Our leader, 1 Egg Man, Ron, gave the opening prayer:
Creator of all we are! All we have! All we ever shall be!
I give to You my most humble gratitude.
I thank You for life and all that pertains to life about me.
I thank You for giving me this opportunity of life in this form so that I may walk among Your wonders with knowledge and given the option to be considerate and to care.
Ron also shared this:
And a few words to remind all of KB’s wisdomSometimes we look at the situation and come to a conclusion too fast, we don’t look at everything. We don’t think of each and every end result of our actions. Sometimes, if given the chance, no matter how old we are, no matter how much we think we know, we can always learn something new, if we just listen. Sometimes that lesson might come from a child, someone you might think would never be able to make you listen and learn. Listen, the Creator gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth. Making a Difference A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and spent much of his time exploring the seashore. One day he learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand. The day of the tide he went down to the beach and began picking up the stranded starfish and tossing them back into the sea. An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what he was doing. “I’m saving the starfish,” the boy proudly declared. When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish, he shook his head and said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you young man, but if you look down the beach one way, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look down the beach the other way, it’s the same. One little boy like you is not going to make a difference.” The little boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down the sand, picked up a starfish, tossed it into the ocean and said, “I sure made a difference to that one.”
Now envision yourself around our campfire. Our story teller is about to begin.
Illustration by Carol Lucero-Gachupin
Soulful gave us the following preamble:
What blocks your vision? Why do some see the rain while others see a rainbow? Has your vision been obscured by the actions of another…..or perhaps you have closed your eyes out of fear or anger….or perhaps, even illusion. How do you awaken to truth?Tonight, I will share three stories told to Cherokee children to open their hearts and minds to answer those questions honestly. I am very grateful and honored to share these stories with you. May the wisdom of the ancestors who shared them speak to your heart and nourish your spirit.
The Mischievous Racoon
The first story begins with a very mischievous raccoon, gvli in Eastern Cherokee dialect.
Raccoon, gvli, is a mischievous scamp who, like the mask he wears, often enjoys playing tricks on unsuspecting creatures. One day, this gvli was walking along the river, as he often enjoyed doing, when he spied a wolf, waya. Waya was very hungry and tired as he searched along the river side for a tasty morsel. Gvli, ever the trickster, thought it would be a fun distraction to chase the wolf. Even though the wolf tried to mind his own business, the raccoon was persistent. That Gvli threw things at the waya and chased him, nipping at his tail. The wolf could not ignore the antics of the raccoon any longer and began to chase the gvli. The raccoon thought it fun to nip at the wolf and harass him! On and on, the two ran! Tearing around the bend of the river, the raccoon ran up a tree and crawled onto a branch. As the wolf rounded the turn, he saw the reflection of the gvli in the water. Mistaking the reflection for the real animal, waya dove into the very cold water, as the raccoon laughed safely nestled in the tree.
Wet, shivering, very hungry and discouraged, the dripping waya made his way to a warm spot on the river bank. The sun shone so warmly, he curled up and fell fast asleep. Still feeling mischievous, the raccoon scampered down to the river’s edge and gathered some wet, red clay. Ever so carefully, he placed the clay on the wolf’s eye sockets, packing it down ever so gently, so as not to wake him. Off scampered the usdi gvli as the warm, sun baked the clay into a hard mass. Unaware, the poor, unsuspecting waya slept.Now, unbeknownst to the raccoon, a little brown bird had been quietly observing the antics of the raccoon and the wolf. Later that afternoon, when the wolf awakened from his nap, he began to stretch and then screamed, “I am blind! I am Blind! Someone help me! I can not see!” The wolf ran crying and shouting, when the little brown bird approached him.
“Dear Wolf! Be at peace! The clay in your eyes are blocking your sight. It has hardened in the hot sun. If you will, I can peck away the clay, and you will be able to see again….but it may take me some time.”“Oh, Little Bird, I shall be so very grateful and will gift you if you can help me see again!” And so it was that the little brown bird ever so carefully pecked away the clay.
Little by little, as the bits of clay were gently removed, the wolf began to see. After quite some time, all the clay was removed and the wolf was very pleased with the gift of the little brown bird.
I am so grateful, my little brown friend! I have a very special gift for you to show my gratitude. Will you follow me?”And so the little bird followed the wolf up the hill to a place where there was a large vein of beautiful red paint. The wolf told the little bird that if she rolled in the paint, she would no longer be a brown bird but would become a beautiful red bird. The bird did as the wolf suggested, and, true to his word, the bird was transformed into an uwoduhi (beautiful) gigage (red) bird (tsi-I-squa)—-that bird we now know as a cardinal.
