Wenona Gardner – White Turtle Rainbow

Posts tagged ‘Mohicans’

Wellness from a Native American Perspective

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My name is Wenona Gardner. My Native American name is Wapaan Alaangweew which means Morning Star the symbol of hope. I am Native American enrolled in the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohicans. We are a tribe of Woodland Indians with our tribal office and reservation located in Shawano County, Wisconsin. Upon receiving my name I increased my activity in participating in various ceremonies and during this time I was taught about wellness through the Native American Medicine Wheel the balance of the mind, body, heart, and spirit.

I also have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. As a person rooted in Native American ways and trying to walk the Red Road and also walking in the world of Western medicine seeking to address the mental illnesses I have, I often feel overwhelmed walking in these two worlds. On top of struggling through symptoms I feel trying to deal with two cultures many times there is miscommunication between the two from my experience. In my Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) I hope will communicate my personal viewpoint on wellness to bridge the gap.

My understanding of the Medicine Wheel is intuitive as I experienced in ceremony smelling the sweet grass burn and calling the four directions for prayer. We are taught to think in circles. That life is circular and flows in cycles likes the seasons. The Medicine Wheel teaches these things and much more. Teachings that have been passed down through the ages orally.

Many Native American people are trying to address such things as the high depression, substance abuse, and suicide rates (according to Federal Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities. “Minority Health Determines the Health of the Nation” http://www.cdc.gov/omhd ) in the native community by going back to the native community by going back to the Native American Medicine Wheel and other traditional ways of healing.

Many Native American spiritual leaders and healers believe that the way to heal many members in the community from mental illness is strengthening all four dimensions of one’s being mind, body, heart, and spirit signified by the colors of yellow, red, black, and white respectfully. Each of these represent the balance of the four nations. These are the colors that I was taught about the Medicine Wheel, though I am aware other tribal nations do sometimes use other colors.

 

Why the four directions of the Medicine Wheel?

 

Even though one may have a mental illness they can strengthen their quality of life by not just focusing on their mind, but also other aspects of their being such as the heart, physical, and spiritual strive to achieve the circle. In doing so we are trying to be the best we can be at the highest level of health we can achieve. For example, when one is hospitalized to deal with mental illness issues it would help if that Native American person has access to their Spiritual Leaders. Also, in the Native American ways the use of tobacco is sacred and it’s smoke is considered prayers that go up to the Creator. I heard word that locally they deny patients from having access to tobacco. What if your Native American and believe the use of tobacco carries prayers to the Great Creator, you would be denied access to worship in this way if you are in a hospital that prohibits tobacco use. I am not sure the Western doctors and staff see this from a culture perspective that many Native American Traditional Spiritual leaders do.

 

                                            Cultural Wellness

 

I do believe there is such a thing as cultural wellness. I remember hearing the phrase reading about Medicine Wheel and wellness. What I got from the article basically was that respecting someone’s culture in dealing with wellness and in this case mental healing is very real. I strongly believe that a health care systems that respects and seeks out to honor my culture background regardless of prejudicial judgments of my fair skin would be greatly appreciated.

There are ways to learn about the Medicine Wheel and wellness through talking with Native American people. Many Native American healers work within local Indian Health boards and Tribal Health Centers. Speaking to Native Americans is most preferred over books cause our culture is an oral based culture. I recommend using books as secondary source.

There doesn’t have to be a situation as the Native American character played by Will Sampson in the movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” whose only perceived way he could deal with the Western medicine mental health system is to bust through a window and flee like mad from a system that was supposed to be healing. I am hoping the teachings of the Medicine Wheel can be understood as it relates to wellness and be bridged as a gap to help me better to those who want to help work with my mental illness.

