Eagle Spirit Singing

















































Journeying from the Cascades to the Olympics
We found ourselves on a side wander to Dungeness Bay
Where rain and light were at play
Eagle was in place and with great generosity
Allowed our presence for almost 5 hours
Blessing us with song
Sprinkling us with down
In the shaking offs of rain and the
Openings of light
Still the smell of eagle in the down
Resonates with a warmth and knowing
A calling to feel to see to hear to be with to celebrate and to defend
Majesties of Home



Rights of Nature & Human Community affirmed into law superseding rights of Commerce & Property – Mendocino County, CA.


When Community Rights and Rights of Nature supersede the rights of commerce and property – healing of the wounds and movements into sustainable existence are opened! Mendocino County,CA has affirmed these rights in law with powerful creativity! This is the model for defending the earth and community… freeing us from fighting one corporate trespass after another…

A heart feels the joy with a clear  path through to stop the war against life and free us all to respectfully unfold respectful inhabitations of our homelands!

Originally posted on :

rights are not gits

“The sacred rights of mankind, are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records.  They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”   ~ Alexander Hamilton

Mendocino County, Ca Makes History

by Jamie Lee

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mendocino County, in the pristine northern lands of California, where the magnificent ancient coastal Redwood trees meet the inland California Oaks, has voted itself into the constitution writing (righting) business.

Yesterday, by a significant margin, they became the first county in California, and only the second county in the country to pass into law a very powerful local ordinance that declares local self-governing rights in their communities over state and federal jurisdiction. Over 67% of the votes cast were in favor of the measure.

The ordinance provides for waters free from toxic trespass…

View original 2,515 more words

Harvest Moon (Quinalt)

Light & Shadow – Images & Reflections – from the 9th Northwest Indian Storytelling Festival



 A click on any image opens each gallery – a slideshow with all of the photos is at the bottom of the page






Northwest Indian Storytellers & Board Members

Northwest Indian Storytellers & Board Members



















Max Defender Sundance Drum

Max Defender Sundance Drum

Max Defender Sundance Drum

Max Defender Sundance Drum – A beautiful prayer song was shared later in the evening that was a gift from the little people – received in a dream – to give us humans strength in our praying.




Grandmother Agnes Pilgram Baker encourages all to use their voices in ending following the lead of Seattle and stabling Indigenous Peoples Day

Grandmother Agnes Pilgram Baker encourages all to use their voices in advocating for a National Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October







Victor Mandan (Mandan/Hidatsa) - shared a lineage warrior story and a deep story of the Water Buster Clan and the Sacred Medicine Bundle

Victor Mandan (Mandan/Hidatsa) – shared a lineage warrior story and a deep story of the Water Buster Clan and the Sacred Medicine Bundle and its work in ending the Dust Bowl.











 Apprenticing with Elder Storyteller Rose High Bear 




Darlene Foster & Haley Carlson

Elder Storyteller and NISA Advisory Council Member Darlene Foster with granddaughter Haley Carlson




Apprenticing with Elder Storyteller Roger Fernandes 



 Apprenticing with Elder Storyteller Esther Stutzman








Story crafted by the ages are deep reservoirs of human experience. They live within the mysterious mix of vulnerability and strength that it is to be human. One of the wonders of the ancient stories is how … their deep meanings unfold across the stages of a lifetime. Like a “simple” traditional song with a circular structure – which can be entered from an almost infinite set of places in the circle – always experienceable as fresh. And so it goes with the stories and the changing perspectives of our place along life’s journeys. It is in this ability to speak to the wholeness of life that stories sustain across generations. This theme of wholeness permeated this year’s tellings.

Stories that my daughter grew up with were being told with both her and our granddaughter listening and hearing the tales with us – 3 generations together. My granddaughter shared knowing looks as she noticed ways that versions varied from the way they have been told at home. The intimacy of a human voice imparting what we receive in such a personal way… and feeling the love and care that has sustained the telling… and the way the stories have encouraged and taught us. These are among the greatest treasures of humanity. Feeling the movements of love and experience moving forward in a good way – despite our imperfections and challenges as human beings.

