Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from Follow the Buffalo, Inc.

We hope your holidays are warm and cozy, filled with laughter and joy shared with loved ones. The chill of Winter drives us inside from the elements, but draws us inward in reflection. We hope as you look back on 2012 you find many things to be grateful for and that your experiences of the year lead to new insights and even greater wisdom.

At Follow the Buffalo, Inc. we look back at 2012 with special fondness as the year we brought our vision into reality – a vision of helping our brothers and sisters on the reservation and those working to preserve native cultures. We are discovering just how much we have to learn in building relationships, raising funds, and working for change. The challenges before us are great, but the Creator is leaving us that bread crumb trail of hints and bringing just the right people in at the right times to help us make our way.428px-Snow-covered_Bison_bison

The spirit that drives Follow the Buffalo, Inc. is the understanding that we are all related, all children of the same Creator. We are part of that great circle of life, each with a role to play in this creation we call earth. The Lakota way of expressing this is Mitakuwe Oyasin – All My Relations. They proclaim this each time they pray.

As we enjoy the warmth and abundance of the holidays with our loved ones, we hope that you will join us in remembering our brothers and sisters who’s life on the reservation can be challenging in the cold months of Winter.

Your donation can make a real difference in easing suffering and providing encouragement.

Thank you so much for all the ways you bring more light into the world.

Mitakuwe Oyasin!

We invite you to share this message with your friends and family.  Click the link to open as a PDF: winter letter

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Connecting Youth and Culture

I had the chance to speak with a friend on the Pine Ridge Reservation recently. We spoke of many things, but what really stayed with me was his concern for the youth living on the reservation. The teen suicide rate on the reservation has been three times as high as the rest of the United States. Depression and substance abuse are also at elevated rates. But our talk was not about statistics – rather he spoke of real people coping with tragedy and seeking to ease their suffering and provide hope for the next generation.

I asked him what he thought made life so difficult for young people on the reservation. The first thing he said was loneliness. Loneliness that comes from physical distance, but also from losing connection with family.

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Filed under About, Projects, Vision

Announcing the Coyote Life Festival

Follow the Buffalo, Inc. and Healing Lifeways are joining to sponsor and host the first Coyote Life Festival in Comins, Michigan on the weekend of February 22-24, 2013.

The Coyote Life Festival is a celebration of life, love, and laughter in the traditional “coyote spirit”.  There will be plenty of fun, food, games, drumming, singing, storytelling, sharing, and thanksgiving.

Tentative Schedule

Friday

  • Arrive 5-8 pm – meet, mix, and mingle
  • 8-10 pm – drumming, singing, and bonfire (weather permitting)
  • 10pm – Canupa (pipe) ceremony

Saturday

  • 7:30 am – pancake breakfast
  • Morning – games, crafts, and workshops (TBD)
  • 12pm – soup, sandwich, and potluck lunch
  • Afternoon – games, crafts, outdoor activities (weather permitting), drumming, songs, and stories
  • 5-8pm – chili supper – this will be open to the public and will feature drumming, singing, dancing, contests, and discussion on the theme of celebrating life with gratitude
  • Evening – prayers, discussion, etc.

Sunday

  • 8:30 am – breakfast
  • 10 am – blessing the land, drumming, singing, Canupa (pipe) ceremony
  • 12 pm – lunch, cleanup, and farewell

Additional Information

Cost – We suggest a donation of $40 for the weekend (includes all food and activities).  All proceeds will benefit Follow the Buffalo, Inc.

What to bring – simple food to share on Friday evening and Saturday lunch.

Please contact us for lodging information.

To register or learn more, please email sally@followthebuffalo.org or tim@healinglifeways.org or call Tim at (989)848-5757

Click the link below to download a PDF flyer:

Coyote Life Festival info

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Update on the Elder Wood Project

This month, Follow the Buffalo, Inc., was pleased to contribute to the Elder Wood Project.  The donated funds enabled Arlin Whirlwindhorse, the leader of the project to purchase 2 new chainsaws.

Wopila, Thank you!

We are so grateful for your generous responses to our call for help at Follow the Buffalo.  We wanted to let you know that your help allowed us to purchase 2 Stihl chainsaws to aid the work of the Elder Wood Project.  These sawswill help put a crew of 5 young men to work cutting, splitting, and delivering badly needed firewood to seniors on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  This is just a first step in this process, but a very important step that will make an immediate impact in the community.  We will keep you posted on the progress of this project.

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One of the crew members of the elder wood project, using one of the new chainsaws

 

 

 

Thank you all for your continued support of our mission!

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What is the Elder Wood Project?

Winters on the Pine Ridge Reservation are harsh.  Weather is extreme – severe winds are common and temperatures are bitter cold, frequently below zero.  Many Reservation homes lack adequate insulation.  Even more homes lack central heating.  Wood burning is the second most common form of heating a home, although wood supplies are often expensive or difficult to obtain. Continue reading

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Keeping of the Soul

The Inipi or sweat lodge is just one of the sacred ceremonies of the Lakota people.  Another of their sacred ceremonies is the Keeping of the Soul.  This ceremony was given to the people to help them deal with the deep feelings of loss and grief experienced at the death of a loved one.  It provided a structure for understanding and supporting the transition from this life to the next.  It taught that even the death of a loved one can serve a life-giving purpose.  Continue reading

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Filed under Meditation, Vision

Welcome

Welcome to Follow the Buffalo.

Follow the Buffalo envisions a world in which people of all races, cultures, socio-economic classes, and spiritual traditions are treated with dignity and respect.  The directors of Follow the Buffalo come from a community of people whose spiritual journey has allowed us the opportunity to experience a small portion of the wisdom, depth and beauty of Native American spirituality.  Continue reading

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Filed under About, Vision