Two speakers who will present a keynote talk at the upcoming 2014 Minneapolis Edge Life Holistic Expo — Cedric Red Feather and Janet Michele Red Feather — walk a natural path through this world. They listen inwardly, gather information externally and process everything into a balanced way of life, just as the indigenous peoples of the planet have for centuries.
Once married and still best of friends, the Red Feathers will speak on “Mandan Ancient Wisdom & Prophecies” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, at Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Cedric, a Turtle Priest with the Mandan tribe of North Dakota, will reveal ancient prophecies from his people and offer wisdom on empowering one’s self spiritually. Janet, a former litigator turned ceremonial singer, not only will share insight she has learned from the native peoples and her spiritual guides, she will sing in five languages to offer expo attendees an experience that bypasses the mind and awakens the heart.
Cedric is the author of Mandan Dreams (2012, Galde Press), and he is working on his second book related to the seven medicine brothers, the stars of the Big Dipper and the Mandan legend of seven brothers who turned into stones and represent the seven spiritual realms of the Northern Plains. Janet’s first book, Song of the Wind (2014, Galde Press), was just released, and in it she shares her eclectic experiences in the seen and unseen worlds, and offers assistance to people who are empathic and feel the energies of the earth and others, sometimes to an extreme degree.
The Red Feathers spoke with The Edge about medicine, stones, stars and much more.
You two have been invited back to speak at the Minneapolis Edge Life Expo, following your appearance at the Fargo Expo in 2013.
Cedric Red Feather: Yes, I believe it is to represent multiculturalism. Being a Native American, and Janet being Jewish from Philadelphia — and her singing, in Lakota, Mandan, French, Latin, Hebrew, Greek and Farsi, all the languages she sings in — adds so much to incorporate so many cultures of people.
What do you plan to share with visitors to the Expo this year?
Cedric: One of the things I am doing right now is about fulfilling prophecies. One of the prophecies of many indigenous peoples of North America talks about this time of the two brothers. The prophet said of this one brother, “I will divide up the land and I will give it to all the people. And the people will have land. They can have farms.” And he said, “I will take all of the animals, and I will tame them. They can have sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and they won’t have to want. They’ll have animals, all tamed, and they’ll have gardens and planted crops. They will all be prosperous and happy.”
The other brother said, “All the land will be free, and all the animals will be wild. If you’re a good hunter, you can gather berries, pick up turnips and dig roots and fish – and you’ll never want. You’ll always be happy.”
The Prophet said that in time, the people of the first brother got bigger and bigger and bigger, and the farms got smaller and smaller and smaller. The animals got diseases and many things happened to them. There were only a few very wealthy land owners, and the rest were not.
“In time,” he said, “these people will go to their brother where the land was free and animals wild. And when that time comes, things will change with you people here.”
And the Prophet said, “As time moves across the hand” – and he made a motion for 100 years, and he said, “your religion, your spirituality and your ceremonies will be taken away from you.” He said, “Watch for the seven brothers in the sky, and they’ll come back to you.” He said, “They’re going to call them new people, but they’re not new – they’re old.”
Today this is the metaphysical people, the people who read your magazine. He said, “The last ones to join them will be the Native Americans. When the Native Americans join them, they will all become the fulfillment (of the prophecy).” That’s what we’re going through now.
In your book, Mandan Dreams, you write about the 14 prophecies revealed by the prophet Lone Man to the Mandan people, and shared seven of them: your last homeland becomes the great boneyard (1899); when the trees will be upside down (1920); when your name becomes a marker (1930); when spiritual ceremonies, societies and medicine bundles are taken away, and when the Seven Brothers in the sky and their sister the North Star return (1951); when the rivers flow backwards (1953); when men dress like women and women dress like men (1988); and when the ancient one comes back to the people (1999). Will you elaborate on these?
Cedric: The one that’s really intriguing for me and the one that was the hardest one to understand was when the ancient one returns. We couldn’t figure that out for a long time. And then it came to me. I was in Memphis, Tenn., at the time.
A Spirit Man is my guide, I don’t want to say his name — I call him the Chucalissa Holy Man, but he has another name. I actually saw him. He’s in his mid-60s and has salt-and-pepper hair, shoulder length, and he wears plain clothes; he’s not decorative. He told me to go to this mountain. I told Janet about it. We got out an atlas and looked all over for it. We went to Wyoming and went up to the Big Horns.
We went down to Gallup, N.M., in search of this mountain. We went into a little bitty store, not a main-drag tourist shop. It was down a backstreet along the side, and I saw a door, and I said, “Look, there’s a shop there, let’s go in there.”
It was interesting, because we met a very old woman, and I was talking to her about Wyoming – I was looking for something and was going up there.