It is in the telling of story that are rooted our ways of understanding beauty, healing, family, community, our many relatives in the earthly world, conflict, peace making and so much more. The strength of stories, which have remained relevant over the generations reveal how we work together to face personal and communal existential challenges. This is how decentralized indigenous communities teach legal orders or laws informing each one of their responsibilities in relationship. These are places we can turn together in times of violation and conflict finding guidance. It is in knowing our place and our relationships and fulfilling our responsibility to place that freedom arises in indigenous experience.

This is a very different experience than that which has arisen from rights based orientation in which property and commerce have assumed rights greater than the rights of the earth herself, or of communities indigenous to place. The arrogance and violence of the exercise of such “rights” has exposed the imbalance of responsibility implicit in our ecological participation with the earth – our responsibility to the common welfare of one another. The age of the industrial Anthropocene is revealing its unsustainability as expressed in global climate change, the weakening of human languages (carriers of the wisdom of place based experience) and the rapidly accelerating rates of species extinctions. It is among the traditional indigenous stories that the ecological and social wisdoms that have sustained life in Cascadia, Ilahee, the Pacific Northwest, over 1000’s of generations are revealed. Val Napoleon and others in Indigenous Legal studies programs and Tribal legal programs are turning to these stories to reveal the Indigenous Legal Orders which have informed responsibility of each of us in bringing health and wholeness to ourselves, our loved ones and communities. A growing movement is using these ancient stories as testimony in court cases, allowing them to become a part of common law (within the nation state system) and they are slowly emerging into a new legitimacy after being suppressed for generations of forced acculturation into colonial languages and schools. The stories are gathering power.

This year trickster tales, featuring raven, coyote, rabbit and blue jay among others were generous with themselves – the world being shaken up and awoken in dramatic ways over time. 70,000-year-old memories showed up to remind us that many of today’s human challenges have been faced before. And that indigenous peoples around the world have connected and are continuing their connections in ways that anthropologists and nation states have tended to dismiss. These wisdoms and histories, which have been held in private, are remerging with new strengths and relevance.

The festival began on the day of the 2nd of 3 blood moon lunar eclipses. One of the tales, which connected to this, was of the reemergence of a ceremony for the Balancing Power of Women. A ceremony in which a man dances in support of the Women who choose their place of Power on the dance floor. It is a reminder of the responsibility of men to support women in their dance of Balancing Power, without interference.

Another tale of significance that came out was of the Sacred Medicine Bundle of the Mandan Water Buster Clan. A tale that connected with it’s theft by the Field Museum in Chicago and the work of young people to recover it and bring it home. This was during the time of the dust bowl when it stopped raining for years. Upon the successful return of the bundle and the day its home coming ceremony ended a 3-day rain commenced from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. A reminder of the reality of the stories and the medicine, which they carry.

Many of the stories were about how we have learned to work together. The grandmother cedar tree story Johnny Moses shared is among those – the story of migration that Rose High Bear shared is another. A theme developed as many “raising the sky” stories began to come out. This represents the beautiful fostering of emerging tellers which happens at the festival each year. As usual, the diversity and artistry of telling was inspiring, provoking and full of wonders.

Local legend, Celilo Falls born Ed Edmo, told 3 times at this years festival, opening on the first day, opening on the third day and closing with a final pushing up the sky story on the final day. The people are – working together. Eee Hychka, thank you, to all who share so generously of themselves in bringing a fine festival to life once again.


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 Wisdom of the Elders

Northwest Indian Storytellers Association




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Solar Eclipse : Looking into Sun with Moon, Red Tail, Crow and Thunderbird


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12:52 Anticipating the eclipse – dark skies and heavy rains

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crows began to gather


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12:54:30 A murder formed – as ancient tales tell – crow has been left with the job of cleaning up others messes – in this case a school yard with lunch debris leftovers – a part of their daily rounds

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12:55 the  murder migrated after red tail hawks’ attempt at a flight through their zone was quickly attacked – they closed in toward hawk



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12:55:47 when suddenly power in the hood  dimmed as Thunderbird clapped wings startling crows who flew wildly in every direction…

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1:10 Hawk pondered …

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Eclipse Images Notes – The sun cannot be photographed directly without risking damage to a camera sensor. In this case a 9X neutral density filter together with a polarizing filter were used. This pretty much isolates the sun in what appears as an almost night sky. The images are an intimate view of our home star. The dark spots in the solar disc are active sun spots. Images were processed in Lightroom to maximize definition. Most were processed as black and white. Color images were left true as filtered (without modifying temperature) with a bit of increase on saturation and vibrance. The sun is said to actually be a green star… moving into yellow as filtered by the earth’s atmosphere. In some of the images from the event, which were not put directly into this post (viewable if you select an image by double clicking and then moving through the blog image scroll) the color around the sun was in fact a deeper yellow green, particularly with saturation increased to exaggerate primary tones.

