All For the Right to Pray (22)

Part Five – Sweet Freedom

Chapter 22 – Fateful Journey

By Ghost Dancer

In early 1995 word got to me that many of the Sun Dance chiefs, elders and teachers in Canada had been murdered by the authorities in Canada. They had planted explosives on the Sun Dance grounds and sacred ceremonial grounds so that when the Native peoples came to do ceremonies they would set off the explosives. I had friends that lived up there and word came to me that they needed someone to help teach the ancient ceremonies and traditional Sun Dance ceremonies including singing the songs. I was asked to come as soon as I could. My parole officer said I could go, so I went. It was a journey that was a destiny as well. We left Florida on April 5th or sixth and I was arrested on May 11th, 1995 so our trip was a little more than a month. 

Cat and I took a round-about route to get there. We needed to make money to help pay for the trip. As was usual with us, we always found ways to sell things along the way. Plus I could always make extra money reading people and trying to give them the best advice to help them in their paths. First we traveled to my mom’s then on to Arkansas where we stayed and mined for crystals, and I read several people each day. This was making money to pay for travel expenses.

As anyone knows driving an RV, they don’t get good gas mileage especially if you are pulling another vehicle behind it. After we left Arkansas we traveled to Oklahoma to the different rezs where I have relatives, friends, spiritual leaders and elders. I talked to them about what I was fixing to go do. The elders thanked me for doing this but also cautioned that forces would not be happy about it. Some in government and corporation money people had other plans and I would be going against that. 

Spiritual people are harder to defeat than those that don’t have the faith and spiritual strength to withstand persecution, hardships etc. My mentors told me that I must follow my calling and do what is right. But it would come with a cost. We left Oklahoma and went on to Arizona where I met with other spiritual leaders and friends. They advised me basically the same way.

We traveled with three of the wolves having left the pups with my brother Greg, my sister Teresa and some of our friends. We kept the adults and Pejuta, the white one who was born two days before any of the others. In Lakota, Pejuta means medicine. These were all the pups that had been conceived during our day at the Harper ranch in November, 1994 while we were delivering the sacred buffalo stone crystal to Miracle, the sacred white buffalo calf. During the ceremony Montaseetha (Morning star) came into season and Shungamanitou wakan (wolf) bred her. Pejuta was a lot bigger than the other wolf pups and he would become even bigger than his parents before he was even 6 months old.

Anyway these are the ones that stayed with us and traveled with us. We made our way to the Yakama rez in Washington state then on to Idaho and the rez at Coeur d’Elene, just outside the town of the same name and spent some time there. Each place we stopped we bartered, sold and traded. Trading goods is always fun and helps all parties get things they want or have need of. It also opens up doors to new friendships and ventures in learning more. 

From Idaho we drove on into British Columbia crossing the border at a place called East Port on May 1st 1995. I remember this because they said, “Happy birthday tomorrow.” We entered Canada legally; naturally we were screened and they ran a check on us. We were cleared with no problems and allowed to enter with travel permits for 6 months. I was instructed by the border agents, roughly the equivalent of the FBI in the U.S. to stay out of the tribal politics.

We first set up in Cranbrook and stayed there for several days fishing and letting the wolves enjoy the freedom of the Moiye rivers – the big Moiye and the little Moiye – where herds of elk walked everywhere and had no fear of us. We then moved further north to Radium Springs. This was a beautiful place and we camped out there for about three days to enjoy all the wonders of the wilderness and the hot springs also, then continued on with our journey northward. 

When we arrived at Hazelton, we stopped at the restaurant just on this side of the river, with the rez being just on the other side. This was a tribal restaurant with members working there. I had a good conversation with a couple of the young men and women and they started making phone calls. Cat and I then drove over the small bridge to enter the rez and went to the tribal office as proper protocol of tradition requires and introduced us as coming in response to being asked. While I was inside the tribal office, Cat stayed outside at the RV with the wolves. Tribal members came over checking out the RV and  the wolves and Cat too. The people were curious; they had never met anyone from Florida much less Natives from the Southeast. And yeah they were really interested in the wolves too.

