This is not of Cherokee origin. It has been passed around the internet a lot. A lot of digging and research on this story has been done. The earliest form of this story is found inÂ 1978 written by the Evangelical Christian Minister Billy Graham in his book,The Holy Spirit: Activating God Power in Your Life. Of all native peoples of the land now called USA, the Cherokee kept impeccable records of many of their stories because they have the written word and this story is not in their collection.
I bring this forward because enemy-images are very damaging -even if they are positive images. I have found that politically correct and "positive"; labels can keep just as much distance between people as "negative"; ones. I have found that Idle No More has encouraged me to speak more on matters - even something as small as this ...I call this small because I trust that your sharing of this story is trying to contribute to well-being, love, learning, compassion, and care. And at the same time I feel the importance to speak the clarity that idealizing Indians (the misnamed indigenous peoples of what is now called North and South America) as "wise old Indians" can be just a damaging as it keeps people from seeing us/them as we/they really human. It is to me for the true voices of people to be heard and understood. I walk with an ache in my heart daily about the invisibility of so many people - and it is very close to me what is happening here in the US. The US government still controls huge populations of people who have to live on reservations. Even in this day when so many people fight for equal rights and justice there is still a lack of seeing what happens on US reservations and how the tribes are still trying to survive. There is an entire population of people in the US that have to register with the government in order to be able to claim their heritage, their birthright. I am not talking about being considered a citizen of a country- being registered simply to have an identity as a human being.
Seeing the words "an old Cherokee teaching" stimulates much pain around clarity and authenticity for me. It is not typically "native" to include the "moral" of the story in the story nor is it typical to have "good" battle "evil". Also, black and white are not seen as "good" and "evil". Those ideas came to fruition after colonization and with slavery. Those ideas were then imposed on stories already within the cultures. Also, wolf is quite sacred to Cherokee people even thought most the wolves that lived among them before the Trail of Tears have been hunted to extinction. Wolf is one of the clans. The "positive"; and "negative"; enemy-imaging of wolves also has kept a separation that continues such misunderstanding that they last surviving in North America are now face extinction. I request all of us, myself included, that as we share our "rememberings" wewalk with a consciousness of really acknowledging where they come from and support freedom from all enemy-images, negative or positive, that keep people (and all beings) separate. I encourage people to seek out the true lineage of a story or quote they find, especially when it has a general attribution like "Chinese proverb", " Indian saying", "Cherokee";...etc...or simply share the story or quote with the transparency of not knowing its true origins and simply the needs you are connected to in sharing it.
On Apr 8, 2014Leigh Anna Kennemore wrote :
Thank you for sharing. I understand exactly what you're saying. I took the story to represent my own battles within between good and bad. It helped me to realize that trying to always do good and sometimes the bad comes out isn't failure on my part. I need to work on taking the good parts of both and use them to better my life. I love reading stories that have Native History. The stories are down to earth yet filled with great knowledge and meaning. When reading history books,the Bible, and even watching the news today it is heartbreaking that we as humans have not learned how to love each other and live together.
On Apr 8, 2014shoshi morginn wrote :
ahhhhh.....but we are learning to do just that...I heard that until all of us goes, none of us goes...I envision a world in which everyone is seen and valued for their capacities and awareness, that includes the underdog, the one the underdog struggles against, and the ones defending the underdog as well. We are learning so much with Reconciliation and Healing/Restorative Justice...learning to invite all community members to the table, asking who we have to become to treat the so-called "bullies" with the same genuine compassion and care that we treat the ones on the receiving end of misguided strategies. I like what I learn engaging in this level of dialogue.
On Apr 10, 2014A friend wrote :
For all the insights given 4/8, it is important to look every person we pass in the eye. To speak (non verbally), "You matter . . . I care . . . Do your best (perfection will make you ill) . . . Hold on to Jesus".
That no child of God fall in the crack of invisibility, I pray.
Looking at you,
On Feb 28, 2019Jorge wrote :
Thank you for setting the record state. These hippie-indian stories are so bad and disrespectful.