Oklevueha Native American Church Religious Survival
Sources for the following information have been derived from many oral stories and written documents, primarily, gathered from the following 13 sources:
- Chief ‘Little Dove’ Buford, Seminole Chief, oral stories;
- Leslie Full Bull, Oglala Lakota Sioux President of the Rosebud Native American Church oral stories;
- Stories repetitively shared during the Seminole Green Corn Ceremony by the tribal ‘Story Teller’;
- 100 Hualupai Elders oral stories;
- Paul J. Ash PhD, anthropologist oral stories and writings;
- Anthony ‘White Lightening’ Davis, a Shawnee elder, oral stories;
- Ainer Erickson, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints oral and written stories;
- Guadalupe (Lupe) Rios de la Cruz, a Huichole Ceremonial Elder oral stories;
- Hundreds of Huichole and Tarahumara Elders of Mexico oral stories;
- Clifford ‘White Buffalo Man’ Jake, a Paiute-Bannock-Shoshone Roadman, oral stories,
- Will Numkena Hopi Elder oral stories;
- James Warren ‘Flaming Eagle’ Mooney, Elder Seminole Medicine Man, oral stories;
- Written stories from the Book of Mormon and the King James version of the bible.
Long ago, and immediately after our first parents were placed on this earth, the Great Spirit provided ‘spiritually sacred ceremonies’ for them because a mist had been brought over their minds that clouded their memories. The purposes of these ceremonies were, and still are to assist two-leggeds, also known as human beings, to re-remember their godly ancestry, and to encourage following the promptings of their hearts, the Great Spirit’s direct communication modality.
All of the following ceremonies remain with us today due to the courage and tenacity of our indigenous ancestors and their descendant’s refusal to relinquish their ancient teachings to prideful and greedy influences. These influences have sought throughout human history to destroy or marginalize the practicing of these ceremonies.
1. The Birth Ceremony – honors the passing into a new existence of all earthly beings.
2. The Sacred Breath Ceremony – Two important purposes for this ceremony are 1) to have the Great Spirit infiltrate every cell of one’s body and 2) to assist the participant in experiencing unconditional love.
3. Holy Anointing by the Laying on of Hands Ceremony – Throughout history Medicine People have been aware of the effects of touch and contact with the essences of plants, oils and herbs on the body, mind and emotions. They utilize ceremonial touch and fragrance of seeds, roots, barks, flowers and leaves in ritual healing that assist in the empowering and healing process.
4. The Marriage Blanket Ceremony – honors the public and open commitment of two or more people to serve the human family unit for life and all eternity.
5. The Passing on of Spirit Ceremony – honors the passing of any earthly beings into the next realm of Existence.
6. The Potlatch Ceremony – Distribution of Wealth.
7. The Sacred Prayer Pipe (Casuse and/ or Chanunpa) Ceremony – Three important purposes for this ceremony are; 1) Remind the participants to honor and respect the power of prayer, 2) assist in unity and respect of male and female differences, and 3) activate the law of synergy to assist all participants in achieving their heartfelt desires.
8. The Sacrament (Peyote) Ceremony – Three important purposes for this ceremony are 1) to rediscover ones innate goodness, 2) assist in the forgiveness process for oneself and others, and 3) to reside in truth (Good Health-Spiritually, Emotionally and Physically).
9. The Ghost Dance (Spirit Dance) Ceremony – A celebration of the Millennium and living in gratitude.
10. The Sun Dance Ceremony – Sacrifice oneself for the people and to lead a life of service.
11. The Sweat Lodge (Amacheekee / Inipi) Ceremony – Two important purposes for this ceremony are 1) remind the participants to honor and respect the creative process and 2) assist the participants to honor and respect all of one’s relatives, especially one’s biological mother and father.
12. The Vision Quest or Hanblecheyapi Ceremony – enables human beings to re-remember and understand the mission that they had previously committed to achieving before their spirit assumed its earthly body and introduce them to or discover their spirit guides or inspirations.
These ceremonies were given, by the Great Spirit (Grandmother Earth and Grandfather Sky), to assist us in exercising our moral agency in a charitable, humble manner and to discipline ourselves to reside in and maintain an idyllic life experience. Before the continents were separated, our first indigenous parents were the caretakers of the Earth (Red People). They populated somewhere in what is now known as the midsection of the United States of America.
In the beginning, the ceremonies remained intact from polluting (pride and greed) human behaviors prior to the colossal event that separated the earth into the present continents. One other consequence of this was the separation of the harmonious existence of the three other sets of parents; caretakers of the Water (Yellow People), caretakers of the Air (Black People) and caretakers of the Fire (White People).
Upon this colossal separation, the original practice of conducting the ceremonies from the heart’s inspiration and honoring the Earth devolved and became a breeding source for the nurturing and advancement of greed and prideful (ownership, competition) behaviors.
