I am a red man.
If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have
made me so in the first place.
He put in your heart certain wishes and plans,
in my heart he put other and different desires.
Each man is good in his sight.
It is not necessary for Eagles to be Crows.
(A crow perches in a tree in Cades Cove, Great Smokey Mts National Park / Julie Cook / 2020)
Native American Indians always believed that spirits resided in the beings of
the creatures of the earth…all the way from the mighty bison and bear
to the majestic eagle, the stealthy wolf all the way down to the lowly turtle and snake.
Each animal and creature was aforded various human-like traits.
They protected or watched over the one who claimed them as a ‘spirit guide’
Imparting power to the one they protected or looked over.
One such spirit was that of the crow or raven.
The bird was known as a trickster or prankster,
the mischievous one.
Years ago we took our son, who was about 9 at the time, on a vacation that had us
West to places like New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and then up towards
Montana and South Dakota.
Places that a Georgia born native son needed to see and experience.
We stopped at places like the Painted desert, the Badlands, Yellowstone,
the Grand Canyon—we went to cities and towns such as Taos, Sante Fe, Cody,
Salt Lake City, Logan, Cheyenne, Jackson Hole…
while visiting various Pueblos, Reservations, monuments, churches, museums
and national parks…
And yet in all that mighty and grand greatness, there was one small thing that caught
both our eyes.
It was something vastly different from the beautiful landscapes found around this
great nation of ours.
We were each drawn to something that was small yet skillful.
Tiny yet intriguing.
As the art teacher, I was drawn like a magnet to the inticracy…
As a young boy, my son was drawn, as most young boys would be, to all
things of imagination and of cowboys and indians.
The draw you ask…???
They were small tiny stone carvings by Zuni indians known as a fetish.
Tiny carvings of animals created in stone, fossils and shells.
Each held in the palm of one’s hand.
According to the Black Arrow Gallery:
Fetishes, charms, amulets, or simply good luck pieces, call them whatever you would like,
but virtually every culture has them. Fetishes are small carvings made from various materials
by many different Native American Tribes.
These carvings serve a ceremonial purpose for their creators and depict animals and icons
integral to their culture.
As a form of contemporary Native American Art they are sold with non-religious
intentions to collectors worldwide.
Origianal fetishes are no longer available for purchase as they are considered
Yet there are some very well known tribal artists who continue to create these tiny
artistic treasures to sell.
And the better known artists and their art carvings fetch high prices.
During our trip, as a rememberance from this particular vacation,
my son and I each bought a few affordable carvings.
We were told that the fetish would choose the buyer.
Each fetish supposedly possessed certain characteristics and traits
which would draw the buyer.
Well, I was drawn to several.
A bear, a beaver and yes, a crow.
Crows and Ravens are birds of a feather…with ravens being of the larger feather.
So my crow was most likely a raven…but it was still a small marble black bird
with two turquoise eyes.
Again, according to the Black Arrow Gallery:
The raven is not a traditional fetish but he is carved often, and beautifully,
by a number of artists.
Some artisans will put a stone in the raven’s mouth.
He is generally carved of jet or black marble though he can appear in virtually
any stone of the artist’s choosing.
While considered somewhat of a prankster, he doesn’t have the negative characteristics
associated with the coyote.
The raven can help us work through failure and short-comings by reminding
us that anything we have the courage to face, we have the power to transform.
I imagine that the reason crows / ravens were afforded a place at the tribal table was
in part due the fact that these birds are actually very intelligent.
Those who study crows and ravens know that these birds have a language of calls all their own.
They can actually communicate with one another.
They also have keen memories and have been known to bring “gifts’– various sparkly
found objects to humans who interact with them.
I have had a long love-hate relationship with crows.
I find them irritating when they gang attack a hawk who flies
into their territory.
I’m not a fan of gang activity.
However, I imagine that there is some sort of perceived threat
when a bird of prey intercepts one’s private airspace…I digress.
And yet I love throwing out stale bread for the crows to come gather.
They will often wake me at dawn with their loud raucous caws as
they swoop into a tree outside our bedroom window where the
bread still sits from the prior evening.
So reading the wisdom of Sitting Bull in today’s quote, I am reminded of
that song sung in many a child’s church chapel…Jesus Loves the Little Children
Written by C. Herbert Woolston and George F. Root.
According to hymntime.com
Words: C. Herbert Woolston (1856–1927).
Woolston was one of George Root’s favorite lyricists.
Children often sing just the refrain, which is a song all to itself!
Music: George F. Root, 1864, Root originally wrote this tune for the American civil
war song Tramp, Tramp, Tramp.
Jesus calls the children dear,
Come to Me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world;
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to the better land,
For I love the little children of the world.
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
All lives matter…both living and yet born.
All lives matter… each man, woman and child…no matter their color or race.
For all are not only good, but rather are most
precious to our God, our Father and Great Creator.
It just takes a crow to remind us of such.
(a camera friendly crow / Cades Cove, The Great Smokey Mountains National Park / Julie Cook / 2020)