Talking Bear’s Talking Circles – Book One
Talking Bear’s Talking Circles — Book One is a compilation of stories that emerged from thirty-five years of talking circles led by the author, George Walking Bear. The 42 stories are based on true events, and the story format helps readers feel they are actually sitting in the circle, instead of just reading about it. Peppered throughout the book are jokes and the kind of humor medicine men and women use in teaching, because, as Walking Bear explains, “It is our way.”
By George Walking Bear
ISBN 978-0-9748668-3-3; 6 x 9 trade paperback; 228 pages; 42 stories with b&w illustrations; color photo; index.
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Oak Savanna Publishing
PO Box 15102
Salem, OR 973093
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About the Book
Walking Bear’s aim is to help people walk the spiritual path. One mission in his life is to teach Indians how to be Indians again. He says, “The time has come to stop hanging onto half forgotten ways that belong to a society that no longer exists. New circumstances and conditions are being presented to help us make the changes needed to get off the traditional path and back to the medicine path, the spiritual path. Our ancestral blood does not make us Indians; walking the sacred path does that.”
Walking Bear’s writings also reach beyond red Indians to include those in white, yellow, or black skins, since “our souls have no color or race. We are all divine beings traveling on the journey of experience to gain wisdom.”
Talking Circles Book One is both a light-hearted and enlightening walk with Talking Bear along this most sacred path — a precious journey indeed.
This book “is full of wonderful insights and depth, yet it was lighthearted and easy to read. We found George Walking Bear’s writing style even and straightforward. His use of familiar metaphors, similes, and colorful descriptions brought the reader close to the heart of George Walking Bear. The book was well worth the time.”
MANATAKA INDIAN COUNCIL
“I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for spiritual enlightenment. The stories are very poignant and timely and you can almost hear the voice of the author. I was taken on a journey that was so very simple in its complexity – respect the earth and Creator and you will find balance. Awesome!”
“This book is well written for all. To understand spiritual believes of the Native American life. I highly recommend it for people of all ages that are searching to understand their spiritual walk in life.”
“George Walking Bear’s Talking Bear’s Talking Circles explains Native American beliefs and ceremony through captivating stories. He sometimes makes reference to Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist thought as well. This easy read is an excellent book that I would recommend for older children through adults committed to a spiritual path.”
“George Walking Bear’s style of writing lends itself to being understood by anyone. You can just imagine yourself sitting on the side witnessing his stories. You get to reading and sometime you just can’t put the book down. Each story leaves you wanting more.”
P. A. Rhoades “Skylark”
“Talking Bear’s Talking Circle-Book One: The author demonstrates that he is a vehicle to teach that we are all relations. A clear understanding that our Mother Earth gave us all a Regalia to wear as demonstrated by our birth’s attire, and secures her non-bias by the colors she grants! Our Life-Giver approved our earth journey and persona, which is part of our sacred act while temporarily using a body. The sacred play is approved with the Great Source’s Love! The teachings continue to reflect that we are living out our endeavors in the culture and customs we came to experience. The teachings are not just for the Native people of the “Americas” but for all walks of life. It’s a living and constant reflection. The universal teachings reflect five basic values we have stored in our souls: Compassion, Sincerity, Honor, Serenity, and No Harm. This is something we share as splendid Light-beings. It teaches about life as a whole and the in-depth meaning of what karma is. There are hidden messages for those who are captured by the phenomenal wisdom and capable of opening their hearts to the highest values of the souls. This is a rare and valuable source of information that’s recommended to the individuals who are guided to spiritual matters by their hearts.”
Excerpt from Talking Bear’s Talking Circles Book One
From Chapter 12: “Speaking of Spirits”
A woman on the Lost Creek reservation looked out her window and saw her grandfather standing in the yard with a live eagle that was flapping its wings in an effort to escape. She stood motionless and speechless as she watched them disappear into thin air. It frightened her greatly because he has been dead for ten years. She is a friend of Talking Bear’s daughter, and she called to tell her about it while she was still in a state of fear. When the elder was told about her experience, he suggested she come to the teaching circle Sunday afternoon. He would talk about spirits and tell her what her grandfather’s message was all about.
Fifteen people show up at the circle carrying lawn chairs and blankets to sit on. After smudging everyone, the elder sits in the chair his daughter brought for him.
“Miky, Ron, Kayo and I seem to have a mission in this life: to teach Indians how to be Indians again. That is one of the reasons for these talking circles. I am going to talk about the spirits, because a woman sitting here saw her deceased grandfather standing in her yard.” He looks at the woman, “You probably know it wasn’t a vision. It was your grandfather. He came to tell you that you need to get back on the medicine path.”
