Friday, May 6, 2011

Where the Buffalo Roam

Haiku My Heart
May 6, 2011

 Haiku My Heart is the brainstorm and creation of my friend Rebecca at recuerda mi corazon. Wander over there and see more Haiku My Heart and find out how you can be a part of all the fun and festivities.

Prairie Wind Moves Us

Massive, Gentle, Healing Breath

Mighty Tatanka

In the Lakota language, the North American Bison is called Tatanka, (Tah-Tahnk’-Ah). These creatures roamed the plains from somewhere in Mexico, throughout what is now the United States and up North, deep into Canada.

Many creation stories, legends, sagas, tales and traditional narratives surround Tatanka. One story tells about a race that was won by the two-legged creatures and how the four-leggeds had to serve the winners. The Buffalo  gave itself to mankind for this task and provided everything people needed. Food from the muscle, shelter from the hide, tools from the bones and horns, medicine from the blood and body and a myriad of other gifts.

Grand Daughter Anna in South Dakota seeking Buffalo, 2006
Another story tells us how the Sacred Pipe and its teachings was brought to the people by a White Buffalo Calf Woman. This Pipe was commonly known as the Peace Pipe, Calumet or Sacred Pipe after the Europeans saturated this Continent with their religious missions. In Lakota, it is called the Chanupa, (Chan-Oop’-Ah). This link has many stories and traditions. Scroll down to read the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.
Artists depiction of the White Buffalo Calf Woman

Times have certainly changed, and the Bison no longer roam in the wild. Even in Yellowstone National Park, where the last of the original blood line indiginous to this Continent live, some 3000 of them, great lengths are set to keep these magnificent creatures within the boundaries of the park. Of course this creates a problem as the Buffalo know of no man made boundaries. I strongly urge you to check out the work of the Buffalo Field Campaign and become aware of how the last of an American Icon, as in the Continent of North America, treats this particular wild animal.

In South Dakota, at the Custer State Park and the Wind Cave National Park, Buffalo roam on the many acres of alloted to public land. These Bison are rounded up every Fall and counted, vaccinated, visually and physically checked out and culled. The event is called the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival.

South Dakota Buffalo at the Annual Buffalo Roundup
When my Grandchildren were born, I had the thought of giving them an animal to associate with. There is a reason why I chose the animals I did, I won’t get into that now, but each has a spiritual meaning and I, as their Grand Father, suggested to each of them that they might connect with a spiritual life through this animal.

My first born Grand Daughter was given the Buffalo. She was told about this as she grew up and she does still connect with the Buffalo. One year, in 2006, we traveled to South Dakota to witness the roundup first hand. She was young, eight years old, and we traveled together, just the two of us.


We watched as a thousand buffalo were herded through a draw into pens for the process. The photos posted here are just a few of the hundred or so we took. Click on any image to enlarge it. I also have some video and I just purchased what I need, both hardware and software, to edit and produce the roundup video. That will happen soon, I hope.

My Haiku today, comes from my heart. I believe the breath of every creature, as well as any wind that blows, to be the breath of The Creator. For me, this is especially evident in the case of Tanaka, as my spiritual name, given to me by an Anishinabe, (Ah-Nish-Ah,Nah’-Bay), Medicine Man a few years ago, is Mashkoday Biizheekiins, (Mush’-Koh-Day  Bee-Zhee-Keens’). That translates to Little Buffalo. In Lakota, my name is Tatanka Cistila, (Chee‘-Sdee-Lah).

I had contact with my Spiritual Elder friend yesterday and we will talk soon on the telephone to make plans for  Summer ceremony, a Sun Dance held during the Full Moon time of June in Canada, near Winnipeg.

Missouri River railroad crossing at Chamberlain, SD

I had no idea of ‘If’ or ‘What’ I was going to post for Rebecca’s marvelous Haiku My Heart Friday project, but I did when I was awakened by a loud noise.

I was sleeping soundly and dreaming. In my dream, a Buffalo appeared. It was in a motel room, and that’s really odd, but I did have Tatanka visit me in my dreams, and that’s an honor. According to my teachings, the occurance needs to be dealt with with some respect and consideration. Add to the dream the loud bang I heard, and for all I know, Tatanka was upstairs and leaving when I heard him. Maybe the fact that I was in touch with the Medicine Man earlier has something to do with it.

