Although an open mic segment of the powwow featured spontaneous recitals and readings by guests of their own original writings, we neither have written records of such Works nor permission to publish them. Therefore, the only poems in this online memorial were written by the event’s co-chairpersons, Honorary White Buffalo Tribe chiefs Wanda Sue Parrott (both as Prairie Flower and as herself) and her successor, Barbara Callahan Quin, as LittleCrow WalkingEagle and as herself.
Each of these poems was intuitively received on grounds formerly occupied by Native Americans within the current city limits of Springfield, Greene County, Missouri. A brief historical reflection sheds light on who once lived where.
During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, many tribes came through Springfield. Some stayed a while. Others moved ahead of the white settlers coming behind them in the westward expansion following Thomas Jefferson’s “Louisiana Purchase” in 1803. Today’s super-highway, Interstate-44, evolved from the interlinked foot paths and horse trails connecting Springfield with Saint Louis under the names of Delaware Trace and Osage Trace and, after World War Two, Route 66.
No historical markers delineate exact locations where various tribes and/or Native American families lived or camped, so the following facts are inaccurate depictions of Springfield as the Native Americans occupied it shortly before the white settlers claimed it. In 1839 the Cherokees passed through the new town on their way to Oklahoma during the forced relocation known as the Trail of Tears.
A few years before the Trail of Tears, three tribes co-existed in separate areas that included both reservation and non-reservation boundaries.
For instance, the Delaware reservation was west of today’s Campbell Avenue, probably on the Bass Pro general campus area. It ranged approximately as far west as Brookline. The Kickapoo occupied the land between today’s downtown Springfield and the Battlefield Road area between Jefferson and Glenstone Avenues.
The Osage hunting camp and burial grounds stretched along South Creek from approximately Campbell Avenue to Fremont Avenue, between Sunset Street (campground) and Seminole and Cherokee Streets (burial grounds).
By 1842, a popular saying around Springfield was: "If you see an Indian, shoot him!" Whether today’s intuitive inspiration by Native American spirit can be attributed to any or all of these Indians is unknown at this time. As more people come forward and reveal their own true encounters with such spirits, perhaps we can fill in some of the mysterious blanks about cross-cultural/inter-dimensional communications in the region dubbed by The Unknown Indian as “The Place of Weeping Waters,” which name also became the title of the first headquarters of the sponsor of this powwow.
Communications between planes, like those that delivered these poems as messages expressed via literary form, have occurred in various expressions throughout human history. In ancient Egypt, advisers who communed with spirits were known as viziers; a good vizier often ran the country through his or her influence on the king (pharaoh) to whom he prophesied about material and spiritual matters.
In ancient Greece, those who could commune with spirit were venerated as oracles. During the dark ages of the religious inquisition, those same viziers and oracles would have been burned at the stake for consorting with satanic forces or being witches.
In Victorian England and America during the late nineteenth century, the emergence of spiritualism forced minds trapped in dogmatic ruts to think outside the box by asking whether mediums really existed. If yes, could they truly communicate with the dead through séances? People began re-examining their own beliefs against the backdrop of history and legend/myth.
Moses was inspired to write The Ten Commandments after witnessing God as a burning bush. Thus, he became the most famous and influential scribe/medium in history. Judaism and Christianity evolved from his feat.
The prophet Mohamed, who was allegedly illiterate, was inspired by the Angel Gabriel while he was meditating in a cave. Because of his work as a scribe, the Koran was written and Islam became a religion.
Such noumenal communications are similar because they involve reception of intangible thoughts and ideas from invisible non-physical sources, although they don‘t all lead to formation of religions, philosophies or schools of science. Some are contradictory and others are purely controversial, as in the unsolved mystery about UFOs.
The term “channeling“ became popular after the fiery crash of an unidentified flying object near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 gave birth to a generation of “contactees” who claimed they communicated with aliens whose existence has yet to be proven.
