The Dann Sisters.

Posted on June 8, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“The study of nature is intercourse with the highest mind. You should never trifle with nature.”

– LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873) Swiss-born, American naturalist

aaa-18Recent events involving the Bundy ranch out west in America/Arizona and the family’s dealings with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made front page news, while the nightly ABC, CBS, and NBC 6-o’clock news broadcasts featured a string of reports. John Stewart and many other comedians on the late-night talk shows made hay with Cliven Bundy, as Americans talked about the latest “Bundy news” around the company water cooler; the situation has since, like most news stories, fallen off the radar and replaced with the next irrelevant reporting.

I admit to having no researched knowledge of the facts surrounding the Bundy situation, having, frankly, not enough interest to look into it deeper. Like similar controversial situations, opinions have become expressed both for and against the Bundys as well as the BLM, people travelled to the ranch with weapons to protect the rights of the Bundys, while others view the family as deadbeats who are not paying grazing fees, etc. and deserve no sympathy. So, I have no idea what the real facts are.

Americans didn’t see the same worldwide coverage of the experiences of Carrie and Mary Dann. As a matter of fact, their story received little to no news coverage at all back some 7-10 years ago, when the western Shoshone sisters became subjected to some very raw treatment by the American government. They too, were ranchers who had lived and survived in the American west, but the land their family lived on and which gave them sustenance was subject to a treaty signed between the western Shoshone and the U.S. government.

The following short documentary about the Dann sisters’ experience, where the U.S. government took actions to allow for massive gold mining by the world’s largest corporations on land where the sisters and their ancestors lived raising animals and earning a living, gives viewers an example of how multinationals and their owners team with government enablers to force unwanted changes to people’s lives, and in too many instances cause deadly pollution of the environment, social unrest, violence, and wars.

In the case of the Dann sisters, violence was never a consequence, unless one takes into account the spiritual violence done to two elder sisters who see the Earth as our mother who must be treated with care for future generations. The film successfully shows the sharp contrast between two very different life philosophies, and leaves the viewer with much to consider.

Given the  historical evidence that proves wars are fought for natural resources and the wealth that goes with the various metals, energy, woods, foods, banks, etc., the Dann sisters’ story is one which holds a great deal more relevance than the Bundy story when one considers the implications for the human race and its relationship to the environment on Earth. The film, though short in duration at approximately 25 minutes, lays out eloquently a lot that is wrong in the world – and a lot that is right.


(Thank you to Oxfam America @ YouTube)

The Most Basic Principle Of All.

Rolling Thunder
Rolling Thunder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted August 10, 2013

by Jerry Alatalo

“The most basic principle of all is that of not harming others, and that includes all people and all life and all things.”

Rolling Thunder


The spirit behind these words by Rolling Thunder, who was a Native American medicine man, reflect wisdom and truth. Can we imagine the entire human race consciously accepting, acknowledging, and truly living in accord with the spirit? We read the words spoken by Rolling Thunder and wonder about how one gets to that point, where words such as these are spoken.

Take a moment and read Rolling Thunder’s statement again.

How do the words affect you? Does the spirit behind the thought dissolve into your entire being? And how can we describe that spirit? It is what Native Americans call the Great Spirit. The omnipotent, eternal, omnipresent, Great Mystery, God, Creator, Allah, Source, Krishna, the Almighty are some terms used by people around the world.

“It means not controlling or manipulating others, not trying to manage their affairs. It means not going off to some other land and killing people over there-not for religion or politics or military exercises or any other excuse. No being has the right to harm or control any other being. No individual or government has the right to force others to join or participate in any group or system or to force others to go to school, to church or to war. Every being has the right to live his own life in his own way.”

Here Rolling Thunder spoke of all people-not Americans, not Russians, not Chinese, not those from India, Africa, Europe, South America, Australia,or Canada, but all people. His words precisely identified all of the ways that human beings have harmed other human beings. Rolling Thunder simply spoke without forked tongue-honestly and truthfully.

“Every being has an identity and a purpose. To live up to his purpose, every being has the power of self-control, and that’s where spiritual power begins. When some of these fundamental things are learned, the time will be right for more to be revealed and spiritual power will come again to this land.”

Rolling Thunder conveyed here that all persons should strive to avoid mistaken thinking that life has no meaning.  Every single person is important, and self-control is the tool that one uses to make life meaningful.

