Black Elk Was Right

One of the articles in Creating A Future We Can Live With (IC#40)
Originally published in Spring 1995 on page 44
Copyright (c)1995, 1997 by Context Institute

The grandmothers came to speak again today at the great Circle of All Nations, and once again I was filled with reverence and awe. One by one, they came forward into the great hall, each wearing their traditional tribal regalia. It seemed to me I heard the drum today for the first time – its beat reverberating throughout the council chamber like the heartbeat at a great birth. I was so proud that my great grandmother was one of those chosen to share memories of how this great peace, foretold by spiritual leaders, medicine men and women, and seers for thousands of years, had come to pass. Here are her words:

Great Grandmother Speaks

Mitakuye Oyasin, All my Relations.

I would like to remind this great gathering of the vision of Oglala Sioux medicine man Black Elk and the vision he had at Harney Peak.

"Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

And I saw the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father, and I saw that it was holy."

I was just a young woman when the first Spiritual Unity of Tribes gatherings were held on the Pasqua Indian Reserve in Saskatchewan. Each morning at dawn the people gathered and the medicine men would bring out their pipes and hold their morning ceremonies.

In 1988, the Elders were insistent and filled with urgency. Understanding must be given to all of humankind, they had said. The time had come to begin preparing the people for the fulfillment of Black Elk’s prophecies.

That was before the third great shaking of the Earth at the turn of the century. The lives of the people then were filled with the pursuit of material and physical pleasures. They had forgotten the values of respect, tolerance, compassion, and honesty.

They had embraced the false values of rationalism and had moved far from the spiritual teachings of their ancestors. There were great wars then, and great fighting. Men, women and children were all victims. In that time, the grandmothers had lost their voices. Mother Earth was ruled by men, and the energy of male and female was out of balance.

But at those first gatherings, there came those who remembered Black Elk’s vision and who knew that these days we are living today would one day come.

On the whole Earth, only a few thousand came to the first gatherings. Within seven years, gatherings were held from Siberia in the North to Australia in the South, and in the heart of Turtle Island (North America). They were held until wars and economic collapse stopped all travel for a time. At the last gathering only the Old Ones met at Six Nations in eastern Turtle Island.

Then the third great shaking of the Earth came – the great destruction.

The Great Peace

I remember my great fear in those three days of darkness. During that time, I remembered the words of the Elders at the gatherings. I remembered the prophecies they shared and the certitude they had that these days of peace would one day come.

I remembered Black Elk’s vision and his prayer when he returned to Harney Peak as a very old man.

"Here at the center of the world where you took me when I was young and taught me: here, old I stand, and the tree is withered, Grandfather, my Grandfather!

Again, perhaps for the last time on this Earth, I recall the great vision you sent me. It may be that some root of the Sacred Tree still lives. Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds! Hear me, that they may once again go back to the Sacred Hoop, and the Good Red Road, the shielding tree.

In sorrow, I am sending a feeble voice, O six powers of the world. Hear me in my sorrow, for I may never call again. O make my people live."

I am here speaking to you today as an Old One because that great prayer was answered. The Sacred Tree does live, flower, and bloom. Here we sit, all nations as one nation, hoops in many hoops. We the Native peoples of the Earth have walked the Good Red Road from North to South and from West to East to bring back to all humanity how to live the sacred spiritual teachings.

I have lived to see this great peace unfold, I have lived long enough to see the Indian Nations of the world invited to the table of the United Nations, from which they were first excluded. I have lived long enough to see the coming together of all the nations of the Earth into one hoop of many hoops.

We the grandmothers are the image of Mother Earth. We give life and strength and are the foundation of the family. When our voices were not heard at the table of nations, there was no heartbeat of love by which to bind together the sons and daughters of Mother Earth.

I have lived long enough to see this day, on which the wisdom of the grandmothers and their knowledge of the ancient life is once again being shared with all the human race.

This is a great day to have lived to share with you.

Susan Stark Christianson is a freelance writer and communications consultant living in Juneau, Alaska. She has attended many Spiritual Unity of Tribes gatherings and spoken with tribal elders regarding native prophecy.

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