In aboriginal societies from Australia to the Americas, some form of contact with the invisible has always existed as a natural part of life.
Dreams and visions have always been important aspects of such cultures, rather than phenomena to be dismissed as irrelevant and non-substantive.
Native Americans refer to the “spirits of the ancestors” and/or the “voices of the elders” as well as “Indian guides” with high regard.
Poets and other writers freely and frequently refer to meeting--or being met by--the muse, and this latter explanation suits us just fine--except our muses in this powwow report just happen to be the spirits of Native Americans. Who are--or were--they?
The brief sketches that precede each poem might help you discover the answers we, too, are still seeking.
If you have had such an experience, we invite you to share it with us! Please confine your e-mail report to 500 words and use the term “White Buffalo Project” in your subject line to prevent it being deleted as spam.
After May 15, 2009,written hardcopy reports may be sent to the new address to which the foundation will be moving:
Post Office Box 103
Monterey, CA 93940 U.S.A.
THE PLACE OF WEEPING WATERS
This poem came from a dream before dawn on October 1, 2003 in which Wanda Sue Parrott saw and heard the Unknown Indian whose presence she had glimpsed sporadically since she moved to Missouri in November 1988. This was the first of two visionary dream contacts within 24 hours in which perceptible sound and language were transmitted to the mature woman by a young Native American she presumed must have died on this land before or around the time of the Trail of Tears (March 1839). Until then, he had never spoken a word or made a sound.
During the second encounter, in which he described The Place of Weeping Waters, Wanda was somehow enabled to see from his viewpoint. That is, to temporarily share his mind’s eye view. He seemed to soar, and to see with the sharp clear vision of a hawk or eagle, and the landscape below was fully exposed in a circle that went from horizon to horizon.
They were looking down at the grounds on which her house stood, as it had looked when Native Americans fished from its now-drained land. She says, “The land was gently rolling and rippling tall grass of a lovely chartreuse hue blew in waves. It had golden heads that glowed like rippling silk. I saw the living prairie as a bird saw it--or a young shape shifter shaman who could perform out of body projection saw it. While I was writing The Trail of Tears poem, I sometimes sensed his presence as he interjected a line or phrase or whole stanza, but after this intimate experience in which our minds merged, he vanished.“
The Unknown Indian had a radiant aura or personality, with a broad smile, large white teeth and jet-black shoulder-length hair that fell with a slight wave that resembled a pageboy haircut. He was of golden-brown hue, medium in height (around 5 feet 7 inches) and muscular.
The inner sounds of his strange language captured her attention and Wanda succeeded in waking up enough to repeat the words in her mind while going to the kitchen. She wrote the phonetic syllables on a yellow legal pad by using Thomas shorthand which she had studied back in 1952 at age 17. When she read the sounds aloud, she had the impression she was reciting a prayer.
While napping later that day, Wanda met him in the second-encounter dream. He spoke in halting English. Wanda combined the two messages into one poem. It was given as the Opening Salutation of this powwow, but was also presented over the air in September 2008 in an interview by Randy Stewart on radio station KSMU-FM, the Springfield, Missouri National Public Radio affiliate.
To see and hear the YouTube version, return to the Home Page by clicking the link at the end of this section. Webmaster Albert L. Baker gave the Unknown Indian the honorary title: White Buffalo, Muse of Native Americans. He is so listed in the Signature Poems section of this website, also accessible from the main menu on the Home Page.
Although these encounters with the Unknown Indian were Wanda Sue Parrott's final meetings with him, a remarkable thing happened the year after he vanished.
The photos above, from the internet, show approximately what Wanda saw during her experiences.
During spring 2004 there appeared in the front yard, beneath a sycamore tree, a perfect circle of grass like that which Wanda saw through the eagle-eye or hawk-eye of the Unknown Indian as they soared above the prairie during the final close encounter. It was between 18 and 24 inches in diameter.
