Before Raven was black, before Raven assumed darkness, there was a Spirit Raven, Pure White in color. This mysterious, wonderful Bird set creation in motion. White Raven Treatment Center in Anchorage Alaska, like it's namesake, takes our charred, scoriated pasts and helps us transform into the beautiful spiritual beings we are. I dedicate these Stories to you with heartfelt thanks.
I was so proud to accompany Tlingit Chief Donawaak - Austin Hammond, to a Navajo Healing Ceremony. It was December, just before Christmas, in 1985. A few months earlier, I had arranged a meeting between young, Navajo Healer, Hanson Ashley, a friend and Mr. Hammond. When they met, they began a curious conversation, each telling traditional stories from their own cultures. Coming from different regions and tribes, they spoke in their shared second language of English. The stories went back and forth for at least two hours. I remember clearly because I needed to pick up my little girl from Daycare but didn't want to interrupt the conversation nor to miss a single word of it.
Around nine, Slakum cranked open the kitchen window of the aging trailer home and peered into solid black night. The ocean, only fifty feet away, was impossible to see. Rain needled her face. Suddenly the wind shifted; fingers of cold air darted through the open window, scooping and scattering the pile of freshly typed pages to the floor. Struggling to hold down what was left of the stack and at the same time close the window, Slakum muttered. "Damn the rain, damn these people, damn
The single prop seaplane engined roared its defiance against the saltwater pull on its pontoons. Swaying slightly, like a cat winding its body to pounce, it finally broke free, fell back and broke free again from the water. Skyborn the small craft lurched, plunged and bounced its way on the cross winds and upcurrents that filled the mountain passes of Southeast. I was accutely aware of the danger. Tyee airlines schedule went like this; 'Take a seat. It's socked in now; we'll try in an hour if it clears." But everyone knew the deal. With no roads or other access to the island communities we counted ourselves lucky to have these brave, skilled and hopefully, non alcoholic pilots.
The blue eye of White Raven takes me in as I write. Thirty years have passed since I lived in my mobile home in the boreal forest of Southeast Alaska. It was there I met Raven both black and white and each gave me stories.
Shoop , shoop, shoop. Then, picking up speed as if to urge me out of bed, shoop-shoop-shoop-shoop-shoop, went the black leathery feet across the roof.
Reflections on Entering the Indigenous Mind
By Dr. Apela Colorado