Wow, I enjoyed all the prior speakers and the pastor with his beautiful, heartfelt prayer. They hit all the high lights. I must begin by thanking God for blessing me in abundance of portions of immeasurable proportions;
I thank God for joining us together today to unite as one in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will elaborate a little on why we are here on such a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. First, I would like to begin by praying with and for you in my Native tongue of Cherokee….
Thank you for indulging me in prayer because I believe we must remember to always put God first.
I was originally asked to speak at two other March for Trump events, first in Springfield, Illinois, the cradle of Abraham Lincoln.
My opening was going to be something like, almost everyone, including Democrats, would include Lincoln as one of their three favorite Presidents. By no means, do I consider myself as a Historian, but Lincoln would certainly make my list, as well as Ronald Reagan.
With that said, I expect and anticipate that President Trump will become the greatest President in history as for me President Trump is already on my number one President of all time and his stunning wife is most certainly our classiest and most beautiful First Lady ever with Jackie Kennedy as my favorite before the beautiful Melania and I would like to share why I choose Mr. Trump as my favorite President, it is because in 2009 I was invited to NY to have lunch with Donald and everyone thought I was crazy for believing this was true let alone it could happen to me.
I went with 3 objectives:
1. Take a picture with Mr. Trump
2. Get his autograph
3. Get a testimonial for my website from the greatest business man of all time
I would have been happy with even one of these and he gave me so much more, he answered my questions and even made ample time for the more than 30 people in the room to fulfill their request and dare I say their dreams. I witnessed him give money to what appeared to be a homeless person with a joyous heart and buy coffee for a construction crew that wasn’t even working on one of his projects.
This is the integrity and character of a man who cares about our homeless, a man who’s very definition is to protect and serve by putting the needs of others above his own. This is the man I met and know.
I firmly believe he will lead us to put America First and make America Great Again.
The next event was to be the premier event held in Washington, D.C., where there was even hope that President Trump and his beautiful wife our First Lady might attend.
I was excited for this and in talking to a friend he said there will be a lot more pressure on you in DC with probably a lot more people and you will speaking on a different subject than you normally do.
My response was “Bring it On because diamonds are created under pressure and I love a good challenge”.
I then learned that Oklahoma City was to host an event and my excitement overwhelmed me because it flooded my soul with memories of Sunday morning after church sitting on the church steps with lemonade and the ever-popular fried chicken legs talking with my friends. I just knew I had to be switched to Oklahoma so I could share time with my family in each of you.
A little background on myself is I live in gratitude because I had to fight my way into this world not once, not twice but three times as my mother attempted to abort me three times.
I was knew that I disposable and only wanted when I was convenient and my message here is that you matter, each of you are valuable, and loved because God loves you and I love you.
In growing up in Indian territory and attending schools where I only spoke Cherokee until I was 10 years old I also learned that your success is in direct proportion to your contribution, I learned I am a giver.
In my early career I wasn’t familiar with many business leaders, but I had heard of Donald Trump.
My first introduction to President Trump was when I was involved with one of those multi-level marketing companies where everyone’s goal was to drive a pink Cadillac you know the one.
An early part of that process was to create a “vision board” with an “I” story, My ‘I’ story was to meet Donald Trump and ask him one quality question within 5 years, I met that schedule ahead of deadline by 2 years another example that God really does answer your most passionate prayers.
I have no idea why I was chosen for this most prestigious honor because I am just a little girl from Tahlequah, the backwoods of Punkin’ Holler in a tiny little place in the middle of nowhere on the way some somewhere in a home with dirt floors and a place where no one ever sees “you,” the you that is crying to come out, all the while knowing it’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that no one can see but you and realizing through God’s design this the only way to find your direction and today is proof that dreams really do come true and for this I thank you.
One reason perhaps is because I have supported Trump from the moment that I heard that he was running for president, before it was even official, I have supported him through the many threats that my family received through the Native American community because of my unwillingness to back down and my family stood by me in my decision.
