Perhaps you did or didn’t notice, but yesterday I made a small change to my profile. It's very small but in some ways big. I changed "I grew-up on the snowy banks of a Great Lake" to now read "I grew-up on the snowy banks of the Glacial Lake Iroquois."
The Great Lakes are glacial lakes, that is, they were formed 10,000+ years ago when the glaciers retreated and created the in-land seas we now call the Great Lakes. The Glacial Lake Iroquois was the much larger lake that is now known as Lake Ontario. As you can imagine, the Iroquois nations lived in settlements around the periphery of the lake. That is, until most were killed or driven out by the Europeans who took the ancestral lands and ran a border (as though a stake) through the heart of the lake and the Iroquois.
Honestly, I don't really know why I needed to change the wording; all I know is that I had to, so I did.
But here's today's breathtaking development: I received an email about the writings of Grandma Edna Gordon, an 85 year old Hawk Clan Elder of the Seneca Nation--one of the six nations of the Iroquois.
Maybe it's coincidence, or the awesome power of internet marketing, that brought Hawk Elder to me the very day after my decision to acknowledge and show respect for the Iroquois. Maybe it's just that. What makes me think that it's much more is Hawk Elder's message; while clearer, less obstructed, more elegant, I feel that I've been struggling to say much the same. Am I wrong? It's also touching that Hawk Elder is Seneca because it's that nation on whose ancestral land I roamed as a child. Who could know that?
Maybe someone can read her words in light of my postings and tell me whether there is or is not a common thread. Thank you.
Below is an excerpt from Grandma Edna Gordon's Voice of the Hawk Elder.
YES, THIS IS MY VOICE. These are my words. My good friend Harvey has helped me sort and arrange them, like he’s done for lots of good people over the years, even back when he worked at National Geographic. He fixes my spelling and spruces up my grammar here and there, though I tell him, not too much, Harvey! I want folks to know who I am and how I really talk and what I’m really like. Don’t make me some saintly old lady come down from Heaven on a moonbeam spoutin’ high-flown words.
Me, I’m just me, Grandma Edna Gordon, Hawk Clan Elder of the Seneca Nation, Six Nations Iroquois. I just turned 85, and am tryin’ my darndest to be a good person. Sometimes I succeed, but don’t stay around me when I get mad! I’m a raging hawk
I‘m honored Harvey’s chosen me to work with. Or am I the one did the choosing? Harvey’s a helper, and that’s a holy thing to be. People’mselves aren’t holy. But what they do can be holy. Living a holy life, that’s what life’s for. Helping others, fighting injustice, standing up for the People—those are holy things to do.
But always be sure to remember, it ain’t you yourself who’s holy. People are just people. If God’d wanted’m to be holy, he’d have given’m wings and set’m up on a cloud somewhere playin’ a big gold harp. Sounds pretty boring to me. Me, I’d rather just be a human being. I’m thankful that’s all I am or need to be. Being human, that’s a tough enough job for me.
Grandma Edna Gordon, Hawk Clan Elder of the Seneca Nation, Six Nations Iroquois
Voice of the Hawk Elder