Pathway to Wisdom – Achieving a Balanced Life in the Sacred Circle:
“To stay on the Good Red Road is not always easy. But to stray from its path brings obstacles in the journey of life which are harmful to self, to family, friends, community and to nature. Following the ancient teaching brings contentment, self-confidence and respect. Practice these in daily life and one day earn the honored feathers of wisdom.”
Knowledge, integrity, courage, determination, loyalty, experience, leadership, sacrifice, sharing, justice, compassion, kindness, morality, honesty, meditation, reverence, reflection, moderation, respect, cheerfulness, humility, appreciation, understanding and patience.
These 24 words are written on a beautiful poster. The poster was done by a Cherokee leader named Nakoma titled “Pathway to Wisdom.” It was given to Lois Wilson some 20 years ago. Her love of Native Americans and her annual car road trip out west brought her lifelong friendships with Native Americans. Lois operated a store in Chatham many years and sold some of the Native American jewelry and keepsakes. I am so grateful to know her and thank her for the “Pathway to Wisdom” poster.
The human qualities listed on the poster inspires and drives many to accomplish the “Impossible Dream.” Wisdom comes as a mind set, a feeling, a lifestyle that is sorely lacking today. We must recognize it, believe it and live it if we are to strive in the 21st century.
Our American history shows we had inappropriate, misguided principles and policies toward Native Americans. Our political aspirations and a philosophy of manifest destiny almost eliminated a culture that we have subsequently come to appreciate. The Native American philosophy, culture, spirituality and beliefs survived, and it helped make us a better county and people.
History is so valuable that we should never change the stories, even if they are irrepressible. Our original Americans deserve the recognition and honor for they endured our primitive concepts of conquest and imprudent beliefs. My wife, Dawn’s grandmother, was a full-blooded Black Foot from South Dakota. Therefore, my children and grandchildren have Native American blood.
Now, let’s see the relevance of the “Pathway to Wisdom” in relation to our veterans and current troops. The 24 words on the poster are qualities of our American serviceman and veterans. Pick a word and think of a relative, spouse, uncle, aunt, friend and see that those words and qualities apply to them. Where would we be now without the leadership of General Eisenhower? How about the knowledge and determination of President Truman and Winston Churchill? Think of integrity, courage, loyalty and sacrifices of the everyday troop. All veterans and troops sacrificed their youth; many sacrificed their lives. Meet a 91-year-old World War II veteran, and feel the compassion and humility in their voices and faces.
In the month of November, honor our Veterans Next Door, give thanks to our true, historic Native Americans and American soldiers and thank your God for giving us the understanding, appreciation and respect for each other. Think of this as the veterans go by in the parades or when you have breakfast or lunch with the veterans or troops.
There is a saying on my wall: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” The “Pathway to Wisdom” will surely be on the trail.
“A nation that forgets its history, has no future.” — Winston Churchill