"I, as a spiritual Indian man, am convinced that it is time to reach out to my white brothers and sisters and to share with whomever wishes to partake of what we, the indigenous people of this land, still have. It is time that the Buckskin Curtain be drawn back. It is time, I know it."
- Eddie Benton-Banai , Ojibwe-Anishnabe
author, The Mishomis Book
Day 193 – Monday, January 1, 1996 – We have come a long way to get to the start of this new year, having walked well over 2,000 miles from the Eastern Door at the Atlantic Ocean toward the Western Gate at the Pacific.
|Sun rising - on a new day in a new year. Arizona sunrise photo by Foxicat courtesy of flckr.com
Since beginning our pilgrimage at First Encounter Beach on Cape Cod on June 23 of 1995, we have walked across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, a corner of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle, New Mexico, and most of Arizona.
Today—the first day of the new year—we are walking further toward the Colorado River, and the boundry between Arizona and California. Tomorrow we will move our base camp from Aquila to Parker, Arizona, right on the river.
|Turtle Island - North American continent as depicted in a composite of Satellite photos by NASA. Our Sunbow 5 walk has journeyed south from Massachusetts to North Carolina, then west all the way to the California state line.
Joe, Serge, Byron, and Jun Ji have all started fasting. They will continue for four days and four nights as we progress each day walking along the road through the desert. Jun San has also started fasting. She stated her intention to abstain from food, and to remain in constant prayer, for nine days.
Someone handed me a sheet of paper printed up with "The Ten Indian Commandments." This anonymous document has been passed around the Internet and around camp for a while. I sat by the fire and read it over.
It turns out that the ultimate source of this writing is unknown. The so-called “Indian Commandments” may even have originated with someone who is not Indian. In my experience, commandment is not a widely endorsed concept in Indian Country, for it is determinedly hierarchical. Far more indigenous, in my reckoning, are the concepts of knowings, teachings, and the way of the circle.
All the same, the ideas in the document establish interesting points of reflection. Today—at the start of a new year and as we approach the boundary before California—these teachings strike me as worthy of consideration. One could say that they suggest some of what was left by the side of the trail long ago, medicines for the soul that we we are encountering as we retrace the steps of the ancestors, heading west on a whirling-rainbow odyssey across our great land.
1. Remain close to Great Spirit
2. Show great respect for all your fellow beings
3. Give assistance and kindness wherever needed
4. Be truthful and honest at all times
5. Do what you know to be right
6. Look after well being of mind and body
7. Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect
8. Take full responsibility for your actions
9. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good
10. Work together for the benefit of all humankind
Copyright 2007 by Steven McFadden