Copyright 2012. Hamaatsa. All rights reserved. HAMAATSA is a Native led 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.
WOVEN STONE WALL AT HAMAATSA IS A COMMUNAL HEALING WALL A TIMELY REMINDER FOR ALL NATIONS AND GENERATIONS TO TRUTHFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE PAST INJUSTICES OF OUR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OUR SHARED HISTORICAL TRAUMA WOVEN STONE WALL IS A PLACE AND A WAY TO BEAR OUR GRIEF TO ARRIVE IN REMEMBRANCE TO LISTEN TO THE LAND ASK FORGIVENESS AND EMBRACE ONE ANOTHER AS KIN TO RENEW THE LEGACY OF SACRED WORDS AND SONGS JOIN IN REVERANCE AND BLESSING FOR HEALING THE SOUL-WOUNDS OF A NATION
Introduction Letter: Larry Littlebird, Founding Director
Amuu Hanu, Amuu Haadtsi – Beloved People, Beloved Land:
For thousands of years the People, the Hanu, have placed stones, set stone upon stone, woven stone into walls and made houses for shelter and storage using stone. This is evident from all the ancient sites found across this vast region of the great Southwest. Over 10,000 sites have been recorded. Many of these original sites have become National Parks and monuments; many are still buried, covered in the earth like so much forgotten history that claimed these villages and lives of the people dwelling there. Haadtsi, in my Pueblo Keresan language means “land”, yet also refers to the planet and is a metaphor for our human journey upon the earth. My Pueblo Indian people believe that from time immemorial, we hold and maintain a sacred living continuum as stewards upon this earth. This is significant because Haadtsi is a literal “moving about upon the earth.” In spite of theft of ancestral lands, systematic genocide and enslavement, forced conversion to Christianity and the taking away of freedoms to practice our spiritual traditions, customs and beliefs, the Hanu, the People are still here. The Land and the People woven in a sacred cycle continue as a testament to who they are. Although our beliefs and ceremonies were driven underground in an attempt to protect them from unfriendly eyes, today our native languages are still spoken, and our rich cultural ceremonies are still thriving – small, vibrant, alive and significant! At Hamaatsa, we are once again placing and setting stone. This time, placing stones in “Woven Stone Wall” as a cathartic way for healing historical trauma and generational grief. The work of prayerfully gathering stones and building a communal healing wall serves as a way to physically touch, and personally connect to tribal memories alive in the land. Vivid touch and deep feeling then allow the shared traumatic intergenerational pain all have suffered and lived through to be clearly seen. With new insight and meaningful understanding, healthy choices can be made to begin anew once more. We believe for healing and restoration to take place in this great land, truths about the grievous history of our indigenous people must be honestly reviewed and understood. As we humans face these truths, increased emotional and mental well-being mutually benefit the common good. It is in the spirit of this truth that we speak out, for the sake of the Land, for the sake of the People, Hobah-Hanu, all the people.
- Larry Littlebird (Laguna/Santo Domingo Pueblo)
Historical Trauma of the Indigenous Peoples
Today, many Indigenous people face the hazards of post-traumatic stress. PTS is a state in which isolation, fear, guilt, shame, depression, anger, irritability and other symptoms follow a trauma. Indigenous peoples’ history of oppression and present circumstances mean that the risk of trauma is comparatively high. They may experience post-traumatic stress first hand, and also through living and coping with someone else’s historical trauma such as experiencing the concentration camp existence of the first reservations, involuntary confinement at boarding schools, and eradication of Native languages as children were beaten for speaking out. These and numerous other social, psychological and spiritual abuses all added to this generational grief.
For First Nations people, five hundred plus years of hurts and wrongs suffered as a result of colonization and forced Christianity is at the core of a wide, deep, bloody and still festering wound. In the Southwest, two-thirds of the indigenous population perished from Conquistador contact. Beginning in the early 1500’s through the 1600’s, thousands of people perished, whole tribes and languages disappeared through ruthless violence and from diseases brought by the Spanish. People lost in countless, unnamed battles in an untold history of genocide and cultural decimation, never recorded in World or U.S. History. Yet, the blood still cries out! In April 1598, Conquistador Juan de Onate crossed the Rio Grande near present day El Paso, Texas. He declared and claimed, “All lands, people and resources north of the Rio Grande, are possessions of the Royal Spanish Crown.” At Acoma Pueblo an epic battle ensued, lasting three days, and by historical accounts the battle resulted in the slaughter of over 800 men, women and children. All men over the age of 25 were sentenced to have one foot cut off and 25 years of slavery. Young women were taken to Mexico as slaves for families and for the Catholic priests. They were never heard from again. Woven Stone Wall at Hamaatsa provides a place and a spiritual way for indigenous people to address the deep wounds of colonization and genocide. In this brave act of addressing generations of unresolved grieving, Native people will take their own positive steps toward healing our land. As people begin healing these “soul wounds”, they will become a healthy model of recovery and restoration for other tribes and people across the globe.
