Saturday, September 28, 2013


Man or Spirit
Drawing by Nish Nung , an Ojibwe Artist

It was still dark out.  I thought I heard something outside my tent and awoke with a start.  What was that I wondered?  Then I heard a crackling of a fire and saw light on the side of my tent.  The crackling was close.  That is my fire!  I had put it out last night so how could it have started up with no wood.  I heard someone pick up a piece of kindling and put it into the fire.  It couldn’t be the kids?! 

“This is my camp!” I said, in as strong and firm a voice as I could muster.  “Can I help you?”  I tensely waited for a response.

A quiet, yet also strong, male voice came back.  “Are you looking for someone to tell you about the Iroquois people?” 

“Yes I am.”  I answered. 

“Why don’t you come out and we can talk?”  Said the voice from outside my tent. 

I quickly put on my pants and shirt, thinking to myself, this can’t really be happening.  Who is this guy and what have I gotten myself into this time? 

As I came out of my tent I looked up at the man standing on the other side of the fire.  He was tall, about 6’2” and had a strong solid looking build.  His hair was black with gray streaks and hung loosely over his shoulders and down his back.  Even with the gray in his hair he didn’t look much older than his mid forties.   His jeans were weathered and he wore an old sweatshirt with a faded picture of whales on it.  The features of his face were unmistakably Indian and he had a proud and contented look about him.  He looked to have a quiet and gentle demeanor and to be very much at peace with himself.

“I knew you were coming.” he said.  “I had a dream two weeks ago that you and your children would be here and would camp in this place.” 

He looked up at me and straight into my eyes, yet somehow deeper.  “Why do you ask about us?”  He said. 

I thought to myself; well that is cutting to the quick of it. 

I answered; “I want my children to know the truth about Native American people.” 

He didn’t say anything for a moment and looked back at the fire.  Then he slowly looked up, looking me straight in the eyes again, and asked more slowly; “Why do you ask about us?”

Excerpt from: White Mocs on the Red Road / Walking Spirit in a Native Way

To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> Ebook,

 IbookNook BookKindle Fire 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Excerpt from: White Mocs on the Red Road / Walking Spirit in a Native Way

Excerpt from:      White Mocs on the Red Road / Walking Spirit in a Native Way  by James B. Beard aka Noodin

                An Invitation

~Amik~  [beaver]  Beaver demonstrates diligence in protecting the family and helping his brothers and sisters in the forest by demonstrating honesty in his work.
                                                          Purchase direct from the Author!  Each book will be personally signed and dedicated


If the experience of meeting Austin and his brothers had been the only experience of the ceremony, it would have been enough.  The first day of the ceremony begins at sun rise with the lighting of the ceremony fire.  Everyone attends and there were about three hundred native people present.  The fire keepers prepare the fire by setting up the sticks in a teepee form in the fire pit.   The men each pick up two thin sticks from a pile set at the side of the fire and gather in a circle around the fire.  The chief fire keeper then begins to hit the sticks together in a beat like a drum and to sing a song asking for the spirits to come and begin the ceremony. All of the men join in hitting their sticks together with the beat set by the chief and to sing the song for the fire.   A fire keeper then strikes flint and starts an ember in a nest of grass.  He fans the ember until the nest ignites.  It is then put into the fire.  As this is being done the people with the sticks chant and hit the sticks together to make a clicking drumming sound.  It does not take more than a minute to get the fire that is desired.  The people with the sticks then add them to the fire and the fire keeper adds more wood to build the ceremony fire. 

As I stood there watching this event it was amazing to me that so much respect and acknowledgement would be given to the lighting of a fire.  But then, this was not an ordinary fire as I would come to understand in time.

The ceremony continued and a bowl was passed to collect tobacco from the people.  I stood there feeling somewhat uneasy knowing I had not brought any tobacco.  As the bowl was brought around a man tapped me on the shoulder and offered me some of his tobacco to put into the bowl.  I was grateful to this man for saving me from embarrassment.  When I turned to thank him I realized it was the same man that had saved my bacon when chopping fire wood.  It was Peter from the wood cutting the day before

The ceremony continued and when it was completed the people began to leave the lodge going from the south side of the lodge to the west end, making a tobacco offering to the fire, and walking out the eastern entry of the lodge.  Again I had no tobacco and again Peter handed me some tobacco.  “You really need to carry tobacco in a pouch”, he commented as we walked out.

