Living the Circle, part 5: Death and the Afterlife

her know dakota sioux heyn photo 1899

Bron: Heyn Photo, 1899, Flickr, Her Know Dakota Sioux

“The murmuring water is the voice of my father’s father. The rivers are our brothers. ” said Chief Seattle in a speech. Native Americans believe the ground where they live on is holy because their forefathers are buried in there. A quote: “My son, never forget my last words. In this ground are the bones of your father and mother. I took my fathers hand and said I would protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and went over to the Land of the Spirits. I buried him in that beautiful valley with those curling waters. I love that valley more than anything in the world. A man who doesn’t love his father’s grave is worse than a wild animal.”

Land of Spirits

The afterlife with its Land of Spirits is in subtle ways interwoven with this world.  A description of the Objiway people about the voyage to the eternal hunting fields: “When an Objiway dies, the soul goes immediately after death to a steep, well-trodden path leading to the West. The first thing he meets on his way is a bed of Oda-e-min (heart-berry) or strawberry. He takes a handful of it and eats it along the way. He travels on, until he comes to a deep, fast-running water.  Over this water lies the Ko-go-gaup-o-gun, or Rolling and Sinking Bridge. When the voyager is safe on the other side, he will look back and see the shape of an enormous snake, curling, bending, stretching with wild moves across the stram. After having been four nights outside, and having travelled each day through a prairieland, the soul will arrive in the Land of the Spirits. There he will find members of his familie, whose numbers have growed ever since mankind was shaped. Everyone is glad, is singing and dancing. They live in a beautiful country with clear lakes and rivers everywhere, woods and prairies and a wealth of fruits and wildlife- in short, everything of all a Native American in his life wants most deeply and paves for him the quickest path to happiness.  This kind of paradise he can only enjoy because of the way he lived on Earth.”

The dead never forget

This is what Chief Seattle said about the afterlife, in a speech to Governer Isaac Stevens when he had to sign a pact that would place his people in a reserve: “Our dead never forget the beautiful world that made them be…When the last Redskin has turned to dust and the remembering of my tribe has become a myth, the coasts will swirl with the invisible ghosts of my tribe. And when your children’s children think they are alone, they won’t be…At night, when the streets of your towns and villages are silent, and you thing they are ampty, they shall be overfilled with the returning spirits that once lived there, and still love this beautiful country. The blank man will never be alone. Let him be honest and treat my people with goodness, for the dead are not without power. Did I speak about the dead? There is no death. Only a transformation from one world to another.”

Silent meditation

Ask an Indian what is silence and he will give you an answer like this: “Silence is the Great Mystery. The Holy Silence is his voice. ” Chief Luther Standing Bear said: “The man who sat on the ground before his tipi and meditated about life and the meaning of it, this man who accepted and saw the links of all things alive with the Cosmos, experienced very clear the true meaning of civilisation. And when a savage left behind this form of development, het slowed down the growth of his own civilisation.”

Sources:

T.C.McLuhan: Touch the Earth. A Self-Portrait of Indian Existance (Dutch translation: Want de Aarde is onze Moeder (Promontory Press, 1971)

Pieter Hovens: Indiaan en Natuur (Rotterdam Art Foundation, 1979)

J. Heyink: Van Beringstraat tot Wounded Knee- De Noordamerikaanse Indianen in vogelvlucht (Kiva, 1982)

Speech by Philip Deere op the Russell Tribulaal in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 24 november 1980

 

© Frank Flippo, October 2018

(This is an article I wrote almost 30 years ago. It has never before been published)

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Over Zilvervis

Zilvervis staat voor drs H.F. (Frank) Flippo (1962), journalist, historicus, (tekst) schrijver en schrijfcoach/docent. Auteur van 'Esoterie in begrijpelijke taal', ( maart 2013) en reisbundel Van het Pad (oktober 2017) Interesses: letterkunde, mythologie, filosofie, natuur.
Dit bericht werd geplaatst in Spiritueel, Subculturen en getagged met , , , , , . Maak dit favoriet permalink.

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