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Rachel Photon : Sacred Knowledge From American Indian Activist Russell Means

Updated: Feb 19

SOURCE USED: "IF YOU'VE FORGOTTEN THE NAMES OF THE CLOUDS, YOU'VE LOST YOU'RE WAY"--An Introduction to American Indian Thought and Philosophy




I highly recommend that you purchase Russell Means last book that he released to us before he passed away. I also recommend you going and researching all of the wonderful things he has done for the people.


I will not give you here, everything that is in the book. I am respecting Russell Means' copyrights and his family. However, I am carrying on the mission that Russell Means set forth, which is to simply share this information with you so that you can find your way back to the ancestors and back to mother earth into her loving arms.


So here in this blog, I will give you the main tenants of information that Russell wanted us to know through the quotes he shared within the book that helped put into context what he spoke about in great detail in this book. Please do not take this blog as a substitute for the actual book and the deeper contents within the book. This blog is just meant to help give you a nudge into the right direction!


Please do not stop here with your research! I highly encourage you to purchase Russell Means books, especially "IF YOU'VE FORGOTTEN THE NAMES OF THE CLOUDS, YOU'VE LOST YOUR WAY".


If you have any questions or would like to just chat, don't be afraid to comment below! If you are new to the site, become a member so that you are notified whenever I release a new post! Please share to others so that they can find their way back to mother earth and we can all begin to help her heal! Thank you!




1. THE ANCESTORS


"Every part of this Earth is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove...the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to our footsteps than to yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors..."

Seattle, Suquamish, mid 1800s



2. LANGUAGES OF THE NEW WORLD


"How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right."

Black Hawk, Sauk, early 1800s


"Conversation was never begun at once, nor in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation. Silence was meaningful with the Lakotah, and his granting a space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regard for the rule that, "thought comes before speech."

Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakotah, early 1900s



3. MATRIARCHAL TIME


"The Universe, which controls all life, has a female and male balance that is prevalent throughout our Sacred Grandmother, the Earth. This balance has to be acknowledged and become the determining factor in all of one's decisions, be they spiritual, social, healthful, educational or economic. Once the balance has become an integral part of one's life, all planning, research, direct action and follow-up becomes a matter of course. The goals that were targeted become a reality on a consistent basis. Good things happen to good People; remember, time is on our side."

Russell Means



4. LAKOTA MORNING THANK-YOU PRAYER


"O holy Great Mystery, thank you for this day.

I thank you for the Universe, which is our tabernacle, our house of worship.

Thank you for the Star People, who watch over our water and all that lives, and give us direction and a place in life.

Thank you for the Moon, which also watches over the water and purifies the women naturally. Thank you for the water.

Thank you for our sacred Grandmother, the Earth, mother of all living beings, for they are our relatives.

Thank you for the East Wind, which brings the Morning Star which gives us the dawn of a new day, so that we will not repeat the mistakes of yesterday.

The East Wind brings a newness into our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits, renewing the spirits of our sacred Grandmother, the Earth and of all our relatives.

And thank you for the Black Tail Deer People, who live in the East and watch over us.

Thank you for the South Wind, which brings warmth and generosity to our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits, as well as to our sacred Grandmother, the Earth, and to all our relatives.

And thank you for the West Wind, which gives us the lightning and thunder spirits, which bring the cleansing and refreshing rains for our sacred Grandmother, the Earth, and all our relatives, and which brings cleanliness and refreshment to our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits.

And thank you for the Buffalo People, who live in the West and watch over us.

Thank you for the North Wind, which brings strong and enduring winds that give our sacred Grandmother, the Earth, and all our relatives strength and endurance, and brings strength and endurance to our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits.

And thank you for the Elk People, who live in the North, and watch over us.

Thank you for all the winged beings of the air for their teachings, their generosity and their sacrifices.

Thank you especially for the eagle, who flies the highest, sees the furthest, and is faithful to its mate.

Thank you for the four-leggeds, who give us so much and teach us so much, for their sacrifices and sharing.

And thank you especially for the buffalo, because as the buffalo goes, so go our people.

Thank you for all our relatives who crawl and swim and live within the earth, for their sacrifices and sharing and their generosity.

Thank you for all their teachings and for everything that they give us.

Thank you also for all the green, growing things of the Earth.

They teach us so much and give us so much.

Thank you for their sacrifices and for their sharing.

Thank you especially for the tree with the whispering leaves, for its strength and independence and its teachings.

And thank you for the sacred Tree of Live, which must nourish and care for to ensure that it blossoms once again, allowing our people to live as they were intended.

Thank you for the salmon and the other fishes, who teach that it is our birthright to return to our home.

Thank you for the spider, who teaches us the foibles of life in the guise of Iktomi, the Trickster.

Thank you for each of the sacred ceremonies brought to us by the holy White Buffalo Calf Woman.