My father who always supports my decisions with great enthusiasm had even told me that if I back down because of threats then I am certainly not the daughter that he raised because he raised me to stand up for what I believe in, he taught me to be strong, tenacious, and he taught me that a decision means to sever, to cut off, leaving no other option or alternative so when you make a decision it means you stand up even if it means you stand alone, And there were many times within my Native American community where I did feel that I was standing alone, actually that’s not true, for how could I be standing alone when I have God before me and my father beside me.
Outside of my Native American community I have had many friends that disagreed with my support, I have had many friends that we simply agreed to disagree and I appreciate each one of them for that because I believe we learn from each other.
I believe much of the resistance across the entire nation comes from and unfounded fear that as we rebuild our economy there will be many cutbacks on financial assistance.
And while I strongly believe in a hand up I do not believe in a handout and there is a huge difference. These handouts and many other govt. handouts are wrong and should be eliminated or reformed. People need to realize that our country is like an individual that is bankrupt or so close that they can feel it like a train wreck.
Our country does not have an unlimited black card, more like an ordinary credit card that is about to be rejected at the checkout counter over a piece of bubblegum.
We have a national debt of almost twenty trillion dollars, which is one of the main reasons why China has or is about to surpass us as the major power in the world and other countries have little or no respect for us, understandable so.
We must make many changes, none of which will be easy or popular, such as how to get our entitlement programs, like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid back on sound economic ground.
I did not vote for Obama nor did I vote for Hillary and did not agree with most of their agenda but I did support him during his term and would have supported her because of the position because I was raised that even if you do not like the person you must respect their position, I had hoped that he would began to solve some of our problems during his 8 year term, that did not happen.
The two huge issues I would put at the top of my personal list would be protecting our Country and turning our economy around.
To me, any President’s first priority should be to protect its citizens, both from within and outside our territory. My personal opinion is the prior administration from former President Obama, the Attorney Generals, Secretary of States, on down did a poor job of this.
I applaud President Trump for his beginning to rebuild our military and appointing cabinet members who will help protect us and keep us safe. Our local sheriff and police departments overwhelmingly voted for Trump and for this I am grateful. By the way, I’m pleased that the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruett is a fellow Oklahoman, I would expect major changes in that area.
I realize my other priority of turning around our economy covers a myriad of issues like the national debt, Obamacare, jobs and dollars going overseas, high corporate and individual tax rates, bank derivatives, etc. I think the commitments from some of our prominent corporations to add jobs, build facilities here rather than abroad and cut costs on some defense projects was a huge step in the right direction. The positive gains in our financial markets since the election is another indicator. One statistic I absolutely love was that in the first month of the prior administration our national debt increased 200 Billion dollars compared to the reductions of 12 billion dollars the first month of President Trump’s administration.
With that being said, all I ask is for all the naysayers, specifically and including the media, to give our great President Trump that same respect and support that we gave the previous administration.
Keep in mind, President Trump has only been in office less than 2 months and has made exponential progress already.
I firmly believe President Trump will lead us to put God first, the American people as his priority and make America Great Again.
My goal in this speech isn’t to solve the many Issues our nation faces as that is not my job, rather to focus on society’s responsibility as a whole to keep those individuals whose job it is to solve these problems results focused and focus driven. Both parties, republicans and democrats, have been guilty of complacency and merely kicking the can down the road.
Without even thinking about it, I can list 7or 8 major problems such as terrorism, immigration, health care, infrastructure, our international relationships, drug issues, education, our overload of regulations, etc. I am certain you can probably think of at least two or three others that you could add to that list.
Is it really too much to ask one person to totally solve all these major issues? Of course it is, however, its not too much to ask him including our Congressional delegates, and our state leaders to get started working on resolving them.
The best way to accomplish this is for each one of us, as individuals and collectively, to do our part by working together, coming together across the great divide, and be willing to compromise and learn from each other as we all share a common goal.
I’m proud to be from Oklahoma for many reasons, one being conservatives while still becoming more and more progressive. I know that you are already aware that our two United States Senators and all five Congressmen, including MarkWayne Mullen, who we are so honored to have with us today, and our Governor are all Republicans.