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Grandmother Agnes Pilgram Baker encourages all to use their voices in ending following the lead of Seattle and stabling Indigenous Peoples Day

Indigenous Peoples Day – Lets Get this Done

Grandmother Agnes Pilgram Baker encourages all to use their voices in ending following the lead of Seattle and stabling Indigenous Peoples Day

Grandmother Agnes Pilgram Baker encourages all to use their voices …


We have all been gifted with a voice so lets use it… Lets Make Indigenous Peoples Day Happen… Call your Congress people… If Washington can do it, We can do it… Lets Get it Done!


On the 4th night of the Northwest Indian Storytelling Festival Grandmother Agnes Pilgrim Baker opened the evening with prayer… Toby Joseph then spontaneously called forward other Grandmothers present who have fostered the teaching and telling of the festival – Darlene Foster, Elaine Grinnell and Esther Stutzman – Grandmothers who have been bedrock in nourishing the wellness of the people – He spoke powerfully of the strength of these women – affirming the lives and wellness made possible for so many through them… Grandmother Agnes then stood up and took the mike. She said…


We have all been gifted with a voice so lets use it… Lets Make Indigenous Peoples Day Happen… Call your Congress people… If Washington can do it, We can do it… Lets Get it Done!



Listening to Coyote – Returning Celilo Falls and Freeing the Big River



Coyote “The Transformer” is a great trickster – one who corrects wrongs and sometimes illustrates just how not to do things. A legendary shape shifter and inspiration for much of Ilahee, Cascadia, the Pacific Northwest and beyond… his tales teach well. This episode begins at the ocean, at the mouth of Nchi’Wana, the Big River, called Columbia by English speakers. A long cycle of adventures surround the tale and will be shared later… The first encounter involves an Ogress at the river’s mouth who has been killing the young. Coyote tricks her into death and after refusing the offer of a wife and a chance to settle down by the grateful locals, he claims his place as a wanderer and moves on …

Water Baskets at Wishram

Water Baskets woven so they can hold Water at the Wishram spring below Celilo Falls – A sacred way of holding water! Photo by Edward Sheriff Curtis 1909

