10 23, 2010 Projects Comments Off on INDIAN RESERVATION VISITS

I arrived in Phoenix Arizona at 2pm Thursday 7th September 2010.

On the 10th September I traveled up to Flagstaff having been invited to speak at the funeral service for Mr Eddie Chee Yazzie, by his family, he passed away at 89 years of age was a returned war veteran and one of the Last Navajo code talkers from the second world war. I was asked to speak at the grave side where he was given a full military funeral.

This was quite an honor, being a non Navajo, and knowing how the code talkers are held in high esteem by the Navajo Nation.
Saturday 11th September held a two hour presentation on the Salt River Maricopa Pima Reservation for 20 people sharing with them root indigenous strategies that would help them with their substance abuse addictions. I have built up a consistent relationship with this community since first coming there in November 2004.

Monday 13th September spoke to Sylvester Loring and 15 members of his family at his home on the Pima Reservation. Sylvester is 58 years old and has been heavily involved in violence, alcohol, drugs and gangs most of his life. This has had a devastating effect upon his family. I first met him three years ago and by keeping contact with him and bit by bit working on him through sharing cultural knowledge he has softened. So this meeting in his home is a major break through. He stood and spoke when I invited him and it was the first time that he had ever apologized to his family concerning his example and the damage he had caused his family. It was so good to be a part of his life and to see the strength and goodness in him.

Thursday 16th September I was invited for the second time to speak at the Indian AA meeting in down town Phoenix. Around 80-100 Indians were in attendance coming from Navajo, Pima, Apache, Cheyenne, Oglala tribes. I spoke to them for 40minutes on the death bed words of Tasunka Ota (Many Horses) an Oglala Lakota chief from the mid 1880s, what happened to General Custer after the battle of the Little Big Horn was over and listening to the Spirit. This was a good evening and time well spent with these my older brothers and sisters.

Sunday 19th September presented to 60-70 people at a meetinghouse in West Valley SLC on gangs and gang patterns and how gangs operate (Polynesian gangs being the focus). This was a follow up meeting from the Utah State gang conference in October 2009 and the succeeding meeting I had in SLC in March 2010. I realized from the October 2010 conference that cultural intervention strategies are not in the vocabulary of those involved in working with gang members, neither are spiritual interventions discussed – this being quite a surprise to me considering the Polynesian cultures are spiritually based cultures. Mr Fotu Katoa (director of Polynesian Affairs for Utah), Trudy Cropper (Sergeant in Police) were in attendance. This meeting continued to build communication and a working relationship with these people.

Tuesday 21st September I traveled over to the Shoshone & Bannaqua Indain Reservation at Fort Hall Idaho at the invitation of Miss Donna Honena the director of Social Services for the tribe. I have built up a very good relationship with this tribe since 2004. She had organized a very intense two day programme for me to present to and speak to many of their clients and staff at their Four Directions Treatment Centre, to youth and staff at the high school, to the tribal council and at a organized meeting for the entire community to attend. Fotu Katoa the director of Polynesian Affairs in Utah traveled over on both days to attend the various presentations. He was amazed at the impact well presented cultural knowledge and the effect of speaking about the spirit had on those in attendance. After the two days he could clearly recognize the weaknesses in the intervention strategies he had been promoting and using in SLC.

The meeting with 80-100 youth senior and junior at the high school plus staff was very good. I invited one of the tribal youth leaders to participate and he spoke for 30-40 minutes on making correct choices, as we had chosen this as our theme, this session lasted three hours and had a significant effect on those in attendance with each of the students coming up afterward to thank us for coming.

The meeting with the tribal council was also very good I asked Fotu Katoa to speak and he outlined a programme called Mai Quest which he felt would help Indian youth on the reservation that were struggling with different issues. It was also discussed with them about how to set up Shoshone language nests to recover their native language. One of my friends who worked amongst the language nests in New Zealand and now lives in Utah will travel over and help them in developing one for their reservation.

The open community programme was well attended and I decided to present to them sacred knowledge concerning the creation of man and women as handed down by our people. It affected them greatly and made them look at themselves differently as I used Maori, Hawaiian and Shoshone languages to share these sacred points of identity. These were days well spent with the Shoshone and Bannaqua and has built on past visits.
Indian issues are layered, complex and with not any one solution being the correct and full answer to their situation – the dynamics also change from tribe to tribe as each tribe has different traits, characters, histories (though similar anciently & also in the colonization process and at the same time there are some distinct differences). I have found building their identity,

Remez Sasson Books

magnifying the nobleness of their ancestors, accentuating the innate gifts of leadership and decision making abilities they have inherited …..has a life changing impact on them, encouraging them to re-evaluate their present situation making them aware that the power to change, the power of self determination, the power to succeed has always been with them.

