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Wisdom in the Circle of Creation

NATIVE YELLOWSTONE - May 2020

NATIVE YELLOWSTONE

Wisdom in the Circle of Creation

May 18 – 24, 2019
 

The Place of the Yellow Rock Water. Tribal people called it home over 10,000 years before the Pilgrims anchored at Cape Cod and sought to find their own. Since the days of Bridger and Moran, through Yellowstone becoming the first and now oldest national park in the world, the absence of a tribal presence in Yellowstone has been explained by the myth that Indians feared this vast, pine-robed plateau that is punctuated by thermal wonders from lakeshore to river course. Supposedly, the geysers engendered such apprehension among tribal people that they would do all they could to avoid this bountiful landscape. It was, like so much in the reinvention of The West, false.
 

The fantasy was created by Yellowstone National Park’s second superintendent, Philetus Norris, to portray Yellowstone as “Indian free,” a policy reflected in the present with the abject lack of tribal interpretation in the Park. The geysers and hot springs are, in reality, shrines - sacred sites for prayer and quest. The Cheyenne, Kiowa, Shoshone, Bannock, Blackfoot, Arapaho, Nez Perce, and the most recent arrivals, the Crow, are among the twenty-seven tribes with cultural ties to Yellowstone that each know a different story. Within these archives from ancestral memory is found a common theme – the sacred nature of the land named for the Yellow Rock Water and the connection to place, an ancient compact between the two-legged and four and the earth that sustains but is, as yet, still unmade.
 

From the earliest experience it was gleaned that the earth in the Place of Yellow Rock Water was uneasy with itself, and that there, creation was neither finished nor content. To be close to creation is to touch the sacred. There was not fear but respect and intuition, the 600-square mile Yellowstone caldera is far from resting easy. At Yellowstone Lake, the largest mountain lake on the continent, you will literally stand on the edge of creation and hear the narrative of the Ancient One, the making of the earth and the Human Beings.
 

By Act of Congress on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was “dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
 

Tribal people had been benefiting from one of the earth’s many gifts there for millennia. Some 10,000 years before Yellowstone became a national park, Native people were gathering obsidian here, and by the time the Egyptians had begun construction on the pyramids, trade routes carried Yellowstone obsidian beyond Greater Yellowstone to tribal societies farther afield. The Hopewellians, the so-called “Mound Builders,” residing 1,500 miles to the east, were utilizing Yellowstone obsidian by 500 B.C. The answers to how and why can be found in Cheyenne explanations for the creation of Obsidian Cliff and the dispersion and interrelation of people to points north and south, from present-day Saskatchewan to Oklahoma, and west to Washington.
 

The Cheyenne tell of an event in the Ancient Time, when, while harvesting berries past the height of summer, a grizzly bear surprised a group of Cheyenne women and as bears are wont to do, the grizzly beguiled one woman with his power and took her to be his wife. At the bear’s home the Cheyenne woman realized what her purpose was to be, to raise the son of the grizzly, a cub who had no mother. At Obsidian Cliff, where wisdom sits in place, the rest of the story will be shared.

It is from that moment in the Ancient Time that the Cheyenne, then distinct from the Ancestral Tribe, trace their connection to Yellowstone. From obsidian we move to another precious reserve and discover where and how the Cheyenne gathered the source of the sacred blue paint, and discuss how it was made and the sacred process from earth to paint to designs that imbue body and object alike with power on the spiritual matrix. When a body or object is painted, the painted designs animate them, so the body or object becomes infused with the sacred and connected to all of the higher powers. In the Cheyenne perception, the gradation from zenith to nadir moves from the masculine to feminine, the masculine being spirit and the feminine matter, the origin of the fundamental balance that is essential to retain. The Piikani, Siksika, Bloods and Ampskapi Piikani of the Blackfoot Confederacy journeyed to Yellowstone to harvest sacred paints, and in the process named many of the region’s most prominent features.
 

It is from that moment in the Ancient Time that the Cheyenne, then distinct from the Ancestral Tribe, trace their connection to Yellowstone. From obsidian we move to another precious reserve and discover where and how the Cheyenne gathered the source of the sacred blue paint and discuss how it was made and the sacred process from earth to paint to designs that imbue body and object alike with power on the spiritual matrix. When a body or object is painted, the painted designs animate them, so the body or object becomes infused with the sacred and connected to all of the higher powers. In the Cheyenne perception, the gradation from zenith to nadir moves from the masculine to feminine, the masculine being spirit and the feminine matter, the origin of the fundamental balance that is essential to retain. The Piikani, Siksika, Bloods and Ampskapi Piikani of the Blackfoot Confederacy journeyed to Yellowstone to harvest sacred paints, and in the process named many of the region’s most prominent features.