I knew that Trump would easily carry Oklahoma, but was pleased that he got 65.3% of the vote, carried all 77 counties, with Cimarron County in the Panhandle having the highest percentage% of 83%. There were only two states that had a higher percentage% of Trump votes than Oklahoma.
In closing I would remind each of us that we have played a part in electing President Trump, but it’s not just a matter of handing the ball over to Trump and our elected officials and standing back and watching. We need to stay committed, keep them in our prayers, and let them know we support them and their efforts.
Please keep in mind that everything we are praying for won’t get done in six months. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and there will be some compromises as there is strong opposition and we can create a favorable transition if we choose to love them through it and remember it is always better to follow a great example than to lead by ignorance, personally, I choose to follow the example of Christ Jesus and love them through gratitude and forgiveness.
With that being said, I am asking us to each love each other, accept each other, even agree to disagree because in the big picture we all want the same things, to be loved, to matter, and to live with passion.
Let us all continue to keep President Trump and his family in our thoughts and prayers.
God bless President Trump and his humble family, God bless America and God bless each and every one of you and your beautiful families. I love you.
If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive.
Armani custom designed gown valued at $100,000,… Harry Winston, Chopard bracelet cuff valued at 500,000,… As for me I am just a child of God the one true king, a little girl from Tahlequah who grew up on dirt floors always keepng my trust in Christ Jesus and keeping my eyes fixed on God knowing he always provides me with his grace.
Do you want to know how to become successful? It’s easy.
Turn your dream into your goal. Plant it deep in your heart, then for as long as it takes, eat, sleep, breathe, laugh, and cry without ever taking your eye off your goal.Not even for a second. An obstacle is what you see when you take your eye off of the goal…
Don’t be limited by your past, satisfied with your present or uncertain about your future: Define Your Prime. Take the reins on your life today and everyday!
Dream so big it scares you and watch it happen right before your eyes. It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you. Mine was a dream that nobody saw but me and every time I shared my dream others would say be realistic… realistic is for the ordinary who are willing to settle, I dream the impossible because God makes it possible… Only then it becomes real…”
I gave you a shout out Johnna Kelley, Dee Martin Gauthier, Chris Silva and everyone for making tonight possible and special in this video as I chased someone down to take my pictures and even WhoSay, Getty Images and others were generous to take a few pictures of me with my phone … Experience one of the most coveted events “the Oscars” 2017.
This is my favorite TRUE story of an amazing Christmas miracle, The Christmas Miracle, a True Story by Santa Mark Leonard
In December 1997, a little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at Mayfair Mall in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee. The child climbed up on his lap, holding a picture of a little girl. “Who is this?” asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”
“Yes, Santa,” he replied. “My sister, Sarah, who is very sick,” he said sadly.
Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby, and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” the child exclaimed. “She misses you,” he added softly.
Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. When they finished their visit, the Grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.
“What is it?” Santa asked warmly.
“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but …” the woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors. “The girl in the photograph, my granddaughter … well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays,” she said through tear-filled eyes. “Is there any way, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”
Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do. “What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying,” he thought with a sinking heart, “this is the least I can do.”
When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital. “Why?” Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.
Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day. “C’mon, I’ll take you there,” Rick said softly.
Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. Rick said he would wait out in the hall.
Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed. The room was full of what appeared to be her family – there was the Grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead. And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.
Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”
“Santa!” shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him, IV tubes in tact.
Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son – 9 years old – gazed up at him with wonder and excitement. Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears. Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.
As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes. Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year. As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands. Santa looked intently at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels.
“Oh, yes, Santa, I do!” she exclaimed.
“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you,” he said.
Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease. He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing softly, Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright. The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, and tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all. When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.
“Now, Sarah,” he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!” He knew it was risky proclaiming that, to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he had to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could – not dolls or games or toys – but the gift of HOPE.
“Yes, Santa!” Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright.
He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room. Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed. Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.
“My only child is the same age as Sarah,” he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.” They nodded with understanding and hugged him.
One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap. “Hi, Santa! Remember me?”