“Modern man talks of harnessing nature, conquering nature and making nature a servant of man. This shows that modern man doesn’t know the first thing about nature and nature’s ways. And the condition of the environment today proves that. Now everyone’s afraid-afraid of air pollution, radioactivity and poisoned water. The land is becoming contaminated and the resources are disappearing or becoming unusable, and now people wonder if it’s too late. You can’t make any kind of laws or system to control nature or to control man’s inner nature, his consciousness or his natural behavior-the way he thinks and feels. That cannot be controlled. No individual or group can block another individual’s path or change it against what fits his nature and his purpose. It might be done for a time, but in the end it won’t work out. It will only lead to danger and fear for everyone. Even in healing we take that into account. A true healer considers a man’s karma and his destiny. He has a way of looking into and understanding what is meant to be according to each individual’s own progress and unfoldment. That way things are more realistic and it saves everyone a lot of trouble. Nature is sovereign and man’s inner nature is sovereign. Nature is to be respected. All life and every single living being is to be respected. That’s the only answer.”

All life and every single living being is to be respected. Rolling Thunder was speaking in that way again. With obvious truth that points to a philosophy, a way of living, that leads to peace, harmony, and brotherhood. He said that it is the only answer. He was correct.

“Back in Oklahoma some years ago, there was a meeting-the first such high level meeting in over a hundred years-where chiefs and medicine men came together from all over the continent, and some from South America. The Iroquois came from New York and they brought a board with writing on it. On the last day of the ceremonies we formed a huge circle.”

“The circle is the Great Spirit’s emblem. All life is a circle. The world is a circle and the atoms are circles. The circle is seen on the rock writings, and it goes around all things, it takes in all things. When we met in Oklahoma, we formed a huge circle of all native tribes and we smoked the peace pipe to the sun, and it stayed lit around that huge circle. Then the Iroquois brought out the board with writing on it and interpreted it. They said ‘today our tribes are united again’. The emblem showed a chain of hands-people holding hands in a circle-and they said ‘today our people have formed the circle of brotherhood and friendship here’.”

“Eventually, this circle will go around the world. The brotherhood and peace that the world is seeking will now start on this land here. All the people here will be joined in the circle of friendship and brotherhood, and that circle will go around the world.”


In Memory of Bear Heart. Part 9.

June 28, 2013 by Jerry Alatalo

bearheart cover“Darkness seems like something that’s hard to stand up against, but light is much stronger-just a small light dispels the darkness. That’s how it is with everything. If there’s negativity all around, find the positive counterpart and utilize it.”

Bear Heart tells us how we can handle the inescapable suffering that is a part of life. “In difficult times, we are made more aware of the resources that we have within ourselves and therein lies our peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict. It comes with our ability to cope with that conflict. And so in the darkest moments of your own life, never lose sight of the fact that the sun is going to shine through to a great day, a great life. Whatever your potential is, you can reach it.”

He mentions Jesus and his divine connection with the Father. Jesus took care of many things, in what seem to be miraculous ways, because of that divine connection. Bear Heart noted that there is still a Power today that takes care and makes a way for us.

He said, “Live hopefully. It does not matter what happens, what your circumstances are, you have something to connect with.” He told us that the most important thing is not our circumstances in life, but our reactions to them. He said we must honor every situation and, if bad, salvage it by turning it from a negative into a positive.

“When something terrible happens to you, say, “Thank you,” because there’s a lesson there.” When we are faced with difficult situations, the ego is burnt away and we find the real person that we are. Difficult situations bring out the best in us or the worst in us, and it is up to us.

Bear Heart said that we don’t always know how God works; we go up the hill, find some rest and have to go uphill again. He shares the words of one of his songs of encouragement: “You’ve been climbing a hill all of your life. It levels off and then another hill comes and you climb again. Now I’m hoping that things level off and you might see better days ahead.”

In God’s mysterious way a great blessing may come and give us the strength and guidance we need. “We should let him do the driving of our lives-He knows the best way to get from here to there.”

We sometimes lose our good feelings when difficulties happen, but it is not the end of life. These are challenges and we go on and are stronger. As long as the fire of spirit is still lit, even if it is the size of a single match, it can carry us forward with the potential to realize our hopes and dreams. “If we’re going to fail, it’s better to fail trying than just giving up.”

He shares how his mother dealt with his life threatening sickness as a baby. His mother told him she dedicated his life to the Creator. She said to the Creator, “If you let this child live, I will do my best to be a good mother. I will raise him knowing something about You and Your great love, so that he can walk this Earth and be of help to people. He will be Your feet, Your eyes, Your voice, Your hands. However You can use him, I dedicate him to You now.” His fever broke and he got well.