She said, “Did you look at the medicine wheel?”
“No, the car overheated and we went back down the mountain.”
She said, “I’m glad you didn’t go up there. You would have been disappointed.”
She said that when she was a young girl, she used to date the twin step-sons of Buffalo Bill. I never knew Buffalo Bill had twin step-sons! I got a phone from a friend in Missouri who wanted a buffalo skull, because his was broken up. I told him I have one I got in Montana, so I drove down to his house. After a sweat lodge, he brought out a lot of artifacts he found in a cave, back in the ’60s.
He said, “We were going down to Florida. We took the backroads, so we camped out. There was a cave and I stood on top of these big boulders. I put my hand behind a ledge and found these.”
He put them down and showed them to me. One was a stone hammer, and the other was a pipe. I looked at this pipe and held it in my hand when he was talking.
He said, “I got this from the mountain.” He named the mountain, and it was the one my guide told me to go to. He said, “I think you should have it, Cedric. I don’t know why I kept it, but it’s for you.” I took it, and my guide said, “Yes, this is the one.”
My guide said, “People travel all over the country to look for a medicine wheel, like the big one in Wyoming. People go behind their houses and put medicine wheels on the ground with stones.” But he said, “All these people don’t know that the medicine wheel is not a circle of stones.” He said, “That thing up in Wyoming in the Big Horn Mountains is not a medicine wheel. People call it that, but that doesn’t make it one. A medicine wheel is a circle in a stone.” He told me, “You can move it. You’re going to be able to move the medicine wheel.”
This prediction is only for me to fulfill, because it is connected to a pipe that I keep, which is 10,000 years old. No one can copy this.
[Cedric held the ancient pipe in his palm and said he could feel the energy of the stone, the ancient limestone from which it was formed.] That’s when I knew it was him — this was the ancient one (from prophecy). And he said, “There are going to be two other parts that will come back. The first part that will come back is the ghost medicine. Ghost medicine is not what you think it is. It’s not what we think of as a ghost. It’s spirit. There’s no other word for it….”
He said, “All things taken from you shall be returned. All things forgotten will be remembered.” He said, “Go back and do the Ghost Dance. You’re only a little ripple. You’re not anybody. You’re not important. Just do it and the rest of it will come into place.”
That prophecy of the ancient one coming back had to be a stone, because only a stone could survive that length of time.
Other prophecies in the future are coming up. Robert Baca (a psychic medium based in Iowa) was doing the channeling and the guides told me I will be going to Peru and that I will find something that scientists and archaeologists have not found yet. And they said I will be going to Brazil. They said Brazil is so undiscovered, so many places that are so hidden and so natural and real. They said, “You’re not a tourist. It is a spiritual quest.” So we are excited about that.
He said, “They all talk about this prophecy of when the condor and eagle fly together, but they don’t understand it.” He called me by my other name. I have two names. He said, “You have eagle medicine. They don’t know that. Those who have been there and say so don’t have eagle medicine. But you are the only one with eagle medicine, and you can do this.”
I am familiar with the indigenous prophecy of the condor and the eagle, of South America and North America coming together.
Cedric: That’s where all the energy and everything is down there, in the Andes, but Brazil is just as exciting.
In two years with the summer Olympic Games, the whole world’s focus will be on Brazil.
Cedric: Lightning hit the Jesus (Christ the Redeemer) statue in Rio, and the peace doves released in the Vatican were attacked by a raven and a crow and a seagull. His name is not Peter of Rome. It is Francis. When you look at the popes, John Paul I and John Paul II, his real name is Pope Francis the First, and the first shall be the last.
Tell me about your connection with Cedric, Janet.
Janet Red Feather: Listening to all of this, I was thinking about when I met Cedric. We met in 1993 and got together in 1994. What I adore about him is that he speaks with enthusiasm about all of his pursuits. He is excited that he is fulfilling his purpose. He doesn’t think he is more special or more important than anyone else. He has helped many, many people behind the scenes without payment or recognition.
The key thing I have learned from him is that every single one of us has a purpose. And that’s where I fit into this expo talk we are giving.
When I first met him, he always asked me, “Do you know your purpose in life?”
I’d say, “Yeah, it’s to be happy.”
He’d say, “No, that’s not it. Come back in three weeks.”
He kept doing this over the course of several years, and sometimes I’d get so frustrated and I’d cry, “Oh, this is so pathetic. I don’t know my purpose in life.” Finally one day, 10 years later, he said, “Ok, do you want to know?”
I said, “Of course, I do.”
He said, “It’s to sing the songs.”
