The Great Bear – Iilediiaweh’s Tribal Origins

This except from Unwritten: Sacrifice of Saol (coming in 2016) tells Wihni‘s tribes story about the people’s origins. 

My name is Johonan iiy Khanati Inahe’de ka Nawa‘ee, the IileNeenu – eldest living Grandfather – of the Iilediiaweh Tribe. This is the story of our people.

America – Turtle Island – this land has many names. We, the Iilediiaweh – First People of this part of the Earth – call it Leeg’khasini, the New Free Land. I will tell you how it came to be.

Long ago only animals called this home. From one coast to the mountain shores, from the great ice caps to the southern sink holes, this was the animals domain. They had no idea there were two leggeds that roamed on the other side. All they knew was to hunt, eat, sleep, and survive. Till one day, Great Bear looked up. What he saw astounded him. In the midst of the billions of stars he saw one star shooting across the sky as if it was an animal migrating from one side of space to the other.

“Look!” He called the other bears. “The stars are moving like we do.” The other bears stood staring at him. Wise old Great Bear made a far reaching thought, “There must be life out there. Perhaps we can call it down here to see it for our self.”

The other Bears laughed calling him, “Crazy Bear.”

Great Bear knew what he saw. Something inside of his heart told him he was right. That old Great Bear refused to give up. Day and night his eyes turned upward to the stars. As he looked up he would pray the great prayer: As above, so shall it be below. Guide me great stars to show me the truth so I might better understand all knowledge there is to know.

Wouldn’t you know, that old Bear figured out that if he walked on only two legs then he could always keep an eye to the sky. After day and night and night and day of looking to the stars, his back straitened so he stood tall as a tree. That made the other bears laugh at him even more. They even named him, “Old Crazy Tree Bear.” Nothing stopped him because he knew – something was up there. He was right. Many something’s were up there. They were listening.

One day Great Mystery was so moved by Great Bear’s devotion, that he drew First Grandfather’s attention to the dutiful Bear. Intrigued, First Grandfather descended down from the Stars to visit Great Bear. Disguised as a Bear himself, he sat and talked to the Old Wise one. First Grandfather was impressed with how smart the Bear was. Many mysteries of life he had figured out just by studying the stars. That night, while Great Bear slept, First Grandfather called down First Grandmother with an idea. He took a part of Great Bear and mixed it with parts of themselves to create the twins Ksosdohniitziooh and Ksosdohpeetziooh – Great Bear Mother and Great Bear Father. She grew them in her womb. When she gave birth, they gave the children to Great Bear with a promise that they would stay to teach them all the Great Mysteries and Star Legends so that Great Bear never had to watch the stars alone.

Soon other animals began to hear about Great Bear and his two Star children. Some looked up. Upon really seeing the stars, they felt like they had woken up. In honor of Great Bear, they too begin looking up day and night. It was not long before they began asking First Grandmother and Grandfather for their own children to grow with in the knowledge of the stars. Great Grandmother and Grandfather were very pleased. Out of the ground, down from the mountains, between valleys, on waves of the seas, and inside of streams mixed Star children came.

First Grandfather and First Grandmother grew to love the place. Like Star people before them, they decided to stay to help all their new children began to establish the new land. Through dreams they called to their Seven Star Daughter’s who came with their Star children. Together they sent their spirits out through the rest of the Earth searching for Earth children of human kind that could come join their family. When they found those with stout hearts, ready minds, and willing hands, they drew them to Leeg’khasini. Over the Great Land Bridge and by sea, the human children came in waves over time. The Old Ones welcomed them, bathing them in the rich red ochre of the Earth.

Old Great Bear, and the Great Animals had long since left their Earth bound bodies. But their children remained. First Grandfather, First Grandmother, their Seven Daughters and families, all stayed making one happy amalgamate family for awhile. The children of Great Bear Mother and Great Bear Father had married – some to human, home to the Star Children of the Seven, some to children of other Great Animals. Soon the original differences that appeared before had become new differences that began to divide the people. There were those who longed to live closer to their roots with the sea while others craved the mountains. Peoples whose appearance differed separated into their own clans. Some even began developing their own ways to speak. Those divided began moving away, taking what they learned with them.

The break up of their family made the Star Family very sad. Together they met to decide what they should do with their part of the Earth. First Grandfather and First Grandmother decided to return to the Stars. That left the decision of the New Free Land to the Seven. They had seen how their kind had interacted with the Children of the Earth for Centuries. They watched how their kind on the other side of the world subjugated the human children and set themselves up as God’s above them. The Children were forced into service mining, building great buildings of stone, and laboring as slaves for other Star ones and their children. The First Family did not want to do that to their own. They wanted their children to be able to live with their own freedom of will in order to evolve on their own as they choose.
Before First Grandfather and First Grandfather left, they created Iilediiaya separate for their children, and their children’s children to go. The option was given to the direct Children of the Star’s, for those with the Star magic, as well as the Elder’s, and great Chief’s among the people to live there as well. Many decided to stay among the Ksosdzamaalm – the Great Cousins. Many Great Mother and Father’s remained in Leeg’khasini to help the Tribe’s to organize and stay true to the Great Mystery and what we now call the Old Ways. Over time many from Iilediiaweh decided to return to Leeg’khasini. Many of those in Leeg’khasini left to come here to seek refuge. There was a free flow of interaction between us and our cousins. Till one day things changed beyond all recognition. Leeg’khasini was no longer a free land. The Tribes were no longer free.

For years tribes fought among themselves. Next years they battled European Invaders. The battles in the years to follow between Tribes and against invaders changed our cousins. Our own battles were fought in those years known as the Great Wars. Those wars changed us. Since then, distance has grown. There are not as many in Leeg’khasini who honor our existence. Though they may honor the Old Ways, they know little about us. Both of us went out own way. Many of our cousins are lost to us now. We are told one day they will return in a time where we will all be as one. This may be that day.
No matter what happens around Earth, even if the Stars themselves started falling down, here in Iilediiaweh we will remain Khasini – Free Land. We honor all that is, all the Ancestors from where we have come, the Star Ways, and Great Mystery just like Old Great Bear: As above, so shall it be below. Guide me great stars to show me the truth so I might better understand all knowledge there is to know.