Bird Droppings October 14, 2021
Words not spoken are some of the most profound wisdom
I have been sitting writing and working on my dissertation for six hours. Words are on my mind right now. I just commented on a Facebook post about learning languages and knowing enough in several languages to survive and order chicken and rice. Within the past several weeks, I have watched comments from politicians made and disputed by often the same person, which I find most interesting. Native Peoples survived this trend back in the day as treaties were made and broken in a few years only to be told that we were sorry we got the wording wrong or misunderstood what we were saying. When we said we would kill off the buffalo, we meant all the buffalo, not just those slowing the train down.
“He believes profoundly in silence – the sign of a perfect equilibrium. Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit.” Ohiyesa, Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman, Santee Sioux
Trained as a physician, Dr. Eastman was also a profound and eloquent speaker for the Sioux nation. So often, when we speak, it is often words spilling out of a bucket filled to overflowing with politically correct jargon. A barrage of often meaningless dribble that is there waiting to explode. Such plain and nice platitudes as hello how are you, how’s the family the job and numerous other familiar little blips we tend to throw at people we meet.
“Silence is the mother of truth, for the silent man was ever to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously.” Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux
“In my opinion, it was chiefly owing to their deep contemplation in their silent retreats in the days of youth that the old Indian orators acquired the habit of carefully arranging their thoughts.” Blackbird, Ottawa
So often, in our haste, we often blurt out words that become meaningless simply because we feel we should be talking. As I look at these great Native American orators’ words, it was often in their silence and reflection that wisdom has shown through. Sadly we will never see the silence. There was not a hasty response that was spontaneous, and not thought through each word was carefully chosen to impact and bring the point to the listener, for many words were sacred and a privilege to use and speak. I was thinking wouldn’t that be great if every ADHD child thought before they spoke. We would not need medications, in-school suspensions, and behavior modification anymore. There would be fewer bars of soap sold as parents would not have to wash any mouths out, thinking back to my wife’s favorite movie, “the Christmas Story,” as Ralphie gets his mouth washed out.
“You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts” Cochise, Chiricahua Apache
Known as a great warrior and spokesman for the Apache, Cochise was feared and revered by many. So often, listening to the fabrications of teenagers as a teacher, you do enjoy silence and or truth. So often, exaggerations flow like water, each telling of a story embellishes on the next and so forth till somewhere perhaps reality did occur.
“Good words do not last long unless they amount to something.” Chief Joseph, Nez Perce
Growing up, I recall stories of Chief Joseph and how his people avoided the army and won numerous skirmishes in their attempted flight to freedom in Canada. After being rejected by the Canadian Government, they had no alternative but to surrender, and Joseph’s speech has been quoted by many ever since.
“I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk.” Chief Joseph
In recent weeks I have watched our politicians talk out one side of the mouth and down the other. It is like going to a used car lot and watching used car sales folks at work. What do you believe? Today’s news is not watching the news; it is ok what do I think and what is fantasy. I find friends posting false stories and lies numerous times over and still showing up as accurate. On many shelves, popular newspapers on the racks at grocery stores, scandal sheets with altered photos grab the attention, and we are lead to believe what the story supposedly implies. Investigators are trying to blame someone with the misinformation on Iraq that led to the war, for example, a recent heading. We now know most of what we were told were lies, yet we are told the people lying were only misinformed.
It becomes confusing, as I am sure years ago, when soldiers would explain peace treaties with numerous lines of fine print. One famous line read, “As long as the buffalo roam” to a plains tribe who lived off the vast herds of migratory buffalo numbering over fifty million on one count that would be was forever. However, a new Sharps rifle accurate to over a thousand yards and a healthy trade in buffalo hides quickly reduced the herds to a handful, and we said as long as the buffalo roam, they are gone. We do this today in politics, schools, and life, getting commitment based on something we already know.
“I would have been better pleased if you had never made promises than that you should have made them and not performed them.” Shinguaconse
We often tell little stories to the point that it becomes a habit, and soon we are caught up in our stories with no return.
“Always tell the truth – it’s the easiest to remember.” David Mamet
As I ponder this simple statement by Mamet, you think if we only took our advice and just told the truth, there would be no need to have anything to remember. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)