“Of course, I do,” Santa proclaimed, as he always does, smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a ‘good’ Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the ‘only’ child in the world at that moment.
“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”
Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest. “Sarah!” he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy – much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before. He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.
That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus. He had witnessed – and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about – this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well.
He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!
© 2000-2016 Susan Morton Leonard
The Tim Bremel Show:
Interview With Susan & Mark Leonard featuring Lisa Christiansen
Your attitude is the inner architect building resilience in your mindset, you can choose to be happy or choose to be miserable and whichever seeds you decide to nurture will bear the fruits of your future.
What’s at stake? Your outlook involves your perception of success (or failure) and has a big impact on the viability of your career. The great thing is, setting your attitude is your choice.
See all the ways below that you can positively enhance your attitude:
1. Find your inner coach.
What you think about yourself, your abilities, financial gains (or losses) and your assessment of your ability to succeed becomes what you actively live out. Actions follow thoughts.
To be successful, choose your thoughts wisely and deliberately.
When your attitude is unproductive and you need to shift from a negative thought pattern, draw upon your inner child: Reprogram fearful, defeatist thinking toward thoughts charged with power, conviction and faith. Focus on your ability to meet your goals, begin with one action however insignificant it may seem because that one action leads to follow up and follow through leaving no other option than success.
Learn to coach yourself into a productive state of mind. This coaching will lead to forward movement and can be reignited anytime you face a setback.
Think of your attitude with this equation: Energy = Motion. From this paradigm, attitude determines movement forward or back.
2. Determine incentives.
Discover what motivates you to take action. Think back to what has inspired you to make changes in your life and pursue your goals. Knowing why you do what you do is vital to your current motivation and passion.
Is your incentive financial gain? Is it self-preservation, stability, anger or fear? Having clear incentives can instantly shift your attitude to a positive one.
Begin with a smile, give compliments freely and inspire others. When you can motivate others you will automatically move yourself toward a goal, your attitude becomes infused with your inner power, enthusiasm and passion. Your outlook on business is elevated. You walk faster, smile more and carry a posture of self-assuredness, all of which draws even more success your way.
3. Set benchmarks.
Write it down, make a vision board, select benchmarks to help you visualize goals so they seem to be right before you as you strive to develop your skills. To maintain an attitude of enthusiasm it is important to be grateful for things already achieved because gratitude breeds abundance. Build benchmarks of success and think about them intentionally and consistently.
The more deeply you believe, really believe and appreciate a goal in the present the more likely it will be. This type of mental practice keeps your attitude positive and directed toward attainment of success. I believe you naturally strive toward what you visualize.
4. Manage anxiety.
When challenges surface in business and in life, you might experience a loss of control over emotions and thoughts. To remain optimistic, discipline your mind to stay clear of catastrophic thoughts and the “what if” slippery slope of anxiety. Remember, an obstacle is what you see when you take your eye off of your goal.
Anxiety is simply fear projected forward. Remind yourself that a “what if” is not happening now: It is just a story. Focus on what you can control right now. Each thought is a seed you plant that programs your attitude and your subsequent behavior. To keep a great attitude, learn to focus your mind on solutions, not problems.
5. Create a positive impression.
To reach your peak potential on the climb to success, be driven and shrewd but also happy and enjoyable to work for and with. The heights of success attained grow the more infectious your energy appears to other people.
Your personal vibe can either repel people or draw them in.
When you carry an attitude of excitement and vigor, this transfers to those around you and increases business morale. If your attitude is gregarious, infectious and all about living life to its fullest, you seem to have unlimited potential: You positively motivate others to support your attempt to achieve even higher levels of success.
6. Show your hunger.
Be hungry for success. That way a natural eagerness will permeate your attitude. It will seem that you cannot wait to get to work and put that hunger into motion.
This hunger becomes the emotional “speaker of the house.” This energy serves as the driving force behind your attaining your goals when you have 100 percent commitment to what you are doing.
Total commitment cuts through doubt.
