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North Medicine.

So with this current empty feeling, and “white season” we are on the north side of the medicine wheel. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, the medicine wheel is a very common practice and symbol in the Native world. The circle itself is very healing to us (representative of the earth, being connected) but also embodies the four directions that represent the four sacred things throughout life. These definitely change depending on which tribe you are referring to, as each has their own take on the wheel. The main colors are white, yellow, black and red which some say is a representation of the different races, but it changes once again with each tribe.

  • Stages of life: birth, youth, adult (or elder), death
  • Seasons of the year: spring, summer, winter, fall
  • Aspects of life: spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical
  • Elements of nature: fire (or sun), air, water, and earth
  • Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo and many others
  • Ceremonial plants: tobacco, sweet grass, sage, cedar

medicinewheel2

This is also what the Zia closely resembles that is present on the New Mexico flag, and why I have it tattooed on me. Moving on, we are in the north season on the medicine wheel which would be the white section. I was with some lovely friends last week venting about life problems, and how I have been longing for summer which they agreed. I feel very “off” in the winter, very internal, and almost as if I am unable to communicate; everything is silent. That’s when it hit me, and I remembered my studies of the medicine wheel, and what winter is supposed to be.

I believe that the earth silents itself because we too need to become silent with it. It is a time for everything to almost shut down, and internalize. It’s a time for spiritual reflection, for contemplation, and to think of the coming months when we will act on our newfound feelings and rebuild. When you are forced to sit silently with yourself, and “contemplate” it’s not the greatest. I feel panicky, confused, and lost. I long for summer days where I’m much more certain, carefree, and loving. After remembering my upbringing, and the how the medicine wheel is truly just a reflection of what our spirit, earth, and bodies go through, I feel much calmer. This is why the medicine wheel is exactly that; it is medicine because it helps us understand “us” a little better.

No I don’t always appreciate this time of year, and it really doesn’t excite me sometimes to reflect and push myself through spiritual change. But, moments like these past few weeks where things are coming to light, I’m figuring out what I want to do, and where I somewhat want to go is exciting! Shedding old skin is exciting, and feeling slight shifts of the east spring air coming in is a relief! If you are feeling internal, thoughtful, or maybe emotional while all of this snow is on the ground, or as the icy air hits your face it’s because it is natural. Let your spirit sort through these times to prepare for our new seasons, and to put your newfound idea’s into action.

-haley.

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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.

Personal Life

The War on Warbonnets.

While scrolling through my Instagram out of boredom, I noticed a local boutique wanting to find a blogger to promote their clothing. Instantly, I thought about reaching out, and just as quickly as I reached excitement, I was reminded that it might feel a tad bit like I was selling my soul. Why? Because the type of clothing they sell. This summer I got the idea that I would walk around Dillard’s, and take photos of any clothing that had Native American designs or inspiration. I got tired after I hit about thirty; that’s a problem. You’re using Thunderbird’s, “Aztec prints” which are really symbols used on our regalia, and after a while you realize you can’t fight everything. But there is one line in fashion that stores, hipsters, and others are continuously crossing…Warbonnets.

warbonnet“Whats that?” It’s that “chief headdress” on your shirt, in your picture, and what cheap replica you’re wearing on your head during a festival. Lets back up a bit, and discuss the exact cause and history on this very controversial, yet continuously ignored topic.

You see, a genocide happened right here in America. You flip open your history textbooks and they present numerous pages on what Hitler did, and to us that’s the only one we really remember. They skim over what they did to the people who were here because they know they’re guilty. I have little to no memory of ever discussing Native Americans in history class. This government was built upon genocide, I mean seriously, they put their effin’ faces on the sacred Black Hills that they stole, and wanted to sell back to us. Um, yea. Mount Rushmore? No. We really did try to get rid of anything in this country that wasn’t white. Don’t get offended if you’re white, you can’t help it, it’s just the facts.You can try to deny that all you want to, but the blood this country tried to build itself on has forever stained the ways of people now; and it’s not all great. Why is Native Culture so small? Because in the simplest terms, it was wiped the heck out.

woundedkneeWhy yes, they are standing over dead Natives.