Thinking the growth was weeds, she intended to have the tall grass mowed; however, something prevented her from doing so. One day she noted that the green stalks were turning golden and the circle of grass, now about two feet high, was glowing. Intrigued, she went to the circle and inspected the stalks. She found the grass had bearded seeds that looked like wheat.
That afternoon, while browsing through old cards and envelopes at a local thrift shop, she lifted a personal-note card with a picture of ripe wheat on its cover and turned it over. The back caption identified it as “Golden Indian Wheat” which Native Americans raised for making bread. She harvested the wheat and has passed it on to her successors in the White Buffalo Tribe and Lodge.
“Spirit Dancer” came the same way, in a brilliant impression. In those seconds, my heart raced; my spirit, I believe, was out there, in space, mingling with the stars. It was so fast, so vivid, so wonderful that I don’t think the words can even communicate how it felt. For a brief moment, I was one with Creation, my spirit alive in the cosmos, my mind as big as the universe, the love in my heart able to capture eternity.
The physical body is but one cell of the All of Creation, one life a mere breath, one sigh in Time Eternal. My spirit abounds because it cannot be contained in the one-cell of the physical expression of the body. Spirit cannot be contained in any one container, thought, or idea. It is boundless, endless, eternal.
The glimpses of the Greater we receive now and then are blessings to give us a taste of That which is Greater than we Are.
Further inspiration came that took Spirit Dancer to another level, in the form of a small chapbook magazine published for about four years featuring inspired writings and articles from good people across the country. Its goal was to allow a vehicle to express some of that Universal Spirit.
Its existence at all is due first because of inspiration from the One True Spirit, and second from the encouragement received from Wanda Sue Parrott, my dear friend, and from my then minister Rev. J. Douglas Bottorff. Their encouragement and support helped bring the inspiration that Spirit had given into me out into the initial physical form of the chapbook. But even after the quarterly publication ceased to be published, the essence of Spirit Dancer has never left me – staying in the corner of my Self, nudging, encouraging, reminding me of the greater good to be served by the full Expression of Source through divine ideas both written and spoken.
We are currently working to resurrect Spirit Dancer into an anthology type edition containing much of the original material and some new material and, of course, devoted to the Great Spirit of inspiration and love that resides in and connects us all.
For information, contact Barbara Callahan Quin at: www.heartlandprayer.blogspot.com and/or Great Spirit Publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org
(In Wanda’s own words)
This poem came while I was perfectly wide awake at around 10 p.m. in 2008. I was caught by a thought that simply flashed into my mind, unbidden--as often happens in cases where the muse meets me. This means an unexpected idea grabs my attention. I am free to pursue it or go about my business and let it go, knowing that once I let loose the exact phrasing that made it interesting, it will be lost forever.
In all such times of instant, unexpected inspiration, the individual being visited by the mysterious muse must be ready, willing and able to drop everything in order to capture a poem or other piece of written expression the recipient feels has value, if only of an esoteric/spiritual nature. Otherwise, it will be lost.
Being a seasoned writer helped in this case, for the wonderful first line in iambic pentameter (five two-beat feet with the accent on the upbeat) so captivated me that I jotted it on a scrap of paper in longhand. I then continued playing Free Cell on my computer in the back bedroom of my home office known as Weeping Waters in Springfield, Missouri.
The kitchen served as business office. There, where 14 file drawers contained all the records for Amy Kitchener‘s Angels Without Wings Foundation, I would do everything from accounting to newsletter layouts on the table that was perpetually occupied by cats, snacks and piles of paper.
The scrap of paper bearing the words “I ride a painted pony through dream sand” wound up among a multitude of notes, and might have remained there if a nagging spirit had not kept spitting the phrase back at me through my inner ear. The only way to end this persistent aggravation was to listen to this so-called muse. What exactly did Muse want?
I found the scrap, copied the first line onto a blank legal tablet page and sat in readiness, holding the pen, waiting. I did not wait long. In this type of automatic writing, speed seems to be in a race with form, while the writer just holds the pen and lets the ink run the course. In other words, whatever is being written just seems to write itself effortlessly.