He looks around at all the eyes staring at him and smiles and tells the people what the woman had seen. Then he says, “The eagle is a messenger. He was not trying to get away. He was showing her that she has been trying to get away from being an Indian, so she can be more accepted by her white friends. She has been trying to get away from the great teachings her grandfather gave her as she grew up. He groomed her since she was a child to take his place someday.”
He looks at her again, “Our community needs you. When our friends become our peers, they are no longer our friends. Another culture cannot be our peer; it only thinks it can. Our ways are good and were taught to us by the Creator. You can live in their culture and not be of it, and you can gently expose some good old-fashioned values to them. They think that, because we don’t have an organized religion, we don’t have spiritual values. We have never had a religion—we had a way of life. A true Indian doesn’t go to church one day a week. A true Indian goes to church every day. We get up in the morning and face the east and say, ‘Good morning Creator. Thank you for this day.’ We walk, talk, breathe, and live on our church. Be proud that you are Indian and start teaching the youth what you were taught. That’s what your grandfather came to tell you.”
There are a few moments of silence. Then she looks at him and says “Thank you.”
He smiles and says, “It has been difficult for me to see our people become afraid of spirits. Every one of you has spirits around you. There are more spirits in this circle than there are people. They are here to help us handle the things we came to Earth to do and to experience. There are very big spirits in charge of the big mountains and natural lakes and streams. There are spirit keepers of the four directions and of each of the elements and the clouds. When done right, our rain dances really work, because we ask the thunder beings for their help and we honor them for helping us. We make offerings of thanks to them.
“We need to start being more aware of our habitual thoughts. If an unpleasant situation causes us to think, ‘I don’t want to think about this!’ and ‘It gives me a headache’, we produce a headache and can’t think about the situation. On and on it goes—right into our vital organs. When medical doctors learn about this, they will probably sue their patients for mental malpractice.”
When the gentle laughter subsides, he kids a friend of his.
“A lot of people like to kid Joe, sitting here, about his over-sized stomach. Maybe he has wished he had more guts, eh, Joe?”
Joe shrugs his shoulders and rubs his belly with a chuckle. The attention is pulled away from him when the elder says, “So, now you know that if your nose runs and your feet smell, you are built upside down.”
About The Author
George Walking Bear Gillette is a Native American spiritual leader and medicine man. He is a member of the Kern River Indian Community known as the Tubatulabl Tribe, which is a Shoshone/Paiute band in California. Family history claims he also has Blackfoot and English blood from Canada. His full Indian name is Walking Bear Has Two Eagles. Walking Bear was born at the foot of the sacred Mount Shasta in the town of McCloud, California in June of 1927. He served in the Navy during World War II and became a Behavioral Therapist in 1968, successfully combining Indian doctoring and hypnotherapy in his practice.
Walking Bear has been a member of the American Association of Behavioral Therapists, the California Hypnotist Association, and the Native American AIDS Advisory Board and served as an officer on the Haslett Basin Traditional Committee and the Association for American Indian Culture. He was on a special committee of Native Americans who made it possible for Native American spiritual leaders to become chaplains in California prisons and subsequently held behavioral modification classes for Fresno County inmates, attending sweat lodge ceremonies in California prisons.
Walking Bear taught about his work to groups within Indian Health Services, Urban Indian Health Services, and United Indian Health. He taught classes on the use of hypnosis for childbirth, self-improvement, weight loss, and surgery. He conducted classes on weight loss using hypnosis in Iceland and Sweden as well as the Stanford Medical Center in California. He was invited to the Navajo reservation in Tube City, Arizona to explain Indian doctoring to the hospital’s medical doctors and served on a special panel on Indian health for the One Sky Center at Portland State University in Oregon. He also worked with scientists in Redwood City on cancer research and helped with the Tule River reservation’s Alcohol Program.
Walking Bear’s speaking engagements include the Santa Rosa reservation at Lemoor, Fresno State University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Shasta College, and Local Indians For Education in Shasta Lake City, California. He helped conduct a ceremony for the releasing of condors in the Santa Maria Mountains of California and served as guest speaker at the Ishi Memorial in Mt. Lassen National Park, California. In 1994, he was taken to Wounded Knee in South Dakota to help with a sacred ceremony for the White Buffalo Calf.
Walking Bear has authored and illustrated seven books. He recommends they be read in the following order: Talking Bear’s Talking Circles—Book One, Talking Bear’s Talking Circles — Book Two, The Secret Success of Life and Its Problems, To Hell With My Soul Mate: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, From Here to Eternity, Divine Design, and Life Goes On.