I acknowledge All, and for all I offer thanks, respect, love. All includes you, of course, so don’t think twice. Beyond that, I’m moved in particular this year to remember Manitonquat, and to Send a Voice thanking him for sharing many eloquent teachings about gratitude.
For over 20 years in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, I lived near Manitonquat and his radiant-heart partner Ellika Linden. As neighbors we also found it altogether natural to become friends. More widely, Manitonquat and Ellika created a network of friends that circled the globe.
In earlier days Manitonquat had a chance to collaborate with the brilliant minds of the people researching, writing, and publishing Akwesasne Notes, a powerful native voice arising from the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Six Nations). That newspaper brought dynamic, noble thought and expression to the historic re-emergence of native spirit taking place all over North and South America. Through his relationships in those times and through his opportunities to learn, Manitonquat’s understanding deepened. He combined the knowings he was gathering, along with his classical education, and his natural gift as an orator, to travel the world as a master storyteller and council leader.
When I interviewed him formally one time back in the late 1980s, Manitonquat spoke of natural law. His words are already woven into the manuscript of my forthcoming book: Deep Agroecology: Farms and Food at a Cultural Crossroads (2019). Here’s a fragment of what he said that day:
“Native people refer to the Original Instructions often in speech and prayer, but rarely attempt to say exactly what they are. They are not like the Ten Commandments carved in stone. They are not ideas. They are reality. They are natural law. They are the way thing are–the operational manual for a working creation–and they cannot be totally understood in words. They must be experienced. The Original Instructions are not imposed by human minds on the world. They are of the living spirit. Other creatures follow them instinctively, and they are communicated to humankind through the heart, through feelings of beauty and love.”
“The Original Instructions urge us to find our place in the cosmos, to know our true nature and our goal in existence. There must be a response–not an intellectual answer–but a felt understanding of the nature of this existence, of its purpose and of our part in that purpose. That is the reason for the spiritual quests, the religions, the rituals, the searches, pilgrimages, meditations, and all the mystic disciplines of humankind. Something in our consciousness is just not satisfied with only eating, sleeping, creating, and reproducing. Something in us wants to know what it’s all about and how we fit into it.”
N.B. Here is a link to the author page on Amazon.com for Manitonquat (Medicine Story), who was a gifted and prolific author of books for adults and also books for children