NATIVE AMERICAN WISDOM

 

American Indian Commandments
Sacred Instructions Given By The Creator To Native People At The Time Of Creation

Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect.
Remain close to the Great Spirit.
Show great respect for your fellow beings.
Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.
Give assistance and kindness wherever needed.
Do what you know to be right.
Look after the well being of mind and body.
Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good.
Be truthful and honest at all times.
Take full responsibility for your actions.

Navajo Pendant – First People

Native Code of Ethics
1. Each morning upon rising, and each evening before sleeping, give thanks for the life within you and for all life, for the good things the Creator has given you and for the opportunity to grow a little more each day. Consider your thoughts and actions of the past day and seek for the courage and strength to be a better person. Seek for the things that will benefit others (everyone).

Zuni Man

2. Respect: Respect means “To feel or show honor or esteem for someone or something; to consider the well being of, or to treat someone or something with deference or courtesy”. Showing respect is a basic law of life.

Treat every person from the tiniest child to the oldest elder with respect at all times. Special respect should be given to Elders, Parents, Teachers, and Community Leaders.
No person should be made to feel “put down” by you; avoid hurting other hearts as you would avoid a deadly poison.
Touch nothing that belongs to someone else (especially Sacred Objects) without permission, or an understanding between you.

Respect the privacy of every person, never intrude on a person’s quiet moment or personal space.

Never walk between people that are conversing.

Lakota Stick

Never interrupt people who are conversing.

Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of Elders, strangers or others to whom special respect is due.

Do not speak unless invited to do so at gatherings where Elders are present (except to ask what is expected of you, should you be in doubt).

Never speak about others in a negative way, whether they are present or not.

Treat the earth and all of her aspects as your mother. Show deep respect for the mineral world, the plant world, and the animal world. Do nothing to pollute our Mother, rise up with wisdom to defend her.

Navajo beaded bracelets – sacred animal world.

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Show deep respect for the beliefs and religion of others.

Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel that what they are saying is worthless. Listen with your heart.

Respect the wisdom of the people in council. Once you give an idea to a council meeting it no longer belongs to you. It belongs to the people. Respect demands that you listen intently to the ideas of others in council and that you do not insist that your idea prevail. Indeed you should freely support the ideas of others if they are true and good, even if those ideas are quite different from the ones you have contributed. The clash of ideas brings forth the Spark of Truth.

Chief’s Pipe

3. Once a council has decided something in unity, respect demands that no one speak secretly against what has been decided. If the council has made an error, that error will become apparent to everyone in its own time.

4. Be truthful at all times, and under all conditions.

5. Always treat your guests with honor and consideration. Give of your best food, your best blankets, the best part of your house, and your best service to your guests.

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Sterling Silver Navajo Cup

6. The hurt of one is the hurt of all, the honor of one is the honor of all.

7. Receive strangers and outsiders with a loving heart and as members of the human family.

8. All the races and tribes in the world are like the different colored flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected.

9. To serve others, to be of some use to family, community, nation, and the world is one of the main purposes for which human beings have been created. Do not fill yourself with your own affairs and forget your most important talks. True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others.

10. Observe moderation and balance in all things.

11. Know those things that lead to your well-being, and those things that lead to your destruction.

12. Listen to and follow the guidance given to your heart. Expect guidance to come in many forms; in prayer, in dreams, in times of quiet solitude, and in the words and deeds of wise Elders and friends.

Navajo Pin Pendant

This article is a reprint from the “Inter-Tribal Times” – October 1994

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Love of the Land
The old people came literally to love the soil, and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.
Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest upon the earth, and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew.
The soul was soothing, strengthening, cleansing, and healing. This is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly.
He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
– Chief Luther Standing Bear –
Teton Sioux, Born 1868

Lakota Buffalo Stick

Native American Prayer
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 make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things your have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

Zuni Maiden

I seek 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 when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.

– Chief Yellow Lark –
Lakota –

Lakota Doll

What is Life
What is Life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time.
It is the little shadow
which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the Sunset.
– Crowfoot –
Blackfoot Indian

Lakota Ledger Art

 

By Chief Seattle
“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone,
Man would die from
a great loneliness of the spirit.
For whatever happens to the beasts
soon happens to man.”

Mother Earth Turtle Lakota Sage Bag

The Teaching of Tecumseh
Live your life that the fear of death
can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views
and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life,
beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long
and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day
when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting
or passing a friend, or even a stranger,if in a lonely place
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die, be not like those
whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

Zuni Warrior Maiden

Paula

What is a Strike a Light bag?

Native American women would tie a bag like this under their apron and would carry in it items necessary for making a fire. This would usually consist of flint, a “Strike-a-Light” which is a special steel plate to use with the flint for creating sparks to start a fire, and tinder (such as dry moss or rabbit fur) to catch the sparks and start the fire.