 

Mohican-8

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It has begun…

So as I mentioned before I was blessed by the meeting of Chief Robert Red Hawk Ruth of the Pennslyvannia Lenape Nation and his wife Lynn. And I felt like that was the catalyst that had changed my whole life. See I have been trying to meet this man since for the last 10 years since we have been conversing in Artist’s Way Circle, Lenape Family History, and Mohican-7 online. But Creator was waiting for a key moment in time. Not just any day. The most momentous of days the Idle No More Peace March in Milwaukee, WI in January 18, 2013. THAT was the day I was told the eighth fire has been lit and to lead. It was then I realized the Mohican-7 circle has now evolved to Mohican-8 to honor the 8th prophecy of the seven generation prophecies. It is time to take the knowledge of that prophecy and apply it and live it. It’s time to live the path of peace, harmony, and love with all the four nations.

Back when I was 16 a medicine woman by the name Hail Eagle Woman of the Mohican, Oneida, Brothertown, and Santee Sioux nations told me I had a vision. I told her before my eyes. I saw a black sky and appeared from the darkness a brilliant white turtle. Slowly descending from the east descended the arc of a brightly colored rainbow. The viewpoint changed and I was now looking above the turtle and the rainbow turned into wings. This rainbow winged turtle rose and began to fly fast across the lands, I could see lakes, rivers, and trees below. Then the white rainbow turtle landed and began to happily dance in a circle. As the white turtle turned the turtle turned into a white shawled woman with a turtle design on her back. When she turned around I saw the woman was me. The White Turtle with Rainbow wings was me. Hail Eagle Woman told me that I was a Rainbow Warrior that I was a bridge builder bringing together all nations. She taught me the seven generations prophecy including the eighth fire that was to be lit. She gave me the Indian name Wabun Anung Morning Star and I was to lead with my light reaching out to the other nations with the native wisdom that I learned.

I have been waiting for the eighth fire. When I was at the Peace March the speaker was talking about the Idle No More movement in Madison and the Bad River mining. He called out for the Morning Star to come to Madison with her light. I heard this and so was witnessed by Rainbow Turtle and Chief Robert Red Hawk Ruth and said Buffy that was a sign they are calling you. So That day I have been called and I must apply the wisdom of the eighth fire now that is lit and lead the way I was told to by Hail Eagle Woman.

1) So my first goal is to evolve Mohican-8 which is the application of the 8th fire prophecy.

2) Next is to find a ride to get to Madison for the Idle No More Movement to find out how I can serve as I was called and it was witnessed by others as a sign.

3) Then I have launched the Two Step project which encompasses telling my healing journey in video http://www.youtube.com/user/azurebreezes in oral tradition and written word on my blog. https://azurebreeze.wordpress.com/

4) But most importantly is helping the elders, chiefs, medicine people, healers, and community members to come forward and tell their story. The world is waiting for us to come and step forward. It ties very much into the Four Crow Prophecy of the Lenape people that Chief Robert Red Hawk Ruth has shared with me. http://www.penn.museum/sites/fap/prophecy.shtml

The time is now. We need to come out of hiding and become active participants in the world. The rest of the world has yet to fully hear the all of the wisdom of the red nation. We have been hidden, underground, and silent for too long. We need to find our voice and use that voice for the betterment of humanity. We are the missing note of the song of life.

Idle No More Peace March in Milwaukee, WI January 18, 2013

Today I went to a Peace March in Milwaukee, WI for a deeply spiritual and powerful movement for protecting tribal sovereignty and the environment. Here are the pictures of my day.

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Chief Robert Red Hawk Ruth of Pennsylvania Lenape Nation carrying the Four Crow Prophecy Drum with Wenona “Buffy” Gardner, Wabun anung (Morning Star) of the Stockbridge Munsee band of Mohicans tribe of Wisconsin. At Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee Wisconsin for the Idle No More Peace Rally.

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The beginning of the Idle No More Peace March starting at Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee, WI

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Wenona “Buffy” Gardner, Wabun anung (Morning Star) of the Stockbridge Munsee band of Mohicans tribe of Wisconsin. with Alfreda Young former WE Indians Counselor of the Potawatomi tribe. At Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee for the Idle No More Peace Rally

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The beginning of the Idle No More Peace March starting at Grand Ave Mall.

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The beginning of the Idle No More Peace March starting at Grand Ave Mall in Milwaukee, WI. IdleNoMore Organizer Dona Yahola of the Bad River Ojibwe.

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Idle No More Peace March at Veterans Park Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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