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In the Sacredness of Four Words; I am going Backwards

By: Johnny Hawke

“When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror like a thunder storm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier; for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world, it is like a rain. The world, you see, is happier after the terror of the storm… you have noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping… as lightning illuminates the dark, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have.”

As we as the many Anishinabek Nations of Turtle Island begin our emergence out of the colonial darkness reclaiming our many gifts that remain waiting to be picked up on the trail of our story, a majority of our people today only seem to want to reclaim what is convenient for them to pick back up which is creating an unbalance where we are becoming something we are not.  I wanted to share with you the teachings of one particular re-emerging institution that has been marginalized by our people but have found a commonality it has with other societies in our “decolonzation” journey so I will just share the many truths of our “biiskabiiyang” experience that most are afraid to speak of. I will not spoon feed you the information of what this Society is all about by playing Medicine Man or Anthropologist, I am not a Traditionalist or Activist writing how things should be, so in the spirit of this Society, this rant will serve as a reflection, showing you both faces of the truth.

Today one our original institutions that plays an integral role in our society and “decolonization” process is the Windigkaan or Heyoka Society. For a better understanding of what this Society is and its teachings I suggest you go find out on your own, here I just want to reflect similarities which our own Anishinabek institutions are subjected to and the importance this particular one plays.

 In my own “Biiskabiiyang” journey I have found that the Windigokaan Society has become victim to the same passive “new age pan-Indian hippy traditionalism” ideology created by colonialism, in which our Warrior Societies face. This “new age pan-Indian hippy traditionalism” ideology is so widespread amongst our people that it pollutes who we are with the common misunderstanding that we have to walk in two worlds which is another way of saying we must assimilate our way of life to fit the capitalist global society in order to survive. It shares the view that our modern Warriors are the Business People, Lawyers, Politicians and everyone except the Warriors who stand on the frontline ready to defend the people and land. This same mind pollution is also assimilating our Windigokaan Society as well. Like our Warrior Societies there has been a re-emergence of our “sacred clown” societies, where many “spiritualist police” and their “neo colonial hippy mentality” again created by assimilation seeks to contain our Windigokaan to a passive static ceremony life where they are expected to behave accordingly to traditional protocols. In reality it is this society that breaks these behaviours and challenges complacency and the normality of things. As well I have noticed that there are people who claim to be Windigokaan but very much act in a way that is contrary to the contrary.  

In these times as we retain who we are, we still have colonial stains ingrained in our behaviours that we are bringing with us as we re-establish our original institutions and with that there are many people in many of our circles who are seeking to be a somebody, whereas Windigokaan people seek to be a nobody. In a world where there are too many Chiefs and not enough Indians, where everyone is a self proclaimed Warrior waving a flag or a Medicine Person with their own Ceremony, I find many are claiming also to be Windigokaan as well. I observe many people seeking to identify themselves with a special cultural status where many are claiming to be something they are not and in return may be doing harm to themselves and others. As we try to walk in two worlds trying to fit our way of life with the global capitalist society our behaviours and institutions are becoming excessively like the mainstream which is all about the individual, ego, greed and money. It is the Windigokaan duty to reflect excessive behaviours so the people wouldn’t turn Windigo.


Two Windigo sit down to eat a Clown, One says to the other; does this taste funny to you?

Protect yourself against STD’s Spiritual Transmitted Delusions as a CultWHORE gets Pimped

Powwow has come to be a contemporary institution where many of our Nations gather to celebrate life and our diversity passing it on to our younger generations. In doing so however being the backwards fool some people call me, I have noticed that many of the teachings behind our “culture” that is being showcased seems to be being lost as to what the majority see as being preserved.

I used to sit at a Grandfather Drum and dance Men’s traditional where I would experience other drum groups and other dancer’s ego trip bashing each, so now I participate as a spectator but still I learn from the Powwow Society in the stands. I observe our children who can’t afford to purchase our traditional food and arts such as candy floss, lollipops, bannock burgers, fries, pop, toy guns, silly putty and then throw tantrums and are taken away from these sacred gatherings by their parents. I observe little girls and boy’s cry over loosing competitions and dance specials. Although this cultural activity may reflect a tokenized watered down version of our culture, I enjoy seeing our vibrant colourful youth exposed to our language, dance, songs, where our ways were outlawed in the past.  

I heard a teaching recently from a young hoop dancer. He shared how he dances for the good of the people and how his dance is a healing dance. He shared how he hitchhikes powwow to powwow with his regalia and tent to dance for the people, how its his way of life and how he puts himself last just so he can get to powwows to dance for the people. He shared this teaching with me a couple days before a powwow we both attended however during the powwow his teachings seemed to change. He told me how he was disgusted with organizers of this certain powwow who invited himself and then another hoop dancer. He said organizers went “behind his back.” He was pissed because he wasn’t going to make enough money and said he was going to “boycott” this particular powwow in the future. This was what in my eyes our youth were exemplifying with powwow that money was the centre of the gathering.

A majority of Powwows have a Grand Entry where we honour our history in particular our Warrior history. Most Powwows only speak of our Warriors who fought overseas and continue to fight as Canadian and American Military. These Flags are carried in Grand Entry. It seems our Veterans who served on our own Turtle Island and who continue to fight to protect our lands, freedom and people seem to be forgotten as we forget about the French and Indian Wars, the War of 1812, Wounded Knee 1 and 2, Gustafsen Lake, Oka and Ipperwash.  

Powwow is one of the many ways to pass on our culture to our future Generations and is one of the most popular however what are we passing on? What is our Culture and History representative of today through Powwow? Our Elders say we have to walk in Both Worlds, So is this representative of that teaching? A Culture merged with the mainstream?

Only after the Last Fish is poisoned then you will know Money can’t be eaten

I have been brought up with a great many teachings from our spiritual and political people. I was taught that our responsibilities as Men and Women and Anishinabe, our Clans and our duty to care for the Earth for the next seven generations and one does not own the land. I was passed on knowledge of our Anishinabek Confederacy, Treaties and Intertribal Agreements that I continue to hear needs to be respected.

However I see a heck of lot of our Spiritual people and Chiefs who talk on Sovereignty accepting illegally enforced laws to surrender our title to our lands. I see our people who speak of protecting our Earth, ready to make deals with corporations who want to destroy our Earth Mother just so we can survive in another people’s way of life. I see a lot of our own people who talk great at powwows and ceremonies about who we are, surrender who we are just so we can walk in both worlds accepting cash payouts. I hear from spiritual people that if we pray and keep peaceful that everything will work out in the end. How can I listen and trust these people as they go back on what they say just so we can survive to walk in the capitalist world? There is nothing true about walking in two worlds. One World overcomes the other and our institutions are not about the People and Earth working in coexistence and non-interference anymore it is about living in one new world order where, greed, ego and individuality are in the lead.  

If you wish to call yourself a Medicine Person, Chief, Clan Mother, Warrior or Windigokaan, get to know what you are getting into and get ready to walk most of your life going againsthe majority of your people because you will be going up against their ego, greed and individuality. Are we really who we say we are?

 “When others demand that we become the people they want us to be, they force us to destroy the person we really are. It’s a subtle kind of murder … the most loving parents and relatives commit this murder with smiles on their faces.”  Mr Mojo Risin, Sacred Clown

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