7. Find the deeper meaning.
Connecting with your spiritual empowerment system will nuture your soul and your business. The deeper the connection you feel to the purpose of your business the more you will experience your higher life purpose as being expressed through your work.
Your business is a place where you have the ability to impact others positively on a grand scale. This type of empowerment gives meaning to what you’re working for. You are able to see that your purpose is powerful and helpful in the lives of others, which further strengthens you to do what you do.
8. Carry some lightheartedness.
Find the humor and lighter side of life as you climb the ladder of success. This will decrease your stress. The less stress you feel, the more positive energy you will have available to support your hard work.
To be lighthearted is a great skill that lightens up the business environment around you. It adds charisma (a highly attractive quality) to your persona and breeds trust and the desire of others to want to work with you and for you.
9. Engage in physical activity.
One of quickest ways to shift from a negative attitude is to change your physiology. If you are stressed, physical activity provides a quick release. This can help you cleanse a negative thought pattern and redirect your energy to seeing the positive. The thoughts you have during physical exertion will become reality.
Exercise (or movement of any sort) propels you into an altered state of mind, letting you increase your optimism. Movement provides a natural stress release, ideal for continued motivation and mental clarity. If you can’t hit the gym on a stressful day, escape the office for a 15-minute walk to shift your outlook.
10. Aim for self-mastery.
To be successful, understand two things you have control over: your thoughts and feelings. If you are naturally more pessimistic, take responsibility for consciously selecting your attitude.
Exude positivity in your work ethic and in your interactions with others. When you master your inner world, you can dominate your outer world.
In the business world where every person has the same access to strive to build their resources, talent, finances, technology and the like, a person is often successful because of determination, resilience and attitude.
In business, attitude is everything. If you believe you can succeed, you very well might. Your attitude about success can become your self-fulfilling prophesy. Choose to be a victor.
11. Remember Your Success Is In Direct Proportion To Your Contribution.
It important to give back, the most valuable contribution you can offer is your time. Schedule time to help out at your local shelter, food bank, hospital, or my favorite is to visit a local “nursing home” and share time reading and crafting with someone who doesn’t have family or get visitors because the warmth of appreciation is such an awesome experience and enriching.
These people become family, we must remember the generations that came before us and never let them feel forgotten.
“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
THE SEVEN CEREMONIES
The Cherokee have and always have had 7 major ceremonies. Many of these went on for several days and involved fasting, feasting, chants, dances, staying awake all night, immersing in water, purifications rites and divination rituals. These often took place around the time of the New Moons. When the first sliver of crescent light could be seen on the right side of the moon, it was the beginning of a new moon and a ceremony was conducted to cleanse from past impurities and give fortitude for the new moon, of which there were 13 each year.
One Cherokee tradition states that the Great Creator made the earth in 7 days and this work was completed on the new moon of Autumn. For this reason we have our Fall ceremony known as “The Great Moon”. This is the traditional “New Year” for the Cherokee. However, it is also possible to start counting the major ceremonies on the first new moon of Spring. This would be the new moon nearest to the “Vernal Equinox” (our first day of spring).
So the First New Moon of Spring Ceremony came at the time when the “Cold Moons” were over and the people emerged from their round “Winter Houses” where they had kept a fire burning and were kept warm during the snows and blizzards. It was a happy time to be out in the fresh air more and once again begin their activities of raising gardens, hunting, fishing and interacting with the other nations surrounding them. Like the other ceremonies, it was a time for starting with a clean slate and put behind them all negativity and be spiritually and physically refreshed.
First New Moon Of Spring
This ceremony was and is observed around the time the new grass begins to grow. This festival was a major one and people came to the capital city from surrounding villages to attend it. 7 hunters went out to secure venison and other meat for the feast. 7 women and 7 men were commissioned to oversee the festival. In the 7 sided counsel house the fire keeper and his assistant prepared the alter (fire mound or “hearth”) for the sacred fire which was present at all the major ceremonies. 7 kinds of sacred wood were used in this fire. The Friendship Dance was done by the women on the first evening of the festival. The next morning the people went to water at the nearby river, immersing themselves 7 times. Divining crystals (made of quartz) were consulted by the pastors/elders to determine what the future held for the people. A new Sacred Fire was now burning in the center of the council house, attended to constantly by the Fire Keeper and his assistants. The lodges had all their fire mounds cleaned and hot coals from the sacred fire were carried to these lodges. Thus a clean slate was opened before the people for the new ceremonial year.
