October 20th, 2013 | Published in Education
O’siyo. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a global concern and we as a people should help as much as we can. The following are some courageous Native women who are activists against domestic violence.
“According to the Times’ Williams, the situation for Native American women is now so bleak that some advocates are reluctantly starting to question whether they should advise victims to press charges—the anguish of seeing justice unserved is too much to bear. “ Read more…
“Radmilla Cody is an award-winning Native American recording artist, international performer, former Miss Navajo Nation, and founder of the “Strong Spirit: Life Is Beautiful Not Abusive” campaign, which brings awareness to teen dating violence. As a survivor of domestic violence, Radmilla uses her personal experiences to advocate throughout Native America and internationally for the importance of understanding and identifying unhealthy relationships and recognizing healthy relationships. In her lectures, Radmilla incorporates the message of self-respect, self-worth, cultural pride, and identity. She combines educational tools and personal experience to help attendees gain an insightful and empowering message about resiliency and creating positive change.” Read more…
“Tillie Black Bear is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation/Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She is presently the Executive Director of the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society, Inc., which operates the oldest shelter for women who have been battered or raped on Indian reservations; and is the first shelter for women of color in the U.S. (1978). She was the first woman of color to chair NCADV and continues to sit on the Board of Director for the SDCADV&SA.
Black Bear presently serves on the advisory board of National Sexual Assault Resource Center, Pennsylvania and is past member of the professional advisory board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Austin, TX.” Read more…
“Walking With Our Sisters” is a commemorative art installation for the missing and murdered indigenous women of Canada and the United States. Representing the unfinished lives of over 600 missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada, the Walking With Our Sisters project contains only part of a moccasin, the vamp. The vamp, the top part of a moccasin, is most visible and is often beautifully decorated.” Read more..
The Blanket Around Her
“maybe it is her birth which she holds close to herself
or her death which is just as inseparable…hanging in turquoise from her neck
oh woman remember who you are woman…it is the whole earth.”
Kudos to all people that stand up to domestic violence and abuse of women.
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather/Talking Stick. Here is one of them…
Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them. As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”
As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.
Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.” Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”
Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”
The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of how the Talking Feather came to be!”