Thursday 23rd September flew down to Oklahoma to work amongst the Tsistsistas (Cheyenne) and Kiowa. Had some trouble at the first home I went to in El Reno Oklahoma city where a family meeting had been organized by a solo mother, Ana Sage, for her family and extended family. Three years ago I met her when she had drug, alcohol issues and historical abuse syndrome – now three years later she is clean and has her own home. When I entered her home I felt very uneasy, feeling a very bad spirit in the house – because one of Ana’s sons had for several months been abusing the rules Ana had implemented in her house totally disrespecting her – he had been taking drugs, drinking alcohol, bringing pornography into his room…….His action had made his mother very ill, because of the changing of the spiritual atmosphere she had created in her home, causing her to spend several days in hospital where doctors could not find what was wrong with her; she had no strength and had sever stomach pains. He approached me very abusively and threatened to attack me….an attack which never came. He ended up attacking another man in the house and was put down on the ground until the police came and removed him. I had prayers with a very tearful and distraught Ana and over her house and within two hours she was well – the next day she had completely recovered from her afflictions it was amazing to all who had been through it with her.

After this event I went to one of the El Reno community centers where three bus loads of youth had been brought in from outlying areas totaling 60-80 in all along with their tutors and care givers. I presented to them for around two hours, Ana Sage had recovered sufficiently by then to also speak to them about her life changes; she was very powerful.

24th September traveled out to Anadarko town about 50 miles from Oklahoma city and spent three hours with 12 students from River Side Indian school who were in danger of being expelled from the school because of misconduct. I had asked staff if there were any other students I should work with and was told no. After the workshop on identity and decision making the staff member in charge came up and said I am going to make recommendations to the school principle that you go through each dorm as we need it – a good outcome considering at the beginning there were no other students which needed help. It was an initial step which can be built on in the future.

Left Anadarko and traveled over to Geari a distance of 30 – 40 miles and met in a home with the Cornstalk family and friends around 20 of them I spent two hours here. From here back to El Reno and spoke to 30 people at Ana Sages home many of them Indian Elders – the faces changed at each gathering but the issues were the same.

Oklahoma has around 33 different tribes all displaced from their original homelands and crammed into Oklahoma (a Choctaw word meaning red earth or land of the red man). Over three years of visiting them head way is being made slowly but surely. The message is the same remember who you are, who you descend from, nothing changes until we change, no one moves to the red road (the Indian road of peace, principle, hope and faith) until we do, strength comes from within awakened by power from above from Mahe’o (the creator the Holy one). Tears have been shed kind encouraging words have been imparted, hearts have been touched and light appears….

Monday 27th September flew from Oklahoma to Fayetteville North Carolina to spend four days with the Lumbee Indians ( Eastern band of the Cherokee or Tsalagi) at Pembroke. During the course of the four days I visited with several family groups in their homes numbering 28 people in all. People were struggling with addictions, no work, poor housing …..

On Wednesday 29th I presented on the sacredness of woman in a community meeting house for two hours. It had been raining very hard all day and the organizers felt no one would come because of the dangers of flooding. Around 60 women turned up, along with several men, they were solo mothers, women who worked at the university, who ran community programmes, as well as wives and single women.

The presentation was done using three indigenous languages – Maori from New Zealand, Hawaiian and Cheyenne. It was presented as a small portion of the protected knowledge of our people. The impact was immediate as non of the Indians present could speak their native tongue and non of them had ever heard the knowledge which was presented. It helped them to see the once greatness of the people they descended from, and gave them a different perspective on how they viewed themselves, their men, their daughters, their sons and their relationship with the Creator.
I was asked to stay to speak at the American Indian Intertribal Conference on the 14th -16th October called “Walking In Many Worlds – Spirit of One” by Mrs Beverly Collins-Hall the CEO of American Mothers, Inc.

I did commit to present at the American Indian Womens Conference next April which will be held in North Carolina. This was my second trip to the Lumbee and it was much more welcoming than the first visit in March this year.

Heoi ano

Remez Sasson Books

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