Long ago the Cheyenne people say the legend of their people began with finding a baby in the snowy backwoods of what is now the Dakotas alone with no cry. The baby was named Sweet Medicine and as the baby grew into a child the people of the Cheyenne knew Sweet Medicine had remarkable gifts and that as he turned into a man he would lead the Cheyenne people into many years of prosperity.
As manhood embarked upon Sweet Medicine all the people accepted him as the first chief of their people. They Cheyenne were already a proud people with many villages in the American Northwest and Sweet Medicine knew this and established the first Chief Council of 44. Sweet Medicine declared that the chiefs were not elected, chosen by bloodline or any other form of lineage, only by the respect and admiration of the people as a whole and that all chiefs swore an oath to the people to live a life of caring, giving and most important, the poorest of the people. If someone needed something and the chief had it, it was to be given without hesitation. Living this life meant that his purity of mind and spirit was the only and purest way to provide wisdom and knowledge to his people. The council of 44 would often meet to ensure the oral heritage of their people was never broken, and Sweet Medicine was the poorest of all.
As Sweet Medicine grew old, one day he simply said it was time for him to leave for age had finally came upon him for him to leave. Before leaving he told the council of 44 that in the many cycles of life to come, a strange man will show up on our land. These men will take everything and leave nothing in their search for a stone. Their food will become poison making them ill. These strange men will force them off their land and force them to forget who their people really are. Sicknesses will kill many women, children and men while strange waters will become consumed by the people by these strange men, poisoning their minds as they become consumed by its intoxication. This is when the Cheyenne people will form Warrior Societies and many will die as the great people of the Cheyenne will be told where to live and how to run their culture. But before walking away he ended by stating, he will soon return as the Rainbow Prophecy predicts. He was never seen again, and this happened over 1800 years ago.
The Cheyenne believed that death reflected on the next 7 generations, making this life an experience to teach and learn for the journey that followed.
I write this because fear is simply the unknown, so people today are mostly out for themselves with no regard for the next generation. Wealth or the accumulation of things now dictates your societal status and education sadly begins after school. Yet it doesn’t have to be like this if you choose not to be. The most profound experience in my personal life that forever changed my perception of who I wanted to be was the death of my grandfather, a loved and respected man. As cancer ate away his lungs and he drew his last breaths of air, his eyes were entranced within my grandmothers eyes. When he died, we all wept, yet he still was looking into the eyes of my grandmother. His last breath was one of a devotional love that I hope to experience, not only for my soulmate, but the legacy of compassion, integrity and love that I may leave behind as a final lesson, just as he blessed me with.
In the end of our experience, what will our last breath mean to those we leave behind? Together we can change our world one person and one legacy at a time. Peace and love to all.