Healing and Truth: An Indigenous Perspective


Throughout the centuries, a people existed on this continent who were very successful in maintaining supremely healthy bodies and a sound mental state, living within a remarkable, democratic structure. Tribal people were not afraid to use their minds and they studied what they observed in the Creator’s creation.

Their concepts, the basis of their studies, was from the highest source of all things. They rarely lied and never broke a treaty, which they considered as their solemn words. Truth was highly respected by them and they practiced their truths. They certainly had a track record of mental and physical health, and they had an added concern for the well-being of their environment.

They arrived at an enviable, harmonious lifestyle by admitting to and acknowledging a supreme power or an omnipotent Great Mystery a Great Spirit, a power from which they could learn on a daily basis. The Sioux called this entity Wakan Tanka.

Through my observations, I have come to believe this Creator makes nothing and displays nothing that is not a pattern of absolute, truthful harmony. Math and physics have been formulated and designed by this Creator to display absolute truths. A ball always reacts to gravitational force while on this planet. It falls down, not up. An animal always responds to its basic instincts so it will survive. As long as man does not tamper with the flora and fauna, it does survive and serves its purpose.

A significant number of traditional Native Americans image the Creator, the Great Mystery as the allotter of all healing. When we approach the spirit world to beseech for our healing, we are communicating into the realm of mystery. What is this force, this mystery, upon which these people relied so successfully? It was the entire area or subject of the beyond — the Supreme Being. Its creation is one of profound mystery, so we can only speculate within the realm of pure supposition. The true traditionals I have known would only say, “I don’t know.”

Many wars, arguments and negativity have come down from the ages to the present as to what or who that entity is. Who is God? Some people actually will kill you if you don’t believe them when they say they definitely know who God is. The fighting in Bosnia is a current example of how people fight over a question that I do not believe can ever be fully answered. I believe the person who says, “I don’t know” is far more truthful than the person who taps on my door and tries to convince me that they know for sure.

When we communicate in a sweat lodge to the spirit world, who are we talking to? Some say God. Others think that they are praying or beseeching to those particular spirits that are drawn to the ceremony, spirits that will hopefully extend a helping healing or an observation to requests.

Manifesting spirit
At the University of South Dakota, a healing for bereaved families of an airplane crash took place when the holy man Chief Eagle Feather predicted the finding of six frozen bodies five speech students and their pilot/ teacher — in the snow after they had been missing for more than a month. Was it God or spirit beings or both who observed, entered and eventually made significant predictions in this ceremony? What is a spirit that manifests itself in communicative form in a particular ceremony?

I think it is simply former humans who enlightened themselves while they were here. Consequently, they earned a higher threshold after they entered the spirit world. They were allowed to pass to a higher plane of knowledge based on their work here on earth. They had already cultivated a love for humanity and the earth. Otherwise, they would not have bothered to comeback to respond in a ceremony.

When you have the chance for such an experience — a powerful spirit beseechment — you are quite convinced that spirits actually do exist. For me, their predictions that come true area convincing argument that the spirits are allowed a form of higher knowledge and mobility unobtainable to earthbound humans.

The Great Force seems to allow this high degree of empowerment that we, earthbound humans, do not have. The spirit in Eagle Feather’s ceremony, Grey Weasel, knew where the bodies were located and also some unique circumstances that a conjuror would not have been able to uncover.

“Look for one to be off away from the others,” Grey Weasel reported.

Specifics as to a female passenger’s hair style and large-framed eyeglasses were described. In the fatal spin of the airplane, her seat belt became unhooked and she was projected out through the plane’s canopy by centrifugal force, She fell at a distance.

“Within a day or two,” Grey Weasel added, “two people who will not be looking for the airplane will be led to it by an animal.”

The prediction held true.

The Creator’s goodness
In every spirit-calling ceremony I have witnessed, each was for a good or ethical purpose. Many traditional Sioux do not believe the Creator has any need to create a devil or related evil force. This, many of us believe, is an invention of dominant society or an elevated priesthood to acquire control of people through fear. So called “evil” or “devil” calling ceremonies cannot exist among Sioux traditionals.

