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How can individuals live a life of forgiveness in a world so full of injustice and indifference? This haunting question spurred author Kent Nerburn to write Calm Surrender. As he recounts the experiences of people who have suffered much and asked for little, he takes readers on a moving journey, urging them to remember that "forgiveness cannot be a disengaged, pastel emotion."
Hidden in the shadow cast by the great western expeditions of Lewis and Clark lies another journey every bit as poignant, every bit as dramatic, and every bit as essential to an understanding of who we are as a nation -- the 1,800-mile journey made by Chief Joseph and eight hundred Nez Percé men, women, and children from their homelands in what is now eastern Oregon through the most difficult, mountainous country in western America to the high, wintry plains of Montana. There, only forty miles from the Canadian border and freedom, Chief Joseph, convinced that the wounded and elders could go no farther, walked across the snowy battlefield, handed his rifle to the U.S. military commander who had been pursuing them, and spoke his now-famous words, "From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever." The story has been told many times, but never before in its entirety or with such narrative richness. Drawing on four years of research, interviews, and 20,000 miles of travel, Nerburn takes us beyond the surrender to the captives' unlikely welcome in Bismarck, North Dakota, their tragic eight-year exile in Indian Territory, and their ultimate return to the Northwest. Nerburn reveals the true, complex character of Joseph, showing how the man was transformed into a myth by a public hungry for an image of the noble Indian and how Joseph exploited the myth in order to achieve his single goal of returning his people to their homeland. Chief Joseph & the Flight of the Nez Percé is far more than the story of a man and a people. It is a grand saga of a pivotal time in our nation's history. Its pages are alive with the presence of Lewis and Clark, General William Tecumseh Sherman, General George Armstrong Custer, and Sitting Bull. Its events brush against the California Gold Rush, the Civil War, the great western pioneer migration, and the building of the telegraph and the transcontinental railroad. Once you have read this groundbreaking work, you will never look at Chief Joseph, the American Indian, or our nation's westward journey in the same way again.
A haunting dream that will not relent pulls author Kent Nerburn back into the hidden world of Native America, where dreams have meaning, animals are teachers, and the "old ones" still have powers beyond our understanding. In this moving narrative, we travel through the lands of the Lakota and the Ojibwe, where we encounter a strange little girl with an unnerving connection to the past, a forgotten asylum that history has tried to hide, and the complex, unforgettable characters we have come to know from Neither Wolf nor Dog and The Wolf at Twilight. Part history, part mystery, part spiritual journey and teaching story, The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo is filled with the profound insight into humanity and Native American culture we have come to expect from Nerburn's journeys. As the American Indian College Fund has stated, once you have encountered Nerburn's stirring evocations of America's high plains and incisive insights into the human heart, "you can never look at the world, or at people, the same way again."
We all need advice growing up and facing the big stuff life gives us. We all need the voice of a parent or a good friend who has lived through joy and suffering and has thought deeply about it. Kent Nerburn is an extraordinary writer who can be that voice when we are lost and in need of guidance. Letters to My Son, written for his son, Nick, but true for all of us, shows us that life isn't always shared in all its richness with those we meet along the way. Kent shares with us what he believes, and makes us look at the hard questions, but never offers easy answers. Like a wise and gentle friend, he guides us to the truths that emerge when you approach life openly and honestly.
At once spiritual and practical, Letters to My Son has been beloved by readers from all walks of life, including single mothers seeking guidance in raising a son, fathers looking to share a voice of clarity about life's most important issues, and young men wanting an intelligent, sensitive, and streetwise companion on the journey toward a worthy manhood. In this twentieth anniversary edition, Kent Nerburn adds to his classic reflections on love, marriage, travel, money and wealth, tragedy and suffering, spirituality, sex, and the true meaning of strength, with new chapters on sexual identity and the difficulty of moving on (from relationships, homes, and stages of life). Unique in its profound simplicity and timeless insight, Letters to My Son is a book to savor and a gift to give to anyone looking for clear and gentle guidance on the big issues in life.
Kent Nerburn's Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace, immerses us in the spirit of one of the most universally inspiring figures in history: St. Francis of Assisi. The Prayer of St. Francis boldly but gently challenges us to resist the forces of evil and negativity with the spirit of goodwill and generosity. And Nerburn shows, in his wonderfully personal and humble way, how we each can live out the prayer's prescription for living in our everyday and less-than-saintly lives. "Where there is hatred, let me sow love...Where there is injury, let me sow pardon..." Expanding upon each line of the St. Francis Prayer, Nerburn shares touching, inspiring stories from his own experience and that of others and reveals how each of us can make a difference for good in ordinary ways without being heroes or saints. Struggling to help a young son comfort his best friend when his mother dies, moved by the courage of war enemies who reconcile, being wrenched out of self-absorbed depression by responding to someone else's tragedy, taking a spirited old lady on a farewell taxi ride through her town-these are the kinds of everyday moments in which Nerburn finds we can live out the spirit of St. Francis. By incorporating the power and grace of these few lines of practical idealism into our thoughts and deeds, we can begin to ease our own suffering-and the suffering of those with whom we share our lives. And, remarkably, find a way to true peace and happiness by tapping into our basic human goodness. As we open our hearts and embrace his words, St. Francis "touches our deepest humanity and ignites the spark of our divinity." Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love, Where there is injury let me sow pardon, Where there is doubt, faith, Where there is despair, hope, Where there is darkness, light, And where there is sadness, joy... In this beautifully written book, Kent Nerburn leads us into the heart of the St. Francis Prayer and line by line demonstrates how St. Francis's words can resonate in our lives today.