Celebrated with fruits from the previous fall harvest are brought to ceremony and consumed to remember the continuation of the Creator’s care and blessing. This festival initiates the planting season and incorporated predictions concerning crop success or failure. It lasts seven days and includes dancing and the re-lighting of the sacred fire by the “fire-keeper”.
There ceremony includes sacrificing a deer tongue in the fire. All the home fires were extinguished and rekindled from the sacred fire’s coals, symbolizing fresh beginnings, and renewal of life from Mother Earth.
Green Corn Ceremony
Corn was the “staff of life” for our Cherokee ancestors. They devoted two major yearly ceremonies to honor their cultivation of corn. The Green Corn Ceremony came in early summer when the corn stalks were still green but some young ears of corn began to present themselves. Thus, there was the “promise” of a good harvest of corn and all the other agricultural products that helped them sustain life. During this ceremony the “Uku” Peace Chief placed the tongue of a dear and some corn along with tobacco into the Sacred Fire to symbolize thanks for good hunting (plenty of meat) and good harvests (plenty of plant food) which would result in good health for the people.
The ceremony was held in the middle of the ceremonial grounds. Included in the rituals were the stomp dance, feather dance and buffalo dances.
At certain points of the ceremonies the people fast, play stickball, have sacrificing and took medicine. Then after the ceremonial fasting they would feast. Another ritual observed was rinsing themselves in water and having prayer.
It is believed when you recieve a cleansing it washes away impurities or bad deeds and starts a new life. The cleansing ceremony was performed by a priest which was followed with fasting and praying and other sacred practices.
New corn is not to be eaten until after the ceremony takes place. Messengers are sent to notify the towns of the nation about when the celebration will take place. Along the way they gathered seven ears of corn, each from a field of a different clan. After the messengers return, the chief and seven councilors fast for six days. The ceremony begins on the seventh. Again, the sacred fire is extinguished and rekindled.
As the with the First New Moon Ceremony, a deer tongue is sacrificed in the sacred fire. Kernels from the seven ears of corn that have been gathered from the clans are also sacrificed along with the sacred nicotania rustica. Food that was made from the new corn was brought to the town house and everyone was fed. The Chief and his councilors could only eat corn from the previous year’s crop for another seven days.
Ripe Corn Ceremony
This ceremony happened in late Summer when the corn had matured and was ready for harvest. Similar to the Green Corn Ceremony, it was to give thanks giving to “The Great One” for a bountiful harvest of corn (which represented all agricultural foods). During this ceremony the “Corn Dance” was done in which the motions of harvesting corn were incorporated into the dance.
This third Cherokee festival is called the Mature Green Corn Ceremony which is held about 45 days after the New Green Corn Ceremony. Before the festival, women perform a religious dance and decided when the festival would be held. Hunters are sent out to bring back game and there is a committee appointed for the festival.
An arch is built with green branches, making an arbor in the ceremonial grounds. The evening before the Green Corn Ceremony, all the clans take a branch that they use the next day during a noon ritual. Participants drank a special tea called a “Black Drink” which was used for cleansing and purifying. The people dance for days while feasting on game and corn. The ceremony lasts for four days.
Great New Moon Ceremony
The new moon which fell nearest the Autumnal Equinox (first day of Fall) was about the time of this festival. This constituted the “New Year” celebraton for our Cherokee ancestors. This would correspond to the ending of our September or the beginning of October. The people went to the river to immerse 7 times prior to the main part of the ceremony. The Diving Crystal was consulted to determine what the new year had in store for the people: peace or war, health or sickness and death. As with other ceremonies, there were times of fast and feasting and staying awake at night, and various dances.
