north american indians


I hear time and time again the phrase ‘Native culture’. What does that mean? Because it seems to me people are still uneducated about the first peoples and our cultures. As you’ll see above, Indigenous cultures across turtle island are very diverse and unique. Each nation / tribe has they’re own language, values and cultural teachings. So, please for the people saying ‘Native American culture’ as if we are one group, educate yourself on the very different cultural groups that reside here on this land.

North, Central & South American Natives all in one picture, talk about historic….. not to mention the individuals in the photo.
People Shouldn't Buy the Right to Steal Your Land
Native Americans have seen this monster before.

The involvement of the indigenous populations in both the United States and Canada in the opposition to various pipelines, including the Keystone XL, should come as no surprise.

As we have said, the abuse and misuse of the eminent domain process in the construction of the pipeline here has been an effective organizing tool to bring together environmentalists and ranchers to oppose the project. And if it is nothing else, the history of the native peoples on this continent is the greatest example of eminent domain abuse in human history.

They know better than anyone the feeling that greater forces from the outside can overwhelm and threaten long-standing ways of life.

On Tuesday, in a basement ballroom of a downtown hotel, the Ponca, Santee, Omaha, and Winnebago peoples organized a treaty among themselves, and several other tribes, expressing their opposition to the pipeline.

From the start, here and in Canada, the indigenous peoples of the continent have been at the heart of the opposition to projects like this one, most visibly during the extended confrontation over the Dakota Access pipeline. In Nebraska, the alliance between Native Americans and ranchers, particularly over issues of eminent domain, not only was shot through with remarkable historical je ne sais quoi, it was a pragmatic decision based on common interests.

People shouldn’t buy the right to steal your land. The Native people are familiar with this phenomenon and with how angry its victims can become…

Meet the “hipster banana.” Also known as the “quaker delight,” the “hillbilly mango,” or it’s actual name—the pawpaw. 

September is pawpaw season in a large swath of the U.S., but you won’t find the pawpaw in most grocery stores, even though they’re native to North America. American Indians harvested them, and it’s been said George Washington liked to eat chilled pawpaw for dessert. But much of the pawpaw’s natural habitat was destroyed by development, and they’re not that easy to cultivate. They need slightly acidic, well-drained soil, and harvesting them is labor-intensive.

The locavore food movement has embraced the fruit. Now there are restaurants whipping up pawpaw pie and pawpaw gelato, and local breweries are starting to make pawpaw beer. 

This Once-Obscure Fruit Is On Its Way To Becoming PawPaw-Pawpular

Photograph: Tyrone Turner/WAMU

[F]rom the 10 million [indigenous people] that once inhabited North America, after four centuries of settler invasion and rule there were in 1900 perhaps 200,000-300,000 surviving descendants in the U.S.A. That was the very substantial down-payment towards the continuing blood price that Third-World nations have to pay to sustain the Euro-Amerikan way of life.

So when we hear that the settlers “pushed out the Indians” or “forced the Indians to leave their traditional hunting grounds”, we know that these are just codephrases to refer politely to the most barbaric genocide imaginable. It could well be the greatest crime in all of human history. Only here the Adolph Eichmanns and Heinrich Himmlers had names like Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Jackson.

The point is that genocide was not an accident, not an “excess”, not the unintended side-effect of virile European growth. Genocide was the necessary and deliberate act of the capitalists and their settler shocktroops. The “Final Solution” to the “Indian Problem” was so widely expected by whites that it was openly spoken of as a commonplace thing. At the turn of the century a newspaper as “respectable” as the New York Times could editorially threaten that those peoples who opposed the new world capitalist order would “be extinguished like the North American Indian.”

—  Settlers: The Myth of tne White Working Class (1989)

…we the undersigned Headmen, Chiefs and Council men of Cherokee towns and settlements of North Carolina having been advised that a certain pretended delegation is now in Washington claiming to be sent by a duly convened council and to have been furnished with the council authority to act for our said people.  The undersigned decline the delegation and the pretended authority as whole, void and without any council authority whatever, as there was no general council held, and no Washington delegation appointed since the council held in Choia in 1868 when Col. Sweatland was taking census which papers were duly forwarded to Washington.  We are also informed that said delegation has filed revocation of papers, and withdrawn or pretended to withdraw opposition to the treaty now pending in the United States Senate with the Western Cherokees, also to have authority to arrange for our removal west all of which is a false, fraudulent and malicious userpation (sic) on their part, and no such delegation, or authority has in any legal or known manner been given or created, neither do we in any manner assent to any such representation or withdrawal of opposition, but insist in our protection by amendment of said treaty as urged by our representatives and Attorney General Blount, this we in duty bound ever pray.

