Honor and Respect for Our Elders



“The eagle feather has two sides. If the feather had only one side
then Eagle could not fly. On one side we find mind/intellect,
body/movement and spirit/emotion.
Once these are balanced a person is balanced.

On the other side there is institution/education, process, and
ceremony. Once these are balanced then a person’s life is balanced.

When the two sides of the feather are balanced
then we have proper behavior.”

by: Michael Thrasher, Elder

Honoring Our Elders

Homage to Mildred I. Cleghorn
In Honor of Alfonso Ortiz


Respect – The Key To Life

Conservation of the Four Elements

Fire, Earth, Air, Water


Elders, Spiritual Leaders, Ada Deer, Katy McGinty, Jim Pipkin, Brothers, Sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We of the Algonquin First Nations wish to express our sincere gratitude for the special invitation to be with you.

May we work together with one mind, one heart and one Spirit as we reveal the Truth, the reality of our modern day situation!

We would like to share with you the Sacred Instructions from the Creator to the people of this Earth.

It was mentioned at that time that there was a sacred gift given to our non-native people (white race), the gift of the fire element, known as technology.

As we examine the history, this is obviously the truth. In the beginning, weapons were formed as tools for survival. As the years went by, advanced inventions were created of many kinds for survival!

As these inventions were created the meaning of honour and respect was neglected, thus forming a damaging effect on this planet that we all know today. This caused pollution to the planet, fire, water, air, that is out of control.

This is known as abuse to Mother Earth and to the other three elements mentioned above.

People with modern technology today build missiles with Uranium. This is a dangerous area to be involved in. When Uranium is mined it causes a disastrous and destructive effect not only to people, but to creation, whose effect lasts for countless generations. It causes radioactive contamination of the land, poisons the water and air.

We hope that this information given will be considered and taken seriously. Action must be taken soon so further contamination of Uranium will be stopped to the earth and its creation.

We as a people acknowledge and appreciate the positive benefits of modern technology that has created computers and useful modern communications systems.

Progress has always been a goal for our non-native people. But with progress there is greed and competition. If continued, this progress will destroy our Mother Earth and its Creation.

Let us not wait any longer. Let us work with common ground and begin to work together to do what can be done to conserve and protect our lives, our childrens’ lives, and all life. So Mother Earth can begin to heal, as we heal, together with one mind, one heart, one Spirit and one Prayer.

Healing Process

The direction towards the Healing Process is Recognition.

Acceptance towards this Recognition is important.

Motivation towards this Acceptance is the Key to the door-way of this Healing Process.

When Change comes into effect then Healing can begin.

Forgiveness is the Key to the awakening of the true meaning of Love and Under-standing.

We begin to accept values that are so important to all life.

As we accumulate values, we begin to have balance and harmony with our-selves, with others, with all life, and with our Mother Earth.

We must begin to work from the Heart, not from the Brain. Everything is centered from the Heart.

It is the work from the Heart that will bring us as a people to learn the necessary survival skills. This is the urgent need of our modern society.

The Sacred Instructions given by the Creator to Native people at the time of Creation were as follows:

A. To Take Care of Mother Earth and the other 3 colors of Man.

B. To Respect this Mother Earth and Creation.

C. To Honour All life, and to support that Honour.

D. To be Grate-ful from the heart for All life.

It is through life that there is Survival.

Thank the Creator at All times for All life.

E. To Love and express that love.

F. To be Humble. Humility is the gift of wisdom and understanding.

G. Kindness. To be Kind with one-self and with others.

H. Sharing. The Sharing of feelings and personal concerns and commitments.

I. Honesty. To be Honest with one-self and with others.

To be Responsible for those Sacred Instructions and to administrate those Instructions to other Nations.

We of the Algonquin Nations believe this to be the direction to follow for all man-kind because there is a urgent need for Spirituality.

Through Spirituality, we as a people will begin to learn how to Care, Respect, Love and Honour one another with Humility as a people.

As we follow this Spiritual direction, Mother Earth may begin to heal and as she heals, she may Survive as a result. Only then will she truly be able to continue to exercise her responsibility as She was originally created.

Submitted by Spiritual Elder William Commanda and Helper Frank Decontie.

Excerpted from The Book of the Elders, by Sandy Johnson and Dan Budnik, Harper Collins Publishers, San Francisco, 1994

Verbena Greene, Medicine Singer

Verbena Greene, known as “Beans” lives on the Warm Springs Reservation, on the Eastern side of the Cascade Range in Oregon. She is the keeper of a ceremonial longhouse, a long structure with a meeting room, dining hall, and kitchen. Here she talks about a form of spiritual healing known as Medicine Singing, which she inherited from her ancestors.

“Medicine Singing is related to Indian doctoring. The government didn’t like the Indian doctor, who was the shaman doing his duties to his people. If they found out you were singing, the police would arrest us. It was not allowed. But the people never gave up, they wouldn’t let them take this away. It takes some people forty years of singing before they can become an Indian doctor, I sang because it would make me a better keeper of my children.

“If you truly are a spiritual person, the spirits will come to you. Many of the spiritual songs that people sing are different, because there are many spirits that are very challenging. There are song that will help you in times when another spirit is trying to do you in, or cause you to get sick. Those kinds of songs can help you fight that spirit out there.

“There are songs that are only for children. They call on the spirits who take care of little children. There are spiritual songs that many people sing that will only take care of adults. Some come easy, and so very gentle. And then there are some spiritual songs that just slap you. I have had that happen to me, where they just hit you and almost knock you over. Many of them make you sick, and you can be sick for many days. But they are not there to harm you, they are just coming into your life.

“There was a song that came to me and, honest to goodness, it almost killed me. I was so sick, all I could do is crawl into the restroom. These are the kinds of things that will happen to you sometimes. You have to go through them because it’s like a trial. You have to ask yourself, ‘Are you ready for it? Are you fit?’ It’s like this song is entwined around you and feeling you out to see whether you are a fit person for this song or not. There are many songs that will do that to you. There are many songs that will just come to bother you, until you finally sing it. Some of the songs come in dreams.

“When people ask me about Spiritual Singing, I tell them that I always wanted to become one. There are many rituals that you must go through first. You have to cleanse and purify your body through the sweathouse during the course of a year or two, Sweating once a week, two or three days in a row. Or you could sweat every day, once a day two or three days in a row until you feel you have changed. It’s like a total changing of your life. You have to let a lot of things go, like anger, meanness, being rough and tough, and maybe you have to start watching your mouth and what you say.

“The Medicine Singing is inherited from generation to generation. There are very few who find their own vision quest to do this. We are supposed to sing in our own language, we can express ourselves better than we could in a borrowed language.

“I can go quite a ways back in our ancestry, at least five generations of Medicine Singers. They believed and respected everyone’s religion. No one ever told me, ‘Don’t believe in that,’ and they didn’t force us to learn the ways of the longhouse. They told us that it may help some day, and when we grew up we could pick a religion of our own to learn about the Creator. We all believe in Him who is the Creator of all things.”

Submitted by:

William Commanda
RR3 Pitobig Mikan
Maniwaki, Quebec
Canada, J9E3B1

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