Editors Note: “The Blue Babies” by Ronald YellowBird has been divided into two parts, this is part 2 of 2.
I am the oldest son of the late John S. Williams (Mouache Capote) and Wanda Accuttroop American Horse (Uncompahgre). My beginnings start at Little Chicago in Ft Duchesne, UT. I lived there with all my Ute grandmothers & aunties, all the grandfathers & uncles, and through their teachings have I realized how much we have lost.
A fire was burning when “Sees The Mountain Lion” appeared from the shadows and went straight to his relatives. Motion to sit down was recognized by uncle. Grandfather Raven began by smudging all those that came. I am asking those men who is father to unborn children to kneel in a circle, shoulder to shoulder. I will began by placing a mark of the red earth upon your forehead and this will assist you to open your mind. Breathe good and let your insides settle down, remove all thoughts and think with me. For a long time now, we have been blessed to live in a beautiful place and we have enjoyed a good life. Most of us have lived well into the years, reaching into the reflection of the past. Our existence only continues because of our strong beliefs, in and through our children. My relatives from the southern border have told me of changes in the wind, it blows much drier and hotter from the west. The rains which gives us all life will be no more, I can only send a prayer in ceremony to the Creator. I can only tell you what you must do as men of the Red River People. With all the females of this earth, only they can give life and you as men can easily take it away and soon you will be put to the test. This has always been true in the past and will continue to happen in the future. Those of us who live here in the Shiny Mountains live by the rule that all life is holy. That is going to change, your wives and mothers will not forgive you. But for the good of those present we can make our own decision. Now without the life given rains, our lives that we know, will become much harder. Our last meals are coming and with that hunger pains in our families. Who will suffer the most is what I have come to tell you, this is what the men must prepare for.
In this day and the next you will feel a little different. Those men who have entered the medicine lodge will encounter the same spirit. The same Spirits of the Earth that bring the rains and clouds. The Red River People who been living a good life, have forgotten the way of the old Ute Traditions. The path has been made easy and the nuch-u are lost in having too much. Their old ways of helping each other in time of need, does not exist today. Instead, all become complacent of the respect given to those who have earned it. Now the aa-nuch, just walked by the wounds of the earth, without realizing what would happen to them if they just stopped. Look inside and see yourself of what you have become. Is this a way of doing for self, not having approval from those on the other side. Grandfather Raven, explained that the spirit inside is released, their impulse of energy becomes a small part of what we know to be the living earth. Our beliefs of coming from the earth and returning back. The circle of life will be completed for your part and in an instant the feeling of floating with the ability to travel at the speed of a dream.. Theres where the physical of you lies, in the bed, or on the ground or wherever you may have succumbed to the disease, trauma, old age or an accident that was meant to be. At that moment in the space of the tranquility and the effortlessness movement by your conscious takes place. We all find others suspended in the air, in the trees, in the water and watching is the Creator. Embracing our lives to become all that is good. You can feel this spiritual energy when we travel to the high country and you stand there amongst the natural elements of this earth, a mortal being with a gift to create another life. We were placed here to always sacrifice, and understanding that,the taking of another life was inhuman. In this kind of behavior, we have become lost and invisible to the Creator’s laws. All that is in the past for thousands of years, is destroyed in the last 300 years. We cannot breath the air, we cannot drink the water or eat the fish, cannot eat the plants or creatures of which was placed here by the Creator for our survival. .In grandfather raven’s nightmare, the world as we know it, will be no more and the place all Utes hate to venture and are deeply afraid of is the underground. The mouth of a great serpent and echoes of another life gone by. The nuchu have always been told to stay away from the entrance of the underground and not to be seen by many of the remains left of the Little People. Those who have a house of stone and the trail to their homes are too steep for a big Ute to follow. They are scattered about in the sandstone canyon, where a great pool of water existed. They are long gone now and are remembered by the storytellers of the winter nights. How many times have I sat there in the darkness, to see a light coming from the distance. A familiar voice instructing me to follow the light and to enter the round stone house set in the ground. In the middle is a fire of pinyon and human figures covered in earth paint are sitting there around the light. They are chanting and others are in deep meditation with visions of another denomination. They, the spirit of us, are on the opposite plane and they have little worry of the bones, muscles, tendons and what makes us the physical being. Rather, they exist in the energy of what makes antimatter and matter, those countless molecules. In the physical of us we give it color, mass and independence from others. Until the vulnerable body ceases to be and that energy that is inside is released. Even then we are bound to the earth and exist in a sphere that protects our beginnings from the cold of the universe. Our physical presence here with all the living explains the reasons why we co-exist with all the living. We have laws that are handed down from those who came here long before any of us was born. My memory of the old lady and her sister’s sitting on their bedroll pad and talking of years gone by. The fire reveals our history drawn into their faces and hands. As they speak the air stands still and those who sing in the evening are quiet. A warm calm comes over me, lying there knowing I was safe and protected. They spoke of goods that were accepted warmly and would have sincere thoughts in their presence. I can feel the kinship of the earth and my inner self, that part of me where reasons are justified. Can I project myself as the Grandfather Raven that he has learned to do, traveling in a blink of an eye and all the while gathering knowledge. It would appear as day and night to me, when it only existed in mind and imprinted in memory.