Petition from the Cherokee Residents of Jackson, North Carolina, Regarding the Legitimacy of a Delegation Sent to Washington, DC

Dated March 7, 1870, this petition from the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina is a response to the news that a “pretend delegation” was in Washington, DC and claiming to be sent by a duly convened council.  The Cherokee residents who signed the petition attested this delegation had no authority and did not wish to be represented by it.

Haven Craft’s Beginner Witch Tips, Part Four

Something I’ve noticed about online beginner spells for witches is that a great deal of them involve herbs that are inhaled, drunk as tea or potions, or bathed in. So let’s go over the basics of herbalism as spellcraft.

First off, understand that herbalism is a very, very dangerous thing to dabble in just enough to think you know what you’re doing when you don’t. I’ve had quite a few people into Haven Craft who’ve started exhibiting very dangerous symptoms because their witchy hearthcraft friend recommended this or that for them, and they’re having allergic reactions or medication reactions or because it’s just a dangerous plant to begin with.

My favorite of these so far was someone who was on lobelia, for weight loss, because her friend recommended it. She came in exhibiting symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, constant nausea, and stomach pains. Lobelia is also called puke weed and she was close to the LD50 (lethal dose in fifty percent of the population) in the amounts she was taking.

Her herbalist friend had never bothered to Google the other names by which the plant was known, what medications it interacted with, or what the dangerous warning signs of its use were, because it was “just an herb” and “herbs are safe.”

No, they aren’t safe. 

Even external application can be dangerous. Especially bathing in something, which can give it access to mucous membranes it is absorbed through.

My favorite example of this is hyssop oil. Essential oils can be dangerous anyway, causing chemical burns and photo-sensitivity if they are not diluted properly, but some are dangerous for other reasons. Hyssop is one of them – it can cause people with epilepsy or other neurological conditions, including depression, to experience dizziness, difficulty concentrating, trouble focusing, and even cause seizures. It can be lethal to apply hyssop oil if you have a history of seizures.

And yet it is commonly listed as something to apply to the body to banish negative energies, with no warning. You hope people Google things before using the, you hope people look them up on WebMD, but if they don’t, they may hurt themselves or others severely, because they’re “just plants.”

So is atropa belladonna. It’s “just a plant.”

Ethics of Herbalism, Kitchen Witchery, Etc.

Like all magickal practice, herbal witchcraft requires that you determine your personal ethical stance. My advice is to determine what you are an are not willing to do in the real world – because magick, including herbal magick, is part of the real world and affects the real world. A practical way of looking at it is, “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do with your own two hands.” For example, if you aren’t willing to physically assault someone who has displeased you, sending a malicious spirit after them probably isn’t for you. If you aren’t willing to roofie someone, love spells to bind a particular person to you romantically and sexually probably aren’t for you.

However, there are some specific lines of ethics that come into play with magickal herbalism, in particular. Please keep in mind that these lines come from my own tradition – I can only advise based on my own work and experience, so these guidelines may not work for you.

Working for Others

I believe an herbalist should always ask someone before you perform magick on their behalf and DEFINITELY before you cause them to ingest any kind of herbal magick. Obtain permission beforehand, even for what you consider “positive” workings. Try to remember that your idea of what’s positive for someone’s life may not be their idea of what’s positive for their life. And that you may have no notion as to someone’s allergies or intolerances. You may think a rose and strawberry potion for self-love is a great idea – until you need to rush for an EpiPen, or until it turns out you didn’t have a full grasp of why someone was struggling with self-love in the first place.

I recommend that you don’t interfere with someone’s free will – don’t presume to know their full desires on any situation, even if they’ve been forthcoming with you. As for not causing someone to ingest something without their knowledge – go back to those real world consequences. What would the real world consequences be for powdering ambien and slipping it into someone’s drink be? What would the real world consequences be for powdering viagra and putting it into someone’s food?

Just ask.

Magick is real. Herbcraft is real – and it has real world consequences, from allergic reactions to possible reactions with someone’s medication, that you might not know they are on.

Anyone you perform herbal magick for should always be advised appropriately of the possible risks and benefits of a particular herbal magick and encouraged to make an informed choice about it.


When practicing herbalism and herbal magick for someone else – whether you’re making them a potion for household protection or crafting them an herbal spell to help them get over a bad breakup, it is not your place to share their personal business with anyone – not their friends; not their family.


Sometimes people approach witches and herbal practitioners for solutions to problems that really require more help than we can give.

For example, when approached regarding a domestically abusive relationship or a stalker ex, an herbal witch can provide magickal protection, but not physical, which may be required. A witch can stop a person from feeding on someone’s energy or using magick to manipulate and control them or to bring them bad luck – but a spell won’t stop a person from assaulting someone or breaking into their house. A person who approaches you for aid in a situation like that really also needs help from the police – you can provide spells of warding, spells to help them feel strong enough to escape from that negative relationship, and spells to calm the anxiety, fear, and depression that probably come along with the situation – but you can’t provide a safe place for them or a protective order, both of which they likely need.

