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The Four Sacred Gifts
Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times
Table of Contents
About The Book
As we ride the powerful waves of change occurring in our economic, social, political, and physical environment, indigenous wisdom is needed—now more than ever—to guide us to inhabit the fullest and healthiest lives possible.
The Four Sacred Gifts opens your mind and heart to an indigenous worldview that will ultimately free you from fear and empower you to find peace even in the conflicts of our tumultuous world. Based on a prophecy that is now coming true, this book reveals how our world depends on each of us discovering a interconnectedness to people, earth, and animals, in the awareness that we are “all one relation.”
Within these pages, you will find deep wisdom of elders from all continents as they come together to give you four sacred gifts: the power to forgive the unforgivable, the power of unity, the power of healing, and the power of hope. These gifts will guide you to transformation, and support your journey to wholeness.
By following the powerful principles, lessons, and tools found in this book, you will experience personal breakthroughs, become a force for conscious, societal evolution, and learn to live in deeper harmony with all of humanity.
The hoop is an evolving symbol for humanity, as its wisdom and presence reminds us of how to be and how to do.
—DON COYHIS, MOHICAN ELDER AND KEEPER OF THE HOOP
IN 1994, A VISION came to a Mohican man as he slept in his house tucked into the large pine trees on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. An eagle flew above his sleeping self, dropping a beam of light upon the man’s head. This ray of light began to expand, reaching from the sky to the earth.
Within the light, a very small sprout sprung forth, becoming a tree, growing through each of the four seasons—the spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Then the leaves of this tree began to fall off. And then soon, the branches began to fall off. What remained was a single stem of the tree, which rose up vertically and then turned horizontally, bending and forming itself into the perfect shape of a circle to represent the earth and the universe.
When the circle or hoop was completed, a single dot of light formed in the sky, coming down to the hoop. The dot of light transformed into an eagle feather attaching itself to the hoop. Then more and more dots of light came from all the four directions—north, east, south, and west—becoming eagle feathers, attaching themselves to the hoop until there were one hundred eagle feathers in all.
When an indigenous person seeks guidance, being in right relation with their community, they will naturally seek out the wisdom of the Elders, who are in communication with spirit and Mother Earth. So, with this dream, Don Coyhis, Mohican messenger, and members from his Turtle Clan took this vision to seventeen Elders in South Dakota, who said, “You need to build that hoop.” They saw this vision as a prophecy of the coming together of the human race: “There is only one race, the human race.”
The Elders said, “We walk around on earth in our earth suits. Some come in red earth suits, some white, yellow, and black. Take these four colors of ribbon and wrap each around the hoop, bringing them together in the middle, and joining them with one eagle feather in the center.”
Listening to the Elders, they began to build the sacred eagle hoop. A willow branch was made smooth and gently shaped into a circle. They took the colored ribbon—red, white, yellow, and black—praying and wrapping each one around the hoop. They took their collection of one hundred eagle feathers, praying and attaching each one to the hoop.
Then there was a sacred gathering and hoop ceremony. Twenty-seven indigenous Elders from the four colors and directions—Elders from the North American tribes representing the red and south direction, a Buddhist Elder from Tibet representing the yellow and east direction, a Sami Elder from Finland representing the white and north direction, and two Elders from African tribes representing the black and west direction—responded to the call.
During the ceremony, there was no man-made notion of time—past, present, or future; there was only the Now, one spirit, calling forth through the human beings, through their different languages, through their sacred chants, prayers, blessings, and meditations. There was no separateness, only one mind, one heart, one spirit connecting these Elders and their sacred traditions from the four directions.
The twenty-seven Elders, with joy and solemnity, took cedar planks, laying them in the four directions, placing the hoop on top, and saying, “We have come together. We will put into this hoop four gifts that are necessary for this coming together . . . this healing time.
“The first gift we place is the power to forgive the unforgivable.
“The second gift is the power to heal.” The Elders prayed their healing medicines into the hoop.
“The third gift is the power of unity. The power to come together.
“And the fourth gift is the power of hope. The ability to dream, to see wellness and the powers to attain it.”
After the sacred eagle hoop was built and blessed by the twenty-seven Elders with their four gifts, the hoop began a great land journey, traveling through thirty-five states in the U.S. and to Canada. Don Coyhis took the hoop and traveled to cities, communities, colleges, reservations, and homes. He traveled through many seasons, climates, and environments in this land of our ancestors.
