I am from Colorado
I am from Colorado's
San Luis Valley. My extended family, from the Ute and Navajo nations,
reputedly settled Southwestern Colorado some centuries before they were "reserved" there.
Most of my father's and grandfathers generations were farmers. The clan
is large and close.
No one in the family
had a telephone when I was little, yet we were in continuous contact via
the one or two cousins who would bring news and gossip while running the
Yet, sometimes the
only notice we received that family was coming for a visit was the sound
of the truck in the driveway, at which time my mother and I would dash
about to prepare a big meal. Visits were always completed with music.
Someone would grab an instrument, and as if by silent cue, everyone would
take his place in the music
Peace comes within
Peace comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship,
their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize
that at the center of the Universe dwells Waran-Tanka, and that this center
is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
Elk, Oglala Lakota
or not moving, soulful or not, vibrates. Vibration is the very essence
If we human beings
were equipped with the proper "ears", that is, the correct
sensory equipment, we would hear these sound vibrations.
Disharmony of any
kind ("misfortune", "calamity", physical, social or
psychological illness, for example) is simply a symptom that the intrinsically
perfect natural order is "out of sync." When we need to restore
that perfect natural order, we must reintroduce a rich, bountiful, harmonious
vibration. We make that cause with our voices and the drum. Therefore,
the drum in traditional Native American life is much more than an object
of intellectual stimulation or social pursuit, more than entertainment,
more even than music. It is used to change the life condition of the
entire community, equally capable to destroy or devastate as to bring
joy and to restore.
It is important that
the individual who makes the drum, the one who plays it, the plants and
animals that give of themselves, all must be blessed or initiated.
While it isn't necessary to be perfect (even saints and sages make
mistakes) each action, word and even thought, is a cause. And those
who heal for the community must maintain a "rack-record" of
causes that benefit the community.
of station in life, continuously makes causes and through those causes
teaches precious lessons (since every experience after all is a teacher).
Since an artist is, by necessity a spokesperson, his elders ascertain
his healthy and positive spirit.