Thank you for our purification lodge, which enlightens us with understanding of purification and cleanliness.

Thank you for the Sundance, which allows men an opportunity to comprehend the miracle of new life by sharing, in a small way, the experience of childbirth.

Thank you for the Crying for a Vision Ceremony, which permits us to recognize a positive and independent road to follow throughout life.

Thank you for the Making of Relatives Ceremony, which allows to bring new citizens into our nation, our family, our clan.

Thank you for the Keeping of the Spirit Ceremony, which allows us the privilege of showing respect for our ancestors, and brings the community together to share and celebrate the deeds of the departed.

Thank you for the Throwing of the Ball Ceremony, which brings the community together as one heart, one mind, one spirit, one body.

Thank you for the Making of a Woman Ceremony that allows girls and young women to aspire to being worthy of the universe.

Thank you for the healing ceremonies and sweet medicines produced by our green relatives who grow.

Together they care for the infirm, the crippled and the sick.

Thank you for the soil, for the clouds, for the white blanket that comes to cover our Grandmother, the Earth, in the time of cold.

Thank you for the sacred colors, together representing everything that is worthy of life, and individually teaching us so much.

Thank you for the wind that travels in a circle, for it teaches us respect and wonder and awe.

I thank you for everything that is holy and sacred and good.

We are all related."

Lakotah Morning Prayer



5. THE TIPI


"I am going to venture that the man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization."

Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakotah, early 1900s



6. NATURAL LAW


"Why will you take by force what you may obtain by love? Why will you destroy us who supply you with food? What can you get by war?...We are unarmed, and willing to give you what you ask, if you come in a friendly manner..."

Powhatan, Algonquin Confederacy, to John Smith, 1609



7. THE NATURAL PURITY OF WOMEN


"Women live longer than men. They are purified naturally, in rhythm with the moon. The longevity of women is one of the reasons our Clan system is based on women. When men leave this life, we want our women and children to be comfortable and secure within a social structure made up of her relatives and friends. This is all consistent with Natural Law, which guides us in everything we do and believe. Natural Law encompasses all of life, and it is our teacher.

Russell Means



8. FINDING BALANCE IN THE INIPI


"The wise man believes profoundly in silence--the sign of perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The man who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence--not a leaf astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool--his is the ideal attitude and conduct of life. Silence is the cornerstone of character."

Ohiyesa, Wahpeton Santee Lakotah, early 1900s



9. SUNDANCE


"To Make Medicine is to engage upon a special period of fasting, thanksgiving, prayer and self-denial, even of self-torture. The procedure is entirely a devotional exercise. The purpose is to subdue the passions of the flesh and to improve the spiritual self. The bodily abstinence and the mental concentration upon lofty thoughts cleanses both the body and the soul and puts them into or keeps them in health. Then the individual mind gets closer toward conformity with the mind of the Great Medicine above us."



10. THE MAKING OF A WOMAN CEREMONY


"Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space and love beyond my fear, and thus walk in balance with the passing of each glorious Sun."

Lakotah Prayer



11. CRYING FOR A VISION CEREMONY


"A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the Eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky."

Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakotah, 1800s



12. THE THROWING OF THE BALL CEREMONY


“I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself.”

Lone Man, Teton Lakota, late 1800s



13. THE KEEPING OF THE SPIRIT CEREMONY


“To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground… Your dead cease to love you and the land of their birth as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander way beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being…”

Seattle, Suquamish, mid 1800s



14. WHITE BUFFALO CALF WOMAN


“When I was a young man, I went to a medicine man for advice concerning my future. The medicine man said, ‘I have not much to tell you except to help you understand this Earth on which you live. If a man is to succeed…he must not be governed by his inclination, but by an understanding of the ways of animals and of his natural surroundings, gained through close observation. The Earth is large, and on it live many animals. The Earth is under the protection of something which at times becomes visible to the eye.’”

Lone Man, Teton Lakotah, late 1800s



15. MARRIAGE


“Oh, Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the Winds and whose breath gives life to all the World, Hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom, let me walk in beauty, and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made, and make my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so I may see ever so clearly the ways you have to teach me. Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and cloud. I seek your strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy…myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so that when life fades, as the fading sunset, my Spirit may come to you without shame.”

Chief Yellow Lark, Lakotah, late 1800s



16. MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN IN THE CLAN SYSTEM


“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect…Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

Seattle, Suquamish, mid 1800s



17. FATHERHOOD


“It is strictly believed and understood by the Lakotah that a child is the greatest gift from Wakan Tanka, in response to many devout prayers, sacrifices, and promises. Therefore, the child is considered ‘sent by Wakan Tanka…’”.

Robert Higheagle, Teton Lakotah, early 1900s



18. THE CHILD IS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE


“It takes a village to raise a child.”