Also, keep in mind that all spells for anxiety, fear, and depression that require ingesting, inhaling, or bathing in something should really be thoroughly checked for whether the herbs work for the kind of struggle they’re going through – is it laconic depression? Chronic depression? Situational depression? Anxiety? PTSD? – and any contraindications for those. For example, chamomile should not be used to treat chronic laconic depression, nor should kola nut be used to treat anxiety, despite both being listed in common herb recommendations for depression and anxiety.

Another example is medical necessity. Herbal magick for depression, anxiety, stress, pain, strain, exhaustion, and etc. can only help so much before someone really needs to seek a mental health professional, physical health professional, or other alternative therapies, like massage, to deal with their difficulties. It is often the responsibility of the practitioner to refer someone to a person who can help them, when magick isn’t enough or isn’t the correct solution. Err on the side of caution – if someone is exhibiting worrying physical or mental symptoms, provide them with what help you ethically can, but please refer them to outside help as well.

It is the practitioner’s responsibility to know their own educational and magickal limitations and to refer out when specialist treatment is required to serve the best interests of the client.

Always double check herbs that are to be ingested, inhaled, or bathed in for contraindications through WebMD,, and Epocrates.

Seeking Medical Help

It is very important to note that there is a difference between using an herb magically and ingesting it. Be safe when using herbs in magic – some that are safe for potions that were never designed for internal use are definitely not to be ingested. Please don’t take anything in a manner that may be potentially harmful to you and please don’t give something to someone else that you aren’t sure of. The proper dosage of herbs for an internal tisane versus a bath tisane is very different – proper research is paramount.  

If you have created an herbal magickal remedy or spell, something ingested or inhaled or bathed in, and either you or the person who is using it begin exhibiting a negative response, such as an allergic reaction, medicine interaction, or increased, rapid heart palpitation or uterine contractions, and etc., be responsible. Contact emergency services, poison control, or your personal physician as soon as possible – seek Quick Care or an Emergency Medical Technician – do not disregard symptoms of something potentially dangerous to yourself or someone else.

Environmental Commitment

It is the responsibility of herbal practitioners to have some awareness of the geographic and cultural origins of the main herbs used in his/her practice. Magickal herbalists should not utilize herbs or herbal products that are derived from any wild species known to be threatened or endangered.

It is the duty of all herbalists to remain cognizant about those herbs that are endangered and threatened and adopt appropriate practices in the harvest and use of those herbs. Magickal herbalists have also a responsibility to train the next generation of herbalists not to promote the use of wildcrafted herbs whose survival is threatened or endangered. Be responsible – keep informed.

Magickal plants that are currently endangered include, but are not limited to, Red Sandalwood, Wood Aloe, Himalayan Mandrake, North American Indian Paintbrush, and Centaury. White Sage is also increasingly endangered.

When collecting and harvesting plants, please be responsible, and avoid endangered species. By the same token, when buying herbs and botanicals, please check your suppliers for ethical conduct. Herbs are big money business these days and money is unfortunately a prime consideration to many pickers and wholesalers – buy ethically sourced, Fair Trade, and non-endangered whenever possible.
Life in the Native American oil protest camps - BBC News

An Indian reservation in North Dakota is the site of the largest gathering of Native Americans in more than 100 years. Indigenous people from across the US are living in camps on the Standing Rock reservation as they protest the construction of a new oil pipeline. As a result, a new community has emerged. The BBC’s Charlie Northcott went to North Dakota to meet the protesters and discover what goes on in camp.

Peter Francis, of the Sioux people, has spent a week hauling iron pots between a holding tank and an open fire to maintain a continuous flow of boiling water for tea and cooking. He is staying in the Red Warrior Camp, one of two enormous gatherings of Native American people near the Cannonball River, in the US state of North Dakota. He stands, united, in protest against an oil pipeline. “This is about water,” he said, referring to the protest. “Water is the life of our people. Without it, we cannot exist.”

The Red Warrior Camp is situated in a remote corner of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers. The multi-billion dollar oil pipeline the campers are opposing is slated to pass beneath the Missouri, just north of Standing Rock. The protesters say the pipeline will despoil a number of sacred sites in the area, including the flooded forest pictured here, which used to be a burial ground. The bleached trees are said to be the skeletons of Lakota Dakota spirits.

Life in the camps is often quiet. Whole families have based themselves there, having driven from as far afield as Maine and Arizona - hundreds of miles across America. Hours are spent around camp fires, sharing stories and food. Traditional Native American staples are on the menu, including sweet corn, peppers, beans and fry bread, which is eaten sweet and savoury.