Friends Made Ceremony
This festival also went by the name of “Cementation, Propitiation, or Atahoona.” It was based on friendship, love, and making things right. Already at this time of year they were thinking about the cold moons arriving in the near future. Some of the more frail elders might not survive till spring, so if there was any mending of friendships to be done, now was a good time to do it. One part of this ceremony involved the exchanging of garments between two men to symbolize their eternal friendship. Only at this ceremony was the sacred “Yowah” chant sang. 7 selected men “cleansed” the capital council house in a ceremony in which they beat sticks made of Sycamore wood against the rim of the roof.
The Great New Moon Festival is held around October. This marks the beginning of the Cherokee New Year. It is believed that the world was created in the season of Autumn.
The main counselors determine when the new moon will appear. Again as previous festivals, hunters were sent out to catch game seven nights before the festival. Seven men are selected to take charge of all the planning and seven women are chosen to prepare the food. When the Cherokee people gather for the feast, each family gives food to the pastor/elder. Types of food are corn, pumpkin, beans among others. The evening before the main gathering, the women perform a religious dance. Again during the ceremonial part they go to the river for purifying, giving offerings to the sacred fire and praying.
Propitiation of Cementation Ceremony (Friendship Ceremony)
Celebrated 10 days after the Great New Moon Ceremony. This ceremony symbolizes the unity between the Creator and mankind and also dealt with relationships between two people of the same or opposite sex. These relationships were bonds of eternal friendship in which each person vowed to regard the other as himself as long as they both lived. It was a ceremony that was a pledge of universal fraternal or paternal love. It also entailed reconciliation between those who had quarreled during the previous year. It symbolized the uniting of the people with the Creator and purification of body and mind. The New Moon Ceremony was said to have been the most profoundly religious of all the ceremonies. As with other observances, it also involved the rekindling of the scared fire.
Bounding Bush Ceremony
This was a joyous ceremony were the Cherokee expressed unrestrained joy giving thanks to the Great Spirit and his helpers, acknowledging them as the source of our blessings. Dancing and feasting abound, and thansgiving was expressed by everyone tossing an offering of sacred tobacco in the sacred fire.
This was the last major ceremony before the arrival of the Cold Moons. It prepared the people for the hardships of surviving the Winter. This was a joyful ceremony with feasting and dancing. At one point at the end of the ceremony all people
surrounded the fire in the Sacred Square outside the Council House and approached the fire together and threw crushed tobacco leaves into the fire.
This festival is held about ten days after the Great New Moon Festival. Another purpose of this festival was to renew friendships, make new friends and for cleansing.
Participants are assigned tasks such as helping with the preparation of the various ceremonies, song leaders, musicians, the cleansing of the council house area, hunting game and cooking.
A new sacred Fire is built by the Fire Keeper and his assistants. The Fire keeper his assistants fast for seven days before the festival. There is a dance the night before the festival.
Others fast during special designated days. This festival renews the Fire, and the people. It also brings friendship by ceremonially forgiving conflicts from the previous year. This was seen as a brand new start. There is also a cleansing ritual that is performed at the river in running water. This festival lasts four days.
The Ookah Dance
The Chief Dance (UKU Ceremony) – Celebrated once every seven years. The Principal Cherokee Chief is carried into the Sacred circle of the Sacred Fire, on a white chair, and acknowledged as the Chief of all the people by each of the clans. This ceremony reminds us of the one true Chief, the Great Spirit-Creator. Dancing and feasting follows. New garments were given to the Uku with dancing and great pageantry. This celebraton lasted 4 days.
This festival is held during the winter. Tobacco is gathered from the people who participate in the feast. The people use pine or spruce in a dance. The first dance movement is a march by alternating pairs of males and females. During the dance, women wear their turtle shells, formed a circle with the men in a single file and moved counter-clockwise in a circle. Each dancer takes two twigs of the spruce and wave them up and down like pigeon wings. The fourth night, they made offerings to the sacred fire.
Today, many Cherokee traditionalists still observe these festivals. Many ceremonial grounds observe some, and a few observe all of the occasions.
All ceremonies were done with joy and respect to all and had the Sacred Fire in the center.