West African Saying



19. THE LESSON OF THE GIVEAWAY


“Children were encouraged to develop strict discipline and a high regard for sharing. When a girl picked her first berries and dug her first roots, they were given away to an Elder so she would share her future success. When a child carried water for the home, an Elder would give compliments, pretending to taste meat in water carried by a boy or berries in that of a girl. The child was encouraged not to be lazy and to grow straight like a sapling.”

Mourning Dove, Salish, early 1900s



“It was our belief that the love and possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early on learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving.”

Ohiyesa, Wahpeton Santee Lakotah, early 1900s



20. NO BAD APPLES


“Among the Indians there have been no written laws. Customs handed down from generation to generation have been the only laws to guide them. Everyone might act different from what was considered right if he chose, but such acts would bring upon him the censure of the Nation… This fear of the Nation’s censure acted as a mighty bond, binding all in one social, honorable compact.”

Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh, Ojibwa, 1800s



21. BORN INTO A LIFE OF FREEDOM


“I was born upon the prairie, where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew a free breath… I have hunted and lived over the country. I lived like my fathers before me, and like them, I lived happily.”

Ten Bears, Comanche, late 1800s



22. THE TOXIC PATRIARCH


“We are afraid that if we lose any more of our lands the white people will not leave us enough to bury our dead.”

Doublehead, Creek, 1796



“The so-called ‘development’ of the human species and human societies has moved humankind not toward improving relations between peoples, or between humans and their environment, but has in fact been in the direction of destroying life—at every level, from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Instead of working within a balanced system of mutually supportive healthy life forms, human ‘advancement’ has specialized in killing certain ‘undesirable’ life forms, thereby opening the way for the rampant and uncontrolled proliferation of opportunistic life forms, scavengers and parasites.”

Russell Means



23. THE GLOOMY REALITY OF THE PATRIARCH


“Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the Earth?... How can we have confidence in the white people? When Jesus Christ came upon the Earth, you killed Him and nailed Him to the cross… Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Naragansett, the Mohican, the Pocanet, and other powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the greed and oppression of the white man, like snow before the summer sun…the bones of our dead will be plowed up, and their graves turned into plowed fields…”

Tecumseh, Shawnee, 1811



24. LIVING BY NATURAL LAW


“I love a people who have always made me welcome to the best they had…who are honest without laws, who have no jails and no poor-houses…who never take the name of God in vain…who worship God without a Bible, and I believe God loves them also…who are free from religious animosities…who have never raised a hand against me, or stolen my property, where there is no law to punish either…who never fought a battle white men except on their own ground…and oh, how I love a people who don’t live for the love of money!”

George Caitlin, artist, 1830s


“As Hunter-Gatherers, we watch the fox and the bear. When they eat berries, they don’t eat all the berries on the bush. When bears eat honey, they don’t destroy the hive, they take some and move on. There is always enough left for regeneration. So, we know better than to empty out a piece of land of its food. That’s how you live with Natural Law.”

Russell Means



25. THE LIES THEY TOLD ABOUT US


“In fact, there were many whites, who after having tried [living among the Indians], expressed a preference for the free but hazardous life of savagery to the more restrained life of civilization…

Yet, while there were whites who preferred to live like Indians, there were few, if any, Indians who regarded a completely civilized form of living as superior to their own way of life. This is true even of Indian children who were educated in the schools of the white colonists and who were later permitted to return to their own people. With the opportunity of choosing between the two ways of life, they rarely cast their lot with civilization. This was because the Indian was convinced that the white man’s style of life, with its lack of freedom; innumerable laws and taxes; extremes of wealthy and poverty; snobbish class divisions; hypocritical customs; private ownership of land; pent-up communities; uncomfortable clothing; many diseases; slavery to money and other false standards, could not possibly bring as much real happiness as their own way of doing things…”

Raymond McCoy, author, The Massacre of Old Fort Mackinac



26. THE MYTH OF WAR


“Summer is the swarming season for a type of white person called ‘archaeologist’…If you ever run across one of these, and they begin asking you questions, be sure to tell them nothing but lies, because otherwise, they will steal your culture…”

Grandma Twinklestar, Lakotah, 1900s



27. THE SACREDNESS OF COLORS


“Remember, if the Creator put it there, it is in the right place. The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.”

Anonymous



28. THE SAFETY NET OF THE CLAN


“Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.”

John Fire Lame Deer, Lakotah, 1900s



29. LEADERS AMONG THE LAKOTAH


“Among us we have no prisons, we have no pompous parade of courts; we have no written laws, and yet judges are as highly revered among us as they are among you, and their decisions are as highly regarded.

Property, to say the least, is well-guarded, and crimes are as impartially punished. We have among us no splendid villains above the control of our laws. Daring wickedness is never suffered to triumph over helpless innocence. The estates of widows and orphans are never devoured by enterprising sharpers. In a word, we have no robbery under the color of the law.”

