The 1986 Continental Indigenous Council
Fairbanks, Alaska By Lee Brown, Cherokee :
There was the cycle of the mineral, the rock. There was the cycle of the plant. And now we are in the cycle of the animal coming to the end of that and beginning the cycle of the human being. When we get into the cycle of the human being, the highest and greatest powers that we have will be released to us. At the beginning of this cycle of time, long ago, the Great Spirit made an appearance and gathered the peoples of this earth together, and said to the human beings. “I’m going to send you to four directions and over time I¹m going to change you to four colors. I’m going to give you some teachings, and you will call these the Original Teachings; when you come back together with each other, you will share these so that you can live and have peace on Earth, and a great civilization will come about.
During the cycle of time, I’m going to give each of you two stone tablets. When I give you those stone tablets, don’t cast them upon the ground. If any of the sisters and brothers cast their tablets on the ground, not only will human beings have a hard time, but almost the earth itself will die. And so He gave each of us a responsibility, and we call that the Guardianship. To the Indian people, the red people, He gave the Guardianship of the Earth. We are to learn during this cycle of time the teachings of the Earth; the plants that grow from the Earth; the foods that you can eat, and the herbs that heal. Then, when we came back together with the other sisters and brothers, we could share this knowledge with them. Something good was to happen on the Earth. To the South He gave the yellow race of people the Guardianship of the Wind. They were to learn about the sky and breathing and how to take that within ourselves for spiritual advancement. They were to share that with us at this time.
To the West He gave the black race of people the Guardianship of the Water. They were to learn the teachings of the water, which is the chief of the elements, being the most humble and the most powerful. The elders have told me that the black people would bring the teachings of the water. To the North He gave the white race of people the Guardianship of the Fire. If you look at the center of many of the things they do, you will find the fire. They say a light bulb is the white man’s fire. If you look at the center of a car you will find a spark. If you look at the center of the airplane and the train you will find the fire. The fire consumes, and also moves. This is why it was the white sisters and brothers who began to move upon the face of the earth and reunite us as a human family. And so a long time passed, and the Great Spirit gave each of the four races two stone tablets. Ours are kept at the Hopi Reservation in Arizona at Four Corners Area on Third Mesa.
I talked to people from the black race, and their stone tablets are at the foot of Mount Kenya. They are kept by the Kukuyu Tribe. I was at an Indian spiritual gathering about 15 years ago. A medicine man from South Dakota put a beaded medicine wheel in the middle of the gathering. It had the four colors from the four directions; he asked the people, “Where is this from?” They said, “Probably Montana, or South Dakota, maybe Saskatchewan.” He said, “This is from Kenya.” It was beaded just like ours, with the same colors. The stone tablets of the yellow race of people are kept by the Tibetans. If you went straight through the Hopi Reservation to the other side of the world, you would come out in Tibet. The Tibetan word for sun is the Hopi word for moon, and the Hopi word for sun is the Tibetan word for moon. The guardians of the traditions of the people of Europe are the Swiss. In Switzerland, they still have a day when each family brings out its mask.
They still know the colors of the families, and they still know the symbols, some of them. Each of these four peoples happen to live in the mountains. Each of the four races went to their directions and learned their teachings. It was in Newsweek not long ago that eight out of ten foods that people eat on the earth are developed here in the western hemisphere because that is our Guardianship — to learn the teachings of the earth and the things that grow from the Earth. We were given a sacred handshake to demonstrate, when we came back together as sisters and brothers, that we still remember the teachings. It was indicated on the stone tablets that the Hopis had that the first sisters and brothers who would come back to them would come as turtles across the land. They would be human beings, but they would come as turtles. So when the time came close, the Hopis were at a special village to welcome the turtles that would come across the land.
They got up in the morning and looked out at the sunrise. They looked out across the desert, and they saw the Spanish conquistadores coming, covered in armor, like turtles across the land. So this was them. So they went out to the Spanish man, and they extended their hand, hoping for the handshake. But into the hand the Spanish man dropped a trinket. And so word spread throughout North America that there was going to be a hard time, that maybe some of the brothers and sisters had forgotten the sacredness of all things and all the human beings were going to suffer for this on the Earth. So tribes began to send people to the mountains to have visions to try to figure out how they could survive. At that time there were 100,000 cities in the Mississippi Valley alone, called the mound civilization: cities built on great mounds.
Those mounds are still there. They began to try to learn to live off the land because they knew a hard time was going to come. They began to send people to have visions to see how we could survive this time. They were told in the prophecies that we should try to remind all the people that would come here of the sacredness of all things. If we could do that, then there would be peace on Earth. But if we did not do that, if we had not come together as a human family, the Great Spirit would grab the earth with His hand and shake it.