friends, family and colleagues,
Some of you may know me from painting parties, workshops and craft shows. Others know me as a friend and an educator. What you may not know is that I am a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa from Belcourt, North Dakota.
Born into a family mixed with American and native culture, much of my native history was not known, and could not be passed down. My mother was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain reservation, and grew up at St. Joseph’s, a Native American boarding school.
When I was age 11, my Ojibwa name was given to me by a medicine woman elder of our tribe, I am raining in the dawn woman. In my tribe, I am a water blesser, and speaker to the four corners. Throughout my life, I have developed a deep reverence for the sacredness of Native American culture and for our earth. As a teacher, Native American and as an American, every day I learn more about my place in life. This reflects in both my personal and spiritual life.
Spiritually, in the past 2 years I have realized how deep the ways of my people flow through my veins. My mother was the first person to tell me of my Native American heritage, but she wasn’t able to share much. Every day I uncover a deeper connection to this land, deeper than just being an American. Learning that the Ojibwe are Anishinabe, which means original people, initiated my thoughts about what other history there is to learn about my Ojibwe culture, as well as all of the stories and history passed down to me from American culture. The difference between the two was eye-opening.
One story that was passed down was the story of creation. It’s fitting that both cultures have passed down the story of creation by word of mouth. The Anishinabe’s ancestors shared the story of the original man with Edward Benton-Banai of the Lac Court Orielles Band of Ojibwe. He shared this history in the Mishomis book, which my giwaa (the one who names) suggested I read so that we can discuss our history more in depth.
In Ojibwe culture, as well as with most creation stories, the Original Man was the last life form created, and was lowered to earth. All tribes came from this Original Man. The Ojibwe believe no one way is better than another, and that we need to support each other by respecting and honoring the “many roads” of all tribes.
For the past two years I have felt as though I have been called to go and revisit y native heritage. Last year a trip back to Turtle Mountain reservation, and to visit the historical site, International Peace Gardens, was tentatively planned but the timing was off.
With everything happening around us, now is the time to respect and honor the many ways of all tribes, which we can see through example of what’s happening in Cannon Ball North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux have created Sacred Stone Camp, which is about 2 hours south of my reservation, where people from all over the world have gathered in protest and protection of sacred native lands and our water. As fellow Americans, native or otherwise, we have a powerful thing in common…we all live, drink and eat from the earth, and the earths life blood is water.
I am called take a trip to Sacred Stone Camp and I would like to ask for your support. During this trip I will be visiting Turtle Mountain reservation to speak with my giwaa to learn the traditions and ways of the Ojibwe people, as well as take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity to be a firsthand account to such a historical moment.
Just like our ancestors passed down stories by word of mouth, I would like to be one who assists you in passing on this historical moment to your loved ones. My blog is up and running, and I will continue to share so that you can take this journey with me. In addition, all sales from my first solo art showing at Mending Roots Wellness center in Camp Hill, Pa, will go towards this journey.
The winter is coming, and the cold air is already upon the people in North Dakota. The water protectors at Sacred Stone Camp are in need of supplies to keep safe and warm.
Things I will be taking with me are their top needs: gift cards for lowes or menards (there is no home depot nearby), tents, sleeping bags for subzero temperatures (inc. Military style), and lighters. They have an Amazon wish list if you wish to purchase other supplies.
The trip will begin the evening of November 20th, 2016 and I will return on November 27th, 2016.The drive is about 3,300 miles total and will take 24 hours, Pennsylvania to North Dakota.
Please consider contributing.
Your monetary support is welcome and needed to make this trip possible.
To contribute, as well as follow the journey go to: http://rainedawn.wixsite.com/journeytosacred
Please Share this with your friends.
Miigwetch (thank you)
Gizaagin (with love)
Raine Dawn Valentine
Raining in the Dawn woman
Turtle Mountain Chippewa
Please email me if you have questions