Vintage Strike a Light Bag

Raven Crow Medicine

Lakota Kangi Pejuta Medicine Bag

Lakota Kangi Pejuta Medicine Bag. Kangi Pejuta means Medicine Crow.

RAVEN/CROW –  Raven and Crow are very similar in their strengths: both carry great responsibility to Spirit and are the messengers of magic and healing from the universe where all knowledge waits for us.

Raven Crow Feather Necklace by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

NP574-feather-raven-whitehawk-2 Raven Crow Feather Necklace by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

They also symbolize changes in consciousness, levels of awareness and perception.

Zuni Raven Fetishes

FF306-raven-pooacha-1 Zuni Raven Fetishes

Shamans, Spiritualists and Healers using Raven/Crow Medicine are able to use their gifts with deeper clarity, understanding and insight, developing greater power and skill in their abilities and their means to help one move forward in life.

Kangi Pejuta Smudge Kit

Kangi Pejuta Smudge Kit

Raven Crow Medicine Smudge Feather

Raven Crow Spirit Smudge fan by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

Raven Crow Spirit Smudge fan by Apache artist Cynthia Whitehawk

Raven Crow Medicine Pouch

Raven Crow Medicine Pouch with hand carved and painted buffalo bone raven feather. Cynthia Whitehawk

 

Zuni Buffalo Fetish Carving
Raven – Crow – A symbol of Magic, Mystery, and a Shift in Consciousness
(from our conversations with Lakota and Apache healers)
Paula

International Shipping Stories – Happy, Sad and True

Every week we ship quite a few packages outside the US – mostly to Canada, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, France, Japan, Spain and also to Romania, Poland, Mexico, South American countries and other places where there is a love of Native American jewelry, Cherry Hill’s horse books and DVDs, and vintage Dooney & Bourke Handbags.

international map

In the over 10 years I have been working here we have had great success with international shipping using the United States Postal Service (USPS)  – which, by the way, delivers 40% of the world’s mail. Here are 3 international stories – even if you are a US customer, you might find these interesting.

The Man in the Maze

One customer purchased a Man in the Maze pendant from us in early summer last year and the pendant went to him in Great Britain. With most customers, there are the original set of order emails, an email to tell the customer of the tracking number and usually an email from them, saying they received the item and love it !! However with this customer, there were already 20 email exchanges before the pendant even hit the shores of the UK. Then the pendant sat in London for 30 days while there were 20 more emails and it was returned because the customer did not pick it up. When I wrote the customer that the pendant was on its way back to us, he begged me to reship it as soon as it got back here. He sent the money to do so. A month later the pendant arrived back here, we repacked it and shipped it back to him.

maninamaze-x2-chain

Deja vu all over again…………..it arrived in London fairly quickly, but then sat there for 30 days. During that time there were more than 20 email reminders and replies from the customer showing great frustration on his part trying to locate his package……….so I even googled the Parcelforce package number for him that is assigned once the package arrives in Great Britain and gave him the website there in UK and contact info. It was there waiting……….yet……….he did not pick it up.  So it came back here in January. 100+ emails, two shipping charges, 7 months and the customer had no pendant.

I don’t know what really happened but either London is just too big, he couldn’t figure out how to pick up a package or he just didn’t have the $$ to pay the duty to pick up his package.  Each country has its own way of handling international packages and each country has its own tariffs and duties for goods arriving from abroad. Some countries charge no duty if items are made in the USA while others charge high tariffs no matter where something is made.  I’ve heard from customers in Great Britain and France that their import taxes and duties are quite high.

The Christmas Spirit

During the Christmas rush this past year, a postal employee accidentally affixed the wrong customs forms on two boxes. This resulted in a man in Australia who was expecting a beautiful Dooney & Bourke bag for his wife receiving instead 3 medicine bags. And a man in Canada who was expecting 3 medicine bags for his kids for Christmas receiving a handbag.

687-P54-lg-red-frontPLEASE VISIT MY NEW BLOG DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO VINTAGE DOONEY & BOURKE HANDBAGS http://vintagedooneybourke.wordpress.com/

After heartfelt apologies on our part for the post office’s mistake, we found we were dealing with a couple of really nice customers. Luckily we had 3 more medicine bags we could send the man in Canada. So he was taken care of right away. But to have him ship the handbag back to us and us then ship it to Australia just wasn’t going to happen in time for Christmas so the man in Australia decided to cancel that order for a full refund plus extra to return the medicine bags. He carefully and promptly packaged up the 3 medicine bags and sent them back to us for which we were so grateful.

MBE04-elk-simple-draw-lg-2

Interestingly, the man in Canada loved the handbag he received by mistake and asked if he could purchase it – perhaps a last minute gift for his wife or girlfriend !!  So the snafu had a relatively happy ending.  Mistakes happen!

