At the Sacred Grounds, Talladega Prison
By Sings Many Songs (As told by Ghost Dancer)
October 25, 2016 – Before the brothers entered the sweat lodge, Ghost Dancer recalls, “I was drumming and singing outside the lodge teaching the brothers and all the little winged ones came and landed on the fences surrounding the grounds. And a large crow sat itself down on the telephone pole above and they were all trying to sing with me. That was a blessing. And then a beautiful butterfly landed on me and sat there enjoying the music, a nice blue one.”
When Ghost and the brothers entered the lodge, they discovered many spiders sitting on the tarp overhead, so as their ceremonies started; Ghost sang a spider song for them. As Ghost sang, one came down and landed on his face. He just kept singing. He laughingly said the spider kissed him and then crawled down and sat on his shoulder and listened while he continued his teaching.
The message of this part of the ceremony was to help the brothers learn about the importance of their role as fathers. Ghost wanted the guys to realize what a huge impact their incarceration has on their children. He helped them understand that children do not understand why their fathers are gone and they are afraid. The children know only that their fathers are being punished for bad things they have done; and yet in a child’s mind, they somehow believe that they themselves are the ones to blame; that their father’s suffering is their fault.
The point is brought home that for any child to grow up healthy and strong, they need a strong father to love and protect them and set a good example.
So these incarcerated men are learning that to truly love their children, they must step up and act like real men. Ghost said, “As the brothers contemplate these things in the intensity of steaming heat born of the meeting of hot sacred stone people and sacred water, the lessons will not soon be forgotten.”
At the end of the day, when Ghost called to tell of these extraordinary experiences, his voice sounded weak and raspy. He explained this was just from hours of singing and dehydration.
Later Ghost wrote: “So you see, these are the experiences I’m talking about. The cramps and muscle spasms, are nothing compared to the joy and beauty of seeing and enjoying all the other.”
A word from Sings Many Songs: This is the last of Ghost Dancer’s teachings garnered from files of daily correspondences shared during the last nine years of his incarceration. From this point on all posts by, for and about Ghost will be written in the here and now — at long last Ghost is free from the horrors of chains and cages. He has begun the struggles, dreams and goals of being free in body as well as spirit.
This is not to say we won’t be drawing on accounts written in the past, for in truth, Ghost has a huge personal story to tell and preparing for this has been a years-long effort. Next time we will share some about Ghost’s accomplishments as a spiritual leader learning, practicing, and sharing sacred traditions of many Native peoples and his vision for bringing them to all who would benefit in the wider world.
Then Ghost will begin answering the question people are so quick to ask about people in prison, “What did he do?” Little do too many people seem to understand, that in America today there are literally thousands of innocent people and even more who are so over-sentenced as to be an abomination. Think about it… what would you say if you asked the question and someone said they were innocent? Would you just roll your eyes in disbelief? And when that person finds themselves in court – how should they respond to the inevitable measure of remorse that influences the severity of their sentence? How can a person beg forgiveness for something they didn’t do? And when some prosecutor offers a special “deal” for a lighter sentence if they plead guilty, how does an innocent person face the dilemma that creates? Where is justice when an innocent person is asked to lie?
Ghost will tell the full story of his life, who he is at the core, and how he got tangled up in a web of deceit and twisted treachery in high places. With honest candor Ghost will share the facts about his youth and early influences, his God-given talents, his mistakes, and his unyielding determination to follow a sacred path that brought him into direct conflict with a system of strong-arm “justice” determined to do whatever it took to isolate, punish and silence him forever. . . ALL FOR THE RIGHT TO PRAY.
Your “thumbs up” means you care and that means the all the world. Thank you!