So that’s been my title since the Okipa — Ceremonial Singer. I love music, I love songs, and I love languages. So I learned more than 60 songs in Mandan and Lakota, and one in Hidatsa. At these presentations, usually I choose songs from nine different languages, but I do a sampling of five.
What do you want people to experience when you are singing these songs?
Janet: Sound has become very important. You mentioned heightened telepathy between you and your wife. I’m experiencing the shift, and I know many other people are in terms of heightened senses, in general.
Sound is healing. It affects all parts of our being. When we sing these songs, the spirits recognize them and they are drawn to them. So I want participants of the expo to feel the presence of all the beneficent spirits that are around us, supporting us.
The people of this land, as Cedric has taught me, were native, so the spirits here are native. I have Native American spirit helpers, as do many other people.
Also, at the expo I am going to introduce my new book, Song of the Wind. The thread that unites the essays in it is the notion of empathic existence. Many of us are empaths but don’t know it. We just think something is wrong with us, that we are high strung. That’s not it at all. We can sense things around us at a very deep level.
I even have a heightened sense of smell that connects me to the other world. Once in my apartment there was a man who thought he was still living there, who was dead. There was a certain scent to it, and I had to use sage to ask him to move on. The sense of smell connects you to other realities, as does sound.
Cedric: Remember, they said, “In the beginning was the word.”
Janet, you mentioned empathy. How does one know he or she is empathic? For no reason at all I may suddenly feel down or depressed, and it seems it may be coming from our culture.
Janet: It’s coming from the Earth. People like you are connected to the Earth. Do you ever feel a heightened anxiety with no real worries to tie them to? And then you’ll find there was a major tsunami or earthquake that happened at that time somewhere on the planet. That’s the major Earth connection. We can feel her strongly.
Empaths also feel very strongly the feelings of other people. They need to learn where their feelings end and the others’ begin. I am an English instructor, and right before a student is about to make a disclosure in my office, my eyes get watery and I say to myself, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry.” And then the student’s eyes water up because she was about to disclose and cry.
Because empaths feel others’ feelings so strongly, they really like to stay at home. It’s not agoraphobia usually. Out in crowds, the vibrations of all of the people can become unbearable for some people.
One thing Cedric and I learned from Lisa Williams, the English medium, was to wear a hat or a cap whenever we go out. A lot of energy comes in from the top of the head, so it’s helpful to keep your head covered.
Speaking of these abilities — empathic and telepathic — every single one of us already is that, but we just don’t remember. These gifts are relevant to the shift that’s happening, because to incorporate all of these new energies, we have to be connected.
There’s a tendency to be marginalized by our culture if you have a good sense of your own identity or if your ideas are different. I want to encourage those people to know that they’re fulfilling their own purpose and their own destiny.
As Cedric tells me, trust your own intuitive heart — and that has helped me so much.
Cedric: Me and Janet get along so well. We call each other every day. We’ve been divorced for many years, but we are the best of friends. I’m pretty content living alone right now. I want a dog, but I live in an apartment right now and cannot have a dog.
LISTEN: “Lone Eagle,” sung by Janet Michele Red Feather in Lakota
Janet: This is a beautiful song used in Powwows as an honor song. It’s a personal song to a Lakota man named Lone Eagle. It means, “Lone Eagle, where have you gone? The people come crying. It is hard.”
[After performing “Lone Eagle”:] That’s a lot better than a speech. Speech is from the mind. Songs are from the heart.
Cedric: It may surprise you, but in my own life and my own experiences, the most prejudiced people I’ve ever met were the real Native Americans themselves. Janet and I witnessed it. She was at a powwow once in California and remembers how they treated her.
Our ancestors, the Native Americans, were the only ones who held the love vibration — the star people. My great-grandmother said we are stars in human form. Well, all that love frequency with the natives is gone, and it’s been gone since the ’60s. It died with the older people. This generation does not hold that love vibration, the love frequency.
I was born in 1949, and there are very few of us who still remember it. They never grew up in the country with cows and horses and going fishing and picking berries. It was such a way to grow up, riding on horseback all of the time. It was such fun living out in nature. Today, they don’t live like that.
They’re prejudiced because they think they are connected to Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and Chief Joseph and all these great ancestors, but they’re not connected to them in heart.
…I embrace Chinese people, black people, poor people, crippled people, orphans, widowers — I have all kinds of friends who are just everyday people that I meet. I don’t judge anybody. I am not against anybody, because they have their purpose, too. I told Janet, and she’s always remembered this: The hardest part of all is that you must be willing to be a nobody. Very few aren’t.