Higher Rates – Higher Blood Pressure

Recently the US Post Office drastically increased the cost of Priority International shipping – by an average of 15% but some countries more and some less.  For example, a shipment today of a 3# handbag package to Australia that used to cost approximately $38 US now cost $48 US and that does not include insurance. When you add insurance and then consider that the seller pays extra fees to accept international payments and the buyer might have to pay duty, international shipping is costly on both sides of the transaction. But it is not something we have any control over; they are the charges we have to pay and our customers have to pay.

For years we’ve posted this on our website for our international customers. It, along with all of our other policies, are listed on our Shipping and Policy page.  

In order to place an order, a customer has to read and agree to the policies. Here’s what it says……….

Our shopping cart’s figure for international shipping is an estimate. Your actual charge will depend on your country, the weight of the parcel, the size of the box required, the value of your items, the cost of insurance and so on. That’s why the shopping cart might charge you too much, too little or the correct amount. We will promptly refund any excess shipping charged by the cart. If additional shipping costs are due, that amount will be automatically added to your credit card as a reference transaction. If you have paid by PayPal, we will send you a request for payment.

When placing an international order, if you select USA shipping in error, by placing the order you authorize us to charge the correct international shipping cost which will be added as an auxiliary transaction to your original form of payment.

So recently when a customer from Canada chose US shipping ($7) but requested we ship her 4# box to a Canadian shipping address (cost of $35), I did what I always do, and that is add the balance due, in this case $28 to her credit card transaction. In every case over the years except this one, that resulted in a happy customer receiving their package. It’s business as usual.

screaming woman

Well in this case, the customer blew a fuse. When I politely tried to explain what had happened her reply was that she was annoyed and I owed her an apology. Here in the Colorado Rockies, we don’t apologize when someone else makes a mistake and especially when they try to turn the tables, so I cancelled the transaction completely.

We have no control over international shipping rates, insurance rates, duties, taxes, tariffs.

We just sell good stuff, wrap it very well, and provide excellent customer service.

Read our Customer Feedback Page.

I’d love to hear your international shipping stories from both sides of the transaction. Please feel free to leave your story in the comment section.

A friend said I need a medicine bag

hi i was talking to a new friend on face book and said that i had a dreamcatcher over my bed to keep me safe an she said that i need a medicine bag to help keep me safe but not sure whether i need to buy one or make one so how do i go about either and what would i put in it please
angie

Hi Angie,

Choosing a medicine bag and its contents is a very personal thing.

We’ve put together some information about medicine bags which you can read here

What is a Medicine Bag and what goes in it?

Medicine bags come in all sizes and types – you can browse them here on the Medicine Bag Page

AS161-eagle-amber-2

Some medicine bags have animal spirits associated with them. You can read about Animal Spirits here.

FB387-labradorite-laiwakete-1

Is burning incense the same as smudging?

HI Paula

I have moved into a new apartment recently, which I would love, if only negative things didn’t keep happening here.   A German friend of mine (we are all in the music business) is, like me, very interested in American Indian traditions, etc., and recommended sage smudging.   I am handicapped and a bit frightened to light any kind of fire in the home for the smoke, so bought some sage incense sticks which burn and smoke, so I hope they will do the same job, or rather, have the same outcome.   What do you think?
Best wishes,
Rosemary

Hi Rosemary,

It depends on how traditional you want to be about your smudging.

If you want to burn incense, that’s one thing. If you want to purify your surroundings in ceremony, that is quite something different.

Perhaps you haven’t read this article on our website:

http://www.horsekeeping.com/smudging/smudging-about.htm

Here is a place you can browse smudging supplies.

http://www.horsekeeping.com/smudging/smudging.htm

Smudge kit consisting of white sage, sweetgrass braid, a smudging bowl, a feather fan and a medicine bag in which to carry it all.

How should I carry my new pipe ?

Hello Paula,

I had a dream encounter with a fierce red horse that the pipe closely resembles, so I was stunned when I found the horse effigy pipe on your website and purchased it.  Do you have any suggestions for a case I can carry the pipe and the 12″ stem in that would protect it?  Thanks again, Jan

Catlinite Horse Effigy Pipe

12" ash pipe stem

There is an article on this blog and our website The Sacred Pipe which describes use and storage of a pipe. Traditionally, once a pipe has been smoked and blessed, the pipe bowl is only joined to the stem for smoking. At all other times the bowl and stem are stored separately.

So for carrying your pipe, you can choose a bag big enough for your pipe bowl and smoking mixture and let the stem poke out the top of the bag. Some tie the stem along side the bag. There are also very long bags made just to carry the stem separately. It is all a matter of personal preference.

Here are some bags you might wish to consider for your pipe bowl.