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Old 03-09-2006, 08:33 PM   #2
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Part 2 of 2

She also lays down a challenge:

"I believe whoever has possession of The Pipe should be doing the White Buffalo Calf Ceremony at Sun Dance, as Grandfather Fools Crow and other Lakota medicine men and woman have in the past. The Pipe should be used to strengthen our faith and relationship with our Creator.

"I know Lakota, Dakota and Nakota elders would like to see it made available to our nation at this time; it is the property of the people, not a select few.”

What Dupree may have started with this “proclamation” of her own may have greater power and farther reach than if she indeed holds The Pipe.

As a mother or grandmother would chastise her children, she observes: "It is important that balance between men and women be honored once again for decision making for the good of all people. We must have the democratic process we possessed in ancient times. These people are calling themselves traditional when they are not really representing a traditional viewpoint. Without the presence and participation of women at these meetings and ceremonies they are acting like immature little boys.

"I feel it is so important for everyone who believes, and practices Lakota religion, to be encouraged in their faith by being able to see our Sacred Pipe. It is really the people's Pipe, it belongs to the nations who believe in the teachings. It is not a tool of spiritual materialism, belonging to a select few. I believe, as Grandfather Fools Crow tried to teach us, that anyone is welcome, as long as they are pure of heart, and follow the rules.”

Does Dupree have The Pipe?

It's hard to independently assess, at least, from a distance. There’s plenty of room for speculation. As stated, each of the Council Fires of the Oyate had two Pipes: one carried by a man, one by a woman; and all were brought to Council. Nothing is known of where the original 14 Pipes went. The Pipe she carries could be one of those.

It is also said that Fools Crow had made several copies of The Pipe, which he gave to select individuals in the 1940s; it could be one of those Pipes.

But it could very well be The Pipe she claims that it is.

Not to in any way impugn Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who has a perfect right to respond or not respond to any questions without prejudice or drawing any untoward conclusions, but Dupree also raises detailed questions about the Chanunpa that he is said to have in his possession that are made all the more persuasive by its absence and his silence.

The claims and uncertainty, however, pose great risks. This issue has the potential to rend apart those who follow the traditions of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Oyate and, in Native America as a whole, reignite sensitive issues of race, gender and who holds spiritual authority. The whole ugly system of male patriarchy, tribal membership, federal government control, and blood-quantum stand to be regurgitated anew, spilling over into renewed resentments between tribes and Indians and non-Indians over who is "qualified" to practice Native American Spirituality, why and how.

The issue also has the potential to unite peoples, if fear and resentments can be turned away.

For this, two issues should be remembered:

First, the Canunpa because of its power cannot be reduced to logical thinking or rational explanation. It is the physical expression of The Power, Creator, The Great Mystery, The Apportioner. All true matters of Spirit such as the workings of the Canunpa are outside of rational explanation because only human beings in the egoic state try to reduce the world and all things to an understandable level and, hence, can only be wrong. Not even close. The power of Creator is too great, broad, deep, eternal, beyond words or even human conceptualization.

Second, it doesn’t matter, in the final analysis, if Looking Back Woman has The Pipe or another Pipe. All Chanunpas held in Sacred Manner are The Pipe when it comes to Creator’s Power. It is always The Sacred Pipe, not a facsimile, for Creator’s Power cannot be “faked.”

As a Pipe Carrier, Looking Back Woman, when holding The Pipe, whether it’s either The C'anupa Wakan or any other Chanunpa, is speaking her truth and should be respected for the truth she shares.

Her words may be true whether they are The Truth or A truth, holding the Pipe or The Pipe.

It will be up to the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Oyate to decide if the truth she speaks while holding the Pipe or The Pipe is The Truth.

And the truths she gives are worth pondering beyond the confines of the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota Oyate.

Is it not true that our world is out of balance? Is it not true that our Earthly Mother is in sore need of healing and that the divine female power is equal to the male power? How can our world be balanced when the male and female powers are out of balance? Do we not each carry these powers within ourselves with the duty to make them manifest? And if we cannot honor all our relations in balance in this way, how can we hope to heal and balance the Earth?

In the Oyate's own way, was it not a woman, PtesanWi, the White Buffalo Woman, who brought The Pipe to the Buffalo Nation? And did she not say, "The four ages of creation are in me; I am the four ages. I will come to see you in every generation cycle . . . .”?

Did she not say: “Toksha ake wacinyanitin ktelo, I shall see you again."

Maybe, in a way, this is the return.... a recognition that balance is needed again, a call for us all to be Looking Back, honoring the Women.

In this, we must remember where Power resides, truly, eternally.

Who holds The Pipe in his or her hands is ultimately of little value to who holds The Pipe in his or her heart. Creator gives us eyes to see and hearts to ponder with which to see the Truth. In that way, we all carry the only Pipe that is eternal: Creator, within. That is the medicine that matters.

Jim Ewing, (Nvnehi Awatisgi), is a member of the Southern Cherokee Tribe & Associated Bands in Texas.
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