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Life With An Elder

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Life with My Elder
For Those Who Question...
About the Yunsai Society

"We sang songs that carried in their melodies all the sounds of nature - the running waters, the singing of winds, and the calls of the animals and birds. We know we are inner-connected with all life. We must learn about what we do not understand and respect what we learn. Teach your children this and then we may have a tomorrow....."
We are grateful for our Old Ones and Elders.

Life With My Elder

by Deb Adler


Noted journalist Bill Moyers recently wrote: “Consider yourself among the fortunate of the world if you have just one friend …who tells you the truth when the world is seducing you with flattery, or when it lets fly its slings and arrows, reassures you those things, too, shall pass.”


Such is the presence of Grandmother Pa’ris’Ha in my life. In the past eighteen years of my association with this great teacher I have come to learn through experience that personal growth cannot be accomplished from the “sidelines.” In other words, any personal growth that is heavy on intellectualizing and short in putting principles into action is self-deception. Furthermore, personal growth is not a “solo” sport.  It’s a “team” deal.  It requires a coach, i.e. a reflection that, just like the mirror, shows it “like it is”- with no distortion, no effort to cover up or deny that which it sees.


I invited Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha into my life eighteen years ago to be such a reflection for me because I wanted to reach my full potential as a human being, as a child of God, God expressing on this earth.  I am human, and as such, I am prone to self-deception and bias, particularly when growth becomes uncomfortable, which all growth is.  Alone, I can justify holding back or pulling back rather than stretching – especially when it’s going to hurt – for a multitude of reasons (all of which fear-based). But my “coach” is there to remind me of my commitment to excellence and to stay on me to go the distance.  Why? 1.) Because I asked her to.  That’s the role I asked her to play in my life, and, 2.) Because I stay “in the game” and don’t give up on myself.


As my mentor, my coach, Pa’ris’Ha cannot force me to do anything, and cannot make me care enough to go the distance on my commitment.  But so long as I am in there giving it my best effort, she is along side of me encouraging, nurturing, and pushing me to reach beyond my self-imposed limitations and fears.  If she observes that I am not giving my best effort or appear to be giving up on myself, she will ask, “Is this it? Are you quitting?”  As long as I say “No” she stays in the game with me.  That’s our agreement.


Sometimes the road seems longer and harder than I think I can make, and that’s when she tells me if I can’t make it on my own faith, walk on hers – that she has enough for both of us. Anyone who has ever run a marathon knows, and that’s what a commitment to spiritual growth is – a perpetual marathon – that at some point about three-quarters of the way into the race, your muscles are straining, every fiber of your being is beset with doubt as to whether you can keep going another step; your mind is taunting you with “Give it up. It’s not worth the price.”  In that moment of truth you either pull out or find the resolve you need to keep going.  Once I show the resolve to keep going, Pa’Ris’Ha is relentless in helping me to get to the finish.


If I look as though I am growing dependent, I can expect a loud and distancing silence that lets me know very clearly I have my own work to do, and I have to be the one to do it. She’s not there to carry me.  Some teachers gather up “followers.”  Pa’Ris’Ha trains and works only with leaders. She constantly challenges us to walk to the right and the left of her, not behind her.


When my choices take me away from my declared goals, Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha helps me to gain perspective  and to “re-take” my “mis-take.”  If those choices signal imminent danger, she is direct and does not indulge in soft-peddling. Like any gifted coach or mentor, Grandmother knows that to help a person deceive themselves may well be aiding and abetting their death – spiritual, emotional, and physical. Sometimes she has to be stern in order to get my attention, but she remains steadfast at my side to help me see my way through to solutions and better choices. She is loving and nurturing and thorough. Any mother or father who has had to step between their beloved and imminent danger has been such a presence in their children’s lives.  She is relentless in her commitment as a healer and teacher.


Pa’Ris’Ha is a powerful teacher, healer, world leader. She is recognized as such in many circles. Powerful people attract powerful opposition. In fact she teaches that one can measure the power of the commitment they have made by the force of the opposition that comes back to it.


I have witnessed Pa’Ris’Ha walk into a group of detractors, greet them warmly and genuinely, and in a matter of minutes, totally disarm their arguments and hostility with simple Truth. She faces the opposition, as she teaches us, in faith and, embraces it as an opportunity to be the Peacekeeper. She walks her talk.


I know. I have worked alongside Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha for 18 years. My name is Deborah Adler. I am also known as U’tana A’qua No gi’ Su to The Principle People, the TaSaligi, by whom I have been adopted and am family.  I am a songbird, a writer, a teacher, a healer, a minister, a businesswoman, a spiritual archeologist.  I consider myself privileged to know Grandmother Pa’Ris’Ha as Elder, Sister, Associate, and Friend.




For those who question....

Pa’Ris’Ha is real.  I have traveled to many places with her as part of the Society of Yunsai over the years. I was there when she returned to her homeland of Cherokee N.C., after many years absence. I was there on another occasion when her own mother traveled with a group of us to Cherokee to re-establish her connection with a homeland that she had been in denial of for many years. We sat in respect of this woman in her own process of self-discovery and self-healing as she shared childhood memories of her full-blooded Cherokee mother (the Grandmother who raised Pa’Ris’Ha and taught her the ways of the Traditional People.)