Our spirit world and our Creator is all good. We think of the Creator as all knowledge and all Truth. This is the source of good or harmony that we can all acquire if we would but learn to respect all of its Creation.

Many people buy the theory or propaganda, as proposed by the dominant society’s beliefs, that upon death you will suddenly arrive with all knowledge and will sit at the right hand of some great male-figured God. You can see this polyester crowd on your Sunday morning television.

Quite a marketing ploy this is, the big promise of sudden knowledge. You could be extremely prejudiced, patriarchal and a genuine, self-serving Archie Bunker, and poof! you suddenly are rewarded with the face and knowledge of the white male, man-God. It sounds good, but I don’t think I want to take that chance. Had I observed a better track record displayed and practiced by its proponents, then I might give this pronouncement some attention. Instead, I have observed just the opposite.

To receive or make oneself more aware or more participating within the realm of Natural Way healing, the recipient will have to shed much of the superstitions and blockages that have been fostered by dominant society belief systems. This is but a supposition. lam but a mere human. I could be wrong. This is a good statement to practice, it even has its own healing effect. The world of humanity would be so much more introspective and harmonic if it could learn to say, “1 really do not know for sure.”

Observable Truth
What is the ingredient that brings these spirits forth? It is the obvious, observable Truth that abounds and exists in all Creation. Within this spirit world, I believe God exists.

This is pretty basic, but let us build from this point. The Creator is everywhere, but if a spirit (a former human, what else?) has arrived at a truthful existence and had continually sought knowledge prior to its departure from this world, then is it not possible (or obvious) that it would be on a higher plane or a more harmonic threshold once it reaches the spirit world? Why? Because it is more representative, more in harmony, with what is All Truth and All Knowledge. I also believe these spirits have a closer communicative access to the Higher Power. God gives us an option — to learn more truth, more knowledge, while we are here upon our earth journey.

I believe this is the integral key to healing. How truthful are you and, of course, have you sought and acquired knowledge? We create a flow that allows a reception of the mysterious force that can circumvent all form of illness and reintegrate the wholeness of an afflicted individual. As your knowledge and recognition builds, you will find your requests in ceremony opening yourself to the truthful flow of healing power.

Often this power enables an ongoing healthy lifestyle. It need not be projected solely on curing illness. Why? Because you become more closely related with the flow of truthful functions happening daily in your life. You are much more in harmony as the Creator has designed it. What about those folks who continually live a life of lies? They are not in the flow as the Creator has designed life, and here or in the great beyond, their falseness will catch up with them. They certainly will be ineffective if they should ever attempt a healing ceremony.

Alcoholics Anonymous has such a healing success because it is a return back to the Natural Truth. There is a calling upon a higher force, a reliance and a truthful admittance. The animal world within this Natural World doesn’t have distilleries. They do not introduce foreign, human-made substances into their bodies. Down through time, they have been quite successful at survival if left to their nature-endowed facilities. In AA, after the truthful admittance, a truthful healing attempt follows.

It is a new time for everyone. Technology has opened up a myriad of new knowledge that has always existed. We are now finally free to speculate upon the great cosmological and theological truths to arrive at a healing for ourselves and the world around us. I hope the most rational readers will allow me my new-found freedom to speculate, suppose and wonder.

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Ed McGaa, Eagle Man
Ed McGaa, Eagle Man, is from the Oglala Sioux reservation. He holds a law degree, was a Marine fighter pilot, danced six Sun Dances and was taught by Sioux holy men Chief Eagle Feather and Chief Fools Crow. His is the author of "Red Cloud" (Dillon Press, 1972), 'Mother Earth Spirituality" (Harper & Row, 1990), "Rainbow Tribe" (Harper/Collins, 1992) and "Native Wisdom- Perceptions of the Natural Way" (Four Directions Publishing, 1995).


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