A cohort of young men patrol the Red Warrior Camp calling themselves “spirit riders.” They spend most of their time running errands and delivering messages. They are excellent riders, often going bareback, sometimes without reins, occasionally galloping in the nearby floodplain. The Sioux people have a long history of horsemanship, defeating the US army repeatedly in pitched horse battles in the 1800s - most famously at the Battle of Little Bighorn, where the invading General Custer was killed.

Hawste Wakiyan Wicasa believes the Native American standoff with Dakota Access is the last Great Indian War. “This is the first time the seven bands of the Sioux have come together since Little Bighorn,” he said. “Now, we have no weapons, only prayers.” Mr Wicasa says he prays every morning and every night in the sweat lodge pictured behind him. “We are here for what our ancestors fought and died for. We have endured 250 years of betrayal by the white man.”

The company behind the oil pipeline, Dakota Access LLC, says it will create thousands of jobs and generate over $40m (£30.5m) in tax revenue for the state of North Dakota. Seven counties will be traversed in total, in addition to the states of Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota. The pipeline will follow the line of the power cables visible in the backdrop of this picture, as seen from the outer edge of the Red Warrior Camp.

Amihan, 19, pictured here with a friend she made in the Sacred Stone Camp, drove from Ohio to participate in the protest. Many protesters have been living in the camps for weeks, but some are just passing through. Standing Rock has seen hundreds of young indigenous people and activists visit, eager to take part in the historic gathering. Over 80 different tribes have a presence in the area.

On most days, demonstrations take place along the road leading to the Dakota Access pipeline construction site. Participants wave flags representing different tribal nations. In some cases, they obstruct trucks and diggers approaching the pipeline. Over 20 Native American protesters have been arrested in the month of August, including the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, David Archambault II.

Pancho, pictured here, is from the Standing Rock Reservation. He has been protesting against the pipeline since April, and worries the camps are becoming overcrowded and that local supplies are overstretched. “We know this place can’t handle many more people,” he said, standing in the Sacred Stone Camp. “Resources are stretched. Our community does not have a lot of money.”

Clyde Bellecourt is one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, a significant civil rights group in the 1960s and 70s. In all his days fighting for Native American rights, he says he has never seen anything like the camps. “I am 80 years old,” he said. “I’ve been jailed, I’ve been shot. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. This is what I fought for.”

At the centre of the Red Warrior Camp is a microphone, and at night, a blazing fire. Anyone can stand up and speak or sing. Here, Dallas Goldtooth, an organiser for the Indigenous Environmental Network, delivers a speech about camp logistics. “The porta potties [toilets] are the most expensive things here,” he said, to a chorus of laughter. “Please do your stuff neatly.”

For children, the protest camps are a playground of excitement. Dogs run wild, horses are available to be ridden. The two camps are close to the river, which offers relief in the humidity of summer.

Govinda Dalton is one of an older generation of environmental activists living in the camp. He runs Spirit Resistance Radio 87.9 out of his white van. Social media use by young Native Americans has been the driving force behind the growth of the protest, led by hashtags like #waterislife, #NoDakotaAccess and #nodapl. Instagram and Facebook have been the most popular mediums, but Twitter is also being used. “This is what it’s about man,” said Mr Dalton.

Sacred ceremonies, many of them private and closed to outsiders, are part of the everyday life of the camp. Each tribe brings its own set of customs, but many find common ground with songs, chanting and pipe-smoking rituals. Here Chloe Piepho says a prayer to Mni Wiconi, the sacred waters of life, in the Lakota Sioux language.

Johnelle, pictured front, is always in a rush. She is the emergency response coordinator for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. She runs a logistics team, with finance, medical and media officers. Looking out for the lives of thousands of visitors has been a challenge, but she relishes it. “If we find out there is something people need,” she said, “whether it be food, soap or medical supplies, we will find it for them.”

The human rights organisation Amnesty International, pictured here interviewing Ladonna Brave Bull, is investigating whether Native American liberties have been infringed. Local law enforcement have blocked a major road to and from the Red Warrior Camp, citing the interest of public safety. Residents of the camp say the blockage prevents them from picking up basic supplies from their nearest city, Bismark.

Security, cleaning and cooking are all handled by volunteers in the two protest camps. Some of have been told to keep track of the media, who are scantly trusted. “We don’t bother them,” said Xavier Long Feather, a 17-year-old volunteer on the security team. “But it’s good to keep watch, to see who is here.”

On 9 September, a major decision will be made regarding the Red Warrior Camp and its protesters. A judicial court will decide whether the Dakota Access pipeline should proceed, or be halted for further environmental and archaeological assessments. “This is the biggest gathering of its kind in history,” said Keith Swift Bird, on the camps. “We will stand our ground if we have to."