Acclaimed author Kent Nerburn creates an incisive character study of a Native American elder, against the unflinching backdrop of contemporary reservation life and the majestic spaces of the western Dakotas. Nerburn draws us deep into the world of this elder, identified only as Dan, as we journey to where the vast Dakota skies overtake us and the whisperings of the wind speak of ancestral voices. As this spellbinding story unfolds, Dan speaks eloquently on the power of silence, the difference between land and property, white people's urge to claim an Indian heritage, and the selling of sacred ceremonies. This is a story of fathers and sons, of the struggle for redemption after the loss of innocence, of distinct cultures on a common land.
Nerburn recounts his travels with a Lakota elder whose identity he has pledged not to reveal, and the stories the old man told him.
There is a hidden meaning, a hidden beauty, in life's most ordinary moments. It is the beauty of the human heart revealed, where what we have in common is greater than what keeps us apart. If we can learn to see the beauty in these moments, whether they are in the light or in the shadow, we become witnesses to the spiritual, testimonies to the sacred. We become true artists of the ordinary, and our life becomes a masterpiece, painted in the colors of the heart. A chance encounter with a boy on a bicycle, a young girl's graduation from eighth grade; these and other small moments are the subjects of this beautifully written collection. In elegant prose, Kent Nerburn uncovers the wonder hidden just beneath the surface of every-day life, offering poignant glimpses into the grace of ordinary days. Whether he's describing a kite's dance on the winds above the high New Mexico desert, a funeral on an isolated Indian reservation, or a dinnertime conversation with family and friends, Kent Nerburn is among a handful of writers capable of moving so gently over such deep waters. Ordinary Sacred reveals the hidden beauty waiting to be discovered in each and every life.
Seldom does a book come along that speaks to the core issues of life with such clarity and wisdom. This profound book is deeply informed by the spiritual traditions of the West, the Far East, and the Native Americans, with whom the author has worked. It is a small treasure of wisdom about life's deepest issues. From the Book: Life is but a dream we renew each day. It is up to us to infuse this dream with light, and to cultivate, as best we are able, the ways and habits of love.
In twenty elegant pieces, writer, sculptor, and theologian Kent Nerburn celebrates the daily rituals that reveal our deeper truths. A companion piece to Kent Nerburn?s book Simple Truths, Small Graces is a journey into the sacred moments that illuminate our everyday lives. Through the exploration of simple acts, he reminds us to chart a course each day that nourishes the soul, honors the body, and engages the mind. Small Graces asks us to observe life?s quiet rhythms, the subtle shifts in perception and changes in light, the warm comfort of family voices; to feel the blessing of birdsong, the solitude of a falling leaf, the echo of footfall in snow-covered woods. By inviting us to recognize the hidden power of the ordinary, Small Graces reveals the mystical alchemy of the mundane made profound by the artistry of a well-lived life.
Ohiyesa, a Dakota Indian also known as Charles Alexander Eastman, is one of America's most fascinating and overlooked individuals. Born in Minnesota in 1858, he obtained postgraduate degrees and advised U.S. presidents before returning to traditional living in native forests. This reissue contains Ohiyesa's insights on spirit, the human experience, and white culture's impact on Native American culture.
The teachings of the Native Americans provide a connection with the land, the environment, and the simple beauties of life. This collection of writings from revered Native Americans offers timeless, meaningful lessons on living and learning. Taken from writings, orations, and recorded observations of life, this book selects the best of Native American wisdom and distills it to its essence in short, digestible quotes -- perhaps even more timely now than when they were first written. In addition to the short passages, this edition includes the complete Soul of an Indian, as well as other writings by Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman), one of the great interpreters of American Indian thought, and three great speeches by Chiefs Joseph, Seattle, and Red Jacket.
A note is left on a car windshield, an old dog dies, and Kent Nerburn finds himself back on the Lakota reservation where he traveled more than a decade before with a tribal elder named Dan. The touching, funny, and haunting journey that ensues goes deep into reservation boarding-school mysteries, the dark confines of sweat lodges, and isolated Native homesteads far back in the Dakota hills in search of ghosts that have haunted Dan since childhood. In this fictionalized account of actual events, Nerburn brings the land of the northern High Plains alive and reveals the Native American way of teaching and learning with a depth that few outsiders have ever captured.
A casual note left on the windshield of a car. The death of an old dog. And author Kent Nerburn unexpectedly finds himself back on the Dakota reservation where more than a decade before he traveled with the elder, Dan, whose thoughts he chronicled in the classic of Native American studies, Neither Wolf nor Dog. Now almost ninety, Dan wants Nerburn to assist in the unlikely task of burying Fatback, the old Labrador who had been Dan's closest companion during his twilight years. Though the request makes little sense, Nerburn agrees out of respect for the tribal elder. Once on the reservation, he finds that Dan's purpose runs far deeper. Dan wants Kent's assistance in finding out what happened to his little sister, Rose Bear, who disappeared from a reservation boarding school almost eighty years before. Accompanied by Dan's friend, Grover, and an odd little dog named Charles Bronson who Dan is convinced was sent to him by Fatback, the three men embark upon a journey into the hidden corners of Dan's past. Their travels take them through dusty hilltop cemeteries and ghostly abandoned boarding schools, into the dark confines of sweat lodges and the easy laughter of family compounds deep in the folds of the Dakota hills. Over it all hangs the ghost of Dan's sister, Rose Bear, and the dark truths and secrets of life in the Indian boarding schools. As her story unfolds, Dan bares his heart on subjects ranging from Indians' notion of time to the education of children and the spiritual presence of the land. The Wolf at Twilight is destined to take its place alongside Neither Wolf nor Dog as a book that will change forever the way readers look at America and her history. It will take you to places of the land and heart that few others ever see.
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