I couldn’t get back to sleep. I knew I had these pictures, these memories and a story to tell and the rest is right before your eyes in the form of this Blogpost.

There is so much I want to say about my spiritual path, about our connection with all of Nature and the places, both mental and physical, that the lessons of the Elders and Ancestors has taught me over the years. I’ll leave it here for today and write again about the subject as the need arises.

In the meantime, have a Peaceful day.

Mitakwe Oyasin

(Mee-Tah’-Koo-Yay  Oh-Yah’-Seen)


Grammy said...

I myself would like to here more of your teachings. I too have great respect for the bison. And am pleased to now have a small heard not too farm from me now. May you sleep in peace.

Ramesh Sood said...

Very nice and beautiful..

Anonymous said...

Fascinating post. Thanks.
I’ve been moved by the wind once or twice myself.

Have a great weekend, Boonie

Stephanie said...

Breathing deeply of this beautiful and moving post...I love that you gave your grandchildren totems...


Meri said...

What a marvelous, marvelous post! I love the idea of gifting grandchildren with spirit animals.

Noelle Clearwater said...

When I was in Yellowstone, we camped at a site when one of the buffalo decided to join one of our camping neighbors.They had gone for a hike and when they returned, the buffalo was resting peacefully on top of their tent, munching on their leftovers. They decided to go elsewhere for a few days until he made a choice to move on. He was not the type of houseguest you share a bed with, but he was gorgeous to look upon. I saw many buffalo together in yellowstone, but I am sure that they were depleted in numbers from what you are saying. I had a totem in school. Our group were called the Butterflies. It was a symbol of transformation and we were the first group to have chosen that totem card. I was glad because I love them and it made me feel hopeful about my journey there. I like your Totem name. Thank you for this wonderful and wisdom-filled post, Joe! Your granddaughters are fortunate to have such a sense of rootedness in a grandpa like yourself.
Peace and Love,

Mel said...

Isn't it awesome, that connectedness?! How can you not feel blessed when dreams grace you with their presence?

I'm in awe.

I ain't wild about the culling stuff and I wish we'd be smarter than that....but I guess we are where we are until we move from that spot. I'll pray for some movement.

We have a stray buffalo here and there. I'm always drawn by their strength. You chose the totem for the grandchild well.

And ohmygosh how adorable is that photo atop with the flag!

Margaret Pangert said...

I look into the eyes of this bison and see the gentle, giving soul that breathes the breath of the prairie wind. Very moving... and so much depth to your wisdom. Giving a child a spirit guide animal is a wonderful heritage. Children are magical and can understand a different reality in the birds of the sky, the swift animals in the woods, and the bison on the prairie. They are then able to take that with them into adulthood. I also love the pink and blue sunrise in the post below. Love ☺

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Mighty one,
your breath sustains me
day by day.

rebecca said...

i love you joe. your willingness to live with your heart wide open inspires. your teaching presence in your grandchildren's lives, invaluable.

your loyalty to protecting our earth, your call for peace in each new moment, your words, actions even your dreams; gifts every one.

tami said...

This is the second appearance of bison in my awareness this week. hmmm. . . perhaps I should take heed.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

An amazing post. I love the story of White Buffalo Calf woman and it was good to be reminded of it tonight when I visited your Haiku My Heart post. Thanks.

mig said...

A lovely haiku. And The buffalo photos are wonderful. I feel I've been offered a privileged insight into a time when people looked clearly at the creatures around them.
More clearly than we do now with all our scientific knowledge and imperfect statistical observations.
How exciting to be visited by Tatanka, what a marvellous thing.

tami said...

You asked me to tell you about my other visit from the buffalo this week. I dreamed of a buffalo a few days before your post. It was a powerful dream, the first I've had with the buffalo. In previous powerful dreams I have dreamed of the eagle but the buffalo came to me and looked at my heart. Yesterday as I was reading a book there was a strong passage about the buffalo. I take these signs to mean something important. Thank you for your interest. Peace to you.