I want to share with you an experience I had while in Baltimore. My youngest daughter lived there at the time and the girls were gathering there for wedding planning. Our brains at a point of mush, we decided to take a break and go for a hike in a near by park. It had just finished raining. The smell of the wet timber lingered in the air. We get out of the car. The girls were deciding which way to go. My attention was drawn towards the river. On the opposite side of the swinging bridge that crossed the river was a fully dressed medicine man holding court. I walk closer… our eyes meet… he takes a step towards the bank. I turn back towards the girls. They were anxious to get moving. They were calling out for me to come. I decided that my purpose for being here was this precious time with my girls. Women… this gathering of women.
The hike was beautiful. As we come out of the woods and upon the car we each pull in our breath. The medicine man, walking stick in hand, medicine pouch around his neck, is standing near our car patiently. He states… I have something I need to tell you. He takes my elbow and guides me away from the girls. When he’s comfortable with the distance he begins to speak:
I was sent here to talk to you about women. Women in my culture were revered. Women are the creators of life. They are magic. Women are the direct connection to the creator. His arms are spread out wide. He chose her to trust with the responsibility of those so helpless and vulnerable. Every human being that has ever lived has come through woman. With experience we gain wisdom. The wise ones have no place in your world. In your culture things are upside down. Women are disrespected. Man does not respect woman. But most importantly woman does not respect woman. She can not show respect and honor to another until she can give that to herself.
He stops abruptly as if he had been interrupted. He leans his head to the right and looks up… listening. He says aloud… I know. I know. I’m gonna tell her.
He reaches into the small leather pouch that hung from his neck and removed a little white envelope. In the envelope was a gold coin. The man pressed the coin into the palm of my hand and began telling me the story of Sacagawea. Some of which I hadn’t heard. Lots of alcohol. They picked up a guide along the way by the name of Toussaint Charbonneau who was a violent alcoholic. He had a child with her. Upon returning to St. Louis one of the brothers whisked her and her child off in the night and returned her to her people. My eyes were wide. I hear the girls calling my name. I look from them back to him. I said my girls are direct descendants of this Charbonneau. He nodded. Here is the beginning. I am wanting to go get the girls but before a I could speak he interrupts the thought and says… This is for you. They are not ready.
Now go… Never be afraid… the earth will always feed you!