grandfathers name passed down, it refers to a strategist and hunter, it is a military leaders name I am told. I am Anishinabek Loon Clan, my Clan’s role within our Nation is known for our voice and diplomacy. I try my hardest to be who I am however I am also Johnny Hawke a Status Indian. I have shared some truths that I have witnessed in my own perspectives and I want to end this little sharing circle with some truth of who I am.
While living within the Reservation System I am not strong enough to resist the many influences our people are up against. I need to fully be immersed and living on the land and embracing fully who we are. When i come back into the system where there is all these distractions, I am just another hypocrite, where I struggle with alcohol, depending on all the things we are brainwashed into believing we need.
I have always had this spirit of resistance since I was small, it is who I am spiritually and inherently. I have helped where needed in various communities and recently in the past year a few of my brothers and I initiated some actions to oppose our community’s Land Claim Settlement where we have also started a sovereignty camp to reclaim who we are and our stolen lands. Due to the majority of our people who accepted the surrender our voices were not heard and I admit that I accepted a per capita disbursement of the claim. I give credit and honour my brother Giibwanisii for not accepting the pay out.
When our community accepted this surrender of our lands for government money, we have had to give something more than land and rights up. In our spiritual reality this is truth. In my community both old people and young have been dying in a rapid rate this past year since accepting the payout. People have been getting very sick as well. Death has touched everyone. My father last month was diagnosed with Stomach Cancer. These are the things we have to give up when giving up our way of life. This is a reality
Sometimes the minority of those who remain true is only as strong as the majority of those who turn away from who we are. I have to make some hard decisions of which road I want to take if I want to continue to live and being an Anishinabek. We have hard decisions to make Relatives. All My Love. No Surrender.
“This whole Country was changed with only a handful of raggedy ass pilgrims and it can be changed the same today with a handful of raggedy ass Indians. I intend to be one of these raggedy ass Indians” – Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, Mi’kmaq Warrior