And on this journey, an awakening began. A healing time of prayers, tears, hopes, and a creating time of dreams from all the people, indigenous and non-indigenous alike. Standing in a central place, the hoop is both symbol and catalyst to our awakening, which continues to unfold in magical ways as it makes its journey, touching so many lives.
The four colors, the four directions of the hoop, symbolize harmony and interdependence between the different peoples around the world. The hoop is meant to support all people to discover and trust the four sacred gifts, so that each of us can be a life-giving connection to others: all beings, earth, and spirit. The hoop is a powerful force, a powerful medicine, a coming together of the human race.
Momentum is building. A movement is building across our great lands. We are seeing with a clearer vision the strength and wisdom of our Oneness, and the gifts of the hoop are needed now more than ever to help us realize that vision of life.
WHAT IS INDIGENOUS?
Before we continue forward on our journey together, I want to take a moment to describe in more detail what it means to be indigenous, and in particular an indigenous Elder.
In the beginning, everyone’s ancestors were indigenous. They were hunters and gatherers and lived in relationship to nature, to the earth. This is an anthropological definition of an indigenous person. If you search online, you will find that “indigenous” is usually described as: native or aboriginal or first peoples, who are the original habitats of a region or environment.
Now we have confused this term “indigenous” to mean someone who is born and raised in a particular place with other members of their tribe, therefore that makes them indigenous. But for many of us who have been separated geographically and/or culturally from our tribe’s original or ancestral traditions and instructions, we then don’t regard ourselves as indigenous.
Indigenous people are often defined as minorities. However, we are legally recognized as Nations in a country such as the United States, not minorities. Nations with rich cultures and knowledge, and with diverse traditions and practices. However, all of these definitions only touch the surface.
Across many indigenous peoples and their tribes, they point to a common description rather than a single definition, and that is: A truly indigenous person is one who has intimate connection with Mother Earth and who embraces all human beings in order to get along with them. There is a respect for diversity, which is part of the circle of life. Pluralism is valued, so it does not matter what color you are, for there is no being better than or less than, no negative judgment. We are all connected. Indigenous peoples listen to not only their minds but most importantly to their hearts and to what Mother Earth is saying. This description of indigenous people is what I hold to be true and what this book is based upon.
As for indigenous Elders, these men and women are “tradition bearers” and are recognized by their people, specific tribe, or culture group as having wisdom. An Elder is not necessarily a function of age. The Dalai Lama is an example of being an Elder as a child.
To many indigenous people, Elders are people who are steeped in the traditions or the passed-down knowledge of a community or tribe. They carry on the traditions, stories, and memories of their people. In every indigenous culture that I have experienced, people who have taken on roles as healers, cultural leaders, and spiritual teachers are referred to as Elders.
Also, an Elder can be really funny. An Elder has a twinkle in their eye; they have both the innocence of a child and the deep wisdom of the ancient. They know that magic exists and are playful with it. They know how to balance things, creating harmony and connection.
How does somebody become or be considered an Elder? An indigenous Elder will never call himself or herself an Elder. What happens is the community that they are from, the people, will recognize his/her wisdom—the fact that they are tradition bearers, healers, cultural leaders, and spiritual teachers. This is more than acknowledgment of their age; it is a term of respect for their lifetime commitment to embody, practice, and share indigenous wisdom. Through their actions, decisions, practices, and knowledge, an Elder is seen for who and what they are, are sought for their wisdom, guidance, and counsel. And, by doing so, the people, the community, give the title of Elder.
The wisdom that indigenous peoples, in particular the Elders, have is more important than ever. And this wisdom is our interconnection, our circle of life, as represented so beautifully by the sacred eagle hoop.
WHY IS THIS WISDOM NEEDED?
Look around you. Look around in your community, town, city, state, country, and the world itself. Look at our media, our politics, our businesses, our culture. You will see that people act as if they are separate, alone, and have no relations. As a result, we think and behave in ways that cause needless suffering, further division, and reckless destruction. We act as if our behavior does not impact the circle of life, and as a result of that denial, we are out of harmony.
How do we get back into harmony? Indigenous wisdom tells us that it is by living in connection with all life—with all people, the earth, and spirit. The four sacred gifts can give us the support and guidance to get there.
