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R.E.D. Updates, Fall, 2010

Greetings R.E.D. Community. . .our activities and energies are ebbing into the quiet of the year as we move through the seasons, from the fall harvest and now into the cold, winter months. During this time, natural cycles slow us down and allow that time for rest, introspection, time with our families and our more intellectual/mental work (click on "read more"). Historically for indigenous peoples all over the world, these months are devoted to working on things like food preservation through the winter and spring until the next hunt or until the earth offers the next crops of food, making songs and stories for the People, doing Ceremony, working on the needs of the tribes through various forms of crafting--clothing, weaponry, tools, beadwork, utilizing items from the abundance of the harvests to make for everyday, practical uses, weaving, basket-making, and the list goes on. Red Earth Descendants has sought to provide a natural template for living our lives around the cycle of the seasons, or as some like to refer to it, around the Medicine Wheel. As a small, non-profit, grassroots community, we can offer "pieces" of this natural order through our projects and events. This is why we selected the four events each year to celebrate the meaning behind each season, from that indigenous perspective:

Fall celebrates harvest and community with our "Native Harvest Gathering."

Winter celebrates quiet self-reflection with our "Storytelling Conference."

Spring celebrates physical renewal and wellness with our "Native Games."

Summer celebrates a culmination of all the seasons, focusing on our spiritual commitments as a community, and also sharing crafting skills, survival and weaponry skills, and a tribal living model through a four-day culture camp at our "Elder~Youth Conference."

As we all know, living in this society makes it very difficult to live "naturally." Most of us have jobs, school, vehicles, modern lifestyles that we were born into. Native people in particular have challenges with this "modern society world," as one of our elders likes to call it, as many of the First People of this continent are only one or two generations removed from their family structures on the reservations and their home communities. This means they are very recently removed from their clans, tribes, extended families that have been their life blood for thousands of years.

November is Native American Heritage Month. It is a good time to take stock in the success and survival of Native Peoples in our country, their country. It is also an important time to look back at history and take note that European-Americans have taken over a country that once belonged to the Native American People. The warring tactics and the mission of the United States government during the Indian wars across this country were intended to perform genocide on the Native populations. Pure and simple. That is an historical fact. The country was invaded, stolen, RE-stolen through broken treaty agreements, and the Native people were left to march in various forms of "Trail of Tears" walks to barren patches of land throughout the continent that were then called "reservations." They were, in fact, internment camps, and the Native People at that time were categorized by the U.S. governments as "wards of the War Department." To add to the trauma and tragedy, even AFTER most Native people were incarcerated on reservations, all their children were then shipped off many miles away to "Mission Schools," separated from their families, forced to learn English and discard their Native languages, only seeing their families perhaps once or twice a year. Genocide was nearly complete, in the eyes of the dominant government.

So fast-forward about 160 years to NOW, and here we are, many struggles later, celebrating Native American Heritage Month. There is much to celebrate--how generations of Native Americans can heal this historical trauma is truly an astounding story of human compassion, love, and determination to survive.

We bring this to your attention, as our community, to simply hear it, reflect, allow that understanding to occur within yourself. Whether you are Native by blood, adoption, mind-set, or simply by having a heart for indigenous ways of life, please allow yourself time to reflect on the history.

Most of you receive information from R.E.D. because you have either signed up on our lists due to your own personal interest, or you are a group who collaborates with us. In that light, you already have an understanding, most likely. Yet, we know that when we sponsor inter-tribal projects and events, there is sometimes the question about "do I fit" in this group. We completely understand that question! Often, Native people are wary and shy of non-Native people. This is the result of our recent history. We ask that you please have compassion and cultural sensitivity to this. As a group, R.E.D. is attempting to join the inter-tribal community to create healing and health between us all. We honor your presence and our vision is to work hand-in-hand as Four Nations of people. It will take all of us together to heal this Sacred Hoop. We thank you all for your part in this.

We appreciate your time reading this lengthy email! It is in line with our introspection time of the year, and we wanted to re-visit the REASON we have Native American Heritage Month.

Events coming up:

NASU of SOU's Welcome Back Tribal Gathering next Saturday, November 20. See the R.E.D. website for details.

R.E.D. Crafting Meeting this coming Wednesday, November 17. See the R.E.D. website for details.

R.E.D. Crafting Meeting Wednesday, December 8. See the website!

R.E.D.'s Native Storytelling Conference, December 18. See the website!

These are all ways you can join us, get to know us and gather as community.

We look forward to seeing you.

Thank you and many blessings,
Red Earth Descendants