Legacy of Woman

By Elaine Whitefeather

May We Be the Ones, May We be the Ones who bring forward the good, the true, and the beautiful. May We Be the Ones…

May We Be the Ones, May We be the Ones who break the harmful family patterns and bring forward the best of our ancestral heritage…

May We Be the Ones…

This Ancestral prayer speaks to the heart and spirit of the Legacy of Woman that is the essence of this new paradigm. The Legacy of Woman is wisdom passed down from Native teachings for such a time as this and includes Honoring All Life as Sacred, where respect and reverence for the lives and stories of our Human Tribe can be honored, learned from, and used to make the world dream better for the unborn generation.

It has been said that the true test of the character of a nation is in how we treat the women and children. The issue of domestic violence and family violence is an issue that cuts across every single nation and peoples of our planet. Sadly, the objectification of women and children has contributed to a world where women, the givers and nurturers of life, have long been oppressed and suppressed by a male-dominated paradigm lasting more than a thousand years.

In this paradigm, the Love of Power is the motivating force for all forms of life and living. In personal relationships, love of power translates to learned behaviors of power and control which is the real understanding of domestic and family violence and sexual assault of females.

Historically, the Law of Chastisement in 753 BC gave men the authority and the right to beat their wives and children as long as the weapon used was not any larger than his thumb. This objectified women and children over the course of history, making them property to be owned, managed, and controlled versus human beings whose lives are sacred.

This law and cultural practice, which became institutionalized through church dogma, governmental institutions, policy and practice, societal attitudes, and the media, normalized beliefs about women and power. Still today those in power who make decisions for women, their lives, and their bodies are often still white men with the privilege to sustain the cultural norm of how women and children are treated and respected in this nation.

In this new world vision, the drumbeat has changed hands… ushering in a new time of the Sacred Feminine. This gentler, kinder, and more egalitarian way of living is inclusive, collaborative, and seeks to unify, rather than to compete and separate. It reflects the second and third parts of this Legacy: To Embrace the Equal Value and Worth of All Life and To Seek to Create Unity of All Life by choosing the Power of Love. This pathway is life giving, life sustaining, and is passed on from generation to generation. It reflects the last part of the Legacy: Sustainable Change That Lasts for Eternity.

The power of the heart and spirit is the power of the feminine and the true power that this legacy challenges us all to live. It is a power that brings about understanding, compassion, and mercy, and yet the lesson is… NOT WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY for all the ways we have desecrated and undermined the Sacred Feminine. We must take greater responsibility for transforming justice within our internal and external systems.

The issue of domestic violence/sexual assault is an issue that affects people in every country, in every part of our globe. Without the ability to embrace all life as sacred, treating women and children as objects of power and control demonstrates our true beliefs about the sanctity of life and what we as a nation hold as valuable.

May We Be the Ones is an Ancestral prayer that speaks to the regrets and unanswered prayers of those who went before us. The legacies they have left behind are ones of competition, “I”- or “me-and-mine”-centered, judgment, suspicion, cynicism, fear, isolation, greed, and hostility. Perhaps that is the message the Ancients want us to hear… perhaps there is an acknowledgement of what we have passed on to our descendants through our own power and control, our own lack of trust, our own lack of healing, our own lack of faith or understanding or compassion or mercy.

“You cannot give away that which you do not have, even if you want to.” With that wisdom, it is imperative that we each begin to turn our eyes inward to the Looking Within Place… what truths lie hidden there? What dark shadows are we hiding in our beliefs, in our unhealed wounds, or our unforgiveness and bitterness? The Sacred Feminine heart acknowledges all of these truths as being messengers of the heart.

For example, anger speaks about disrespect and violation… can we create an environment where those hurts can be heard and validated and affirmed… can we create an environment of accountability for the wounds and harm we have caused another… Not one of us has avoided causing harm in large or small ways to another, consciously or unconsciously. Can we create change in the conditions which caused all of the imbalances of power and the resulting quest to have more of it or to control what others might have.

This new paradigm of the feminine energy leading us, supported by the male, is a way of leading with the heart of compassion and understanding backed up by putting that compassion and understanding into action. To begin, get good accurate knowledge that helps you understand what has happened to you or to others. Then you can give birth to a greater understanding of how and why people do things… “wounded people do wounding things.”

From understanding grows compassion and it is then we can truly forgive… this is the mission and pathway of the power of the Feminine Spiritual Warrior. This is the Legacy for which they pray. This is the Legacy we have inherited. This is the Legacy that is our destiny. May We Be the Ones…

Elaine Mayumi Whitefeather is the Executive Director of A Community for Peace, a domestic violence provider for Sacramento County. Visionary, passionate, and fiercely dedicated to the empowerment of every victim of trauma and abuse, Ms. Whitefeather has spent her last 38 years in human service work, 36 of those years in the field of domestic violence, Motivated by personal experiences that included childhood abuse, racial violence, sexual assault, and cancer, she has turned these obstacles into opportunities of empowerment, healing, and wholeness.

In 2015, Elaine received the Service To Mankind Award from the Mountain West Region of Sertoma. You can watch her 6-minute acceptance speech here.

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This article appears in: 2017 Catalyst, Issue 23: The Sacred Feminine