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The NDN Silver Blog

Today is the worst kind of winter day here, wind so cold and fierce that you can’t think; every conscious moment is spent resisting its wrath. It’s impossible to hear the sound of your own heartbeat, much less that of Mother Earth’s. It’s equally impossible to find warmth beneath its buffeting force. Every moment spent out […]

Breath of life. Fire in the belly. Hearts aflame. Our metaphors for life and love and the simple fact of existence often revolve around the body, as though it provides a model for all else in our world. Whether it does or not, it certainly informs how we understand the nature of cosmos, of our place […]

After an overnight low below zero, we are headed for a high near fifty. The sun is shining warm and bright, the wind little more than a whisper, and the feel of spring rests softly on what should be cold January air. One of the base points of climate change can be found in its earlier […]

Our small world here has finally gotten down to the business of winter. In this place, it means snow high and dry, fine powder that melts beneath a noonday sun just enough to turn hard and crunchy before dark. It means surfaces slick and shiny, blind eyes and sliding soles. It means that trickster thief we […]

Winter is the coldest fire. Most people don’t associate fire with winter at all, of course, except insofar as building one warms body and home alike. But we know that cold burns; think of frostbite, and of the effects of dry ice. In my people’s way, a fire is not merely a collection of flames; […]

This morning was an anomaly, at least compared to most days thus far this winter: It dawned white. Earth and sky the same shade, darker grays aswirl around the peaks; only the faintest hint of coral peeking out above a cloud in the one open sliver of sky to the south. After weeks of no […]

It’s a beautiful day, mercury already four degrees past the predicted high, registering in at fifty-six. Tomorrow night’s low is supposed to be one degree above zero. And that is the way of the weather in this place, now more than ever, thanks to an already drastically altered climate and a newly confounded earth. We see […]

People today take pride in asserting that they march to the beat of a different drummer. But our peoples have always known the dangers of what the dominant culture glorifies as “rugged individualism,” a worldview neither individual nor especially rugged, but one that, as cosplayed today, leads inevitably to the oppression of marginalized populations in order to bolster one’s […]

In light of the style and spirit of yesterday’s featured work, I was inspired to look through our photographic record of Wings’s work in recent years for another bracelet wrought in a similar fashion. It took some doing; if memory serves, he has only crafted one other hook bracelet since 2010 or so. But for […]

After a bitterly cold start, the dawn has mellowed into a clear and chilly day. There are no clouds to shroud the peaks, and precious little snow upon their summits, either. In a season so dry, it’s hard to conceive of the mountains’ own conception and eventual birth, emerging gradually out of a vast receding […]

Thanks to recent events, I have a new appreciation for the function of arteries. They carry blood, yes, and that is essential, moving that most elemental of reds into and out of a beating heart. But more than that, they carry the breath of life itself. It is the arteries that move oxygen throughout the […]

Mid-January, and this is the landscape now. This is not, as it happens, a new photo, but neither is it a photo of the Gorge in January; it was taken a dozen or so years ago in the spring, well into the season’s thaw. As I write this, I look out the window at the […]

Themes of emergence are common in origin stories across many of our cultures. It’s not surprising; the same is true of many indigenous cultures the world over. In many instances, such accounts trace to the Great Flood, the one whose story the Bible centers around Noah and the ark. But for some of our peoples, […]

We have had precious little precipitation here in recent seasons, but what rain and snow we have had has come at unusual times. It used to be vanishingly rare to have a storm arrive during the night, or in the morning: Rain was very much a phenomenon of the afternoon hours, and snow was at […]

As we chart a course for the still-new year, we navigate this new world by our place in it. Roads and paths, sacred directions and sacred hoops: All lead us on our journey, and all help us to locate ourselves in it, not merely where are, but who we are. This is, perhaps, one of […]

In many of our cultures, there is a place held sacred by the people, one revered above all others. In some, such places are the ones that the old stories identify as the place of emergence, or where the First People otherwise entered this plane of existence for the first time. In others, they are […]

In our way, the directions are sacred: They have their own identities, names, powers, and gifts. So, too, do the winds associated with them, instruments of stillness and storm and the shaping of the world. Around this world, there are numerous winds, at least by name. Some belong only to a specific place, such as a […]

There is a line that I recall from a childhood of immersion in a religion not our own, a fraction of a verse rooted deeply in the colonialism of forced conversion . . . and yet, excised from the rest of the verse, it’s a line that speaks of, and to, great immanent spiritual power. […]

One week into the new year, when this new world should hold so much promise . . . and instead the world seems in limbo. It seems as though we are all waiting, waiting. For what? In today’s climate, literal and metaphorical both, that’s the point: We don’t know, mostly can’t tell, what lies ahead. Is […]

This day marks the end of the new year’s first week — new year, that is, by the dominant culture’s reckoning. We find ourselves adrift in a new world’s orbit, a young world that holds such promise, and such very great risk, too. Today’s political realities range from the tragic to the obscene to the criminal; […]

In much of the world, this is Three Kings’ Day (otherwise known, as some call it here, as All Kings’ Day, or simply Kings’ Day). Much of Christianity celebrates it as the Feast of the Epiphany, and thanks to the centuries-long colonial Catholic presence among many of our peoples, it’s a feast day (or otherwise […]

Its a joke found consistently across cultures: When something needs doing, have a woman do it. I say “joke,” but as with most such humor, the whole reason it’s funny is that its really not funny; it’s simply true. And in our way, it’s often true in the spirit world, as well. I’ve written at […]

Title notwithstanding, we have no new moon just yet; it’s just shy of two weeks off. But the more colloquial use of “new moon” to refer to a sense of turning over, of a new leaf, a new life, a new world with new opportunities . . . that is more than apt in this […]

In our way, to mark the new year is to welcome the birth of a new world, a young spirit filled with potential and possibility and opportunity. She is birthed with the first dawn, and while she is new-born, she holds in her own ancestral memory every new sunrise of every new year since time itself was born, […]

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