The second story is the story of the Possum, si-qua–u-tse-tsa-s-di in Cherokee. It is said that long ago, the possum must have indeed had a very uwoduhi tail….more beautiful and magnificent than any creature. One day, the mischievous gvli, raccoon, was again looking for some fun when he noticed possum walking along the river chatting away.“Who are you talking to?” the raccoon asked the possum
“Why, I am talking to my friend there in the water! He walks back and forth with me every day and we keep each other good company!” Possum replied“Raccoon rolled on the ground laughing at Possum, “ Oh you silly one! That is your reflection!” “How could that be my reflection? “ protested Possum, “I do not have such a glorious tail as my friend.” “Oh, but you do, Possum!” Raccoon said surprised “Look! Your tail is the most glorious of all the animals to be sure!” Possum gasped as he became aware of his tail. “Is that truly my tail?”
Oh, yes!” exclaimed the Raccoon “It is indeed a beautiful tail and it is yours!!!”Possum was awed by his discovery and spent much time ogling his tail. So enamored was he of this discovery, that he began to wake all the animals very early every morning and several times in the day asking them if his tail was indeed beautiful. In the beginning, the animals didn’t mind too much, but , in time the persistent inquiries and chatter about Possum’s tail became tiresome. The animals finally went to Bear for help. “Please Bear, Possum wakes us up night and day to praise his tail. We are growing tired of his constant chatter about his tail. What can we do?” Bear thought and thought. After a time, it was decided that a contest ought to be held for
Bear thought and thought. After a time, it was decided that a contest ought to be held for the animal with the most beautiful tail and Possum ought to be invited.Raccoon told Possum about the contest and Possum was very, very excited. As a matter of fact, his tail was all he spoke of as they readied for the journey. Raccoon had a plan!
“Possum, this is a very special event for you! I have some friends who can groom your tail so it will be even more beautiful! We must be ready for your big moment, right?”
When Possum awoke, Rabbit and Raccoon suggested they unwrap the tail at the gathering so it would not get mussed along the way. He agreed, and off they went.When they arrived at the gathering, each animal took his turn walking across the stage with others admiring their tails. Possum, however, after the seventh animal became very impatient. “Everyone knows I have the most beautiful tail! Why waste our time with all of this!” Before Raccoon or Rabbit could say anything, Possum ran up on stage and unwrapped his tail! Imagine his horror when instead of a beautiful, fluffy tail, all he saw was a scaly, ugly rat-like tail! All the animals laughed and Possum was so mortified, he rolled over and played dead! Even today, Possum’s still do this
Changes in awareness—-how it can change us…..The Mother town of Kituah for thousands of years was a peace town where Cherokee lived in harmony. A time came when the Cherokee lost the land and a family named Ferguson owned the land. In time, the Ferguson family chose to sell the land back to the Cherokee. Once the Cherokee regained the large expanse of land, some thought it best to return the land to the original reverence. They thought the ancestors were best honored by rebuilding the mound, planting corn, and creating space to dance and honor Creator.
Another group saw this large expanse of land and thought the tribe could be best served by creating a golf course and building a school on the land.
They did not see the old ways but were rather blinded by the sparkle of the new.
The traditional group claimed the bones of the ancestors were there and in would be wrong to build and dig.
The second group claimed that they were just stories nothing was buried there.
How would they decide a true path?
On the day the tractors and diggers were ready, the traditional group did not stop praying….but rather prayed harder that Creator should speak…and they listened softly for an answer.
As the sun came up, on the day the tractor was set to dig, Grandmother Ogana, Grandmother Groundhog heard a stirring inside her and felt compelled to dig….and so she dug and dug and dug….
After she had dug so deeply she brought the skull of a 400 year old grandmother to the surface just in front of the tractor
When the supervisor came to the tractor, the skull of the grandmother stared up at them. Grandmother Ogana continued to bring sacred bones to the surface.
The traditional group and the non-traditional group came together. The grandmother’s bones spoke to them in their hearts. Tribal historian came with special tools. Hidden beneath the surface were millions of bones….
And so it was, on that day, that, though the truth had been hidden, it was revealed. The two factions stood together, and the ancestors spoke.
So it will be again. Will you be listening?
Know what you know…and be himbled to be open to what may be hidden….raccoons and rabbits abound…but if we listen softly…if we are still…like the wolf who patiently awaited the work of the little bird….we will see…we will stand together…and together, we can walk in peace and beauty.So, what is the clay in your eyes? Where do you stand? Are you seeing your reflection…or the naked truth? So the ancestors told us these stories…that we might listen softly and grow in wisdom.
I am grateful for this gift….and to my father, my uncle, and Freeman….and all who have taught me…removed the clay from my eyes.
How about you????
Thank you Soulful Stuff!
To purchase this item or see more of Soulful Stuff’s work, please go to