So after this ignored American Holocaust against Indigenous people, a majority of American people who refuse to learn the culture are all about wearing it? Natives have been dehumanized so much. You take what we wore as spiritual clothing, and turned it into a successful yet cheap design for your boutique? You took a very sacred headdress, one many were denied to wear, and made it a costume? It’s not cool, its not nice, and it shows how much you know; nothing. I hear the people say, “I don’t mean it that way, I just thought it looked cool.” I think warbonnets are beautiful too, but I’m still not allowed to wear one. Our Native ancestors were punished for wearing them…but you get to? Nah. See, those headdresses were earned, just like certain military metals are earned; I don’t just get to wear one because they look cool.

trending

What can you do to help? First things first; stop supporting it. Yes, some of those shirts, and jewelry pieces are super “cute”, but don’t give in to culture appropriation. Second; do your research. Watch a documentary, get online, watch a Pow Wow video and see this culture for yourself. Maybe then when you see that these “Indians” are real, and not a fashion statement, you will gain an understanding. Third; make it known. Put it on Instagram, comment why it’s not cool, share your knowledge. You don’t have to be rude, but you do have to be brave. Lastly, if you love turquoise, moccasins, or beaded jewelry then find a Native Artist and support them. They are the real deal honey, and your every dollar counts.

Bottom line; this culture is not a trend. It’s very real, and I’m tired of fake turquoise, and crazy fake Warbonnets that have nothing to do with war, but only bad fashion. Rise up, and speak out.

Check out the New and first contest in a loooong time under the contest tab!

-haley.

Personal Life

The Life You Were Meant to Live.

My lungs lately have been their normal yet cooky selves, and taking a deep breath has been somewhat easy. However, I feel like I’m suffocating. After much thought, discussing, and research I found out the exact cause of what has been leaving me lifeless. What will I do to fix it? Well that is not so easy.

Many of you are about to roll your eyes, but please stay with me. I (as we all know) am very proud of my Native heritage and beliefs. Its lead me to feel things I have never felt spiritually anywhere, and I’ve met some amazing people while appreciating a culture that is dying out, and trended on. The more I’ve studied it, the more I’ve been able to understand a little bit more about life and our place exactly in it. Not only our place, but our creators, and mother earth’s place as well. What does this have to do with suffocating?

Well, before being forced into conforming Natives lived their life as they pleased, but with hard work and beautiful results. Many of you stand around in museums admiring their regalia (clothing), lifestyle, and even try to portray them on Halloween (shame.) There is a reason why you do it; its beautiful. But it wasn’t just a costume; it was their life. A Native way of life meant doing what you loved. You weave baskets? You hunt? You can skin animals? Great. Thats what you will do. We’ll all trade as one community to keep everyone alive, warm, and happy. We’re doing what we love together, while providing. We will pray to our creator, we will dance to honor the animals that gave their lives and bodies for ours, to thank our creator, and we will appreciate everything in existence given to us. The mountains, the rivers, the wildflowers…yes. That was life. That should be life. But now, many of us are forced into nine to five jobs to figure out a way to pay for these extravagant things America has forced upon us. Overpriced educations, insurances, the cost of disease, and so many others. We justify this by, “I work this job to pay for a life outside of it.” What good is it if ninety percent of it is spent at this job, and only ten percent is life? There is no life.

We are run down, over-tired, out of touch with the basics and important things in life Americans. We have forgotten family on holidays; it’s now just a time to trample others and get great sales. We make big extravagant ways to show that we love a God that we don’t study, or know, yet we can’t even love the people that we do know. We are medicated, unhappy, and out of touch with our ways people. I think our elders saw this within colonization; we would lose our sanity within money.

native

I’m not saying you should be wearing deerskin, living in a pueblo and be hunting everyday. I’m just saying; the life we were supposed to be living has been taken from you. How come the mountains take your breath away every time? Or the beach? Or the lakes you love? You were meant to be out with nature. How come you hate your job that you think about quitting everyday? You were meant to be using your gifts, and expressing your talents through these. Your love was supposed to extend into praise. Think hard about this; there were no jobs, no insurances, no money, no scary internet where people could find you and kill you. There were no credit scores, GPA’s, age, college degree’s and anything else to define you. You defined you, and so did your character. It was your people, your family, music, the creator, and nature. That was life.

