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Murder of the Messengers. Warning: Graphic Content.

I have finally hit my peak with animal violence lately. This blog post has been brewing in my mind for almost a week, and today put the finishing and explosive touches on my words. Some of y’all might know that I am from Texas. Ya know, the state that you don’t mess with, everyone rides a horse, and also has a gun? Yea, I’m used to people exclaiming “I would just shoot his ass!” It’s common. Then you have the people who take their gun rights, weapons, or whatever to the extreme, and think they can show the world how bad ass they can be. I’m about to get all spiritual so if you can’t hang with, the little “x” is in the right corner.

I believe animals were given to us for a reason; they are the helpers of society. They give their companionship when we are lonesome. They give us warmth with their magnificent fur, they are silent, and always listening when we need them to. They give their lives, so that we may live. They are creations, and just as much masterpieces as we are through our creator. They are a direct representation of him, and beautiful. So beautiful that they become almost trophies in a way to the fools of society, and of value and honor to the warm-hearted.

Being Native American, I have studied in-depth about animal spirits as they are a huge part of this world. We are taught to be in constant communication with mother earth, and the creator. The creator (God) is in constant communication with us through his art, and his creations. Different animals possess different messages, and meanings. No, I don’t see just an everyday bird and think “Oh my gosh, a message!!” Messages, and animals sent to you by the creator are in a way out-of-place, special, and give you chills up your spine. You just know when you have been communicated to. The more we become in sync with communications, his creation, and the beautiful earth he gave to us…the more we are in sync with him. There is a reason the mountains, waterfalls, and animals take your breath away. He wanted you to feel that, and to feel him.

With this set aside, many people love to say that hunting in general is wrong, and wearing animal fur is awful and blah blah blah. I am a huge animal activist and lover, but in my ceremonies I am covered in their fur, and dancing alongside buffalo heads that men are wearing. Um, what?! You heard me. Native Americans (to this day) and then, hunt and hunted out of necessity. They needed to survive, and they knew these creatures had to provide. Prayers are common before hunting so that the animal may prepare to give its life to the people. They took into consideration what exactly they were about to do.

“Deer, I am sorry to hurt you, but the people are hungry.” -Choctaw

You may also witness this in an Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown New Mexico episode in Zia Pueblo. What blows my mind (and should everyones) is Native Americans used and use everything. They were not kept as trophies, but rather to honor the animal. They took what they needed, and made everything useful. Skunk furs are tied around our ankles, buffalo heads cover our men, coyote skins hang down the boy’s backs, as well as feathers are dangled from just about anything. Hides and fur keep us warm, and protected, and are highly valued in prayer. We didn’t just kill to wear their beauty, but we honor them and thank these animal’s lives in our dancing. Are you disturbed by the picture below? I didn’t think so.

Hopi Dancers performing at the Museum of Northern Arizona

So, why the frustration? I’m sick of animals being nothing more to the public than entertainment. Nothing more that something to poke at, or even at times disposed of. Nothing more than to capture, and make a trophy. I am disgusted at the “Americanized” culture people continue to abide by, and that our ancestors knew would happen, and fought against. When white settlers first came to America, they not only destroyed Native American’s themselves, but their culture, and their resources. Countless buffalo were wiped out, and wasted just for their hides. Natives were left to starve while white men sold valuable buffalo hides not giving a damn what they did. Buffalo carcasses sat out, and rotted in waste. I am beginning to see a similar resemblance in our culture today…

giraffe shot

kendall-lions-leopard2

Now, are those images disturbing? They should be. And let me say this; I have a fucking problem as should the rest of this world. I do not see compassion, I do not see thankfulness, I do not see honor. I see a direct representation of evil, cruelty, pride, and greed. I see joy in taking a life rather than honoring it. We are slipping into a society, and a way of thinking that we can behave how we want, we can treat others we feel “below” us how we want, and that we may take what we can see. I do not think so, not anymore. I am ashamed and outraged to share the same earth as these evil human beings, as should you be.

“Take only what you need from this earth, and leave the land as you found it.”

You better wake up America, and fight back against the evil rising up. Who is to say that your life and ways of living are not going to be threatened too? Who is to not say that one day you, and your life may one day be the trophy?

-haley.

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Religious Freedom. Nertz.

Religious freedom. Well, that’s a bombshell combination, isn’t it? The whole world is up in flames at those words, and the intensity behind them. I’m just about in flames too. Honestly people, I’ve just had enough of Religion. Not necessarily of Jesus, or God, but of the people who choose to be a direct representation of him. I’m so tired of it that my heart is hardened. I’m so tired that it plays a huge part in my relocation ( I  used to live in the Bible belt.)

