Circles of Recovery Conference Listens to Henry
Lozano and Others share Their Words and Hearts
We know that our gatherings are always the best
when we start by asking the Creator, each in our
own way, with a prayer. Then we connect with each
other and things flow and happen just exactly
as they're supposed to happen.
This song I'd like to sing to you this morning is
called the Whale Song. Up in Alaska we sing these
songs that are entrance songs and this is one of
those songs. This song, this whale song, lets you
know that we are coming. We are coming. It's a song
of the killer whale. The Orca. When you watch the
killer whale they come in, you see a big fin coming
out of the water, coming out of the water and going
back in. When you see that fin, it shakes. It shakes
like this. That's what were doing. We're letting
everybody know that we're coming. Were coming with
strength, intelligence, and beauty. Just the same
way that the Orca, the black fish, the killer whale,
is coming in. Just like that killer whale. Here
Good morning to everyone, all my relatives, friends
and our children. We gather today for good reasons.
We ask the Creator to watch over us throughout
spirituality is called the Seven Drum. A lot of
people call it religion but I call it our way
of life. We use the drums to sing all these prayer
songs. We use either seven drummers or ten or
twelve depending on what kind of ceremony we are
doing. In our way of life the old people gathered
each day to welcome the new day with a song. We
call it the sunrise song. I'll offer that song
this morning for all of us here and all of us
that have families, have friends, relatives. We
include all our people in this song this morning.
Some of us have families that are OK. Some of
us have families that are not doing well. We want
to remember these people. During my song you can
pray in your heart in your own way. I'm honored
to be able to do this.
Ya Ta Hey! Good Morning!
Morning everyone, welcome to Albuquerque and the
beautiful state of New Mexico. I am the current
Miss Indian New Mexico and I was just crowned
about a week ago. My Name is Pauline Shebala,
I'm a 20 year old Navajo/Zuni woman from Tohajali,
New Mexico which is about 30 miles west of Albuquerque.
I was very privileged to meet some of the leaders,
who are here today, at the Indian Pueblo Cultural
Center and they invited me out here to welcome
you all and say good morning. I'm so privileged
to be up here speaking with you. It was a great
honor for me and my grandmother to come this morning
for your opening ceremony. I just wanted to let
you know that there are 22 tribes in New Mexico
that I'm going to be representing this year. There
are 10 Pueblos, 2 Apache Nations, and the Navajo
Nation. This year I will do my best to represent
all 22, but at the same time I'll be representing
all Native people across the United States. Thank
you, and God bless you wherever you may travel.
Camino Rojo—The Good Red Road
Remarks to the Circles of Recovery Conference by Henry
September 19 and 20th, 2003
Albuquerque, New Mexico
We had a prayer this morning, a morning
prayer for that morning sun. A sunrise prayer. That
prayer should be in our eyes this morning. We should
be happy, proud, looking up at what this Great Mystery
has given us. I'm honored to stand here this morning,
the honor to represent my family, my parents, my grandparents,
my ancestry, the honor to be proud to have a voice that's
clear this morning.
My job this morning is to tell you that
I love you. What does that mean? Isn't that what your
father and mother should communicate? I love you. Isn't
that what grandpa and grandma should communicate? I
love you. Isn't that what the Elders, and the communities,
and the leaders should communicate to us, to our heart
and soul? I love you. That shouldn't be a foreign word.
That should be an embrace in the morning. That should
be the sunrise in our face. That should be the wind
in our hair. That should be the very word that we understand
this morning. We're here because we love one another.
That's us, that's the smile in our face. That's who
When we start to understand why we are
here, and what's come together, and the power of those
directions and the people that come together, we start
to understand that there is something more happening
there. Did you know there are other people that love
us? There are some people that love me just because
I'm brown. Because I fit in the circle that may not
be brown. I can be put up in an audience or on a stage
behind the First Lady at the State of the Union Address
because I'm brown. I'm proud of that. Because as long
as I'm there, my mother and father, my grandparents,
my elder ones, the people I represent, those feathers
that I carry are right there with me.
Don asked me to talk about something very
specific in regards to this movement that's happening
here in Indian country. Where I come from in Southern
California, we have been in about 7 or 8 years of drought
now. I moved up on that mountain where I live about
10 years ago, among the traditional sites and the peace
I've always felt living on our mountain. But over these
years a calamity has happened because of the drought,
which is part of nature's way. They say the bark beetle
is going to destroy 80% of all the pines on our mountain.
From my front window, the mountain is already turning
different colors of brown and amber, and the pines are
When something like that happens, the
governor of our state flies over. He looks down and
says we have a disaster. The governor then asks the
White House for money because we have a disaster. They
are saying our mountain could be one of the major forest
fires of this nation because 80% of the pines are gone.
They ask for a lot of money to bring to the state for
the disaster that is going to happen on my mountain.
The reason I'm sharing that is because that's what's
happening to Indian country.
The leaders in this room, and at this
conference, are the folks who have stood up and called
out and said, "All of our trees are dying." They have
finally called upon this great nation to actually fly
over and look down and conclude, hey! this is right.