That job you hate? Quit. Find something where you can express your talent. That relationship that’s dead? End it. You want to dance? Dance. Want to paint? paint. You want to go the mountains? Go. Live the life you were intended to live; because right now about ninety percent of the world isn’t.

Song of the week is Indian Summer by The Doors. Beautiful memories come to mind.

-haley.

Find Haley on Instagram! @haleyann92

Personal Life

hecheto welo! (It is Good.)

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!! Oh, yes, how could you not expect that from me? 😉

I’m so glad that some places in America have come to their senses to change “Columbus Day” to Indigenous People’s Day, yet here I sit in my hometown with everyone educating their youngsters on Columbus. Oh, lord help me.

You see, when spreading this news I’m encountering a lot of people who say, “Why are we just now changing it after all these years? Why not leave it be?” I translate that to, “I have this massive tumor growing on my back, but why take it out after all this time? Why not just leave it be?” Does that make sense? No. When did doing the right thing become exhausting, or not worth doing after quote “all this time?” Why change this to Indigenous People’s Day? “To reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Dakota, Ojibwa and other indigenous nations add to our city.”

You see, people can argue all they want, but Columbus didn’t discover anything other than Native Americans who had been living on this beautiful land for a while. And it wasn’t just “Pocahontas” and the one tribe wearing warbonnets running around. It was countless Natives, very different by the numbering cultures and tribes that occupied this land. It amazes me to this day how we can continue to bury our head in the sand when it comes to Native culture. Its “weird”, “Makes no sense”, its “intense”, and to some people its just a fashion statement or trend. That buckskin dress? It was hand-made by the woman wearing it, and she earned if after hours of butchering that meat. Its bead-work is a symbol of her strength, her relationships, or her beliefs. The paint, feathers, or warbonnet? They all have specific symbolism, strength, and a sacred meaning to each tribe. Native American extends past the surface of “dressing up and looking cool” into a way of life, the only way of life they knew. Your Halloween costume, “Aztec” print/thunderbird/”Indian headress” shirt is not cute. Bottom line; the Holocaust of Native Americans was and is a very real thing. Millions were murdered, slaughtered, taken away, and forced into civilization. It’s not a joke, and despite how much your history book tries to cover up, it happened.

“By awakening the Native American teachings, you come to the realization that the earth is not something simply that you build upon and walk upon and drive upon, and take for granted. It is a living entity. It has consciousness.”

This was their land, their life, and many of their ancestors were buried here. Then, their children were buried in mass graves after they were slaughtered. You’d think America would provide one holiday for this amazing culture to gain more awareness and strive, but no. We gave it to Columbus who “discovered” this land?

foundingfathers

“Columbus did not embark on a simple voyage of exploration — it was always intended as a voyage of conquest and ultimately colonization. Columbus indicts himself in his journal as one of the most prolific slave traders in human history, buying and selling more than 5,000 indigenous people, and helping establish a brutal system of forced labor. Just decades after Columbus’ arrival, the indigenous population had been reduced by as much as 90 percent. This city should not honor a man who played a pivotal role in the worst genocide the world has ever known. Transforming this day into a celebration of indigenous culture and social justice is not merely educational in nature–it also allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization and discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.”