Bear Heart’s heart was broken with the death of his son in a plane crash where eighty people died. His son wanted him to see Hawaii and a few years later he was there. He went to Pele Point where Hawaiian legend says that the winds of the universe began. His mother was of the wind clan so he climbed to the point, despite objections from the guards there.

He sang his songs to the East, South, West and North. He spoke to the Creator: “My mother, when I was very small, dedicated me. At this time I rededicate myself anew to you, from my heart. I will be Your feet, Your hands, Your eyes, Your voice, just as she said. If there’s any love that You have, a special love that You want for people, let it flow through me. Let me touch someone and make them a little happier, so that they can be well and walk with good purpose on this land. Please use me.”

He describes how, after coming down from the peak, the guards asked him who was up there with him. He answered “No one.” The guards had heard lots of voices singing. Bear Heart said that they heard the voices singing but that he hadn’t.

Bear Heart uses the example of a little child to illustrate the power of love.

“What is love? What is the manifestation of love? Picture a mother sewing or reading or watching TV while her child is playing on the floor with dolls or toys. All of a sudden the child gets an inspiration, jumps on mother’s lap, and puts their little arms around her. ‘Mommy, I love you.’ That is an expression of love from a little child’s heart. Can you buy that? Can you force it to happen? How much is that worth in terms of money?”

He said that love is synonymous with forgiveness. Harmony and unity can only be found where there is love and forgiveness.

Bear Heart compares the cooperation of ants to the wars and fighting of human beings. He asks how, if humans are so superior, why is there all this fighting? “Why is it that if someone belongs to a particular religion or race he can’t help someone who doesn’t belong to it? What kind of love do they have? It’s very conditional love-‘Unless you do this I will not help you.’ ”

“So praying is not only following rituals and doing it just right. It’s how we feel inside, how our heart connects, and how we live. That’s called walking the spirit road.”  We are not simply following a religion but following the Universal Being of All Creation and All Wisdom. We try our best  because our belief system is based on love. If we make mistakes we can say “I’m sorry” and God is ready to forgive us.

“The power of love-if that love is sincere and true-is the only force that can melt the human heart. Nuclear weapons can destroy people and have long-lasting effects, but love is what repairs and heals. No bomb can do that, it has to come from understanding and tolerance. And it has to come from forgiveness being channeled into the lives of other people, making them feel their worth and stimulating their potential. If you have a lot of love, animals come up to you, even flowers seem to follow you as you walk by, recognizing and responding to love. Love is expandable, it can encompass this whole universe. It can heal.”

“The number 4 is very significant to Native people-it is a number of completeness. The white, black, yellow, and red races represent all humanity. At one time there might even have been a common race of people who divided and became different colors with different backgrounds. Maybe this was a preparation for each of these races to learn all they could among their own people and then in time we will combine the red, black, yellow, and white into one big culture. And if the Spirit is one, we may not change colors, but instead change our attitudes into the spirit of oneness with all living things on this planet, not only the two-leggeds, but the four-leggeds, the wingeds, those that are in the water, and those that crawl.”

“It’s time to stress the things we have in common with one another, to show how much alike we are. We might be surprised to find that we are truly brothers and sisters in this universe, and most important, that we have to maintain that relationship in order to survive.”

Continued in Part 10…


In Memory of Bear Heart. Part 8.

June 27, 2013 by Jerry Alatalo

sun111Bear Heart shares that there is much we can do on our own to take care of any sickness. “As much as you can think yourself sick, you can turn it around and think yourself well. We haven’t even explored one-eighth of the mind’s potential.”

He said that the cures are already within us, but that we have never been taught that we can handle most of our own problems. “People often ask for advice and counseling, but overall, the best advice I can give to anyone at any time is: Never complete a negative statement.”

He advises that our thoughts which originate in our conscious awareness are acted upon by our subconscious, and events occur which come out exactly as our conscious awareness created. If we put something negative into our minds, then negative is what we will experience.

Bear Heart said, “We attract. The situation you are most afraid of you are going to attract. Some fear is healthy because it makes you cautious. But when you’re overly afraid of something, you’re going to attract that very thing.”

He recalled a psychologist’s experience with a Native man he somehow angered at an Indian hospital. The Indian man got angry and told the psychologist, “We have ways of dealing with people like you. I’m going to get you.”