The Story

As he went on he heard that above him two women had all the salmon penned up. Coming near to the place, he saw the two women in their canoe catching driftwood. Wishing to get in to their place, he formed himself into a piece of alder, slipped into the water, and floated down. As he passed close to the canoe, the younger woman cried, “See that nice piece of alder!” But the other did not wish to secure it. “Here are smaller ones,” she said; “let that one go.” After passing out of sight, Coyote floated ashore and returned to the point from which he had started. Having studied the matter for a while, he became a piece of cedar, thinking that perhaps they would take that kind of wood, which they could use in making their drying racks. Again he drifted close to the boat, and the younger sister called attention to the cedar log, but the elder did not seem to wish it. The next time he formed himself into a piece of oak, but this, too, the elder woman rejected. A long fir pole was Coyote’s next disguise, but even this, which would have been so useful to lay from eaves to eaves and hang dried fish on, did not appeal to the elder sister, and was allowed to float by. Coyote’s ingenuity was almost exhausted, and for a long time he sat on the bank meditating before he transformed himself into a little baby, strapped to a board. He floated down the river toward the women, crying lustily. Water began to lap into his mouth, and it seemed to him that he must soon choke, when the younger woman cried excitedly: “Here is a baby! Some one has tipped over and lost it. Quick, let us get it!” The elder said, “No, sister, we do not need a baby,” and began to paddle away; but the other seized her own paddle and endeavored to force the canoe toward the drowning infant. They paddled with all their might, and the water fairly boiled with the rapid strokes, but, both being of the same strength, neither could make headway, and all the while the baby was drifting nearer to them. At last it came close to the stern, and the younger woman reached out and took it into the canoe. “It is a boy!” she cried. “Now if we rear it we will have some one to help us.” So it was agreed that they take the child and care for it. When they reached home they untied the child and removed it from its wrappings. The younger said to herself: “What are we going to feed this baby? I will give it a piece of dried lamprey to suck.” She did so, and the baby eagerly took the lamprey, which was soon eaten. She laced it up on its board, cut off another piece, and when this was about half eaten the baby fell asleep. “Now the baby is sleeping, we can go and get more wood,” said she. The elder woman was uneasy since the coming of the infant. She took no interest in it, and did not wish to help care for it. The two went out and began to catch driftwood. When Coyote found it quiet in the house, he opened his eyes. Quickly he unlaced his cover, crept slyly out, and saw the women on the river. Inside he found a great abundance of dried lampreys and other fish, and he hurriedly roasted a quantity on sticks, ate them, and hid the sticks. Then he laced himself to the board, put the half-eaten piece of lamprey in his mouth, and closed his eyes. The women returned and were surprised to find the baby still sleeping. When they retired for the night, the younger sister laid the baby at her side, and Coyote liked that place to sleep, but was all the time thinking how he could let the salmon escape. The next morning the younger sister gave him another piece of fish, and after seeing the child asleep the two went to the river for wood. Again Coyote crawled out and ate, and then went to the pond in which the fish were impounded. After making five oak root-diggers he concealed them and returned to the babyboard. The third day Coyote cooked and ate, then took one of his root-diggers, thrust it into the bank of the river, and pried off a great mass of earth. Again and again he repeated this until the digger was blunt and broken, and then he took a new one. This, and a third, and a fourth were used, when the sisters, happening to look up, saw what was going on. As Coyote began to use his fifth digger they started to paddle ashore in great haste, the elder sister saying over and over: “You see, I did not want to take that baby. It was Coyote, and we shall lose our fish, and now we shall never live as well as we have lived.” Just as the canoe grounded, and they leaped out, Coyote pried off the last mass of earth, and the water began to rush out of the lake, carrying the salmon with it. He picked up a lump of white clay and ran toward the two sisters. “It is not right for you to have all these fish penned up in one place!” he cried. “Things are going to change. There will be other beings here besides you.” He threw the lump of clay; it struck the younger sister on the forehead, leaving a white mark. Then he did the same to the other. “You two are swallows,” he said, “and will be seen only at salmon time.” They flew away, but each year, when the salmon come, many of them are seen along the river building their nests in the rocks.

Tradition fishing at Wishram

Traditional fishing at Wishram below Celilo when the Big River was Free – Photo by Edward Sheriff Curtis 1909


Numbers in Indian Stories are no accident. To this day the people pray with  5 small stones tossed into the Nchi’Wana. It is a number associated with change in many traditions.

Questions this story makes one think about.

Who are the two sisters that have penned up the salmon and are keeping the rivers from their abundances?

We know who todays dam builders are… and we know who they have been feeding. We know they are greedy and have taken from many to get what they have.

Is Coyote advising that those who know the essentiality of life for all, become guised as useful to these sisters?

And if that fails, is coyote advising to appeal through guises of helplessness, cuteness, beauty or dependency?

Must we act as children entering the den of the arrogant aggressor?

Where are the spaces in which the sisters lose their attention for those who build such relationship with them? Spaces in which the disguised and masked may gain strength and strategy for the work of freeing what has been dammed and stolen from the commons that they might do the work of returning it to all?

And what are the oak digging sticks of our day? The objects of magical power… connected to a tree that sources life and energy through its acorns. A tree that is, as expressed in its wide angled branching, one of the densest and strongest of all the trees indigenous to the Big River… source of a tool for rooting the sacred first foods of camas and bitterroot. What are the oak digging sticks of our day?

Coyote gives courage to those who take on the work… that despite intuitions which may exist for the elder sister… our work can be accomplished… the world will be redeemed from those who by their selfishness would destroy the wealth of all.

Perhaps this story is advice for political theatre… imagine showing up at the homes and offices of the sisters, at the dam itself,  as baby coyotes with our digging sticks… to break the dams and free the rivers for all of life!