The words from Grandfather Raven echoes across the canyons, above these red sandstones smoothed over from the elements. On both sides of the river that runs red, are the forest and grasslands. The winter winds flow over the protected valley, with the solstice warming the canyon sides. The people of Red River feel blessed and realize how the Creator shaped the surroundings for them. That the witness of their daily lives, their struggles,their births and deaths are and have become, a people that endures all. It is their prayers that are heard by a higher power, for their prayers truly come from their hearts and minds. Much like a child’s prayer which is simple and not clouded by adult problems, nor are their little hearts full of anxieties and hate. The nuchu have always believed that the Creator was always watching over them and those events that were meant to be was a sign. There is an old Ute man, aa-nua-puch, who gets up before the sunrise ceremony and prepares himself for the new day. Water, earth and eagle whistle are within his palms. First, the water a natural element, it’s clear, cold liquid coming from the same place as all the life. and is plentiful. Carried in willow basket made by someone related and the aa-nua-puch finds his place. Behind him to the west the first rays of the sun light the La Plata’s and soon the power of the distance sun peeks over the ridge line of the H & D’s. It is a familiar sight passed on by a memory of those who have stood there thousands of years ago. In a cupped hand he pours water atop his head for he has become a plant and needs the sun to grow. Secondly, he has a little of the earth in his hand as he smudges himself. Suddenly he sees the chickadees landing on the hallowed ground beside him and they are staring at his feet and moving up his body. They see the spirit from within emerge. The earth from where he comes from he goes back to, and finally, the eagle bone whistle calls attention to all the living spirits.
Hear me, it is aa-nua-puch your son, see me and bless me with all the good things of life and bless all the living life that helps me with my travels, well into the day and night. I ask you to watch over all the humans of the earth and give them guidance in their everyday beliefs. Watch over all the life and the next generations to be. Watch over and bless those who have gone on to a spirit world, those relatives who have traveled here to be with us, all of the grandfathers and grandmothers. That blesses me the strength to make sacrifices of myself and make good decisions in our everyday life. See me when I am hungry in my spiritual and physical life. Show me a sign of where the game are, where the edible plants grow and warn us of all predators in our travels. Protect the People of the Red River Valley and all those who live around the center of the universe. Grandfather Raven, has foretold of a time when the great winds will change and we will feel the pain of hunger and maybe starve. He has said that the ultimate sacrifice in life, now will be judged by how many children they are willing to set aside or place them in the front of the line. Forgive, us of the thought in taking the life of the next generation and see us when we are saddened as one of our own journeys to the afterlife. This decisive act will be conducted only by the man and will happen when there is no bond between him and his infant child. Unforeseen is the description of the trauma in our emotions as we take the little soul to the river world. They are thrown in without haste and become a part of the river and all the life of what the river gives. The littlest ones are seen in the deep part of the river and become the blue babies. Their little spirits exist as one can hear them crying at night, down by the dark of the river. This sacrifice is without their consent. They do understand that their death continues the survival of the family, community and the people among us. So in a time of plenty, the children and old eat first and then the rest. In some societies the men are at the front of the line and women follow with their children. The old are helped by the oldest grandchildren and they remain with them in their daily lives. As each day arrives the transfer of stories, lessons, singing of old songs is done to comfort them in the closing of their eyes. Approaching is the messenger of death, he cares not of how we lived nor of our great deeds or what we have witnessed, our struggles or our innocence. He comes to claim the physical body, but he cannot hold the spirit within, for the “inner you” travels to the spirit world and to the great beyond, there to remain for eternity in watching over the earth with the Creator by your side. We will all be there some day and some will travel past the great beyond, there in the universe, the endless night and cold of the dark, to see past the stars, and maybe to be reborn in another dimensions. Some of us have great inner strength and we touch those around us with good memories, every time we are remembered. We remain just beyond your touch, watching from the past and hidden in the consciousness of every thought. The most memorable of us remain here and watch over all.