During the 1940s, my late uncle, Willard David Firestone, did some traveling in the Southwest, primarily in Arizona, New Mexico, and Old Mexico. Willard kept journals in which he jotted down his observations. Willard died in 1979. Let me share one of these observations with the readers of my column.
In his 1941 journal, he made an observation that I always felt was intriguing by its implications. It is expressed by him in this manner: “The American Indian is more American than any of us. The tribes came and settled North America. There is a sense of pensive introspection found in these people, something I sense when I am talking with them or observing them go about their daily activities. I believe it is, they observe and reflect on what is happening in their presence and within themselves. To be true to oneself is to confront what is within as well as without, and act accordingly. In this, they are masters. In many ways, their reverence for nature and respect for others is more permanent and genuine than anything found in any American church. Much can be learned from their beliefs, myths, and legends. Much.”
Spirituality comes in different sizes and different shapes. I once asked an individual with Navajo roots if he liked the government and anthropological term, “Native American,” to describe himself. “Why ask me?” he smiled, and then added: “After all, I’m just an Indian. But I have tribal affiliations!”
Like many others, I believe there is much to be savored, and thought about when it comes to the spirituality, legends, myths, rituals, paranormal, and supernatural history of all American Indians. Their history is rich in detail.
To each his or her own personal spiritual quest, and spirituality. Look within. Awareness comes from self-realization. Retrospection is an angel in disguise not a demon.