THE PROMISE OF THE FOUR SACRED GIFTS
The prophecy of the sacred eagle hoop is an urgent message for these urgent times. And, being an indigenous prophecy, it does not revolve around a single person, prophet, or hero. The focus of the prophecy is not on the messenger but rather on the message itself, and the collective community or tribe that holds the message. This is good news.
You and I, all of us, indigenous and non-indigenous, are meant to fulfill the message of the hoop with its four sacred gifts. The hoop prophecy does not predict the future; rather, it presents the probable positive or negative consequences of not heeding the original instructions from spirit. This is what is needed to joyfully fuel our hearts, thoughts, and actions in order to deepen our understanding, to live the truth, the reality, that we are all connected.
So if you do not remember where you came from, your culture, or your tribe, you have now found your Home. Welcome to this community, the community of human beings who accept these four gifts from the Pan-Indigenous Collective of Elders, and who will use their power to create harmony and connection with all other beings.
The time for bringing together the Medicines of the Great Hoop of Life has come. It is a time that has been prophesied by peoples all around Mother Earth for a long, long time, and so we can open our hearts to hope.
—PAT MCCABE, NAVAJO ELDER
- Publisher: Atria/Enliven Books (November 13, 2018)
- Length: 224 pages
- ISBN13: 9781501150869
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Raves and Reviews
"Heart-stirring, hope-kindling, deeply inspiring, and always loving, Anita conveys four invaluable gifts from our indigenous elders and a treasury of spellbinding stories of the gifts transforming lives. Powerful wisdom delivered with loving guidance by a brilliantly courageous, far-sighted messenger."
– Lynne Twist, co-founder of the Pachamama Alliance, author of The Soul of Money
"With reverence and beautiful guidance, The Four Sacred Gifts is a book that will allow you to set yourself free to live your most successful life. Anita helps us remember who we are so we can open our hearts to true abundance: the intimate interconnection of all life. This is the book to learn how to forgive, to heal, to unite with all life, and to revitalize hope."
– Jack Canfield, co-author of The Success Principles and Chicken Soup for the Soul
"Anita holds a bright light and ancient mirror up to our true nature, inviting us to recognize and resonate with the wisdom of Elders worldwide, and the Four Sacred Gifts described so clearly in these pages can bring such powerful healing into our lives. She offers us her most practical and valuable methods, stories, and truths that carry a vibration of peace that I believe will ripple into waves of compassion in unexpected and delightful ways."
– Ken Honda, #1 internationally bestselling author
"No remedy is more needed in today’s confusing and seemingly chaotic times than the power of simple wisdom. In this beautifully written book, Anita Sanchez draws on her own moving and revealing life experiences to present four gifts of indigenous wisdom that can help us heal ourselves, our communities and our broken world.”
– William Ury, co-author of Getting to Yes and author of Getting to Yes with Yourself
"A true antidote for today’s world of indifference and greed! The Four Sacred Gifts will leave you feeling inspired and prepared to immediately begin making a difference from the inside out."
– Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, Author of Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family
"Enlightening, illuminating, and inspiring. A gift for generations to come."
– Norbert S. Hill, Jr., Oneida Nation, prior Executive Director American Indian Science & Engineering Society
"The Four Sacred Gifts is a beautiful answer to why so many people feel separate, alone, and afraid, and how to get back naturally and easily into harmony, connection and love with ourselves, nature and each other. I highly recommend reading and processing all the wisdom of The Four Sacred Gifts."
– Christy Whitman, New York Times bestselling author
"Not since Don Miguel Ruiz has there been such a powerful book! A beautiful transmission of vital indigenous wisdom for our times. This book brings the understanding of our essential unity with all things to heal the challenges of our modern lives. These gifts from the elders, wrapped in stories of courage, resilience, and inspiration, are a treasure to immerse ourselves in, and to pass on throughout the world. A must read for anyone wanting more from life."
– Teresa de Grosbois, founder of the Evolutionary Business Council and #1 international bestselling author of Mass Influence
"The Four Sacred Gifts liberates us to heal from the inside out and rediscover our deep connection to all life...A powerful journey awaits you here, one of courage, resilience, vision, inspiration, and faith in your own power to live a whole and purposeful life. Immerse yourself in this wisdom and share your new, greater self with the world."