Janet: If you are open spiritually, they you come to understand that we’re all connected — and we’re all one. You hear these different tribes saying, “Mitakuye oyasin,” which is all my relatives, but it’s not just a bumpersticker utterance. It means something. The feeling of it is “one heart, one people.” And that’s the consciousness, of course, that we’re all trying to move toward, so we have to be careful not to move into our own fear when we hear prejudicial remarks.
Once I was seeing a Buddhist-based counselor out in Santa Monica, Calif., and he got angry when he found out I was drawn to Native American culture.
“Why do you want to go to their powwows and sing their songs?” he said. “It’s an excluding culture.”
But that was his perception and his experience. I’ve been in the sweat lodge and at the Sun Dance. There are prejudiced people everywhere, but the spirits are not prejudiced at all. In fact, they are very welcoming.
Cedric has a brother who died in a blizzard when he was an adolescent. His nickname was Punky. Punky helps me. I’ve heard him sing with me. His family has accepted me. They don’t see the separation.
I once went to a writer’s conference and they were talking about diversity. They asked the audience, “Why don’t you share your experience with diversity?” So I raised my hand and they recognized me, and I said, “I’m a Lithuanian, Ukrainian Jew roaming the countryside with a renegade Indian. How’s that for diversity?” [Laughing.] And they laughed so loud. Half of the laughter was joyous and freeing, but half of it was because they were really uncomfortable. The conference was in Iowa and all of the people were all one religion and one race.
On the effect of technology:
[Gesturing looking down at a cellphone] Cedric: People can’t go half an hour without doing this. The people are going to go crazy and haywire when they are going to take away their technologies.
The Hopis prophecize about the telephone lines reaching across the land, and of breaking the web. They’re talking about the world wide web. When it does shut down, there is no TV, no phones. People cannot live without it today. I haven’t had a TV for eight years now. I don’t have a computer. These technologies are putting people in a stupor.
The forces that are against the light manipulate the people so much, keep them in a stupor and keep them in a world of fear. Once they break out of this fear, it’s like the sun, with love and compassion for all people, with no judgment.
That is more frightening for the powers that be than anything, when they cannot control the people anymore. Right now, they control them by keeping them in debt, by keeping them in front of the TV watching commercials so they go down the street and get the Dr. Pepper or go to McDonald’s and get the Big Mac. They keep everyone brainwashed. The bigger the audience, the more stupid the message becomes.
…I don’t want to call them the negative or dark forces, but they’re trying to manipulate the people and keep them in a stupor. They’re afraid of the people waking up and telling the truth and being of love and light. It’s not a battle between good angels and bad angels. The whole thing is about people becoming aware of who they really are and feeling that connection to all things.
On the stars:
Cedric: I met Christine Day down in Rochester at Mary Laven’s (Wind over Fire Healing Arts Center). I didn’t know where she was and turned around, and she was right behind me. It’s kinda hard to sneak up on an Indian! [Laughing.] But she was standing there and embraced me, and I embraced her. The recognition between us was instant. I didn’t speak with her the rest of the night, because she had a presentation.
When the evening was over, she said, “Cedric, we should keep in touch.” We exchanged phone numbers. She called me yesterday and invited me up to her place. I’m thinking of going up there (to Grand Marais), because the connection is this: She’s with the Pleiadian stars (seven sisters) and I’m with the seven brothers, the Big Dipper. We’re both connected to the stars, in our own way. We recognize each other.
It’s almost like when I met Gary Quinn (a Los Angeles-based intuitive and speaker) in Fargo (for the Fargo Edge Life Holistic Expo). I saw him at the coffee place. I’m over here and I turn and look at him and he turned and looked at me. We just looked at each other. And I said, “How can you have one of my spirit helpers?” I realized that one of the spirit helpers is helping us both.
Christine has said that she knows the Pleiadians have talked to Native Americans for centuries. I do know that the reason she came back here is because the ancestors are here. She’s here for a purpose. But notice that there are not any Native Americans working with her. Once they realize who she really is, once they get past looking at her skin color and look at her heart, they will know that she really is a messenger and an ambassador.
A lot of them can’t get over that. My own brothers have their own lives and I don’t change them, because we’re all equal. Baby spirits and newborn spirits need rules and laws, otherwise they are not going to survive. As a spirit gets older, the less and less it needs them. In time, we won’t need rules and laws at all, because we’re not coming back any more. Over 70 percent of the people on planet Earth today are not coming back. I have to go back to turn the lights off! [Laughing.]
In reading Cedric’s book, Mandan Dreams, I picked up on the fact that Nature speaks to those who listen.
Janet: Our connection with nature is really strong if you develop those senses. I can communicate with trees and clouds and even water. If you open your senses, that is something you can do more readily.
