Dr. Vernon Finley, is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and was born and raised on the reservation. His early years consisted of spending much of the time with his grandparents who had a very significant impact on his life. They were fluent speakers of the native languages and practitioners of traditional culture. Much of his worldview and perspective comes from being brought up in their home. His western education consists of graduating from Polson High School, the University of Montana, Oklahoma City University, and The University of Georgia with a high school diploma, Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Master of Education, and Doctor of Education degrees, respectively. He currently resides in Polson with his wife and two children.Here's what I learned.
1. Listen. Listen to the stories. Listen for the Spirits' song.
2. Before there were humans, there were Spirits. Each Spirit had its own individual and unique song. The Spirits didn't have bodies or beings. They had the Song.
3. Everything has a Spirit. Everything has a Song.
4. Live like there is always someone listening, someone watching. There is.
5. Dances to the Song are prayers. Don't stop dancing.
I could have listened to this man talk for hours. He spoke wisdom. He has heard the Song. Sometimes, I think I hear the song too.
Listening to him speak tonight reminded me of a girl I know. She's a spirit girl. She lived over 100 years ago. I don't know her name. She follows me sometimes. Sometimes I see her and she's dancing. I can't hear the Song she dances to but I can see the Dance, her Prayer. She is a young Native American girl with long black hair and beautiful brown skin. She wears a simple dress and has a simple blanket. She dances in a circle. Spinning. She tells me that her family died of spots and that she can't find them. When I listen, I hear that her family didn't die of spots as she thinks but it was she who died of spots. I don't know if this spirit girl is lost or if she is just dancing on the earth on the ground she lay on when she passed over. She is Dancing her Spirit Song. She is beautiful and free.
I wonder, what is my Song? How do I Dance a Prayer to the Creator? Let my Dance bless my road. Let my Dance bless the roads of others.