They chose the church run boarding school hoping for educational opportunities. Instead, Aiona and the others experienced decidedly ‘un-Christian’ punishing abuse, degradation, and the destruction of language and identity. The motto was “Kill the Indian to save the man.”
Aiona’s strong spirited mother, who did not read or write, told the many graduate students who later sought her out, that she knew so much because she didn’t have their kind of education and told them that if a disaster occurred they would not survive but she certainly would as she knew how to live with the land!
In recent native generations, hopes have lain in gaining power through education to effectively find justice in the face of these ongoing violations of human rights. Aiona’s son, Aaron, a Waldorf educated tribal chief and attorney, has been able to do just that.
At one point during the healing medicine wheel ceremony, Aiona movingly sang for us and immediately a sudden wind came up in the center of the Peace circle that is surrounded by over arching oak trees. In impressive response, the leaves came raining down upon us like a blessing and affirmation from the ancestors and the natural world. The sunrise ceremony, and that of acknowledging those who had walked this land long before us at the native grinding rocks nearby were both healing and inspiring.
If our teachers cannot feel a reverent connection to the natural world as such native people can, they cannot share with the children they teach a deep love of the world and appreciation of all the gifts that plant, animal and human relationships bring us. Thus we all become ever further disconnected from reality, trading real life for a technological cyber world, and increasingly entrapped by and dependent upon our electronic machines and gadgets. This gratitude and knowing is a primal soul
condition for the educator if we are to keep our humanity and foster it in our children.‘Heart thinking’ was so beautifully expressed by all our presenters; an understanding of the laws of reciprocity with the natural world such as never taking more than you need and honoring and using all you take. Stan and James led us in these vital celebrations of life with moving rituals of deepening respect for everyone present, and shared their lives and views permeated with grateful and respectful inclusion of all life.James guided the group in native methods of beautiful jewelry creation with soapstone and pine nuts.Popular native story teller, Rick Adams, entertained all at the evening campfire, with animal ‘teaching stories,’ lively tales from our local Miwok/Maidu tribes.
Our materialistic, exploitive culture that promotes the greed of endless acquisition is not only destroying the earth but preventing us from the kind of thinking that will allow progress toward the economic brotherhood we desperately need. Rudolf Steiner outlines this in the laws of the threefold social order. We must first change our thinking to that of the ‘New Mind’, as the Great Iroquois Peacemaker brought nearly 1000 years ago when their spiritually inspi red democracy began.
We closed with the Iroquois Thanksgiving address giving thanks for all life given to us by the Creator of the Universe.
All school curriculum needs enriching and ‘truing’ for our time This was a powerful beginning and we hope for further deepening work together in a “ReCONNECTING gathering in the coming year.
Nancy Jewel Poer, Co-Sponsor with Jack Petrash, Nova Institute, October, 2018
White Feather Ranch, Placerville, California
about the America Conference
May 28-31, 2016
White Feather Ranch
The America Festival, May 28-31 2016, at White Feather Ranch became a very special gathering of some wonderful individuals from far and wide, diverse in ethnicity, religion, native country, and age. Nearly sixty in all, we were like a stellar microcosm of America united in a common striving of a deeper understanding for the country we love, and the possibilities of its higher destiny. The weather was perfect, the food fabulous, the beauty of nature surrounding us gave healing and rejuvenation.
We looked at the profound challenges we face at the very core of our humanity now and reached for the empowering thoughts to meet them. Seasoned teachers and facilitators guided small groups in deep fellowship. With true American ‘can do’ spirit, many hands helped coax the 90 year old ranch truck into action to take us all out into the night watch the magnificent stars. Together we laughed, sang, danced and celebrated in the spirit of good will, the many vibrant young people present inspiring us with hope for the future.
Carl Stegmann, to whom the conference was dedicated, stated, “the idea of Pentecost belongs in a special way to America: it arises from her hidden being, out of her inner soul. It could unify not only America but all nations on earth.” We were like an All American down home Whitsun gathering, uniting our hearts in earnest striving to be blessed with understanding and the spirit of universal community from a higher source.
The America verse by Rudolf Steiner we recited every morning came to pass - we were strengthened together from realms of light! “May our feeling penetrate into the center of our hearts, and seek in love, to unite with spirit beings seeking the same goal, with spirit beings, who full of grace, behold our earnest heartfelt striving, and in beholding, strengthen us from realms of light, illuminating our life in love.”
by Nancy Poer