Cedric: When you’re all alone without food and water, you can talk to Nature. You can talk to the clouds. You can talk to the blades of grass. When you talk to the Earth, the Earth listens to you. Even those stones sitting over there are alive.
Stones came to me and told me about the sliding door. The sliding door is a spirit door. They said to take four rose quartz stones and leave them by your door. Only the spirits of love and light can come in. They will keep out all those who cannot cross the threshold. So I leave four rose quartz in front of my sliding door at home.
Stones are here for a purpose. Plants are here for a purpose. Every bird and animal has a purpose and a way to help us. My messenger is an eagle. I love deer. I walked up to a doe, a baby, that was out in a field. It was just amazing, because who could go out and do that? You have guys up in trees breathing hard with a big bow and arrow watching a deer with a big rack. “There he is, there he is!” They cannot walk up to a baby deer and touch it. No way! When you’re connected with the Earth with one heart and one mind, you can do that — and I’ve done that.
I’m going to share one dream. There was a river, and people are crossing this river. They’re riding in canoes and boats and inner tubes — anything that floats. They were all Native Americans, with long hair, and I noticed how they were dressed. Very plain. No fancy beadwork. No Ojibway flower designs. Very plain and simple. Their clothes were made out of deerskin.
My guide asked, “What are they wearing on their necks?”
All of them on their necks were wearing a leather pouch.
And my guide said, “What are they carrying in that leather pouch?”
I looked and said, “A rainbow.” My guide looked at me, smiled and he beamed.
He said, “Yes, a rainbow.”
I told this dream to a friend, Peter Giangrande at Enchanted Rock Garden, and I said, “Peter, how can you get a rainbow in a leather bag?”
He said, “You know, Ced, a rainbow moonstone.”
Yes, rainbow moonstones. You hold them up and you can see the rainbow. The rainbows incorporate so much in them, and the stone itself was used to cross the waters. What waters did they cross? Spiritual waters.
The stones will outlast us, when our bodies turn to dust. Stones will still be here.
Janet: That’s what Gilbert Walking Bull said, that the stones are the oldest living things, so we call them Grandfathers. That’s why they have so much respect for the stones in the sweat lodge.
On helping others:
Cedric: I help people because of my guides, and I don’t do this for everyone. If a person comes to me to help them, I ask my guides if I can help them. Yes or no. And they tell me. Or if somebody wants a name, I ask if I should name this person, and it is a yes or no. Like with Janet, for example. I helped Janet. Janet’s name is Sacred Sun Flower Woman. When I asked the guides and prayed about it, they showed me Janet sitting on the ground in the distance. On one side there was a row of trees and on that side there was a row of trees. The sun was shining and there were all kinds of flowers.
I called Sam and was talking about it, and he said, “You know what sitting on the ground means?”
I said, “Yes, you told me before.” She’s sitting on the ground because Janet’s going to live a long, long life. I have told her that many times: “Don’t be eating pizza all of the time. Go walk around. Go swimming once in a while!” (Laughing.)
So that’s how I do names. When I do family names — for nieces and nephews or grandsons and granddaughters — when I do naming for them, it’s different. When I am praying the ancestors all are here and they say, “Use my name. Use my name.” Because they want to be remembered.
On being a Turtle Priest and going through war:
Cedric: I never wanted to do this. If my brother Merlin had lived, he would have been the Turtle Priest, not me. I am the youngest son of my father to reach adulthood. I struggled so hard with it.
When I got wounded in Vietnam, I was 19 years old. I had skull fractures and both my eardrums were blown out. I had a broken neck. I had burns and shrapnel on my back. I had two bullet holes in my right leg, and I had metal stuck in my left leg. And I was in a coma. In one attack. Everyone else was killed. Dead.
I never knew what happened to me until 22 years later. I wrote a letter to the Navajo Times. I wrote that I needed a statement for the V.A. I had a friend named Ray who served with me in Vietnam, and he was Navajo, so I wrote to the Navajo Times. I got a phone call back and a woman said, “Cedric, I read your letter. I am Ray’s sister. Ray is in Chinle.”
Me and Janet went down to Arizona in 1995. The whole thing was emotional, 25 years after Vietnam.
I told Ray, “I’ve got long hair and I’ll be wearing braids.”
Ray said, “I’ll be in a pickup truck.”
So we pulled into a gas station at Chinle, Arizona, towards evening, and Janet says, “Look, there’s a pickup, there’s a pickup and there’s a pickup.” Every vehicle we saw was a pickup. The sun was going down and Janet says, “I think that’s him.” He was limping as he walked toward me. I don’t care how people change physically, but their eyes never change. It was such an emotional reunion for me and him. He asked me to follow him back to his house. Ray introduced us to his wife, his daughter and his two sons.
