Travels of Nibaa Mukwaa & Noodin

by James B Beard aka Noodin

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Posted by noodin
This is meant to be a short note to wish everyone a pleasant holiday season. Though much is going on in all aspects of our daily lives it is important, in my way of thinking, to stay focused on the beauty of change that is happening in our lives.

Last week we returned to Mt Monadnock after a six week travel throughout this beautiful land. The we being my son Nick and me. Sharing some of that trip might lend to healing of many so I will share what I can.

We left the mountain in the last week of September and drove to Greensburg, Pennsylvania to visit my good friend and brother, John Bukovac, at Alternative Living Solutions. John’s facility takes in youth and provides a living, school and work program. His work is dedicated to helping young people to build well balanced lives and to give them a chance in this incredibly complex world. John has helped thousands of youth over his career and makes a difference in this important time.

We stayed at the facility for two days visiting with the youth and staff. Thank you John and all of the people at Alternative Living Solutions for your kind hospitality and the opportunity to share.

We left Greensburg and traveled to Burgettstown, PA to visit The Mesa Creative Arts Center run by Brad and Kate Silberberg. Brad and Kate have been experiencing some very serious health issues with Kate. Aside from that they still wanted very much for us to come and share with people at Mesa Arts.

The first thing we did when we arrived was to build a fire to Honor Brad and Kate. It is understood when someone is sick or need of healing to have a four day fire to ask spirit to help. That being done we conducted talking circles and provided two work shops over the four day visit. The first workshop on Animal Guides and the second on Medicine Wheel (Shield) . Both were well attended and it felt so great to share with these people the little that I have been given to share. On the third evening we did a lodge and Nick was my firekeeper for that lodge. It always feels so good to work with my son.

On the next day we departed from Mesa to drive to Strongsville, Ohio and to visit Chris Reynolds at Angel House. Angel House sponsors all sorts of holistic programs and provides a center to support their various programs. We provided a talking circle, Medicine Wheel (Shield) workshop and did a lodge while there. Our visit was for three days. On the second day at Angel House, Chris asked me to come to work with him for the day. It was one of the highlights of our trip for me.

Chris works at a local High School and had arranged for a visit with classes for the day to tell stories to the students. I have done this many times over the years and have always enjoyed sharing with young people. This was different though. In the old ways, when someone would come to a community, the community would gather and sing a welcome song to the person coming to visit. Chris taught the classes to sing a Cherokee welcome song and I was greeted at each class with a song. WOW! I in turn sang an Ojibwe gratitude song to each class in response.

On the last day of our visit we had a lodge and many students from the school attended. For most of them it was their first lodge. What a beautiful healing to prepare us to move on..

Nick and I pulled out the next day to travel to London, Ontario to attend ceremonies of the Midewiwin. We were two days late due to our scheduled visits on the way but right on time in a Native way. I have never found a way to explain the ceremonies and the impact they have on the people. Nick had not been for a couple of years and when we arrived Elders immediately went up to welcome him and make him feel comfortable. His response to this was so heartfelt that I still feel the fulfillment of happiness in my heart for my son. The ceremony was packed with experiences but many are not what I would want to write about. It was a beautiful, memorable time with many brothers, sisters and friends. Both Nick and I walked away feeling changed from the experience. I guess that’s not new either because I always feel that when I attend ceremony.

We left ceremonies and drove to Lake Lena, Minnesota to visit my brother Brian Matrious. I have seldom seen my brother in such good spirits and our stay there was so good that I did not want to leave. Brian would want me to say that he is well and working hard to help people. He wishes all a good way and hopes to be East to visit soon.

By now you are probably getting tired of how this “short note” goes on. We continued to visit my sister in Minneapolis and then travel to Pipestone, Minn to get some pipestone. We then went to the Black Hills and camped in Custer State Park for two days. After that we went to Colorado and visited my daughter Kathy and Meagan and their families. We stayed in Colorado for two and a half weeks. A little longer than intended because Hurricane Sandy was coming into the coast.

To sum up. So many things happened. So many people enjoying, growing, living, suffering. I feel that I have a full binder of things to write about for the winter. Must be coincidence. My prayer was to have something to do for the winter.

Oh yes! One other thing. I am thinking that I would like to offer a workshop on Medicine Wheel (Shield) in the next month or two. If anyone is interested please let me know.

Apane [ always ]

nibaa mukwa, maang indodeim a.k.a. Nick Beard & Noodin indizhinikaz, maang indodeim a.k.a. Jim Beard

Cultural Story Teller, Educator, Speaker, Author

Phone: 603 261 7228


"White Mocs on the Red Road / Walking Spirit in a Native Way" ~ Go to:

"Wisdom of the Wind" - (Listen to Noodin's interview with Hannah Thomas) ~

Copyright © 2012 James B. Beard All rights reserved.

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