About 4000 years ago, man’s wickedness and corruption was so great that confusion of language came upon the people so they could no longer freely and easily communicate with one another. Much of the human population had moved to the area that we now call the Middle East. People formed tribes. Competition and ownership of substances and women became common. Tribes migrated to the outermost parts of the world. Some tribes moved westward and peopled the European continent. Some moved eastward, hopping from island to island until they eventually landed in what is now known as Central America. During this period of human history, there was horrendous corruption, love of power, and disrespect for human life. Ultimately, the sacrificing of humans became prevalent.
As time moved on, a little over 2,000 years ago, the Great Spirit manifested itself as Quetzalcoatl, Feathered (Grandfather Sky) Serpent (Grandmother Earth), during the height of corruption. Quetzalcoatl taught The People fundamental principles of truths. Again, The People learned and conducted the ceremonies in their purist form. Peace again came upon the land through Quetzalcoatl teachings. The People flourished together as one being.
However, during a three to five hundred year period of time, The People began migrating again. A good portion of the people moved northward into what is now Canada, becoming known as Shoshone, or Snake People.
Over a period of time, a large migration of the Shoshone people returned to their original lands and forcefully overthrew The People. The Shoshone people then became known as the Toltec people.
During the reign of the Toltec People, the ceremonies became corrupted and were conducted for prideful, greed laden intents, rather than from promptings of their hearts. People again sought power in unrighteous ways.
As time went on, the Toltec People were overthrown by migrating people coming from the South and North and became the Aztec People.
The corruption of the Sacred Ceremonies continued until the Aztec and Mayan cultures were nearly destroyed by European influences led by the Spaniard Hernan (or Hernando) Cortez and the Spanish Catholic Franciscans, Jesuits and Augustinians.
Moving forward in time to more recent history, Andrew Jackson led the United States army in a battle against the Creek Indians in Georgia in the early 1800’s. These battles were known as the Red Stick Wars. Andrew Jackson brutally annihilated the Red Stick Creeks who had achieved the pinnacle of desecration of the indigenous earth-based ceremonies.
The digression of the ceremonies lay not only with the Creeks but also many other American Native tribal peoples of North / South America. Once again, the act of degrading the ceremonies from within made the American Native tribes extremely vulnerable to the power of external influences. These external influences nearly annihilated the entire American Native culture via diseases and through the United States government’s extermination orders. Bounties were paid for ‘Indian’ scalps or severed heads by North and South American continent government officials. These massacres continued in the United States until the Wounded Knee Massacre, December 29, 1890.
Most generally, the women sustained the integrity of the ceremonies in secret and often encouraged their families and men to flee to wilderness regions of the North and South American continents. People, such as the Kogi’s of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains of Northern Columbia, South America, Huichole’s, Tarahumara of Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico and the Hopi’s of North Eastern Arizona have kept their ceremonies intact. In the United States any spiritual leaders conducting American Native ceremonies were susceptible to being imprisoned or killed until the incorporation of the Native American Church in 1918.
For nearly 100 years, the assaults against and upon the Native American Church were perpetrated by proselytizing Christian Churches and profiteering influences that saw the American Native Culture and its beliefs as an impediment to their goals of conquest – whether it was to spread their own, fear-based versions of religious ideology or to control the American Native ancestral lands and their resources. In the most recent of times, these proselytizing Christian Churches and profiteering influences working through the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) 1973, led to four great plagues on the Indigenous American Native religion:
1. Extermination Order, that included bounties paid for ‘Indian’ scalps or severed heads by governmental and religious officials that continued until the Wounded Knee Massacre, of December 29, 1890.
2. Forced Relocation Reservation (Prison) System, that, most generally, were not the natives’ traditional tribal lands and were usually the most desolate or undesirable land that the influences of the government could find, this policy went on from 1831 to 1887.
3. Cultural Genocide Policy, the taking of American Native Children, Indian Appropriation Act of May, 1882, from their tribal families and mandating them into proselytizing church schools and placing them into Church boarding houses or members of the proselytizing churches homes. This policy continued into the early 1970’s.
4. Denial of First Amendment Rights, for the Native American Church started with the incorporation of the Native American Church in 1918 and ended with the filing of the state of Utah Supreme Court unanimous ruling (State of Utah v. James WFB, Linda T. Mooney and Oklevueha Earthwalks Native American of Utah Inc.) February 21, 2006
Oklevueha Native American Church is made up of two (2) unconquerable, indigenous spiritual traditions branched from the Everglades of Florida to the rolling hills of South Dakota. One is the Oklevueha (Unstoppable River) Band of Seminoles of Orange Springs, Florida and the other is the Native American Church of the Eagle Clan, Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Rosebud Reservation of South Dakota.
Oklevueha Native American Church welcomes all people without any regard; to race, religious affiliations, gender, cultural background, financial status, and/or political affiliations, into its Indigenous Spiritual Community.