We were sitting in the living room and I said, “Ray, I don’t know what happened to me. I was in the hospital in Japan, and then they sent me to a hospital in California, and then they sent me to Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Colorado. I had so many surgeries and so much happened to me. I had flashbacks. My sister Vickie told me that my mom was in the house when a government car with a big star on it came up the street, and they were watching as it pulled up in front of the house. My mother told Vickie, “I’m not letting them in here.” Vickie said they knocked on the kitchen door so she let them in, and they asked for my mom. They pulled out a big brown envelope and said, “Do you have a son named Cedric?” And then she fainted. Finally they told her I was MIA — missing in action.
Apparently what happened was because everyone was killed, they put everybody in body bags. I was in a coma and I couldn’t speak up for myself, so they sent me to Japan. So the Army lost me. So they told my mother I was MIA. My mom went into town and saw my aunt, and my aunt called the American Red Cross. The Red Cross was looking for me for about three weeks. During all of this time, I was still in a coma. Well, they finally found me and they told my mom I was in an Army hospital in the Pacific in Tokyo, Japan. All they would tell her was that I was getting the best of care.
Janet: Ray didn’t speak a lot of English, so we got the story from Ray through his wife. He said there had been a firefight and everyone in his platoon had died. Ray said they were putting everybody in zipper bags. He said, “I saw you lying out there because your hand was up. You were the only one who was alive.”
Ray was a mortar man associated with Cedric’s regiment. Ray went to his sergeant, a black man, and said, “There’s one out there who’s alive.” At that time, there was racial tension between the troops, and the sergeant said, “If you want him, you go get him.” So Ray took out his medicine and he prayed and held it in his hand and said, “Grandfather, I don’t want to die today.”
Ray said, “I went out there and saw you lying there, and I saw your glasses lying on the ground. I wear glasses so I know how important they are, so I picked them up and put them in your pocket. You had blood coming out of your eyes and your ears and your mouth.” Ray picked Cedric up and dragged him all the way across the field, but then one minute away from safety, Ray got hit in the knee with sniper fire. So the two of them were evaced on a helicopter.
It’s kind of amazing that there were only two Indians there, and Cedric was rescued by a Navajo man.
Cedric was a gunner on top of a tank, and the last thing he told me he remembered was that there was cross talk on the radio, saying “the bridge is out.” When he woke up at the hospital in Japan, his head was all bandaged up. He looked down the row of men and saw their bandaged heads and said, “I don’t look that bad, do I?” He didn’t remember anything, so every day he would pick up his dog tags and memorize his name and serial number so when the doctor came by he would be able to give an answer. For two months, he didn’t have a clue.
Cedric: It was a long, long struggle. I didn’t want to accept the Turtle Priest. I didn’t want to accept anything. I didn’t want to go on anymore. I really gave up on a lot of things. My girlfriend, Debbie, had a family with seven girls and one boy. I met her in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I used to talk to her all the time on the phone when I was in the Army. I wrote to her a few times and then I didn’t write anymore.
On a convalescent leave from the hospital, I asked my friend Sherman, “Whatever happened to Debbie?”
“Debbie got killed,” he said. “She took her dad’s pickup and went to a dance, and she rolled the pickup. After that I didn’t care anymore. I went even further off the deep end.
After I got involved with fasting and the Sun Dance, my whole life changed completely. It was like two lives, like two different people. My uncle, Sam Little Owl, said, “I want you to get an education, a college degree. I don’t want you to tell people to go to school. I want you to do it yourself. I don’t want you to tell people to be sober, I want you to live that way. You have to live as an example.”
So I went to school. I was at Minot State getting ready to graduate. I was a senior, vice president of the Indian Club, and we were at a coffee table waiting for the club meeting to start. I had my portfolio of all of my artwork with me because I wanted to go to Savannah (College of Art and Design) in Georgia. I wanted to be an artist my whole life.
A woman sitting nearby asked to look at my pictures, and I said, “Sure.” So she was looking at my slides, artwork, paintings, drawings, watercolors, and she suddenly stopped and said, “You’re Cedric Mandan.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “Yeah, I am Cedric Mandan.”
She said, “I used to talk with you when I was a little girl.”
I didn’t know how she could have done that, and she said, “I am Debbie’s sister. You used to call the house and I would answer the phone and say, ‘Cedric’s on the phone.’ Mom and Dad always talked about when you and Debbie got together and how you guys were going to do this and that.”
And I said, “Well, when Sherman told me Debbie died, I just didn’t want to go on anymore.
She said, “What?”
“Yeah, Sherman said Debbie got killed in a pickup truck.”