Do tell us… Do show us… what are the questions and insights that coyote reveals?


If you live along the Big River you have probably heard Ed Edmo tell a version of this story at some point. He tells a version that is Nez Perce or Nimi’ipuu as the people call themselves.

This version is believed to have been collected by William E Meyers at the eastern end of Chinook country – in Wishram in the early 1900’s. At the time – the name referred to village sites on the north side of the river below Celilo along the narrows which were primarily Chinook, though the cosmopolitan nature of the village cultures has historically been less than fully acknowledged. Meyers does not credit the individual elders who shared their version or versions with him as far as we have been able to determine.

This is a breach in our understanding of traditional protocol, or the indigenous legal order of the land. It is customary to know and be able to share the lineage of any shared traditional story… and often to have had it’s accuracy confirmed by multiple elders, and permission given to publicly share lineage stories. This is left unclear and seems to be a story that travelled between peoples. And there has always been room for creative mastery in the evolution of telling to the moment. It is our hope that a transgression is not being furthered in using this version. Our apologies if that may be so.

This version is published in Edward Sheriff Curtis’s Handbook of the North American Indian Volume 8. Edited only slightly for use here. Here is a bit more info on Meyers who is credited with its collection and transcription. 

“The single most important recruit was William E. Myers, a former Seattle newspaperman who was to become the project’s principal ethnologist and, in time, writer. William E. Myers (1877-1949), who graduated with a degree in classics from Northwestern University in 1899, eschewed public credit for his work. But Curtis acknowledged his work… He was a rapid shorthand writer, a speedy typist … and had developed an uncanny ear for phonetics.” … his “party of three men and a stenographer settled down in obscure rooms to do the final work in getting [the first] two volumes ready for publication”; … a further winter was spent … in a log cabin in Montana; and … he and Myers only “took two Sundays a month off” from their cabin … to visit their families across the Sound in Seattle during the preparation of Volumes 5, 6, and 7 … [General editor Frederick] Hodge … remembered that “Mr. Myers, was the one who really wrote the text. I … checked every word of it, of course, and edited it … before it went to the printer.”

Professor Mick Gidley has written several books examining the historical context for the efforts involved in creating The North American Indian. Excerpts above are from Gidley’s study, Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, Incorporated

The Dalles Dam – The work of the modern “Two Sisters” – betraying a world  embracing all of the living with respect. An ongoing act of genocidal violation of the life of the river and the peoples whose culture goes back to the great Missoula Floods and beyond – Photo by the United States Army Corp of Engineers

Celilo Falls - Wyam - Photo from the archives of the Oregon Historical Society

Celilo Falls – Wyam – When the River was Free – And as it will be once again – Photo from the archives of the Oregon Historical Society

A longer piece on the work of Curtis is here Ecopoetics – Druidic / Shamanic Geomancy – Resonance, Power and Ethics of Artistic Mediumship in the Work of Edward Sheriff Curtis

Another piece on the importance of Celilo Falls restoration is here Celilo Falls Restoration – Why we cannot be silent in the face of an ongoing genocide!

3:55 PDT The eclipse has been full blood moon for a while... all of the sunrises and sunsets of the earth are lighting the moon with the spill into the earths shadow...the lighter side is moving from the right side to above.

Blood Moon Eclipse

Eclipse is beginning about 2:16 PDT

Eclipse has been going for about a half an hour 2:16 PDT

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3:55 PDT The eclipse has been full blood moon for a while... the lighter side is moving from the right side to above... stars are coming through despite being in the middle of urban light....

3:55 PDT The eclipse has been full blood moon for a while… the lighter side is moving from the right side to above… all of the sunrises and sunsets across earth are bleeding their light onto the moon into the shadow… stars are appearing despite being in the cloud of urban light…

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oceans edge

burled sitka spruce … .

morning light

burled forest


big bird






in a southern band of olympic national parks
quinalt ceded
coastal trace
elder rainforest
bounded to the east
by industrial logging clear cut destructions
and a paved highway 101
on the west
eroding cliffs becoming
kalaloch beach
fully exposed to pacific storms
sitka spruce
being creative
with the burling of benign tumors
and plays

oceans edge

private worlds