ITINERARY


Arrival: Fly into Bozeman, Montana and overnight in preparation for “Wisdom in the Circle of Creation.”

 

Day One:

The Time of Creation – Yellowstone Lake.

The Power of Mother Earth – Norris Geyser Basin.

Day Two:
The Journey of Grizzly Cub and the Thunders, how with fire and ice Obsidian Cliff was made – Obsidian Cliff. Tukudeka Shoshone Lifeways - Sheepeater Cliff. Transition to the Sacred, where the blue paint was gathered 
- Artists Paint Pots.

Day Three:
A Blackfoot Holy Land – Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Brother Wolf: The many gifts and blessings in heaven and earth shared by the wolf – Buffalo Nations’ Valley.

Day Four:
Where the Kiowa Passed the Test of Faith: How Yellowstone Became a Homeland to the Kiowa. The Buffalo and the Kiowa,

A Relationship Born – Yellowstone River & Mud Volcano.

The Real Bear: The physical embodiment of the Spirit of the Earth, the first two-legged, the grizzly – Sedge Bay.

Day Five: Following the Nez Perce in 1877:

A Perilous Journey Through Incredible Beauty – Firehole River to the Bannock Trail.

Day Six: Depart from Bozeman, Montana.

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A DEPOSIT OF $500 SECURES YOUR PLACE ON THE EXCLUSIVE AND EXTRAORDINARY
 

NATIVE YELLOWSTONE 
Wisdon in the Circle of Creation

Cabin accommodations are at the fabulous 

Shoshone Lodge and Guest Ranch

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  MORE  TOURS FOR 2019 / 2020                    

Gathering of Nations - April 18-26, 2020

Southwestern culture & powwow burst forth every spring in Albuquerque. Now transferred from The Pit to its new outdoor location, the Gathering of Nations is the perfect culmination of a seven day cultural odyssey through the Native Nations of New Mexico. Explore the ancient origins of the Pueblo, Hopi and Navajo cultures, with guides who live traditional lifeways that have been preserved over the millenia.

Native Yellowstone - May 23-29, 2020

The Cheyenne, Kiowa, Shoshone, Bannock, Blackfoot, Arapaho, Nez Perce, and the most recent arrivals, the Crow , are among the twenty-seven tribes with cultural ties  to Yellowstone that each know a different story. Within these archives from ancestral memory is found a common theme – the sacred nature of the land named for the Yellow Rock Water and the connection to place, an ancient compact between the two-legged and four and the earth that sustains but is, as yet, still unmade.

I Am Lakota - May 30 - June 6,  2020

Traverse prairies to the sacred Black Hills, the barren beauty of Mako Sica, the Badlands and spend time on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, following the culture & history of the Lakota through great leaders such as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. 
PLUS  Visit the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. 

Lakota Storyteller - Oct 3-11, 2020

Visit the sacred lands of the Lakota Sioux in the crisp, sunny weather of the fall, starting at the Lakota place of genesis – Wind Cave. Visit Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee, Paha Sapa - the sacred Black Hills, Mako Sica – the Badlands, Bear Butte, and Mato Tipila. All are sacred sites of the Oceti Sakowin and your extraordinary week celebrating Native culture culminates at the biggest powwow of the season – Oglala Nation Powwow!

Walk In Beauty - please enquire for Fall 2020 dates

Navajo philosophy is epitomized by the phrase ‘Walk In Beauty’, from the sacred prayer, the Blessing Way.  Aspiring to that spirit, we enter deep into the cultures and landscapes of the South-western tribal nations; we meet the Navajo, explore the Pueblo cultures, and the ancient wisdom keepers – the Hopi.

Apache - - please enquire for 2020/21 dates

Follow the trails of legendary Apache leaders like Geronimo, whose names and deeds reverberate through the canyons, mountains, and deserts of their homelands. Travel through history on a journey that weaves through traditional Chihuahua Apache heartland of the Dragoon and Chihuahua Mountains learning of the intricacies and diversity within Apache cultures.

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