Building Woven Stone Wall at Hamaatsa
Woven Stone Wall was envisioned several years ago through the dedicated work of Hamaatsa founders, Larry and Deborah Littlebird. Facilitating grief circles with Native families and initiating reconciliation efforts through “listening conferences” the vision for a communal healing wall came forth. Over the past few years, others have come alongside the Littlebird’s dream to see this project become a reality, waiting for the right place for it to be built. Now it is coming into being on the blessed lands of Hamaatsa!
Against the striking backdrop of the Ortiz Mountains on the aboriginal lands of Hamaatsa, this healing wall is being hand-built in the same manner as the people of Chaco Canyon raised their sacred stone structures. Finding a specific place upon the land to build this sacred wall is much like discovering where your heart is. Over the past four years at Hamaatsa, we have been listening to the land, telling the stories and singing our prayers. This deep process informed the location of the wall. Woven Stone Wall is sited along the southern boundary of Hamaatsa. A historic stone survey marker, dated 1856, was discovered on Hamaatsa's south boundary and records when aboriginal lands were sectioned off by the United Sates government. This will become the heart center of the wall and radiate out from this point with the wall edge mirroring the undulating ridgeline of the Ortiz Mountains. The building of the wall began in Spring 2012, through a thoughtful design process on the land, led by Pueblo elder/storyteller, Larry Littlebird and master stone artisan, Joe Roberts. Gathering stones and stories, Larry, Joe and apprentices wove together a beautiful stonework foundation. Over time, stones will be added to the wall by the pilgrims who come to share their stories and bear their grief. One stone, one story at a time, the wall will offer a safe and nurturing place, where we can come in remembrance – cry out loud and give voice to our own aching trauma and join with others in communal mourning and shared response.
Against the striking backdrop of the Ortiz Mountains, on the pristine aboriginal lands of Hamaatsa, is the sacred site for Woven Stone Wall.
Larry Littlebird , founding director of Hamaatsa, is a Pueblo Indian from Laguna/Santo Domingo Pueblo. Larry's mentoring and coaching style draws upon his multifaceted background as a flim-maker, master storyteller, wilderness facilitator and his personal experience as a hunter-gatherer-farmer, informed by his rich oral tradition and Pueblo Indian culture. Through his spiritual guidance and remedial work with grief circles, wilderness solos and pilgrimages, people are able to realize a cathartic process within their own lives.
FOR MORE INFO:
Hamaatsa is blessed to be working with master stone artisan, JOE ROBERTS. In Spring 2012, Joe came to Hamaatsa from North Carolina to help us create a sacred design for the Wall. Joe feels a deep personal connection to this project through his own work with First Nations People and graciously donated his services. Bless you Joe!
Historic 1856, stone survey marker on Hamaatsa's southern boundary is a bold reminder of how ancestral lands were taken away from the indigenous people.
Photo courtesy of Sacred Fire Magazine
Photo courtesy of Sacred Fire Magazine
WOVEN STONE WALL is a project of HAMAATSA.
Our goal is to foster greater cross-cultural understanding leading to reconciliation between peoples and healing in the land, resulting in committed actions of restitution and restoration for Indigenous people throughout the world.
Thank you for adding your breath to the healing and restoration
of land and people!
Woven Stone Fund
Your meaningful donation supports the careful design, construction and upkeep of Woven Stone Wall, in addition to providing crucial support to bring Native elders and traditional healers to Hamaatsa to lead “grief circles” and provide needed scholarships for Native participation in these programs.
Woven Stone Wall is being built with prayerfully gathered stones on the aboriginal lands of Hamaatsa. We will use a variety of beautiful igneous rocks and other stones indigenous to these juniper savannah foothills of the Ortiz Mountains – shale, dark basalt, granite, petrified wood, sandstone, and quartz conglomerates. As a “TouchStone Contributor” (donations of $200 and up) you will receive a small (2”), one-of-a-kind commemorative stone gathered at Hamaatsa. In this way, you will have a stone to physically touch, remember and stay connected to the sacred legacy of Woven Stone Wall.
Running parallel to the building of Woven Stone Wall is a significant educational component for healing historical trauma and generational grief.
The safe and honored environment of traditional talking circles provide a meaningful way for people to break out of fatalistic attitudes, change their behavior, and discover positive solutions for healing one’s own aching trauma. “Listening circles” are led by Pueblo Elder, Larry Littlebird and invited guest elders and culture bearers.
HEALING THE HURT
Presented in a talking circle format, this ten-step grief process called “Healing the Hurt”, includes group sharing, abreaction and communal mourning, all of which lead to a cathartic sense of relief and a proven way to begin the healing process on both an individual and community level. Facilitated by Pueblo elder, Larry Littlebird, the goal of this regenerative process is to empower Native people to address current issues with a focus on generational grieving. As part of the process, Native American individuals and families are encouraged to make a personal pilgrimage to Hamaatsa to place a stone in the Wall and participate in this communal memorialization program for sharing the effects of historical trauma with others of similar background. Long-range effectiveness is crucial, as emergent leaders are encouraged and supported to begin “grief circles” within their own Native communities.
Throughout the year, we will hold community “wall building” days, where volunteers are invited to work alongside stone builders and artisans and set stones in the healing wall. A shared potluck meal and listening circle are part of these special community gatherings for coming together in a circle of reverence and blessing to care for one another and all our relations.
Woven Stone Blessing Ceremony, May 2012