Joseph Brant, Mohawk, 1807


“The woman knows that the province of the home is her domain. Because men have a more linear and practical way of thinking, their responsibilities lay outside the home—the village, the Nation.

In indigenous societies, to be a leader meant that, materially, you were always going to be poor. This because you had to make sure everyone else in the community was taken care of. So being a leader was avoided by many men. Leaders had to be chosen, designated, by the Elder Women. So a leader among the men did not rise to the position out of personal ambition, greed for power, or personal insecurities, trying to prove something. These are all characteristics of unfit leaders, which are common among the patriarchs.”

Russell Means



30. PEACEMAKER


“Lose your temper and you lose a friend; lie and you lose yourself.”

Hopi


“Peace and happiness are available in every moment. Peace is in every step. Let us work hand in hand. There are no political solutions to spiritual problems.”

Anonymous



31. TO LIVE IN MINDFUL REVERENCE


“When a man does a piece of work which is admired by all we say that is wonderful…but when we see the changes of day and night, the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky, and the changing seasons upon the earth, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.”

Chased-by-Bears, Santee Yankton Lakotah, early 1900s



32. THE TRUE LAKOTAH STYLE BUFFALO HUNT

“It would be wise to invite all the sportsmen of England and America…for a grand buffalo hunt, and make one grand sweep of them all.”

General William Tecumseh Sherman, 1870s



33. THE POWER OF EAGLES


“The life of an Indian is like the winged creatures of the air. You notice the hawk knows how to get his prey—the Indian is like that. The hawk swoops down on its prey; so does the Indian… The eagle is the same. That is why the Indian is always feathered up—he is a relative to the winged ones of the air.”

Black Elk, Oglala Lakotah, early 1900s



34. THE HONORABLE SHIRT WEARERS SOCIETY OF THE LAKOTAH NATION


“I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream…the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.”

Black Elk, Oglala Lakotah, early 1900s



35. A COMMON LANGUAGE


“Behold, my brothers, the spring has come. The Earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love. Every seed has awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, including our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves—to inhabit this land.”

Tatanka Yotanka (Sitting Bull), Hunkpapa Lakotah, late 1800s



36. CURSED WITH THE POWER OF REASON


“We ought to name this place in honor of the Yellow Thunder family, because after Raymond Yellow Thunder was murdered in Gordon South Dakota, the Lakotah stood up as a people for the first time in this century.”

Russell Means, 1981



37. RISE OF THE HEYOKA


“Here I stand, and the tree is withered. Again, I recall the great vision you gave me. It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds! Hear me, that the people may once again find the good road and the shielding tree.”

Black Elk, Oglala Lakotah, early 1900s



38. THE INVERTED REALITY OF THE HEYOKA AND THE PATRIARCH


“To take and to lie should be burned on his forehead, as he burns the sides of my stolen horses with his own name.”

Charlot, Flathead, 1876


“The entire system and world view of the patriarch is Heyoka. Patriarchy is based on a pyramid structure. The Patriarch is uncomfortable everywhere he goes. He is afraid because he lives his life teetering at the top of the pyramid, and others are constantly trying to push him off his perch. Within his family, his wife and children must be enslaved in order to support his position of prominence and dominance. His children are brought up in his own image, to be fearful patriarchs tottering at the peak of their own unstable pyramid.”

Russell Means



39. IKTOMI--THE TRICKSTER


“He has filled graves with our bones…his course is destruction, he spoils what the spirit who gave us this country made beautiful and clean…the white man fathers this doom…he, the cause of our ruin, is his own snake which he says stole on his mother in her own country to lie to her. He says his story is that man was rejected and cast off…He says one of his virgins had a son nailed to death on two cross sticks to save him. Were all of them dead when that young man died, we would all be safe now, and our country would still be our own.”

Charlot, Flathead, 1876



40. THE EARTH IS A LIVING CREATURE


“How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? ... This beautiful Earth is the mother of the red man. We are part of the Earth and it is part of us.”

Seattle, Suquamish, mid 1800s



41. THERE IS NO FEAR OF DEATH IN THE INDIGENOUS WORLD


“There is no death…only a change of worlds.”

Seattle, Suquamish, mid 1800s


“It quickly becomes clear that the indigenous person does not fear “death”. We know our place in the Universe. Every spring we see reincarnation in action. Leaves sprout anew, flowers bloom again.”

Russell Means



42. THE BALANCE AND HOLINESS OF ALL THINGS


“The Earth is the Mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it…”

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce, late 1800s



43. THE UNIVERSE


“You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, everything tries to round… The sky is round, and I have heard that the Earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”

Black Elk, Oglala Lakotah, early 1900s


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