Reflections:   October 2012.    4th Qtr 2012

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Autumnal Greetings Relatives!

Many have been patiently waiting for the revelation of the surprise, which I intimated, occurred over the summer, so…

I midwifed (and caught) my first baby! Nearing the conclusion of the fourth day of the Big Mountain Sundance in Arizona, the Chiefs, Leaders and Helpers were Blessing the supporters during the Healing round when there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that a midwife was required for a woman was giving birth in one of the Tipis. Glancing over at the Chief intercessor (who was aware my truck is essentially an ambulance with medical equipment appropriate for my scope of practice as an EMT and who had observed me in action a few years earlier at the scene of a vehicular accident), there was an unspoken agreement for me to depart the Mystery Circle to minister to her. I raced to my vehicle, grabbed the necessary items and located the Tipi. Upon entering, I noticed a young woman being comforted by her mother with other people standing nearby. The emergency call had been made yet, due to the remoteness of the location on the Rez, the ambulance was at least an hour and a half away. Seeing as I was the most qualified practitioner and had produced the necessary implements (which they were surprised and relieved to know were in my possession), those in attendance asked me to oversee the birth. After setting up the space to serve as a delivery room, with peals of Thunder and brilliant bursts of Lightning overhead (and gentle rain intermittently falling through the smoke hole), during the piercing round of the Chiefs, I sang traditional ceremonial Sacred songs and, along with the others, coached and supported the young woman to bring the life she was carrying into the world. With great courage and effort, the young mother birthed (without complication) that precious, Sacred Bundle of Medicine (with eyes wide open) directly into my hands. There are no words to convey that breathtaking moment. After waiting for the umbilical cord to cease pulsing, I clamped it and, with a prayer, raised the scalpel skyward before severing the physical connecting link between them. Swaddled and cradled in the mother’s arms, the grandmother and new mother requested I confer a ceremonial name upon the child (which considering the circumstances and elements of her birth is a powerful one indeed!) and I was privileged to participate in the traditional Corn Pollen Blessing of mother and child in the Diné tradition. Interestingly, while the baby was crowning, the ambulance arrived yet the paramedics, noticing and respecting my experience, did not intervene, allowing myself to complete the rite of passage with mother, child and community. Once mother and child were safely en route to the hospital, returning to the Dance to complete the piercing round with the other Chiefs, I circled the Sacred Tree of Life, hooping and hollering in celebration then wept at its base to have beheld such indescribable beauty. After all, these are some of the reasons we Dance and Sacrifice – to honour and comprehend in some small measure the pain, exhilaration and ecstasy women endure during childbirth and to ensure that future generations survive and thrive.

Fortuitously, I was Blessed with witnessing and ceremonially supporting the miraculous emergence of life for a second time the following month. Traveling the majority of August, I returned briefly to California to conduct an Inipi for my community over one of the weekends. Prior to commencing the ceremony, I received a call that one of my adopted nieces went into premature labor. After the community and I prayed for her and the baby, I sped to the hospital to be of service. Through song, prayer, and music, I invoked the Ancestors who created a Sacred container into which this new being was welcomed and embraced by all in attendance. The grandmother remarked that the timing was impeccable and it is as if her grandson waited for me to arrive. I am delighted to report both he and new mother are healthy.

I acknowledge the strength, courage and resiliency of these young mothers (and mothers everywhere) and celebrate the arrival of their children (and all children) to this earth.

Humbled, profoundly moved, in awe and honoured am I to have been called to inclusion and support the first Holy Rite of Passage for us as Human Beings.

Chief Tsunka Wakan Sapa

Last updated Oct 08, 2012