1970 animated GIF

“Holy crap, another rebellious youngster/liberal that wants to turn against the cross!” Oh yes, I get this label daily. Um, Nertz. Calm down crazy, lets back up a bit into religious freedom. You see, people across the world right now are literally fighting for theirs. Be-headings, executions, persecutions, and I get in a way we still have to fight for ours in America. To be able to say a prayer at a football game, and all that. Yes, I do get the fight for religious freedom. I should be able to answer my student’s question about Jesus in school without having to shush them. But when are you just crossing over into being a straight up asshole? When does your religious freedom become your new weapon against society making you the “Frank Burns” of the religious world? This should be fun explaining all this with MASH memes.

Shall we continue?

You see, that’s why this blog post had to be. So many of us think that because someone opposes our views, they are they enemy! Don’t pull a Frank Burns; Unless they are telling you that you may no longer pray or go to your place of worship, then they are not the enemy loves. Unless they are directly effecting your way of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness then they are not the enemy…they are simply different.

IMG_0518See, you look ridiculous with all that hate in your eyes.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Good grief, can you imagine trying to put up with everyone’s happiness? You just can’t, that’s why you leave it up to them. Sure, we feel responsible to keep other people happy. To donate that extra dollar, gather cans of food, and save the world!! Why yes, some of your deed’s might be good, and others might be unwelcome. Sharing opportunities versus pushing them are two very different things. Your Religion is not threatened by others who do not choose the same path as you. Hobby Lobby for example; they choose not to cover birth control for their female employee’s out of religious freedom. Wait, so because you believe something, I don’t get to live my life the way I feel as though I want to? “But that’s my religious freedom!!” Well, what happened to theirs? You get to worship freely on Sunday, don’t you? You get to wear a cross on your shirt, and openly say you are a Christian, don’t you? Thats more than a lot of people get in most countries.”You shouldn’t have an abortion because that violates what I believe in!” What about what they believe in? Shouldn’t they have religious freedom too? After all, didn’t the God you are throwing in people’s face even give the humans he created a choice to believe in him? Hmmm. You have religious Freedom; now you just want religious force. Religion and public do not mix. If you are trying to put your religious freedom in the workplace, or with politics, IT IS NOT GOING TO WORK BECAUSE EVERYONE BELIEVES DIFFERENTLY AND DESERVES THEIR OWN FREEDOM.

frankburns2Nertz.

Moving forward from the religious force, er, I mean freedom, into loading your religious guns. Haven’t you ever been around someone where they used it as a weapon against you? We all have. Its annoying, it tarnishes the belief for us (especially if this happens when you are young) and it hardens our heart. The driving force behind this problem is fear; fear of what that person is doing, believing, how it will affect you, and how you will protect yourself. 

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You see, most people find me weird (are we surprised?) because Native American spirituality is a big part of my life. I don’t know what life the Creator (God), or Jesus have planned for me, but they have given me some awesome gifts; gifts that let me feel closer to them. I just don’t click in a church, sorry. Dont shoot! During worship, the songs make me feel weird, I’m distracted by lights, I’m bored, and I’m usually drifting somewhere else within my mind. When I put on Regalia I’m proud of, that I studied, and I’m gathered with people who make me feel loved, and happy doing something we love together, I just feel him. It’s the weirdest, but best high ever. When I’m dancing, I don’t know how my lungs let me do it, I’m on autopilot. I’m feel elated, and I know he feels that energy he gave to me vibrating back through to him. When I study his creation, from the organic food I should be consuming, to the mountains that give me peace…I see him and I feel him.  When I study animal spirits, I feel a great puzzle piece has been found. These animals I know he chooses to communicate through because they are his creation. He is present through his art. People don’t know that because people don’t ask. People think I am some anti-church and crazy buffalo eagle spirit lady with bells on…because they choose not to communicate. I am different, and I am to be feared…which is ridiculous.

