Thursday, March 16, 2017

Paul Owns the Sabre Honored on Bay Native Circle KPFA



Photo Paul Owns the Sabre (seated) at the International Friendship House in Oakland, after the Longest Walk 2 across America. Paul with Tomas Reyes, who has passed to the Spirit World, with Shaleen, Aislyn and Sage. Photo by Brenda Norrell.

Poetry by Paul Owns the Sabre, Cheyenne River Lakota A whisper of laughter you can hear as these spirits dance over the blades of grass, on into the little valley out to the crest of the hill and 
over to the sounds of the dancing horses of four colors; in step to the sounds that have come from long ago to tell the spirits to come 
with them to the starlit meadow and dance with them. 
The bells to sound their cadence to those who hear its spirit sound only for them. 
Bring my drum so I may sing my song of honor to the spirits that come to me in the night of the dancing stars, so I may remember that 
other time when I danced with my grandfather's grandfather so long ago when my land was young. 

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Long Walker, Painter and Sun Dancer Paul Owns the Sabre, Cheyenne River Lakota, was honored on this week's Bay Native Circle in Berkeley.
Tony Gonzales of AIM West said, "This week’s 'Bay Native Circle' on KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley is dedicated to our good friend and brother, a Long Walker, Sun Dancer, a natural-born artist, Mr. Paul Owns the Sabre, who passed to spirit world on February 20, 2017.  I've included a taped recording taken with Paul in 2011 by Ms. Brenda Norrell of Censored News, during the Long Walk against Diabetes. A memorial was held two weeks ago in SF at the Native American Health Center and another planned in Oakland at International Friendship House next month, stay tuned in."
In memory of my good friend Paul, I'm republishing the following article which I wrote after we all crossed America together on the Longest Walk 2 northern route in 2008. Paul was a walker and spiritual adviser, and Govinda of Earthcycles and I hosted the five-month live, Long Talk Radio.
Paul Owns the Sabre: Painting the warrior way
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
SAN FRANCISCO -- On the Longest Walk 2 northern route across America in 2008, Paul Owns the Sabre, Miniconjou Lakota from the Cheyenne River Indian Nation, reunited with his mother Thelma Franks, after 27 years apart. Owns the Sabre lived in San Francisco all those years and now says his journey was like that of so many Indian people.
“This reunion and reconciliation is important because so many Native families have been separated,” Owns the Sabre said after a tearful reunion with his mother in Eads, Colorado, in April of 2008. There was a feast, drum song and honor dance for the mother and son long separated on that cold night in Colorado, as the Longest Walk prepared for dawn prayers at the site of the Sand Creek Massacre, where Arapahoe and Cheyenne women, children, men and elderly were slaughtered by the US Calvary on November 29, 1864.
Reflecting in Eads, Colorado, Owns the Sabre, painter, poet and Sundancer, saw the parallels in his life with that of so many Indians, including an early childhood at a brutal residential boarding school in South Dakota, followed by alcoholism, and ultimately a lifetime of sacred walks and runs and reunion with his family.
Later, that same year in 2008, Owns the Sabre presented a life retrospective of his artwork at the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, California, Nov. 28 – Dec. 10. After displaying his images of the faces of warriors, and warriors on horseback, he gave the paintings away during an honoring.
Owns the Sabre said in an interview for the Native Sun Weekly that he never considered himself an artist. But, he felt he had a natural gift. He began painting because Indians were dying homeless and no one knew they existed. He was compelled to paint warriors.
“I wanted them to know that they came from warriors,” Owns the Sabre said. His evolution as a painter involved a great deal of tragedy, his own and the pain within the Indian community.
Born Dec. 10, 1939 in Cheyenne Agency on Cheyenne River, Owns the Sabre said he began life in the Forties generation and is now part of the computer generation. Still, he said, “If you are going to participate, you need to draw, talk and sing.”
The most life changing event of his life was the Longest Walk of 1978. He was one of 26 people who made it across America. In all, he was on nine sacred runs and
walks. The most recent was the Longest Walk 2, which departed Alcatraz in February and arrived in Washington D.C. in July, carrying a prayer for the protection of Mother Earth. Owns the Sabre also has been a Sundancer for 25 years at Crow Dog Paradise.
Reflecting on the reunion with his mother after 27 years, Owns the Sabre said the long separation was caused by alcoholism. He encouraged others to make the effort to reconnect with their loved ones, even when it is painful. He said many people feel shame and never attempt a reunion. They miss out on finding out how much they are loved.
In the history of American Indians, he said one event, more than anything else, resulted in the alcoholism, prison rates, domestic violence and murders. It was the creation of the Indian boarding school prototype, Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, in 1879.
“It started there. The result was cultural genocide.”
“You become something else.” During the Longest Walk 2, Owns the Sabre stood in the cemetery of Carlisle Indian School, surrounded by the gravestones of too many Indian children and spoke to those accompanying him on the Longest Walk. He shared with the Indian children and teenagers the truth of this history and also of hope for the future.
Now, home in San Francisco, Owns the Sabre said it is time for Indian people to become true sovereigns. “We’re still a nation getting handouts,” he said of the array of funding for American Indians. “We’re still in bad shape. We’ve got to find a way to overcome that.”
“When is the day going to come that we are a sovereign people? We are still poor, mocked and made fun of. We end up being a real small minority in a country that is technically ours. We have to live by their rules.
“Haven’t we come far enough to break the shackles of dependence? We need to be strong and need to keep singing our songs.”
Owns the Sabre said Indian people should rise above racism and strive for unity. “We need to become less racist ourselves.”
One of those labels is that of being an urban Indian. “I’m looked upon as an urban Indian myself.
“We can survive in the cities but we give up quite a bit too.”
Owns the Sabre said the ultimate goal for Indian people is not found in a university. “We don’t need to go to a university to become smart people, we are smart people. Just leave us alone.
“I’m tired of people giving us free coffee all the time.”
“We need to stop being used as mascots by a country that hates us, really hates us. We are still told to toe the line.”
He said Indian people are still struggling for equal rights. “We have a country that makes rules every four years and we don’t know who in the hell to believe after a while.” One thing he does believe in is that all people are members of the same human family.
Ultimately, Owns the Sabre said, what he believes in is the circle: The circle of life.

