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As we behold, we actively transform the image.
Our family farm was our gathering place. As my feet walked the sacred land that extended down to the Missouri River, I connected to the wisdom of the Native American Indians. The Omaha Indian Reservation had lands adjacent to our farmland.
Chief Blackbird was known for his magical powers. He was buried on a live horse, on the top of a bluff, overlooking the Missouri River. During his life he traded with the French Trappers, acquiring arsenic, that he used to poison enemies. He was believed to possess magical powers because of his ability to discretely kill his rivals.
I remember sitting around the campfire with family friends on the land, listening to legends told by my father and his friends. Those were memorable times!
Chief Black Elk, was another important Native American Indian Chief in the region. He was a Holy Man. His story was told by John G. Neihardt in “Black Elk Speaks”, first published in 1932. Today, the Catholic Church is considering Chief Black Elk’s canonization.
Here is the overlook on US highway 75 that was connected to our farmland.
Here is a link that tells the history of the Omaha tribe:
Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow:
In the New Yorker article, “Another Vision of Black Elk”, the author reveals how the holy man’s life may receive even more recognition through what might be the first canonization of a Native American.
Here is a chapter that explains Black Elk’s spiritual legacy:
Chief Blackbird, Seven Arrows, and a Medicine Shield
Seven Arrows, a book teaching Native American traditions. Seven Arrows begins by saying, “The story of these People has at its center and all around it the story of the Medicine Wheel. The Medicine Wheel is the very Way of Life of the People. It is an understanding of the Universe. It is the way given to the Peace Chiefs, our Teachers, and by them to us”.
Here is the picture in Seven Arrows that inspired our stained glass window.
This is a Medicine Shield from Seven Arrows. I used this image as an inspiration for a stained glass window in our home.
Thomas L. Kronen 1975
This is a painting of Chief Blackbird.
Author of Homing In: A Story Mandala Connecting Adoption, Reunion and Belonging