Call me crazy, but I just don’t feel like celebrating a Holiday one in which Banks use an excuse to close, to honor a slave trading and racist man. Now Italian-Americans are deeply offended, and feel like they have lost a piece of their heritage. Yea, I know what you mean. By seeing everyone dress up on Halloween as an “Indian”, or not respect a culture that was here longer than the people of today, I feel like I lost my culture too…one that your dude took…not to point fingers or anything. I’m sure that Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, among every woman slaughtered and raped felt deeply offended too.

columbus

You can turn your head and teach the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” crap, or you can teach, and know what needs to be taught. A beautiful culture that was taken from the land that you are living on. Natives were intense, but among those intense people (just like we have intense people today) they had some very wise and on-point views on life. Not to get biased about my own culture, but the way they treated this earth, and respected it, it always provided for them in return and they lived fulfilled, and enriched lives. They were in tune with their creator, they danced, they prayed, they believed in doing what made them happy while keeping close with their love and families. They were very focused on the proper upbringing, and belief in their children’s potential. “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” -Sitting Bull. All of this is merely scraping the surface into this amazing culture. Oh, how different life would be if things would’ve never changed, or at least people were taught these same values. Life was based on thanking the creator rather than taking. Prayer rather than hateful words, and dance instead of destruction. Tell me that is weird, intense, or unrealistic? Sounds a lot like what we should be doing as Americans. Praying, dancing, remembering our creator (for those who want to) and respecting this great Mother Earth who is constantly giving such beautiful and healing things to us.

“Regard Heaven as your father, Earth as your mother, and all that lives as your brother and sister.” Native Wisdom

Happy Indigenous People’s Day.

indigenous

Song of the Week is Red and White by Northern Cree to honor my beliefs and heritage! Hit play, and indulge yourself in a different culture. It will be something you aren’t used to, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. 🙂

-haley.

NATIVE PRIDE.

Personal Life

Obsessions: Round Two

So, for a non-serious post today I’ll be talking about my most recent obsessions. I need some happiness right now. Enjoy. 🙂

Also! Want your survivor story heard? Email me your story at haley.ann.92@gmail.com by this friday the 22nd.

1. YOUNG THE GIANT

So I’ve been listening to this band for a while now and for some reason I’ve just recently noticed the amazing song “Strings.” Such a happy and uplifting piece and absolutely beautiful which is why it made Song of the Week. I highly recommend this band if you haven’t already indulged in their magnificent noise.

YTG

2. FACIAL MASKS

I’m totally the girly girl who thinks putting these on once a week makes me feel pampered and better. And it should do that for everyone in my opinion! It’s just a natural feeling like when we go to the salon or a spa, we get that same pampered feeling. I buy these little beauties at either ulta or walmart and I love them! The clay and peel off are fabulous and I’m actually wearing this mask while I type. I suggest trying some out and letting your face feel good once every couple of weeks.

Mask

3. TATTOOS

I’m so utterly obsessed with the idea of getting a new tattoo, and in fact it’s happening the second week in March! I think tattoos are an excellent way to display what you find beautiful on what is already beautiful and highly valued. I understand we don’t all feel that way, but when done correctly I think tattoos can be gorgeous.

Tattoo

4. NEW MEXICO

I’ve been traveling here since I was literally a month old. This state means so much to me because it possesses not only amazing beauty and history but a lot of family memories. I feel closer to God when I’m in the mountains and I feel a sense of peace that I still have yet to find anywhere else. I travel here every summer and Candice and I are heading up for spring break. I also grew up with Native American culture and this happens to be spread all over the state. Bottom line, absolute beauty.

RR

5. URBAN DECAY

Ooooo y’all, I could drop so much money on this makeup brand. I LOVE their eye shadows, eye liners, makeup sprays, primers…you name it. I use my naked palette everyday (my favorite shade is Sin) and just yesterday I bought an eyeshadow named Midnight Rodeo. People who live near me know why that’s funny. Anyways, I love urban decay. And you should too.

Midnight Rodeo

6. HAPPINESS

I’m just obsessed right now with being carefree and happy. Recently I’ve just woken up and realized, I’m young and I don’t care about the negativity, the day-to-day crap and what the people I could care less about think about me. It’s the first time in my life where I just feel content. On my own. Happiness is a choice people, so you need to make a decision.

Lady Day

And that’s all for now, folks.

-haley.

Follow Haley on Instagram! haleyann92