Her mother shared with us her regret that she had rejected what her mother had offered her and also expressed her gratitude that her daughter, Pa’Ris’Ha, had been there to learn those ways from the Grandmother. Those were heartfelt, sincere revelations of a woman who had been touched by the memory of home - a woman nearing the end of her time, on a spiritual pilgrimage.


Thre are some who have questioned Grandmother Parisha's authenticity.  Those claims come from people who have never been close enough to know her. They complain, from a distance, she’s not on the government rolls.  Her grandmother refused to be registered by the government. She declared that the U.S. government did not have authority to validate her bloodline. As with her Grandmother before her, Pa’Ris’Ha has refused to ever be registered by the government rolls.


In the late 1980’s I researched the inner workings of one of the American Indian Centers outside of Cleveland. I discovered that “green cards” – the documentation proving a person is at least one-quarter “pure American Indian” – were being sold for $100 to anyone who wanted to become a “genuine blood Indian.”  So those government roles mean nothing. They show who registered. They cannot authenticate a person’s heritage, or blood lineage. To claim that a person’s absence from the roles infers, or worse, “proves” a person’s lack of a claim to blood lineage is pure ignorance.


Beyond that, the green card system has built into it a means of dis-inheriting a person's blood-line after only so many generations.  If it is required to be "one-quarter blood" then all generations follwing are robbed of their birth-rite. By whom? By the government - Not by Creator.


Hundreds of southeastern woodlands people fled into the forests at the time of the “Great Removal” of the Cherokee People to Oklahoma by the U.S. government. It stands to reason, in order to stay in this part of the country without persecution that people of Cherokee descent would not admit to being Cherokee, much less “register” themselves as “Indians” with the government. At that time, to be “Indian” was a social stigma looked upon with greater contempt by some than being “Negro.” 


On another visit to Cherokee with Pa’Ris’Ha and a group of associates of the Yunsai Society, we were sitting around a campfire site at a place where we had rented cabins for the week.  A young woman who was the owner’s daughter approached us one afternoon and spoke to Pa’Ris’Ha. She had brought out a number of beautifully hand-carved wooden animals and objects that her grandfather had made. She wanted to show us because she had overheard our conversation about ancient symbols.   She asked Grandmother if she would teach her the stories of the carvings. 


As Pa’Ris’Ha shared the meanings of the various symbols carved by the grandfather, the young woman eye’s sparkled with life, like a fire kindled from within. She shared that for years she couldn’t ask her grandfather about the carvings - that he wouldn’t talk about them. No one, she said, talked about their Cherokee heritage because it was a stigma not talked about. It was something to hide.  She shared that there were others like herself who hungered to know about their heritage, but there was no one to teach them. She came to Grandmother asking for all of them.


What Pa’Ris’Ha teaches was “given to be given.”  Those who taught her charged her with the responsibility of passing on the knowledge to those who came responsibly seeking. As to the legitimacy of her heritage, she is known and respected as an Elder amongst Traditionalist Indigenous Peoples on all continents. She will not identify those people because it would violate their privacy, indeed their safety, and would be considered “vulgar” in the ways of her people.


I can tell you I have been present on numerous occasions to witness her reception by some of those Traditionalists. She is honored and respected. Her counsel is sought in matters affecting the People, as well as the planet. She is trusted as a fierce warrior and guardian of all that is Sacred. She is trusted because they know she will not betray them, even to fend off attackers and critics. She stands in her Truth. That is real.





About the Yunsai Society
We are called the Yunsai Society – meaning White Buffalo in Cherokee. The Society is comprised of people from around the world, people of all colors, nations and creeds. The color white contains all of the colors of the rainbow when viewed through a prism. The White Buffalo represents unlimited generosity, as every part of its body was utilized for food, clothing and shelter needs of its people.

Many of the people in the Society have reported that they had dreams or visions of the White Buffalo before coming to a Society event. It is common for the White Buffalo to manifest in the clouds whenever we participate in a ceremonial event.

The willows from our rock lodges typically sprout new life, with shoots growing off them after our lodges. The Tree of Life which was sacrificed to be part of the Lakota Sun Dance brought to our land by Charles Chipps grew again the following season, fulfilling a Lakota prophecy about when the Tree of Life would return.

The Yunsai Society is a Medicine Society, and Medicine embraces all that is pure and of clear mind, without regard for race, religion, nationality, creed or ethnic origin. The traditions we live are based upon Universal Principles given by the Creator to all Human Kind in the beginning of the First World. These Principles operate regardless of belief and serve balance and harmony.

We value Life and Respect for all is our only Law. There is a place for everyone in the Circle, which expands as needed until all are served.

We have traveled around the world and found many of the icons and symbols held dear by Natives in North America, to be understood and part of the cultures of indigenous peoples everywhere.

The Yunsai Society represents the Rainbow Bridge where every bloodline finds representation; where none are forgotten.
Watch for additional articles and information....Deb

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