Treasures, Treasuries, and Thoughts

I swore I would never do a blog! So much for swearing. I didn't think that I would have much to say or share. I was wrong! I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, loyal friends, sharing colleagues, and the support from so many that I will never run out of topics to write about.

I have opened an on-line store at a place called Etsy (rhymes with Betsy). The items on the left are available for purchase there. These will change from week to week to show you my latest creations. The link to the store is in the upper left corner of this page.

I also have items for sale listed on Art Fire. The link to my Art Fire Studio is

I hope you will visit this blog, my Flickr page ( and my Etsy and/or Art Fire stores often. (

So come along on my Trail of Treasures! It will be a Spirit Journey for me and I invite you to join me on the trip.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanks From Behind Prison Walls

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, Leonard Peltier sent this e-mail from his prison cell.  Unfortunately, I failed to open my e-mails as I was busy preparing food for our family gathering.  But even though it may be a day late as a Thanksgiving reminder, perhaps it will serve to remind us that Thanksgiving should not be relegated to a single day each year if one is free and in good health. 

Here is what Leonard had to say.

Greetings, my relatives.

It seems another year has gone by since the last time we gathered like
this. I say we, although I am not there with you in body, my spirit
certainly is. We have coined this day, a day of mourning, as opposed
to a day of thanksgiving. It's a shame that for the most part
thanksgiving is relegated to only one day. And mourning is something
that relates to unhappy circumstances that have taken place. We
certainly can't change what has happened. This very day is ours and
tomorrow hasn't happened yet and, is uncertain.

I really don't like to dwell on the mourning aspects of life but instead,
on what we can do to prevent those unhappy and sometimes terrible
times in our history.

I may have mentioned it once before but I once read about a
union organizer named Joe Hill that was framed by the copper mine
owners to be executed. And I believe he said what really needs to be
said upon his death. His words were "don't mourn, organize".

And those are also my sentiments.

There are a lot of things that happened in the past that can be
prevented in the future. There are losses that can be regained. But
we must organize to do it. We must find it within ourselves to be in
touch with the Creator for I can tell you from a heartfelt fact that
when they've pushed you away, into a dark corner, not just your body,
but your mind, your soul, your spirit, there is no one that can
sustain you but the Creator himself.

Dark moments come and go in all our lifetimes.
And there are those in political office, who will try
to turn your head away from the obvious truths.
They will lie to you about what they believe.
They will try to get you to follow what they consider politically
correct while ignoring the truth, such as protests against the Mosque
being built within blocks of the fallen Trade towers,
which incidentally was a monument to wealth and wealth

I am not trying to demean the innocent people whose only
cause of their death was seeking a place of employment to feed their

While they protest the Mosque, no one mentions the Native
American sacred places that by treaty are seriously violated daily.
Our Sacred Black Hills of South Dakota, sacred to many tribes, have
the faces of many of our oppressors carved on them.

The place of vision seeking, Bear Butte in South Dakota, sacred to us for
millennia, has a bar built at the foot of it and there is talk of
having helicopter flights around it to attract tourism. And, there is
even talk of drilling for oil and gas.

Every time I have to write or I should say dictate, one of these
statements, I try to think of what I would say if this was the last
time I got to speak. The thing that comes to mind in some of our
sacred ceremonies and that is thoughts of our relationships with the
ones we love and the Creator of all life.

Not to take away from the theme of this day, but if you can hold the person you love,
be thankful.

If you can walk on green grass, touch a tree, be thankful.

If you can breathe air that didn't come through a ventilation system,
or a window with bars, be thankful.

If you can stand in an open field or some other place at night and
look up at the heavens, be thankful.

No one appreciates the simple things as much as a man or woman locked
away. I know sometimes some of my friends may have thought I had
become institutionalized and there may be some element of my thinking
behavior that has become calloused from this continued imprisonment.
But I have not for a moment forgotten the needs of my people and the
atrocities committed against them or the circumstances that all the
poor and impoverished face in this world at the hands of those who
take more than they need and exploit for gain, the futures of our

I paint pictures of them sometimes, people I've known,
People I've met, places I've seen, and places I've only seen in my
minds eye. And if my paintbrush was magical, rest assured I would
paint for myself one open door.

I wrestle with what to say to you and words are sometimes so
inadequate. So if you are free today, un-imprisoned, be thankful.

Give the person next to you a hug for me.
May the Great Spirit bless you always in all ways with the things you need.
May you find joy in doing what is right and righting what is wrong
and seek to be the best example of what a human should be in our lifetime.

In the Spirit of those we mourn, those who gave their lives and those
whose lives were taken from them.  I really don't know what else to say
because in writing this, my heart has become heavy with the emotions of this time.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, who gave his life for what was right and
tried to right what was wrong.

Your Brother,
Leonard Peltier

Free Leonard.  It is the right thing to do!


Julie G. said...

The simplest pleasures are the very best and we should never take them for granted.

Whimsical Jewels said...

Thank you so much for sharing these remarkable words. With tears flowing down my face and a heavy heart I'm grateful and saddened by what our country continues to do to people.

Eve's Fund for Native American Health Initiatives, Inc. said...

So glad you posted this Joni. I will put it on our Twitter page and on my profile. This world is amazing.
Warm Thanks, Barbara Crowell Roy