She said, “No, Debbie’s alive. Debbie thinks that you’re dead. They told her you were killed in Vietnam, and she got married. Can I call Debbie and tell her?”
I said, “Yeah, you can tell her.”
Debbie’s a grandmother. She’s been married all of these years. So I got information on where she worked and called her. It’s amazing how her voice is exactly the same. We talked on the phone a couple of times after that. She gave me an eagle feather, which I keep with my stuff. I saw her in a dream in a jacket with long fringes on it. Somehow, before my life is over I believe we will meet again. I don’t know why, but I just do.
That’s so interesting that both of you thought each other was dead.
Janet: It’s kind of a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing.
Cedric: People think I’m lucky because things happen to inform me, but it’s really hard. I’m not lucky at all. I’m nothing special. For the ceremonies for people with cancer and brain tumors and other conditions, I’ve never charged one person even a nickel in my whole life. And I’m not going to, because it’s not from me. It’s from the guides. I’m here to do the work.
Janet: When I traveled with Cedric for all of these ceremonies, I had the fortune to meet some of the traditional people, and that’s what has helped me most of all. They weren’t arrogant or condescending or anything. When you’re close to them, you can feel it. They’re loving people. That’s who Cedric learned from.
People today, when they find out they have abilities or talent, they really think that they are important. It’s a trap that can keep you from completely fulfilling your purpose.
You think it’s you, but as you write in your book, Cedric, it’s the spirits who are giving you the information.
Cedric: All the time. They say they are with us all the time, and they say, “Why don’t they ask us to help them?” They’re waiting for people to ask them. They don’t interfere.
They do so many things for me all the time, but I am still the same person and I haven’t forgotten who I am and why I do what I do. A lot of people forget that vision. As time goes by and the older they get, the more they strive to be somebody. But it’s not about that.
You also receive a lot of information through dreams.
Cedric: I travel to the dreamworld always. As a matter of fact — I don’t know if I am going to start a whole new fad with this, but I’ll tell you anyway — the spirit man came to me and said, “I want you to get a purple sage agate. It’s going to help you transcend in your dreams.” So I went to Peter at Enchanted Rock Garden and asked for a purple sage agate.
Peter said, “You know, Cedric, those are hard to come by. I can’t get those. They only come from the state of Oregon. They’re very rare.”
Peter was with a customer and soon I saw him peak around from his desk and saw I was still there. He helped another customer, and I was walking really slow. Finally he called me over and said, “Ced, I have some in my private collection. I’ll bring it tomorrow.” So he gave me a chunk of purple sage.
When you get it wet, it’s just so purple. I don’t know its properties, but what spirit man said was, “For you, it’s purple sage. For someone else, it will be a different stone.”
In a dream I saw Socrates. It was in Greece and we were sitting on a stone ledge. I was a young guy. He came up to me, slapped a stone in my palm and closed my hand. He said, “That’s the first stone.” I was sitting there holding the stone for a long time. Then I opened up my hand later. It was the chameleon stone (chrysoberyl).
I also had an old Chinese man who came to me and said, “Don’t pray with your head. Don’t pray with your mouth. Pray with your heart.” I have a statue of a little Chinese man and keep it as a reminder to pray with my heart.
I used to write my dreams down, but now I don’t. They are all so real. I don’t need to burn incense and chant. The ghosts can go anywhere. I can do it in a car, I can do it here, I can do it on a bus. It doesn’t matter where I am at. I don’t know how to describe it.
One time a woman in Quincy, Ill., was talking about her son, who was playing football with his friends outside. He reached to get the ball and ran into a tree, and he had a big bump on his head and got dizzy.
I said, “Where’s he at now?”
She said, “He’s upstairs.”
I told her, “My little helper is a farmer boy who wears farmer pants, bib overalls, and is about 7 or 8 years old. My little helper is sitting on a chair swinging his legs. He’s looking at your son, waiting for him to get up. He’ll get up, and he’ll stay with him for a while.”
That woman went to a psychic medium, and the psychic medium was telling the woman about her guides. She asked about her boy.
“Does he have any guides with him?”
The psychic medium said, “Yes. And there’s also a farmer boy with him.”
The woman was blown away by that. She called me up later and told me about it.
I know the names of my guides. When people pray, they say it’s like farting in the wind. Prayers on paper are worthless. Prayers, when you don’t know the source, very seldom fall upon the ears of a compassionate guide, because they won’t take the responsibility for it due to the consequences. But when you pray to the guides and you know their names — when you know the source — things work. Always mention your guides by name.
I have 16 guides. I love all of them, but the one I love the most is called Half Holy Man. He’s got a sense of humor. He likes to laugh, but he is the most compassionate of them all. He was a physical man. He had a hard, hard life, but he still loves the humor.