mash animated GIF

You should never fear another person because they are different. It leads to a shut out, lonely, misinterpreted and lost life. In that individual’s mind you just took away their worth. You’ve labeled them, pushed them away, and shown them exactly who they do not want to be or what they should not believe in; you lost and so did they. People wonder why I don’t hang out with certain groups? Because words may lie, but energy doesn’t. You can feel the invisible barriers, and being “ganged” up on. What do we do to change this? One of my favorite quotes is “We do not go into ceremony to talk about God. We go into ceremony to talk to God” by Quanah Parker. We are made in his (God’s) image. Sit down and talk with him, as well as you should the people. I don’t care where you are, who they are, what they look like, believe in or represent. Just be a human with them, that’s all there is to it. No, you are not Jesus. But supposedly the holy spirit is still around, doing its work. Maybe just sitting down as though Christ would with people who others rejected, you could be passing something onto someone else; You could also feel a change within you. The kind of change that makes you feel so good that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. What a privilege it is to go outside the typical limits and experience things others have no idea what they are missing. I’ve had some pretty incredible answers, and experiences too in abandoned schools for instance. It’s insane the feeling you get from just loving people, even if you do not believe in anything…loving people, and listening to people is still something to practice. “If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt; Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” John 4 20-21

mash animated GIF

So, all of this legalization of same-sex marriages? I’m not up in arms about. Whether you agree, or you don’t agree, you should smile and present these people with a mariage certificate. It is not affecting your way of life. “But God will be angry!!” God see’s your heart, more than you know. I think he would be proud of you upholding a loving image, rather than showing people your hatred. Because Religion is just another excuse for labeling, and hatred. Texas should be ashamed right now for throwing its religious freedom flag only to control others. There is a wrong way, and a right way to do things. And the wrong way is to try to get everyone to do it the right way.

What image are you upholding to people? What circle are you running around in everyday, and who are you impacting? Do you have guns-a-blazin’, or just an open mind? Because these days I hear a lot of outcries for freedom, but I’m seeing more force.

-haley.

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Emotionally Exhausted and Morally Bankrupt.

Sitting here after a wasteful three-hour nap, wide awake at midnight and staring into a damaging computer screen. All I can think is, “My cat is in the backyard.” She would usually be to the left of me, perched on the couch.

I’ve always been told that life is full of change, agreed to it, but never did I grasp it until these past few months. You expect change, you are told to get ready for it, but it hits like a title wave…and when you are left laying there wondering what the hell you are doing on the ground, you realize things changed. I love the quote along the lines of, “day-to-day it seems like nothing changes, but within a year everything is different.”

Lately, there has been so much change that I can’t get my bearings. I’m knocked down only to barely get to my knee’s, and catch a glimpse of another wave coming. At this point I’m “emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt”as the MASH 4077 would put it. I’ve had things thrown in my face that I shouldn’t have, people stripped from me, and I’m left to sit here in the dark and type about it. Isn’t this everyone at one point though?

For those who don’t follow me on social media, My childhood pet and first black cat, Fantasia, passed away on April the first. She was my first best friend who slept by my  head every night, licked my face until I fell asleep, listened to cries from a breakup…and she was such a fighter. The older, and unhealthier she got, she was still fast, sharp, and after she lost consciousness around 11:45pm, she should’ve died within minutes. She continued to fight off death until 2:06am. Losing Fantasia was in a way relief after how much her body was failing her. But burying her was like putting a final piece of my childhood, and support system into the ground. I only hope that the couple of hours her heart continued to beat, that her soul was still around somewhere, felt our hugs, and listened to our goodbyes.

tasia

Throughout our lives we will have to continually shed our skin, and adapt to change. It will knock the breath out of your failing or healthy lungs, bring you to your knee’s, and sometimes you just have to release an outcry of anger in reply. I’m tired of people acting as though my anger is abnormal, unexpected, and inappropriate. Anger is a human emotion; while it is not healthy to feel anger continually, it is okay to feel it and express it. Feel your anger and release it as you please. Stop condemning people, or treating them as though there are “issues” present, when really all that lays underneath that anger is humanity; a human response. Anger is natural. Let your anger be felt, and let others feel accepted.

I have every right to be angry. I’m stressed, I’m changing my lifestyle, and my normal. I’m losing a place of dance, and things that I love for change. I feel the daily strain on a body that I can’t fix, cant excel in the points that I want to, and doctors that want to restrain dreams. I’ve lost people who greatly had a grip on my heart, I feel betrayed, and watch best friends in my life take their last breaths and decide where they should be buried. Time will not heal my wounds, but create scars. Time will ease the intensity of change, and hopefully transform into peace. But until then…

I am angry. I am not insane, unhealthy, or “need to talk.” I am just human, dealing with human things. I am normal. Let me be angry. Let me be me.

-haley.

@haleyann92

Song of the Week is Blessa by Toro Y Moi.