And so it goes that there was a time when all creatures on Elohino (Mother Earth) lived together in harmony and balance, including human beings.

But as there began to be more and more people, the animals found themselves getting crowded out. Then people began to make weapons such as bows and arrows, knives, blowguns, spears, and hooks in order to kill animals, birds, and fish for their flesh or skins. And this was all right as long as the people followed the natural laws of Creation by respectfully informing the animals of their intentions, asking permission from the animal spirits, killing only when necessary for survival, using every part received, and always giving thanks by making an offering (of tobacco) to the animal's spirit. But when people started forgetting these things, and on top of everything else the smaller creatures started getting kicked around, the animals finally decided that things had gone too far and decided to meet in council to choose what must be done.

The first to meet in council were Yonv, the bears. Speaking softly, but with great strength and wisdom, Old White Bear Chief emphasized the importance of what they were about to decide and passed the talking stick so that each had his or her chance to share thoughts about what should be done. After much talk, the bears decided that they would make a bow and arrows such as the one people used against them. So together they fashioned a bear-size bow with arrows, but when they tried to shoot it, they found that their claws kept getting in the way. They found that if they cut their claws, and with a little practice, they could hit their mark. But this left Old White Bear Chief in great dismay, saying, "If we cut our claws, we will starve. It is better to trust our teeth and claws, for this is the traditional way of us bears."

Next to hold council were Awi, the dear. They, too, had much talk about all the harms committed against them, and many hours passed. Then, though the guidance of their chief, Little Deer, they decided to curse with rheumatism each hunter who did not followed the natural laws of Creation. Word was sent to all of the communities of people about what would happen if they did not follow the natural laws out of reverence for the Greater Circle. Little Deer was so fast that he could not be wounded. He would run to the spot where a deer had been killed and ask, "Did the hunter pray and do things in a proper way?" If the deer spirit answered yes, then Little Deer would go on his way. But if the deer spirit answered no, then Little Deer would follow the trail of blood on the ground, and he would strike the hunter with painful rheumatism.

Atsadi, fish and reptiles, also held their council and decided to make people have nightmares so that they would lose their appetite and die. Walasi, the frog, cried out, "People have kicked me around so much that my back is covered with sores!"

Tsi's-qua, birds, and insects too expressed great outrage in their council over people's cruelty and disregard. Tsi-s-qua exclaimed, "The people pluck out all our feathers, and burn our feet over the barbecue!" The insects said, "They step on us, and then just wipe us off their moccasins as if it were nothing!"

Then all of the animals came together in a large council, and they began to come up with so many diseases that surely all of the people would be wiped out. Little Grubworm was so happy that he fell backward and couldn't get on his feet again.

When Ahwisga, the plants, caught word of what the animals had done, they were very unhappy. Yes, they too had been stepped on and mistreated by people, but they knew that the way to make things right was not through harmful ways. After all, people needed to have the chance to learn from their mistakes so that they could once again be helpers and protectors that the Great One intended them to be.

So the plants came together in council to talk about a way to restore the harmony and balance once again. Each tree, shrub, and herb-even the moss and grass-offered to help people in whatever way it could when the people were afflicted with disease. Each one said,"I will always be there to help any time a medicine man or medicine woman is treating someone, the spirit of the plant tells him or her what to use. And so, it is good.

Hope you enjoy and share this story from the Elders.

Love, Winged Wolfe