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The ANA Messenger: The Economic Development Issue

Winter 2012

Published: March 8, 2013
Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS), All

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What We Are Reading

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The Wind Is My Mother

Here at the Administration for Native Americans and Administration for Children and Families, we are fortunate enough to have a book club where we share and read various books and articles that touch upon different aspects of Native American life. This past year, we have focused on the potentials of economic development, the controversy around NA mascots in sports, human service issues for people in a multicultural society, … and the essence of who we are, our spirituality.

We all have a story to tell—the story of our lives! The Wind Is My Mother is the story about Bear Heart, a Muskogee Creek healer, and his journey of learning some of life’s mysteries. Reading about his experiences is like listening to a grandfather’s stories – rich in detail and meaning, with life lessons to carry away in one’s heart. “When you have a good purpose and reach for that purpose, it makes life worthwhile to live,” says Bear Heart, and he shares stories of individuals who have had lives rich with purpose. He speaks of treating everyone with respect, our fellow human beings, as well as other works of the Creator, and how those good intentions we have can bear positive fruit in our lives.

Bear Heart was recognized as being a respectful person by two of his elders, both medicine men, who put him through challenging situations from which he could learn specific lessons. “We learn from these experiences. Be grateful for all the difficult situations in life because you can learn something from each one,” writes Bear Heart, and if you consciously acknowledge the fact that you’ve learned a lesson, and hold on to that lesson learned, you can help others in similar situations when they experience life’s challenges. He also shares with us how we can use our minds to assume more control over our lives, especially if we find ourselves dwelling on something negative. “If you fill that space with something else, what you’re doing is employing the law of physics that say no two things can occupy the same space at the same time. So get [the negative thought] out and put something else in. If you’ve got a negative, put a positive [thought] in. They can’t both be in the same place at the same time.”

The Wind Is My Mother is a book that tells the story of Bear Heart’s initiation as a healer, his discovery that the cure for life’s ills lies within us, and his directions to us on living our lives to the fullest. It is a treasury of wisdom, an interesting journey, that once you set your foot upon the path, you will look forward to returning again and again!

Brian D.F. Richmond
Technical Assistance Specialist, Office of Child Care
Administration for Children and Families

The Wind Is My Mother: The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman by Bear Heart with Molly Larkin. © 1996. Berkley Books, New York. ISBN 0-425-16160-9.

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Last Reviewed: November 22, 2016