"Wisdom means a lot of things. In the dominant culture a child is taught that money is important, and so his whole life he makes decisions based on money. But another child may be taught to love the trees and the water, and so the decisions he makes in his life will be very different.
"Both children are wise based on what they know. The child who grows up in the dominant society may make a lot of money acting out his particular wisdom, but he may poison a river to do it. So is this, ultimately wisdom? Is it wisdom to teach the children to love money?"
- Hunbatz Men
Day 82 - Tuesday, September 12, 1995 - Grandfather Commanda spoke with the walkers by phone, and told them of his concern about the fiery outbreaks of native resistance now going on in Canada, specifically in the communities of Ipperwash, Waswanipi, and Oka.
"It may get a lot worse before it gets better," Grandfather said. "I hope it is all going to turn to the better. I pray. I don't believe in violence. I never did."
Down in Nashville, Tennesee, the walk's Macintosh laptop computer has become a platform for Tom to fire off some heavily political e-mail and newsgroup postings. He is angry about what is going on in Canada, and wants to be directly involved. It is his nature to be at points of intense energy.
Our Sunbow 5 walk, however, has a specific intention to be non-political. We have consciously agreed, after great deliberation, to walk, to pray, and to focus on bringing the many newly intertwined cultures and traditions of our Turtle Island (North American) continent together in support of a clean earth for ourselves, our children, our children's children unto the next seven generations.
"This is all in the Seven Fires Wampum Belt," Grandfather Commanda mentioned to the walkers. "The belt is not specific about the particular things that are happening and that are are going to happen, but it's in there all the same. What's in the belt is the understanding of how the fire can burn with anger in a harmful rather than a healing way.
"There's a lot of things we understand through that belt, lots of things will be seen that have never been seen before, diseases and illnesses that have never been known before. They are happening now because of the greed and imbalance. That's a kind of fire.
"Then the hole in the sky that is letting in the solar fire that should not be coming in the way that it's coming, that's part of it, too," Grandfather said.
As it happens, over the last two days, United Nations' scientists have been reporting that the hole in the ozone layer is growing larger and faster than ever before. The hole is twice the size it was this time last year. As a consequence, harmful ultraviolet radiation (fire) reaches the Earth with greater strength and force. The unshielded solar radiation has been flooding the surface of our planet more and more strongly in recent years, causing an epidemic of skin cancers and cataracts, threatening a worldwide reduction in food production.
"These are all things that we didn't have before," Grandfather observed, "The diseases and the fire and the cancers. That's not natural or right. The only thing is to pray. That's the only thing that is left."
It rained off and on all day Tuesday, with some big, grumbling thunderstorms. Because the walkers were not moving and had shelter, they took time to talk about the road ahead, and to plan how they might function more cohesively as a group.
|Running Fawn has joined our walk. She poses here with a plaster fawn from a gift shop. Photo by Regula Vellacott, 1995.
Running Fawn (Anne King) who is of Cherokee heritage has joined the walk. She told me she is a author and a poet, and that she plans to go all the way west to the Pacific Ocean.
In the evening the whole crowd of about 30 walkers traveled downtown to "open mike" night at Tootsie's, a famous Nashville lounge located across the street from the original Grand Old Opry building.
"Some of us lit sage and smudged the joint when we got there," Tom told me over the phone. "These places need healing, too."
The walkers have many talented musicians among them, and many took turns at the microphone to sing, to play guitar, or to drum. Some took a moment to talk about the walk.
"You know it's interesting," Tom said about the musical party at Tootsie's, "everybody in there already knew about the walk, even though there hasn't been any publicity around here about it. Word just somehow has gotten out. It was a really fun night, a welcome change of pace."
|The Sunbow 5 Walkers at Tootsie's in Nashville - Ned Paschene plays a guitar while several other walkers pose.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden