took several months to organize the plan, especially in terms
of appropriate selection of participants and maintaining the need
for complete secrecy. Furthermore, it was a brutal winter and
weather hampered preparations as well.
warriors and some of the women selected initially were totally against
leaving their respective tribes and families in order to form the
new combined tribe. To make matters worse, in some cases it meant
agreeing to work together with other tribes that they personally
felt anger and hostility toward as a result of the tribal history's.
after all of the difficulties were overcome the new tribe was formed.
They all assembled in the same sacred spot where Redman had originally
communicated with them. A great Pow-Wow preceded their departure.
The tribes all realized the seriousness of the moment and each participated
in the dancing and spiritual ceremonies. A great feast was prepared
and as they ate, there was utter silence. The magnitude of this
great spiritual mission was unbelievable.
amount of supplies needed, the number of irreplaceable horses and
even the numbers of valuable people that would never be returning
was incredible. It was especially difficult since their numbers
could not be replaced and were desperately needed for the military
campaign now in progress against the white man.
on the third day, the newly formed tribe began their uncertain journey
far out into the deepest, most difficult to access areas of the
rocky mountains in order to begin a whole new life. They realized
that they would probably never in their earthly lifetime again be
able to see, or communicate with their loved ones. Their loved ones
who were there to see them off felt mixed emotions also. It was
an eerie feeling and all felt the tension.
tribe had been formed hastily and there had been no time to clearly
define a leadership structure. There was also no clearly defined
social structure. The spiritual leaders were uncertain as to who
among them held the superior spiritual role. Communication could
only occur in some instances through sign language, as each tribe
did not know the others language. The mission appeared to be impossible.
The first few months saw tense, emotional struggles evolving on
every level. The warriors physically fought and several were actually
killed. The women tried to coexist in the tense environment, but
ultimately, they too began to fight. The fights were vicious, and
some of the women were seriously wounded, with some dying from their
wounds. As the mission was evolving during the bitter cold of winter,
further casualties were inevitable.
differences of tribal customs also played a major role in the confusion.
One Cherokee warrior named Raven Spirit emerged as the toughest
physical man in the Tribe of the Eagle. Raven Spirit's tenacity
stemmed from his experience's as a young boy and the hatred that
grown in his heart as a result.
Spirit had been just a young boy when his family was forced to relocate
from their home in Eastern Tennessee by the President of the United
States government. President Andrew Jackson had ordered the westward
movement of the Cherokees of Eastern Tennessee and Western North
Carolina against the better wishes of many, including the United
States Supreme Court, the great Tennesseean Davy Crockett and even
President Jackson's personal Cherokee friend Junaluska who had once
saved his life. It was an absolute outrage.
"Trail Of Tears" was a disgusting example of the way that
the white man treated the Native American people. During the 800
mile march, the U.S. Cavalry and other soldiers that were assigned
to escort the Cherokees pushed the men, women and children much
too hard. With inadequate food, water and blankets to protect them
from the severe conditions, many Cherokees died along the way.
the soldiers felt that it was not their responsibility to protect
the Cherokees and many were robbed, beaten and even killed by bandits.
Additionally, the U.S. soldiers could not speak any Cherokee, so
communication was tough at best.
Spirit's older brother, "Running Wolf", along with several
other rebellious warriors had escaped into the Great Smoky Mountains
before the Trail Of Tears journey had begun. Here they hid from
the hated white man, waiting for a time when they could safely come
out of hiding. Raven Spirit wished that he could go along with them,
but he was too young at the time.
the dreadful journey, Raven Spirit's hatred of the white man became
even greater, as he witnessed so many horrible things. He watched
his father, "Tenasi Warrior" die after trying to stop
robbers who were in the process of vandalizing some friends nearby.
One of the robbers shot Tenasi Warrior straight through the heart
with his rifle.
Spirit had looked on in horror as his mother and sister screamed
and called for help from the white soldiers. The soldiers did not
understand Cherokee, but recognized that help was being requested.
They came and chased the robbers away, but didn't pursue them, and
they didn't even try to help Raven Spirit's mom and sister in their
vain attempts to save Tenasi Warrior's life. The soldiers not only
didn't help, but wouldn't even allow the family enough time to properly
prepare the great Cherokee for his journey to the Spirit World.
Instead, they were forced to hastily burn his body and move on,
with soldiers threatening them with rifles. The scene had been horrible
and Raven Spirit's anger grew even greater. Tenasi Warrior had been
a wonderful leader of the Cherokee people and he would be sadly
missed by all.
weeks later, during the night, Raven Spirit heard the voices of
drunken soldiers. This was not that uncommon, but these voices were
getting louder, and they were coming too near where Raven Spirit's
mom, and sister were sleeping. Suddenly there was the sound of a
conflict erupting between the drunken soldiers and his mom. Then
there was screaming by his older sister, "Whispering Wind".
Raven Spirit's rage could not be contained and he rushed toward
the sound. His mother saw him coming and screamed for him to go
back. Raven Spirit briefly saw Whispering Wind's clothes being ripped
as she was being physically assaulted and punched by the soldiers,
who were laughing in their drunken state.
his mother ran to his sister's aide, one of the drunken soldiers
shot her in the head and killed her instantly. Raven Spirit went
into a rage and ran screaming toward the soldier, who smashed him
in the head with the butt of his rifle, sending the young boy into
a deep state of unconsciousness. He nearly died, but close family
friends had taken him in to tend to his wounds and had saved his
friends worked hard to nurture Raven Spirit back to physical health.
While a return to physical health was possible, Raven Spirit would
never again know the peace of emotional health. His mother was dead,
and that much he knew. However, no one would tell him anything about
Whispering Wind, and this upset him even more. The rest of his life,
he never found out what had happened to his sister. His hatred for
the white man was like a raging fire inside his chest. The hatred
would haunt him for the rest of his days, but served to make him
a fierce warrior.
Spirit had become a tenacious, deadly fighter with tremendous strength
and no fear. During the early stages of the trek of the Tribe of
the Eagle, he had killed two of the other warriors, from different
tribe's in direct physical challenges. All left alive knew that
only the strongest among them had even the slightest chance of even
surviving their first winter, let alone establishing a functional,
cooperative tribal unit. So, at this point, with no one else interested
on any level in further challenging Raven Spirit, he became accepted
as the first chief of the tribe. His power was great and would be
a valuable asset to them as time went by.
the emergence of Raven Spirit as the tribal leader, tensions seemed
to ease a bit. Everyone realized the seriousness of the situation
and Raven Spirit adopted a conciliatory demeanor towards the other
warriors, which further relieved tensions. The women began to work
together a little better and Raven Spirit commanded the spiritual
leaders, saying "O-tsa-tla-nv:-dl(v)(a)-i.", which in
Cherokee means "We are all brothers". Then Raven Spirit
commanded that all of them cooperate from this day forward in order
to save the lives of everyone that was still alive. He then directed
a Sioux spiritual leader named "Half Moon" to take responsibility
for Thunder's sacred turtle shell rattle and guard it with his life.
Moon had been a quiet spiritual leader and Raven Spirit admired
and liked that. Half Moon, unbeknownst to the others harbored the
ancient secret that Redman had discovered so long ago. His ancient
secret was the knowledge of "shape shifting". Shape shifting
is known only to the highest level spiritual leaders and is the
ability to transform oneself from a human form to that of either
a bird or an animal, and then be able to return to human form at
a later time. Half Moon would now also be responsible for guarding
Thunders sacred turtle shell rattle, and would be responsible for
appointing his successor. This would be either a warrior or spiritual
leader to guard the sacred turtle shell rattle in order to preserve
it for the day in which Redman returned. Furthermore, he would introduce
shape shifting to Raven Spirit as soon as practical and the two
would decide upon how and when and to what extent the ancient art
would be revealed to other fellow tribesmen.
End Part 2 To Be Continued
2003 Geoff Hampton
Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and
business consultant. Hampton is the Executive Director for St. Mary's
Health & Fitness Center in Powell, TN and is also a regular
columnist for the wellness/fitness Website www.fitcommerce.com
as well as Canku Ota. He can be reached by E-mail at GEOFFLHAMPTON@aol.com
His national anti-obesity/diabetes campaign, The Wellness Wakeup
Challenge can be reviewed at www.fitcommerce.com/wellness