– Natalie Ledwell, co-founder of Mind Movies and host of the Inspiration Show
"The Four Sacred Gifts may be one of the most important books you will read in these times. With heartful generosity and authenticity, Anita Sanchez shares timeless indigenous wisdom using a simplicity and depth of language that resonates with this wisdom. In a time of ecological, social and political crises, Anita reminds us what we need is not a new story, what we need is to remember the old story, still present, if often hidden, within everyone’s heart. The Four Sacred Gifts will gently guide you in remembering."
– Claude Poncelet, PhD, physicist and author of The Shaman Within
"Dr. Anita Sanchez has written a soul-opening book with prose as light as a feather that reads like a warm embrace. More than just a a good book, The Four Sacred Gifts awakens an inherent memory of how good it feels to be in connection with ourselves and the world."
– Deborah Sandella PhD, RN, #1 international bestselling author of Goodbye Hurt & Pain
"Dr. Anita Sanchez reveals how ancient indigenous wisdom can transform us today by helping us find our true purpose, heal past hurts, and create deep connection."
– JJ Virgin, nutrition, fitness & mindset expert, and New York Times bestselling author of The Virgin Diet
"In her exquisite book, Anita Sanchez makes an offering to us of the Four Sacred gifts that were given to her by her Elders. Though her own insights and personal stories, she brings to life the power and critical relevance of indigenous wisdom to our times. If you care about the state of the planet, if you are moved by injustice and the all the ways we humans cause suffering to ourselves and others,The Four Sacred Gifts offers the message and good medicine we need to lead a life in balance and help leave a better world for the coming generations."
– Robert Gass, co-founder the Rockwood Leadership Institute
“A must-read primer for anyone considering indigenous wisdom written for modern times…This well-crafted volume provides strategies taught by The Elders, stories passed down to Dr. Sanchez by those who came before her, as well as her own stories using these principles in her life for great good. As the book so aptly illuminates: 'You and I—we are the ones fulfilling the prophecy.' This book is a goldmine! It will transform how you choose to heal and awaken in these changing, modern times.”
– Debbi Dachinger, host of the Dare to Dream radio show and bestselling author of Wisdom to Success
"A riveting read filled with relatable stories and ancient wisdom, it’s obvious that Dr. Anita Sanchez put her life’s work into this masterpiece."
– Marilyn Suttle, coauthor of Who’s Your Gladys? and president of Suttle Enterprises LLC
"Anita Sanchez weaves deeply personal stories while offering powerful prescriptions for transformation. Filled with indigenous wisdom, this book is remarkably timely and is a healing balm for individuals and the world."
– Arielle Ford, author of Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate
"Anita Sanchez has deftly and seamlessly woven her personal stories and those of the communities she has served into this explication of the four indigenous sacred gifts she was given over 20 years ago. It is a book to be savored over and over, and to be taken into one's heart."
– Polly Howells, LCSW, psychotherapist and facilitator of the Pachamama Alliance's Awakening the Dreamer Symposium
"This is a moment in time, full of crises and accelerating change, when we most need wisdom that is rooted in the knowledge of our indigenous mothers and fathers. These four sacred gifts from the elders have the power to change lives and heal communities. With deep personal courage and brilliant insight, Anita Sanchez leads the way."
– John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and 8 other non-fiction books on global intrigue and indigenous wisdom
"Anita Sanchez's soulful new book is interwoven with inspiring stories of life trauma, resilience, and personal reinvention that carries us toward a new sense of possibility for our own lives and humanity."
– Barnet Bain, director of Milton's Secret, author of The Book of Doing and Being
"The Four Sacred Gifts beautifully describes how, together, we have the power to create a culture and world with dignity for all. The simplicity of the means to do this rings true, as do Anita's stories of courage, strength, and inspiration. Now is the time to embrace these gifts for ourselves and the world."
– Joan Blades, Co-Founder MoveOn.org, LivingRoomConversations.org,and MomsRising.org
"A story of hope, and a pathway to the world we are waiting for."
– Cynda Collins Arsenault, co-founder of Secure World Foundation, One Earth Future Foundation, and Our Secure Future
"This book is powerful, accessible, poignant, raw and earnest. Dr. Sanchez offers us life lessons that give us permission to be vulnerable, to be imperfectly human. A sacred text that shows the true gift is you."