Bear Heart’s nephew called him for help as the psychologist’s leg drew up and he was unable to move it; doctors could not find the cause. Bear Heart knew that the Indian had threatened him, could find nothing planted inside his leg, and determined that the psychologist unconsciously did it to himself.

He told the psychologist, “As a psychologist, you know good and well what took place. He planted a seed in your mind-‘We can do things to you’-and that seed germinated into a reality. You know about transference, when the mental changes into the physical, and this is the case here. Whether you own up to it or not, you were scared and as a result your leg drew up. I’m going to undo it with four songs, then I’m going to blow my eagle whistle four times in four directions, and then I’ll fan you off with this eagle feather. After the first song you’ll begin moving your leg. With the second song, you’ll be able to begin to stretch it out. And by the time I finish the fourth song your leg will be straight. Then I’m going to give thanks with this whistle to the Great Being who really helped.”

Bear Heart compares thoughts, whether negative or positive, to seeds which become planted in the conscious mind. Our subconscious responds with attracting all the things necessary to bring the idea into fulfillment. “People often wonder why we have so many aches and pains or so many difficult circumstances surrounding them. We create them, but by the very same token we can take care of them with our own minds.”

He said that thinking affects the body so it’s important how you think and what you think about. “That’s why it is best to know what you are putting into your conscious awareness because all of it is energy, vibrations.”

He shares how to get good, restful sleep. Before we go to sleep we want to relax our body. Whether you start with your feet or head, go to all parts of your body and relax every muscle while taking deep, slow breaths. Breathe in soothing, calming thoughts which lull you into a deep, restful sleep.

As you breathe out, imagine you are releasing all tensions and stress into the atmosphere. You are relaxing both your body and the thoughts and feelings that are going on within. While lying there give thanks for the events of the day and ask for a peaceful rest. You will feel energized in the morning.

“We have tapped into very little of our mind’s power, a very small portion. Not because we have such a little mind, but because we don’t rely upon and utilize it enough. The mind has the power to do anything. It’s better than any wonder drug that’s been developed for any reason today.

Bear Heart was taught early in life to laugh at ourselves and with others. He learned to not poke fun at other people but to poke fun at situations where everyone can laugh together. He recommends balancing serious things with lighter things. Maybe reading westerns or humor books at times and then going back to serious books.

He talks about there being two sides to every whole; night and day, guilt and innocence, male and female. He gives a simple way to bring relaxation to ourselves. “Put the left hand at the base of your spine and the right hand in the curve where your head and neck meet-just hold them there and you’ll begin to feel relaxed. Placing your hands that way connects the positive and negative poles of the nervous system, and the energy flowing back and forth balances the body and calms you down. But don’t reverse your hands-if you put the left up top and the right at the bottom, it works the opposite way, it makes you irritable.”

Bear Heart recommended that we balance the left side, logical hemisphere of our brains with the right side, spiritual hemisphere to live a balanced life. He mentions instinct as being our first thought about what to do in a situation. Our logical mind then ruins our first instinct and we pay the consequences.

“The reason that I am over seventy-five years old and still going strong is due to the fact that one of the first lessons we were taught was to live one day at a time. We didn’t think in terms of years or birthdays. Live life as though you might die tomorrow. Do what you would like to be doing, and do your best each day. If you want to be lazy, be good and lazy. If you want to be industrious, be really industrious that day.”

He recommends thinking pleasant thoughts while we are eating to allow good digestion of the nutrients and the food. Eat in silence with only words that are light or funny. Choose to put foods which are good for you into your body. Prepare your food and eat it with love. Don’t overeat, be grateful for the food, and leave a little food on the plate. You are saying, “May this food find its way to someone who might be in need, someone we don’t even know.”

He said to do this not for show but because we all live on the same Earth, breathing the same air-we are all relatives.

When he was a boy one of his elders told him, “Notice the leaves on the tree. When it turns cold, the leaves are going to change color and fall, but they’re still part of that tree. When you live long enough, in your maturity, your life is going to be meaningful and others will notice you. e colors changing in each leaf, they’re going to see you for what you have done in life, and it will be beautiful to see. Eventually you’re going to fall, but in falling, you’re going to make it possible for other life forms to come after you. When the new year comes, when everything becomes green again, part of that which fell to the ground will be alive. And so it is with life, it goes on and on. What we’re actually doing is borrowing the sunlight, the wind, and the food, which comes to us from deep under the ground-the roots reach up and feed us here out on the limb. So, think of each day as a loan and learn to use it wisely.”

Continued in Part 9…