Every now and then an interesting read synchronistically comes across my desk. I was beginning to follow what was going on with the Dakota Access Pipeline and the gathering of the tribes in protest of the government placing a pipeline on sacred lands without permission. I am sure you have heard of this movement by now. The gathering of over a thousand people and 200 tribes finally made mainstream news on Friday that the Army and US Justice and Interior departments jointly announced they would stop — at least temporarily — pipeline work under a lake the tribe considers a crucial water source. (CNN)
A Lakota friend of mine was sharing her experience at the peaceful gathering at our last Red Tent circle. She and her niece went in support of the movement. She relayed stories of peaceful gatherings and ceremony rather than the violent depiction that CNN focused on. She said the Crow tribe showed before she left with a trailer filled with 4,000 lbs of buffalo meat and blankets since the nights were starting to get cold. In addition, 30 environmental groups are siding with the Native Americans on this issue.
My friend was in many gatherings with the women during her stay – and finally agreed that she would take on the role of storyteller when she returned. She was bringing her ceremonial tipi and was going to gather the children to share the history of the Lakota and other tribes – so that their culture and history would not be forgotten.
The same could be said for women’s story – our time of remembering the power of menstruation – the magical force of living with cycles has long been forgotten. Our foremothers written out of the history books (except for a few).
And then I read Adrienne’s blog post and it was heartening. Although she struggled with PMDD for eight years – she tapped back into her knowing of learning to live with her cycle and not against it.
In this way women – and the natives have much in common. We have been forced to give up our scared ways for a reality not based on our values or beliefs.
We have been exposed to endocrine disrupting toxins that is wreaking havoc with our lives.
But this is the statement that really grabbed me
But within these traditional teachings. I didn’t know where I fit. Instead of feeling powerful, I felt betrayed by that medicine, out of balance rather than in a rhythm. So I tried to think about it as finding that balance, not controlling my power, but bringing it back into its natural place where it can do the good work it is designed to do. Maybe it means that my medicine is strong—I just needed some help to nudge it in the right direction.
Just as Natives are claiming their sacred land in North Dakota and in other parts of the country – that we have not heard about yet. maybe women need to reclaim their sacred land – their bodies.
My Lakota friend will also be sharing the sacred Native woman’s view on menstruation with the girls.
Defeating the Stone Man: PMDD, menstruation, and healing
August 28, 2016
“The power Cherokees attributed to menstruating women is illustrated by the myth “The Stone Man.” The Stone Man was a cannibal with a skin of solid rock and an appetite for Indian hunters. When a hunter spotted Stone Man heading for a village, he hurried to the medicine man, who stationed seven menstruating women in the cannibal’s path. The Stone Man grew progressively weaker as he passed the women and collapsed when he came to the last one. The medicine man drove seven sourwood stakes through the Stone Man’s heart, and the people built a large fire on top of him. While he was burning, the Stone Man taught the people songs for hunting and medicine for various illnesses. When the fire died down, the people found red paint, which they believed brought success. Through the power of menstruating women, therefore, great tragedy was averted and good fortune brought to the people.” (30)