Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Voice of My Ancestors

The other night before bed I read a great article about Ceci Schimmel (the mother of Umatilla basketball stars Shoni & Jude Schimmel). Ceci is becoming known for how she raised Shoni & Jude by speaking straight and sometimes hard words that they needed to hear, and now she is speaking much-needed words to Indian country.

Afterward as I was trying to fall asleep, I saw a picture of an Indian woman blowing smoke. I wondered about it, and then I heard a woman's voice strongly say,
"That's enough, Ramone."
It was powerful and rang through my whole being. It wasn't a rebuke, but it was like a relative or even a mother speaking.

I asked Creator what it was about (and if it was even from Him or not), and He said it was a spirit messenger (an angel). She was speaking a hard, straight word to me about something personal to me. It was just like Shoni & Jude's mother, saying something that wasn't easy, but which I really needed to hear.

For awhile I've felt powerless and weak about something, and He was telling me to stand up and stop it.

As Ceci said in the article,
“You’re walking your own life and your own path,” she said. “Whether you succeed or not, that’s going to be on you. The truth is, you have to believe in yourself, love yourself, trust yourself and understand that you are a good person and that God put you on this earth for a purpose.

You have to understand that you have to be strong for yourself, your siblings, your family. I know it’s a hard thing to do, but the harder you do at being a good person the more you get back.”
I was blessed, and didn't know what to say, as the messenger's voice had been so clear and powerful inside me that the ears of my soul were still ringing.

But Creator wasn't finished with me yet.

I typed about this to myself and laid back down to go to sleep. While still thinking about this, I saw some men by the rail of a bridge I had walked past earlier that night.

One of them said,
"You make the choices right here."
They were Indian elders—*my* elders! And I knew they were telling me to make a choice. Creator had given me freedom about something, but at times I was unsure, and thought maybe I ought to let it go. Now I realized I was afraid to make the choice.

Again Ceci Schimmel's words came back to me:
“...if it’s controlling you, your life, hurting your family; no, there’s a problem, deal with it.”
Yes. I needed to do what was best for my family. Creator had given me a gift, but for various reasons which I can't yet see all of, He wanted me to lay it down. ("The Lord gave, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be Your name, Yowah.")

Somehow hearing it from my elders, my ancestors, and then putting it into the context of my family, Creator gave me power to make choices I was afraid to make and felt too weak to make.

Then they spoke again:
"Listen, you take care of yourself."
I will, Yowah. I will, Elders. I will.
Thank You for this, and for Your guidance.



P.S. This stretches my mind and my beliefs. I don't know exactly where to begin in writing or even in thinking about that.

At the same time, when I pray about it I realize that no, it's not against what I know is true in the Scriptures. I know the One who sent them to speak to me. I know the One who created and keeps them. I won't confuse the two. I know Him and what He has done for me.

I can't explain how all of this works, but I can leave it as a beautiful mystery, and I can be thankful...

So I'm thankful to Him, and I'm thankful He's given me my family—even my ancestors.


Update (January 17, 2015)

“I Heard Ancestors Speak”

Sometimes at night I lay
in bed trying to sleep
my heart may hear voices
exhorting, admonishing

At first I did not know
the voices that I heard
They spoke like relatives
Like mothers and fathers

I asked the Spirit then
“Was that You, Creator?”
He answered and He said
“It was your ancestors.”

Creator and I talked
about what they had said
I thought He didn't need
them to speak instead

But something in their voice
carried authority
Like parents to a child
their voices sound to me

In them I heard a love
and parental concern
They could speak stern and strong
lessons I had to learn

Creator said that He
didn’t need them to speak
But He chose it that way
because it fit my need

He sent my relatives
to me with words to guide
Their messages were His
for they stand at His side

My heart was overwhelmed
to know my ancestors
are with Him watching me
encouraging with words

I know He will send them
to speak in His own time
I need not seek them out
In Him I'm satisfied

I count it all blessing
and witness of His love
that I am joined in Him
with my ancestors above


  1. The picture, by the way, is a crop of a painting I made last year, and the dancers in it don't actually look like the elders I saw. I couldn't see them clearly, but like in a dream. They weren't wearing regalia, but everyday modern clothes, I think. The spirit messenger (angel) I saw before that looked kind of like Métis/Cree actress Tantoo Cardinal.

  2. Scratch the first part of that last comment! I replaced the painting I spoke of with a painting I made a couple weeks after posting this. Also, I just added a poem to this post. (^_^)