– Kay Foster Cheek, growth leader, business builder, philanthropist, and senior advisor, The Boston Consulting Group
"We are at a true crossroad in our humanity - each of us must choose to be part of the nightmare or the dream of this lifetime. Anita Sanchez's gift of The Four Sacret Gifts, is a pathway to living the dream."
– Lori Leyden, PhD international trauma healing expert and Founder of Create Global Healing
"Imagine having the power to forgive the unforgivable, to heal from old wounds and to rediscover hope. This is the courage lovingly offered in The Four Sacred Gifts. Dr. Anita Sanchez's wisdom will deeply nourish your soul. I highly recommend."
– Dr. Shawne Duperon, Project Forgive founder, Nobel Peace Prize nominee
“Dr Anita Sanchez takes us back to a place of re-membering, where we can become members again of nature, our own authenticity, each other’s communities, and Life itself...It is not too late; the time is perhaps riper than ever for an inner journey to outer success...I have witnessed the transformational power of Anita’s message in action. This is not “whoo-whoo.” Our souls yearn for the medicine in The Four Sacred Gifts, whether we can articulate it or not. Partake of this sacred feast prepared with love."
– Rev. Deborah L. Johnson, MBA, author of The Sacred Yes and Your Deepest Intent
“The Four Sacred Gifts is a master guidebook to heal and inspire the reader into a new way of life. We can no longer live as islands: we need to rediscover what our ancestors always knew--that we are one! And Anita is the perfect teacher to guide you in that journey as she embodies the indigenous wisdom of her elders. This wonderful book is a treasure to read and a fountain of knowledge to explore.”
– Veronica de Andrés, bestselling author and international speaker, creator of Confianza Totall
“Sacred gifts await you in the pages of this delightful book. A beautifully written and engaging read, this book is filled with wisdom that you can apply in all areas of your life right now.”
– Carol Talbot, internationally bestselling author of YOU the Divine Genius
"Anita Sanchez is a master storyteller while offering a unique blend of lessons deeply rooted in indigenous wisdom...By the end of her book, she had taken me through my own personal transformation journey. Such is the power of her writing."
– Samar Shera, founder The Leader of Change Movement, Dubai, and author of STRUT: How Every Woman Can Be A Leader of Change
"This sacred, compelling and inspiring book is itself a profound and priceless gift to humanity. Anita Sanchez’s courageous journey into her own heart of darkness and then into the light of love and perennial/ancient wisdom is a beacon and a guide for a thriving future. Anita has ingeniously woven her own story, often drawn from her remarkable heritage, with stories from indigenous elders from all over the world."
– Margo King and John Steiner, transpartisan and sacred activists
"Anita's voice resonates with authenticity and power. Her stories are rich and full of soul lessons about courage, resilience, and vision. The indigenous gifts offered here take us to higher ground: Forgiveness, healing, unity, hope. This is the medicine that we, and our entire society, have been craving."
– Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, PhD, author of With Roots in Heaven and The Receiving
"Anita Sanchez and The Four Sacred Gifts are a gift to the twenty-first century. Heart-felt, heart-wise, steeped in indigenous wisdom and embodied with her personal stories, The Four Sacred Gifts is a treasure map that illuminates the territory that needs to be reclaimed for us to find our way back to our full humanity."
– Carolyn Buck Luce, co-founder of Imaginal Labs LLC
"In The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times, Anita Sanchez extends a gentle, yet compelling, hand of invitation from our indigenous Elders to renew our connection to ourselves, each other, and all life on Earth. The simple beauty, kindness and wisdom in these teachings and stories are a song, a hymn, a chant, a lyric that drifts quietly into our hearts and lies waiting to be embraced."
– Maggie L. Fox, CEO of MaggieFoxStrategies, former president & CEO of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project
"Never has the world needed indigenous wisdom more than it does today, and I can't think of anyone better to share it than Anita Sanchez. This book is a healing, transformative gift to the world."
– Joseph Ranseth, Go Ahead, Start A Movement, speaker, author, transformationist
"The Four Sacred Gifts shows us how to heal and to live more completely – it’s exactly what is needed in these challenging times. I strongly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a better way to live."
– Bryan Miller, Executive of Culture, Larry H. Miller Companies
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