These people need help. People are finally asking White
Bison, Can you set up meetings
with us in Indian country across this nation?
Other organizations, and other leaders, and other significant
people in this room are being asked to convene meetings
in Indian country for the Cabinet members of our President.
People across this Nation are starting to ask that question:
how can we help? It's because we have the folks in this
room that our country doesn't have to take care of the
forest that I live in.
Fire is part of nature. It's part of the
reconstructive cycle and the purification and replenishing
of the earth. Our forest systems have become unhealthy
because the fires don't happen naturally any more. In
our forest, the beautiful, beautiful pine is called
the Sugar pine. Their cones are massive. A Sugar pine
will not germinate without a fire. For years, these
Sugar pines haven't grown up. The old, old trees are
still there in the forest producing Sugar pine cones.
Those Sugar pine cones are falling to the earth but
they are not germinating because it takes a fire to
light that germination process into existence.
But our fire has already taken place.
That devastation has already happened. We are now in
recovery. We are now in the process of healing. We are
now the Sugar pines, the largest, the most grandiose
pine cones in the forest, and the fire has activated
us. The Firestarter circles, the different initiatives,
the seven community trainings, and everything that you
are involved in is the outcome of that fire. Your leadership
across the country is now carrying good Medicine. And
that good Medicine is there for other people. It's there
so that we can help our own. It's there so I can stand
here and not be that ex-drug addict, that I was, and
be an example to my three sons so that they look up
at pops and they are proud of this new father. They
are proud that this man's been walking for 29 years
in sobriety. They are proud that their dad's in recovery.
They are proud that I'm there in this world for them,
alive, conscious, understanding, receiving, ready to
be what I need to be right now, for you and you for
me. The Bundle I carry is that morning prayer. That
morning prayer is my sunshine. In that way, in that
Medicine, we walk today.
This Wellbriety Movement has brought to
the forefront leaders right here in this room who are
willing to stand up, who are willing to put themselves
on the line, who are willing to take that learning material,
and that dream, and that vision, and move out and do
something for their own people. When that great eagle
flies over Indian country, he's going to see you. He's
not going to see a dead forest. He's going to see life,
and Wellbriety circles, and Firestarters circles, and
community groups, and Indian country coming together.
He's going to see something powerful that he doesn't
understand. I believe that's where we are right now.
I believe your leadership, your standing up, your conviction
about your heart, and your people, and your children,
and your land have caused this country to take notice,
to wake up and actually believe that there's something
there to support.
I have been in those Cabinet offices in
Washington. I have been in there when this President
talks about Wellbriety. This is Wellbriety. They are
trying to find this Movement across the nation. Indian
country could galvanize, in a way that no one else could
galvanize. Indian country could come together and stand
up as a people, which helps all people like nobody else
can because we have been identified as a dying forest.
That's what they've seen from up above. And that's why
there was no hope to do anything for us. But that's
no longer true. We're not dead. We're not dying.
There is an eagle flying over, but that
eagle's looking for opportunity. Indian country is that
opportunity. Indian country is becoming that relevant
voice. Indian country's being talked about in circles
and at levels that we've never been talked about before.
And the question now is just like the governor of my
state asking the federal government for billions of
dollars to help with this problem. We now have to get
prepared for them asking us to help them because that's
where we are.
I want to say a few words about coalitions.
The leaders in this room are an example of coalitions.
I would like anybody in this room who is part of this
Wellbriety movement in any shape fashion or form to
stand up right now. That's the Healing Forest. That's
the leadership that exists right now. How many of you
who are not standing up would like to be part of that
healing Way, that Healing Forest?
A time back, there weren't Elders in our
midst like these. There weren't the leaders and the
voices who spoke out. There weren't those answers. There
wasn't a Movement. The power of all of you who stood
up, the majority of you who stood up and who are already
invested in the Wellbriety movement caused those others
in this room who want to be part of the Wellbriety Movement
to stand up with you. They are proud of what you've
done. They are proud of the things, and the words, and
the blessings, and the prayers that have come from you.
They are proud of you.
Community coalitions, community movements,
tribes, clans—they are the people, they are the children,
they are the pride of what we have today. As that eagle
flies over today looking for an answer, let it be Indian
country that says, "Not only
do we have an answer in our lives, in our families,
in the ways we believe, in the things we dance for,
the things we stand proud for, but let them also hear
from us that we have help for you. This great nation,
this great people of the world—we are an answer for
you." That's what we have to do to help when
they start coming to us for the answers.
My words are for this nation, and country,
and globe, and for the other honored guests from other
traditions who are here, because the traditions that
exist are not that different. The Good Way is the Good
Way. There is no other Way. It's a good Camino
Rojo. It's a Good Red Road. And that Red Road
is there for us. We take that stand today because we
believe in ourselves. My congratulations to you for
you standing up for your families, for your people,
and your traditions. And for believing with your whole
heart that it's a Good Way, these are good eyes, this
is a real smile. And you are on the Good Red Road.