I was wide awake as the words flowed, reaching my awareness at the same time they were flowing from the nib of the ballpoint pen.
Twenty-four lines and 240 syllables later, in less than five minutes, I had a rough draft of a narrative poem about reincarnation before me. Problem was that it was not rough. It was polished, yet I had done nothing but hold the pen and perform the writing.
My first impression was the poem was about me, but I am not a grandmother and this poem is about a modern-day grandmother who was a male Apache brave in the past. To the best of my recollection, this is the only poem I have written about a specific female Native American throughout the years I have served as Prairie Flower, secretary to the Great Spirit!
After typing the poem, I decided to enter it in the 2008 National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) contest‘s “Our American Indian Heritage Series“ category. The NFSPS Contest attracts thousands of entries from the best contemporary poets in the U.S. Chances of winning are low, but I entered “Chasing Cochise” under my name instead of Prairie Flower and it won 7th Honorable Mention.
That unanswered question was not the only thing about this poem that makes it unusual. More than one year after I received the poem, I assigned a short piece of writing to a beautiful young blue-eyed blonde member of Springfield Writers‘ Guild named Mandy Barke. I hired her to do some research about Native Americans that could be used to put the Weeping Waters Powwow together. I had no idea that Mandy was part Apache or that she would be inspired to come out of the closet --partly because this poem touched her. Read her essay in the PROSE section! Wow!
THE LAST INDIAN ON THE TRAIL OF TEARS
After the City of Springfield took possession of The Place of Weeping Waters on February 2, 2009, Wanda Sue Parrott was living in a Harvard Apartments triplex at 1907 S. Grant Ave., Springfield, Missouri. This residential area is south of Sunshine Street, along which the detachment of Cherokees on the alternate route of the Trail of Tears traveled. Once a gently undulating plain on which prairie grasses waved in the breeze and wild game and birds flourished, the area now supports churches, fast foods joints, Chinese and Mexican restaurants and commercial enterprises along the highway corridor. Multiple dwellings mixed with single-family residences line the side streets. It is a densely populated area of primarily white families with children and backyard dogs, as well as senior citizens.
In the early nineteenth century, Kickapoo and Delaware people were principal occupants of this land.
At about 9:30 a.m. on March 3, 2009, while Wanda was in the kitchen fixing a cup of coffee, she noticed a shaft of bright light slanting to the floor through the venetian blind on the northern window over the sink. A male voice she could hear with her inner ear said a few words in a phonic pattern she recognized as different Native American language from that spoken by the Unknown Indian.
Instead of trying to take dictation through shorthand, Wanda walked a few steps into the living room, sat at her computer and literally loaned herself to the Elder Indian by letting her fingers type the following poem.
Although she never saw this spirit in a vision, he popped into her mind from time to time by serving as a Spiritual Adviser she nicknamed “Big Chief“ who instructed her about putting on this Powwow, then proceeded to tell her how to do it, so she ended up squeaking, “Yes, Boss!“
As in all other cases where Wanda, acting as Prairie Flower, has written messages intuitively received from apparent Native American spirits, no name or other identifying factors were given. Since she’d typed the message entitled “The Last Indian on the Trail of Tears” directly onto the computer, Wanda copied it into the body of an e-mail she sent to her Seneca-Cherokee friend “Night Eagle“ in Florida.
Night Eagle responded with the comment that he believes the Native American words are from the “Language that Came Before All Other Languages,” and the spirit guiding Wanda’s hands is the Elder often known as Grand Father.
This poem was recited by Wanda in the closing ritual of the Powwow in which The Place of Weeping Waters was fully released unto posterity and, in honor of the occasion, and also guided by the Grandfather, every guest received a stone from the grounds that housed the first Headquarters of Amy Kitchener’s Angels Without Wings Foundation, Wanda Sue Parrott’s home office from 1988 through 2008.