 Poem by Paul Owns the Sabre

 "Bring my drum, so I can sing my song of honor to my grandfather's grandfather"

Tonight, my thoughts go out to another place: the land of my grandfather's grandfather.

I wonder the thoughts and the feelings of my grandfather's grandfather.

Closeness of the spirit, an awareness of all that is.

The coolness of the rippling clear water over many stones that disappear under the banks

to the many trees that dance in the wind.

The stars to shine so close to the land, a land that is sacred.

Bright are the stars at night that dance across the skies, laughing it seems to the happiness that is

bringing spirituality all around for the generations down the distant road to, the meadowlark and the robin mixed with the sound of the

eagle, echoing from the sky... and the sound of many drums, the

songs that whisper the names of my grandfather's grandfather, the flute to sound its haunting call in

the darkness; to bring with it the sound; the melody of my grandfather's grandfather.

 To reach out its message that gives the spirit in me the kinship only my grandfather's grandfather will know.

The ages that have left their mark on this my grandfather's grandfather land, engraved in the stones

that know no age.

The flowers the same when my grandfather's grandfather reached down to smell it's fragrance, and to say a silent word to all of creation;

that remains the same always for the ages that must come.

The strong will of my grandfather's grandfather is in the spirit of the children's children now, and those whose spirit, blue in color flicker

like a light across the many meadows back home; to be born at another time.

A whisper of laughter you can hear as these spirits dance over the blades of grass, on into the little valley out to the crest of the hill and

over to the sounds of the dancing horses of four colors; in step to the sounds that have come from long ago to tell the spirits to come

with them to the starlit meadow and dance with them.

The bells to sound their cadence to those who hear its spirit sound only for them.

Bring my drum so I may sing my song of honor to the spirits that come to me in the night of the dancing stars, so I may remember that

other time when I danced with my grandfather's grandfather so long ago when my land was young.

Hecha tu yelo
All my relations
Owns the Sabre
Sacred Run
Turtle Island
1992

Bay Native Circle KPFA this Week
By Tony Gonzales, AIM West
Censored News
March 15, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO -- This week’s “Bay Native Circle” on KPFA 94.1 fm in Berkeley is dedicated to our good friend and brother, a Long Walker, Sun Dancer, a natural-born artist, Mr. Paul Owns the Sabre, who passed to spirit world on February 20, 2017.  I've included a taped recording taken with Paul in 2011 by Ms. Brenda Norrell of "Censored News", during the Long Walk against Diabetes. A memorial was held two weeks ago in SF at the Native American Health Center and another planned in Oakland at IFH next month, stay tuned in.
I also interviewed Elder AIMster Wounded Knee DeOcampo (California Me-Wuk) with an update on "Long Walk 5.2” currently underway across the USA with its theme "Against Drugs and Domestic Violence"; also a tape recorded with Ms. Corrina Gould (California Chochenyo-Ohlone) speaking in support of sacred sites and the Shell Mounds last week at Berkeley City Hall; and hear a brief public comment(s) from (Antonio Moreno) at SF City Hall calling for their Divestment, and against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), of which the BoS did vote in support, unanimously; and, finally, Mr. Douglas Miles, (San Carlos Apache) artist-in-residence at the DeYoung Museum during February.  (Douglas left his mark with a mural in SF at corner of 16th and Shotwell Street in La Mision).
All this and much more! Tune in, plug-in, share with friends and enjoy the ride!  And if you have announcements of coming events i.e. rallies, and gatherings in general, just write or call my cell!  aho!
All my relations!
Tony Gonzales
(Comca’Ac-Chicano)
AIM-WEST director
 and Radio HOST
www.aim-west.org
https://kpfa.org/episode/bay-native-circle-march-15-2017/
Bay Native Circle – March 15, 2017
03.15.17 - 7:00pm
Hosts Lakota Harden, Eddie Madril, Janeen Antoine, Vince Medina, and Morning Star Gali bring you today’s Native issues, people, culture and events.


Painting the Warrior Way article and photos copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News

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