Suzanne Here: For over thirty years I have lived at the base of Eaglerock sacred Indigenous (Original Peoples) ceremonial and healing site. We are to honor and respect those who walked the land eons before us. Here is an article I wrote:
March Weather Swirls
Drum Beats and Singing Fill Home
Celebrate New day
Nothing like the vibrational feel of a distant drum and then hearing the calling from the singers marking a new day to alert my senses of extraordinary presence of time. Our writing group (20 years practicing) meditates a half hour before writing and this morning was honored to hear and feel the ancient ways of land based peoples.
Just this past weekend when a father and his three year older daughter while on a walk in my neighborhood stumbled upon the “Eagle Rock Preserve”. Upon returning to my home, the father asked me what I knew about this piece of wild land that is tucked away from any road. I had the opportunity to share a history of this sacred piece of land at the base of an outcropping of rocks that resemble eagles, a geothermal mother spring, a ceremonial and healing grounds for our Indigenous ancestors.
For decades (Mid-seventies to mid-nineties) many who cared about the land based people who had gathered in East Boise for centuries around these geothermal waters for healing, for honoring those ancestors whose bones rested in the hillside below the Eaglerock visioning place, met at the base of Eaglerock now called Castlerock and prayed with representatives of the Shoshone and Bannock tribes affected by the ways of early white man and government. In the early 1900’s, we whites killed, raped and mutilated these hunters and gathering natives. We rounded them up and forcefully moved them to reservations in the most “god forsaken lands (Duck Valley in Nevada, Fort Hall in Idaho). We claimed their ancient ceremonial lands and long held gathering place, disgraced them and then imprisoned them where the water didn’t flow and the land couldn’t produce. We doomed them to die away, to lose their life style.
We would gather just before the sunrose, smudging to cleanse, an ol’ spiritual messenger, medicine man called Corbin would shuffle around the circle of participants, eagle feather fans in each hand, he’d call, he’d honor all our relations in all the directions. The drum with its drummers would replicate the heartbeat of the Mother Earth and we would sing for our lives, deep respect growing and praying that a vision would occur for All Our Relations. He would thank us for showing up for the sake of all our relations.
Sometimes we’d go to Capitol steps or the City Council Hearings petitioning for respect for those who walked this Idaho land prior to white man’s domination. It was a time of great heart break for me—to hear the stories of natural people who walked well with nature; only to get to the place in time where greed and materialism and misconduct harmed their people, their women, their men, their elders their future generations.
I advocated filming their stories once and for all. . .to remove the necessity to retell and relive their fall from grace at white man’s hand.
In the 1980’s, the Indigenous people were allocated five acres of land. Their cry to respect their burial grounds ignored and now big homes line the ridge. I thought we failed them.
Yet this weekend, when the father said “Thank you for all you did to help save this chunk of land based history”, I ‘ve been rethinking winning and losing.
This morning drum beats greeted a new day, a new season of growth and an ancient way to honor the ancestors who walked on this land. The Natives still gather! I feel and hear the heartbeat and I am comforted.
The measure of success is being revamped while a new day, a new season still honoring the past, the present and the future has begun. Success measured by sensory gratitude that time keeps on turnin, turnin, turning. Land based values of respect for all our relations still the same.