You see, Indians are not stoic. Whenever I do ceremonies, I always incorporate something positive in them. We can do this and have fun doing it. We don’t have to put ashes on our head. We can do it joyfully.
LISTEN: “La Marseillaise,” The French National Anthem, sung by Janet Michele Red Feather in French
Janet: Being in touch with your spirit guides, which is really important at this time, is not about power, which is what some people think. They’ll fast to get their power animal. But it’s not about power. It’s about understanding ourselves. The way they say it in New Age parlance is that we are multidimensional beings. With these spirit guides, we’re just incorporating different parts of our multidimensional selves. We’re bringing them together.
That’s where the songs I sing come in. The more diverse the songs are, the more open the consciousness is and the more possibilities exist for incorporating more parts of ourselves. Because we are all of those. We’ve lived many lives. There’s a layering and a concentric feeling to the energies that we are.
We’re not what we think we are — these finite, little dots. There’s a lot more to each of us.
On the Mandan people:
Cedric: The Mandans have their own story. We came from the Gulf of Mexico. We came here on ships, on boats that didn’t have oars. We’ve always had our pipe. We planted corn, had tattoos and made pottery. We had a Corn Priest and a Turtle Priest. We had our ceremonies. We’re connected to the stars. We had prophecies.
All of these things were with the Mandans for all time. We were at Cahokia in St. Louis and then divided up. Some took the Mississippi and some took the Missouri. That was the last time we were one tribe, and then after that we divided up to smaller and smaller tribes. But we know our history of where we came from — and we know the history at the end.
“The end” is not the end. The Hopis call it the return of the blue star. Everything I have read about the return of the blue star has been false. Everything. I know the real blue star, and the prophecy is not here yet.
Janet: Stay tuned.
I think it’s significant to mention that these things are not stories, and they are not myths. A comment was made that Americans trivialize everything. I think in our culture that we tend to do that so we can understand things that are really different, but what the Natives have to share is so simple. That’s what people don’t get about it. It’s simple, it’s beautiful and it’s helpful.
So we take it literally that owls did talk to the people, and the people actually understood what they were saying. That’s the connection we’re trying to get back. But we’re always making bumperstickers out of everything.
Cedric bought me a CD of Stephen Mitchell translating the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, and I played it every day on the way to work. Initially when I listened to it, I thought, “This is so annoying. He’s just deliberately speaking in contradictions. It doesn’t mean anything. He’s trying to frustrate me with all of these seemingly oxymoronic gems of wisdom.”
And then a couple of years later I kept listening to it, and all of a sudden everything he spoke was nectar. It all made sense. I just wasn’t ready to hear it earlier, and now, because of my experience, I understood it. For instance, when he says, “The master uses everything and wastes nothing.” Years ago, I would have thought that was a bumpersticker for recycling, but there’s a deeper meaning in it and now I can grab it. It’s simple wisdom. The master uses everything. Everything that happens in life, even seemingly hurtful or negative things, is there as fodder for our growth.
It’s important to meditate on these things and absorb them and understand them.
LISTEN: “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” sung by Janet Michele Red Feather in Latin
Janet: It’s interesting, because I was in an all-Jewish elementary school. It wasn’t a parochial school, but the students were Jewish and the teachers were Christian. So we had to put on a Christmas program and we learned to sing in Latin.
On religion and spirituality:
Janet: It’s so great not to be affiliated with a religion. Religion, as Cedric taught me, was an attempt to organize spirituality. Even though I was raised by Jewish parents — I love them, I am proud of them, I love the ethnic heritage — I’m not attached to any of it. It’s a part of me, but it’s not the essence of who I am.
I’ve had dreams about the Buddha. I’ve had dreams of Kwan Yin and I can connect with her. I’ve even dreamt about Mary. I’m not limited, and it’s so liberating. I can work with all of these beautiful deities, instead of “I’m Jewish and I’m not allowed to talk with Jesus.”
Cedric: It’s an old Indian saying, I guess, because an old Indian said it. He said, “Religion is for those who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.”
Do you think there will be a mass awakening?
Cedric: There will be a mass awakening, because people are becoming more awake – that the government and laws and society cannot change people. They’re going to realize the truth – that the 9/11 was hokey pokey, was made up. They were trying to start another World War. They needed a war really bad. But people are seeing through the fakery. People are going to see that the government is going to want a bigger war, but it’s going to backfire on them.
The gap is getting bigger and the changes are happening. People think it’s “The End.” But it’s not the end. It’s the beginning of something really positive. We chose to come back in this lifetime to experience it.