Published June 4, 2018
Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Spirit-Based Change
By Sherri L. Mitchell
North Atlantic Books│240 pp │$19.95
“We are what we imagine. Our very existence consists in our imagination of ourselves. Our best destiny is to imagine, at least, completely, who and what and that we are. The greatest tragedy that can befall us it to go unimagined.”
― N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa)
With the current occupier in the White House—when what is proper and appropriate are being challenged seemingly on a daily-basis—there is a need for common reasoning to balance the absurdity coming out of the nation’s capital.
Indigenous wisdom is a pathway to discover balance in the chaotic and even frightening dilemma Americans now face.
One recently released book, “Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Spirit-Based Change,” by Sherri L. Mitchell provides a pathway to embrace such balance filled with rational and holistic thinking. Mitchell, who is a contributing writer to Native News Online, is a prolific writer who uses teachings of relatives and ancestors and her own life’s experiences to create a guide to serenity and quality living.
Mitchell, a tribal citizen of the Penobscot Nation, is longtime American Indian advocate and an attorney. Born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation, she was “raised Indian” by listening to the stories passed down from her grandparents and other relatives. A powerful speaker, Mitchell has devoted her life to speaking out on behalf of environmental justice, spiritual activism, and transformational change.
“Sacred Instructions” examines some of the world’s most divisive problems. The book challenges us to decolonize our thinking and question the oppression-based models of power that infiltrate our cultures and lives.
Mitchell makes a compelling case through both her skillful storytelling and nuanced historical analysis. She provides the reader with an outline of the flawed “rational” logic upon many of modern conventions are based, while offering an alternative pathway to move forward. Mitchell covers a lot of ground in her “Sacred Instructions” and makes a timely plea for the creation of a future that is free of the materialism, violence and apathy that is common in contemporary times.
On healing, Mitchell writes:
“When we are suffering from an illness, we often slow the healing process by trying to manage and control the symptoms. We do this because the symptoms are uncomfortable. Any sign of fever and we take a pill to reduce our temperatures, instead of allowing the body the opportunity to burn off the infection. When we’re healing, we are sometimes feel worse before we get better.
What we are witnessing in the outer world is an expression of this healing process being externalized. Rather than allowing the healing process to unfold, those influences by the illusion of separation have attacked the individual symptoms with vigor.”
So that the reader is not confused, “Sacred Instructions” is not a book about how to become an American Indian for non-Native people, but rather is a book that provides an alternative to the chaos that exists in today’s society.
Editor’s Note: Look for excerpts from “Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Spirit-Based Change” beginning Tuesday, June 5, 2018.