The tribal chairman was not there that day. He was in a meeting with other leaders from the other rezs about what was going on. We were given a place to park and set up. Everyone was excited because I would be teaching the Sun Dance ceremony and songs and Inipi ceremony and songs. I had brought with me copies of the songs and their translations so that they could read and study them. While Cat set up the campsite and gave the wolves some much needed play time, I went with others to the sacred grounds.

We first checked the ground to make sure no charges had been set and no cameras were setup anywhere for surveillance  of us doing anything. I was told that no more explosions had happened since the call had gone out to me. They had lost all of their spiritual leaders so they figured the government wasn’t worrying about them now but I wanted to be sure that nothing like this happened again. So I asked them to gather volunteers for patrol duties to watch the grounds and watch for anyone who does not belong here.

We began teaching that night, working with all these people to help bring back the teachings and songs and ceremonies which were taken from them by those who were in power and eliminating all the ones who knew how to teach and conduct these things. I was always taught to share knowledge and not hold it to myself. This allows others to step up and begin teaching as well but many in the old customs didn’t share their knowledge and teachings. They believed this gave them power. I  don’t believe in doing it that way. Knowledge is power but sharing power helps share Beauty and Love and helps others spread these teachings so it is never in danger of being lost again. So many ancient teachings have been lost due to governments destroying, yes, murdering the spiritual teachers, leaders, and elders.

So it is important to pass and share all you can to others. This is what Spirit instructed me to do and so did a few of my spiritual teachers who shared their knowledge with me. We spent every day teaching and sharing knowledge with all who wanted to come and learn. When we left to move on we were asked to stay and live there but we graciously declined and thanked them for the offer. 

We traveled further north thru the Canadian Rockies, Yukon territory and into Whitehorse where we stayed a few days resting. Several times on this journey we ran out of gas due to no gas stations, nope these weren’t roads as you would know them. These were mostly logging trails for log trucks or skidders. Each time I would have to leave, taking plastic cans on a stick walking in deep snow and it 20-30 below zero in these extremely high altitudes to find somewhere to get some gas. Several times it was provided by loggers or log truck drivers to help us out.

While in Whitehorse I kept feeling suspicious of folks like the cops were watching me. This was not being paranoid. I have learned to trust my instincts and intuitions. Later I learned that I was suspected as being John Doe # 3 of the Oklahoma City Bombing. This didn’t even make sense, we were never in Oklahoma City! But I know from experience that there are those in power who will say and do anything to get what they want.

Since we were so close to the border we decided to go check out Alaska and visit some tribes there. When we got to the border crossing all heck broke loose! Men with guns came from everywhere pointing guns at us both. Cat was ordered to gather the wolves and leash them and to exit the RV. I was to remain motionless with all guns on me. I was told not to even twitch or I would be shot immediately. I knew we had done nothing wrong so I just remained calm but did not let my guard down either. Eventually they ordered me to stand up and exit the RV and get down on my knees in the snow. I did as told and asked what they were doing this for. They pushed me down on the snow, handcuffed and leg shackled me. Then I was told I was being arrested for the warrant of being a suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing. At no time then or even the next few days was there ever any mention of any warrants for any bank robberies or money laundering.

I was taken From Alcano, Alaska to Tok, Alaska first. Then suddenly they transferred me to Delta, Alaska. They detained Cat at the border, they said until I was placed in a jail cell in Tok. But they lied to her. They told Cat she could visit me there. But in fact they took me all the way to Fairbanks, more than 200 miles and for a while she didn’t know where I was.

Published by Sings Many Songs

I'm an 80-something child of the great depression and WWII. Throughout my life I have been a seeker, an outsider, never quite belonging anywhere, still always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. A lifelong student with many interests and a love of writing and editing, my elder's path led to encouraging and assisting some remarkable people to write out their amazing stories. This calling became the magic elixir that keeps me growing, keeps me alive.

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