Artist's Way, Mohican

Sacred Journey with Owl

Owls created from various tribes at the National Museum of American Indian in Washington DC

On June 7, 2013 I left for a 2 week trip for the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages in Washington DC. While in DC, I searched the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institute Archives searching for the Mahican and Munsee languages of my Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Nation. While I was riding on the train from Chicago to DC, I spotted an owl in broad daylight flying over a children’s playground in Chicago. I took that as a very important sign from the Creator.
At the National American Indian Museum I wheeled past in my wheel chair and randomly noticed a display of Owls made from various tribes. A couple days later while in my wheel chair, I was rolling through the National Museum of Natural History just quickly passing through by random chance I encountered another display of Owls without even trying to look for them. In my research at the National Anthropological Archives in Maryland I discovered a Mahican story in Mahican called The Owl Story. This is the original version of The Owl Story August 4, 1914 and was in Linguist Truman Michelson’s papers of a story told in English by Mohican Sot Quinney and then is translated into Mahican by Mohican William Dick which is the most accurate version of the story. I felt extremely honored to touch Michelson’s original papers handwritten in Mahican. According to Breath of Life Eastern Algonquian Linguist Conor Quinn who spoke to Linguist and Algonquian Language Specialist Ives Goddard, Quinney and Dick worked cooperatively on The Owl Story plus the six other Mahican stories I uncovered and both deserve credit. Within The Owl Story I learned the Mahican word for owl which is Mcō’ksasan.

Owl display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC
Owl display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC

According to the National Museum of American Indian This Day in the Mayan calendar , I learned corresponding with β€œJune 25, 2013, is 8 Kame. Kame is the Owl and the recognition of death; 8 is a double balance. A day that recalls the night, tranquility, and silence, Kame is a good day to ask for the ancient and recent ancestors who have gone on, to thank them and remember them with purpose. Without fear, it is a good day to approach the spiritual dimension, ‘the enchantment.’”
Personally, I have associated the Owl representing the keeper of hidden knowledge and it seems most fitting to me as I explored the National Anthropological Archives in Maryland. I associate Owls with wisdom and spirituality which I perceive my Breath of Life journey to be focused on. I spent from February to June preparing myself spiritually with regular prayers and ceremony for the healing journey of Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages. I even invited my community to pray with me as I included them in a Breath of Life Prayer Circle. As I shared my research with my online tribal group Mohican-8 I attempted to make Breath of Life a community project so that they too were part of the process of uncovering hidden knowledge about our Mohican people. Owl also indicated to me the connection to our ancestors and I felt that as I touched the old papers in the archives that were handwritten with Mahican words.
I have been surrounded by Owl medicine during and after my Breath of Life journey. I am blessed to be in touch with the spirit world and by searching the archives to discover hidden knowledge. I am grateful the Owl has come with me on this sacred journey. I feel blessed.
Wenona Morning Star Gardner
Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Nation

4 thoughts on “Sacred Journey with Owl”

  1. Thank you for sharing. This may be a dumb question, but are the Mahican tribe and Mohican separate entities? I’m not too familiar with this. I love the symbolism of the owl as representing the double balance. Thank you again.


    1. Aquai Andrea,

      In my experience, Mohican refers to the people of my tribe known as the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Nation and the Mahican refers to the Mohican’s people’s language.

      Anushiik for commenting,
      Wenona Morning Star Gardner


  2. As a Bird Whisper, I love your story. You are a very good writer, I could feel your power in your words as you described uncovering your hidden secrets and knowledge. I very much liked the photo of the owls made by various tribes. This is such a sacred journey for you, and I feel it has only just begun. As they say “you have far to travel”. It is wonderful that you are sharing this with and including your community in your journey. I would encourage you however to not forget one aspect of the owl. It is a solitary bird, and therefore, some of the journey work is to be done as a solitary bird. The wisdom of the owl will indicate what is to be shared and what is for you alone. Blessings.


    1. Aquai Penny,

      I am grateful to receive your comment. I went to your website and I discovered a picture of an owl staring back at me. Til June 7 I had never even seen an owl out and about before. And there was no way I could coordinate the series of other owls that have come across my path. I did not wake up on June 7 saying I am out to hunt for owls, but that is what the Creator decided to lay on my path. I do see a lot of my work as solitary between my Artist’s Dates that I do solo to the initial first day of research at the National Anthropological Archives in Maryland where I discovered the originals of the Mahican seven texts by Linguist Truman Michelson, Mohican Sot Quinney, and Mohican William Dick that were 99 year old handwritten pages. Such history!

      Many Blessings to You,
      Wenona Morning Star Gardner


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s