On this page are writings from a tribal brother,Tsoi Ugidali, he recently visited the "Homeland" of our people. When I read his account, I felt everyone should see them, they are moving and will fill your heart with many emotions. He has a gift with words, with his permission, he has allowed me to place them on my page, so it is with great pleasure I give to you Tsoi Ugidali writings.
The voices of the Old Ones are now slient, but their echoes can still be heard just below the morning stillness. Heat and humidity hang like a soft velvet drape over the brightening city site muffling each footstep and coloring the dawn hazy.
It was exactly here that the Spanish invaders were first greeted, not with bow and lance, but in welcome by 300 flute playing residents of this city. It was here that this alien army of invasion demanded gold and a tribute for a far distant European king. It was here that steel first crossed with bone and stone and set into motion a gnawing hunger for an alien technology. This human desire for metal would lead straight to the Trail Where They Cried.
It was here in the freshness of the New World where alien microbes and germs found their first unsuspecting victims. These were an unknown and unseen invading army carried along with the stench of the Old World.
The patina sun illuminates the top of the largest and east-facing mound moments before it touches the lower mounds. This is the place of highest honor -- to be the first touched by the sun. How many sunrises greeted the head men/women in this place? How many before me have stood where I now stand in greeting and watched the new day come alive?
What planning; what teamwork; what unity; what purpose; what social structures must have sustained this place! Quiet reverence and awe fill my heart in this halcyon setting. No more do songs and shouts ruffle the morning calm -- only the beating of my heart across the millenia.
The deep hush is only broken now by the calling of the crows and the wattling of the geese. No more smoke from cooking fires signal the smell of home. Etowah was a vibrant metropolis filled with people now long departed to the Darkening Land. It is still alive to the heart. I remember. I carry their genes.
"You OK?", she asks. "Umm, yeah, I'm all right," he replies smiling ever so slightly.
"What are you thinking about?" "Oh, nothing in particular."
They walked on through the wet grass.
Our fair Capitol now lies long abandoned. Ground squirrels cavort where our children used to play. Aching, painful silence. Where are our people? A rusty trailer house sits unevenly on cinder blocks a scant stone's throw from the stillborn heart of our once unified Nation. Where are our people? Scattered afar. Scattered like dandelion seeds on a windy day to try and take root elsewhere. We now have become the people of the wind.
There is a sense of quiet sadness that hangs like a funeral pall over this grandeloquent dream of our Nation to become fully "civilized". It is a sadness born of waste and greed. What a noble dream that was planned here in neat, square city blocks and roads! Imagine the political visions that were discussed here.
Our fair Capitol lies in orphaned stillness. It was here that the Trail of Tears began with the scratching whisper of a well meaning quill on paper -- the hated Treaty of New Echota. It all happened precisely here. The lofty newspaper in our own language; the American style government; formal representative democracy for First People all done away with by the whisper of pen strokes. Futility written large in lamp black!
I dared to sit on the seat in the National Council House where my uncle Chief John Ross would have sat during Council. I looked down over the too small room. I also dared to sit on the bench of our Tsalagi Supreme Court and pondered the decisions that were rendered from this place. It was hot, stuffy, and humbling.
Such great history. Such great and noble dreams all taken away with a simple quill pen. That cursed pen demolished in a few moments the very thing that 4000 years of pre-history had birthed. Our modern world has yet to fully understand or to resolve what that pen whispered into motion.
As long as we continue to arbitrairily divide our People into Eastern/Western/Southern/Northern/full-blooded/mixed-blood/wannabes/ neverweres and the like, we are still held captive by the whispers of that long ago pen and our own Trail of Tears is not yet finished.
Creator, forgive us
This is sacred ground. It is as serene and welcoming as New Echota was lonely and sad. Red Clay is an oasis for the parched and restless spirit. Here was the presence of a tangible hope that still beckons brightly with the glowing of our eternal flame burning on the hill.
I sat in the Council House touching the wood now worn smooth by the passing of countless hands. There was a pulse of connection in that touch. The beating of hearts; the shake of rattles; the throb of drums all mingled together and entered my fingers, filling my spirit with spirit. There was connection with our past and with our evolving future -- hope held in the passing weight of handprints on wood.
Some of that hope, I believe, comes from our most recent history. East and West coming together with a new spiritual fire at our heart. Red Clay is a holy place, a place of remembrance and refreshment.
The spirit of LittleWhiteDeer (peace, harmony, serenity) fills in the spaces of Red Clay making all spirits peace-full. I heard their peaceful voices in the trills of birds and in the chattering of the red squirrels. The standing people beckon peace and rest as well through shade and applauding leaves.
Blue Spring was altogether blissful -- clear and cold. Such beautiful water there is flowing out into the summer heat from another, inner world that is held gently in winter. Mystery. The feelings of peace and welcome are almost too wonderful to bear.
I wanted to simply sit and feel this coursing spirituality for hours. Connection and cold chills both on a very hot day.
Like most sites of our history in this yonega society, you must look slowly and with with purpose for them. We are still here, just shunted away from the casual glance. Yet, it is in the act of seeking that one sometimes finds unanticipated satisfaction and blessing. Such is Ghigau's mound. One must slow down to see it.
Countless remembrances have been left with her before me in this unexpectedly powerful and sacred space. They speak (to those who see with their heart) volumes about the legacy of our Ghigau that persists through time.
Upon arrival at the top of her hill, we were hugged in greeting by a beautiful earth-sweet fragrance that filled the air and wove itself into our hearts. There were no flowers anywhere in sight that would have "explained" this scent. Really, it needed no explaining, just the primal enjoyment stirred by a sacred scent. I inhale deeply of her sweetness. She is here.
Off into the west I heard the voice of the Thunderers speak once, a pause, then twice as their rumble voice rolled across the valley floor to my ears. The sun continued to shine.
I tentatively stroked her cedar and it felt alive under my fingertips. I felt it quiver up and down the length of its trunk. The branches stirred and a cooling breeze caressed my face; like the gentle sigh of utter contentment.
Wado Ghigau! You still bless your People -- even me walking my own Trail of Tears.
We are the first visitors of this new day. A respectful hush remains draped over the sleepy meadow. The grass is matted down with the heaviness of last evening's dew. The smells are rich and earthy.
Only the sounds coming from our crunching footsteps walking gingerly over the gravel walkway can be heard. The burial mound rises like a low hill swelling above the lakeside flatness. My family is buried just there.
I stand and observe, drinking in all that I can with my eyes. But, no, eyes simply will not work here. This is a place of intuition. Therefore, I stand and feel, opening up my heart to encircle what is in this place for me.
At first, hesitation -- then warmth -- then whispered welcome; an invitation. Deliberate footsteps now, in the direction pointed out by the wavering path.
From our right, the east, a "v" formation of Canadian geese fly low between where we stand and the resting mound of my ancient DNA. Ga! You can hear their wings beating the morning air! Like a military fly-by at an airshow, the winged ones climb and wheel out high over the lake and then disappear. My heart stops. Am I breathing? Never have I been so close to my own beginnings.
I touch the BirdClan marker -- warmth and welcome. Prayers, tobacco, and a gift are offered. Ah, completion. How long has it been? Measured time has no meaning in this sacred sphere. Must I go to the museum now? My desire is to stay just here and feel it all.
Aunts, uncles, cousins, all my relations! Elisi, you are here!
If you wish to express how much you enjoyed these writings please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Swinea) Please do not take or use without his permission..Shkee Didahnedi Gakanehoi
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