Cree Ceremonialist Wayne Roan has noted that we may discuss
issues related to law so long as the law concerns "that
which lies below the Pipe." What he is expressing is a
fundamental notion among all Indigenous peoples: Spiritual
and sacred realities are not public fare. They cannot be
documented and classified according to principles of writing
and research. They are the purvey of specialists, all of
whom have spent lifetimes in a quest for deep religious
insight. What they learned cannot become the material for an
organized expose of Indigenous "religious thought."
Moreover, even if the most diligent of students were to try
to understand these matters, it could not be done, for it is
the very nature of such encounters with reality that they
cannot be articulated in a way that individuals without
spiritual knowledge can comprehend.
All that can be done is a sketch of how the sacred world
relates to the ritual world with which the ceremonialist is
familiar…he or she could never say that they understood
everything about that reality. They will point out that
there is a limit on what they can say. As an example of this
we can cite Buck Navajo's comments to Karl Luckert:
"And it is said in Navajo tradition, that Naatsis'áán
(Navajo Mountain) is the Head of Earth. And concerning this
mountain it is also said, that Black Cloud exists inside.
And it (Navajo Mountain) is the highest peak in the realm.
Why it is said to be the highest peak I do not know since
over there is Blanca Peak (Sisnaajiní), and over there San
Francisco Peaks (Dook'o'ooslííd)-anyway (you know them), the
four mountains around our land. It is all one prayer. Still,
each of them has its own separate prayer which is part of
one prayer. These prayers start at their (the mountains')
feet, (move up referring to) their legs, and on up their
whole bodies. That includes Huerfano Mountain (Dzil
Ná''oodilii) and its ridges. And these prayers are sacred. I
cannot say any more (about them in this context). And that
is the extent of this story." Buck Navajo, in Karl Luckert,
Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge Religion, Flagstaff, AZ.,
Museum of Northern Arizona, 1977. p.87.