I knew what had to be done.   I needed to find some buckskin and thread and make a tobacco pouch, but where?  I went back to our camp and asked Noreena if she had any buckskin.  “What do you want it for?”  She asked.  I told her what had happened.  “I need to make a pouch for my tobacco”, I said.  “I don’t have any buckskin”, she said, “but wait here.”  She went into the back of her motor home and came back with a beautiful buckskin pouch.  It had not been used and had a Crane painted on it and long tassels of leather.  It was the most beautiful pouch I had ever seen.  “Take this”, she said.  “No, I can’t”, I answered.  “Take it”, she said, “I have others and this one needs to go with you.”  I accepted it and gave her a hug.  How could she be so generous?

I found my can of tobacco and filled the pouch.  When ceremony started again I went back to the lodge, hoping to find Peter who had now helped me three times.  As I looked for him he came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned and he introduced himself.  “My name is Peter”, he said, “This is for you.”  He handed me a leather pouch filled with tobacco.   “Miigwich [me-gwitch / thank you”, I said.  “Where did you get it?”

He answered; “I made it in my camp after the last ceremony.  Figured you should have a pouch of your own if you are going to attend ceremonies”. 

I thought to myself, “is this tobacco so important, really?”  I understood that it is to offer prayer to Creator and I even knew the Legend of Asema [ah-say-maa / tobacco], the man who would live forever in the form of tobacco to carry the prayers of the people.  There are so many legends about the tobacco.  Stories how bald eagle saved the world when he saw a grandfather and grandmother showing their grandchildren how to offer tobacco, the story of the Four Chiefs and many others.

To me tobacco was important in order to offer prayer because it was what my new found friends did.  I knew that any prayer to Creator is heard by Creator and that tobacco was just a kind of visible sign.  Indeed, we can always talk to creator and the many Spirit helpers of Creator.  So what is the big deal about tobacco?

Now I find myself frantically running around trying to find a pouch and making sure my tobacco is always available.  I am offering tobacco in fires at the camp, at the ceremony, in the water at the lake and to the ground when I get up.  What I am watching others do is having a personal effect on me.  I suddenly find that a little tobacco adds to the importance of the prayer I offer.  Knowing the teachings of tobacco make me realize that the prayers I offer are being answered immediately by Creator.  It’s kind of like email compared to, so called, snail mail through the post office.  I think the prayers offered to Creator are recognized by Creator directly from our heart and yet making this simple offering allows the added confidence that the prayer was given with the best possible acknowledgement of creator and in all sincerity. 

       This man Peter gave me the first of the teachings of tobacco.  Others had informed me of tobacco and I understood the traditional offering of tobacco when asking something of someone, or giving thanks to someone for a deed that they have done.  The traditional use of tobacco seemed more like a trade to me before Peter offered me his tobacco.  I gave tobacco to learn about the flute and in trade my friend White Crow shows me how to play and tells me how the flute came to the people.  Kind of like money is the way I used tobacco.  I give an Elder tobacco and he lets me into a sweat lodge.  

     Peter helped me realize the importance of acknowledgement in prayer and it started with tobacco, a pipe and a fire.  Through history, all spiritual beliefs use offerings to go with prayer.  It never made sense to me until now.  Maybe it confused me because of some of the things people of other faiths used for offerings like virgins, lives of enemies, animals and such.


To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> EbookIbookNook BookKindle Fire

To read more about Noodin click on this link: White Mocs on the Red Road ~ Walking Spirit in a Native Way


Monday, September 16, 2013



It was a dream. The day the sun came up !


Lake Superior 2009 by James B Beard aka Noodin

The first day the sun came up white. No one noticed all that much. Some greeted it as they do each day.

The second day the sun came up yellow. People seemed to go on in their normal way. Many would pick up there weapons of choice.

The third day the sun came up red. More people seemed intent on hurting one another.

The fourth day the sun came up brown. The people felt bitter and discouraged.

The fifth day the sun came up green. The people stopped and wondered.

The sixth day the sun came up black. The clouds were filled with soot from fires, pollution from modern technologies, ash from volcanoes, smoke clouds from explosions of war. The earth was scorched and bare. Animals were few and birds did not sing.   The people were fearful.

The seventh day the sun came up blue. The people put down the weapons and gave thanks.

James B. Beard aka Noodin is the author of  "White Mocs on the Red Road ~ Walking Spirit in a Native Way". Uniquely presented to aid people in gaining insight to the mysteries of the Elder teachings of the Traditional Native American.

You can own this book electronically (click) >>> EbookIbookNook BookKindle Fire

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Story Tellers

Welcome to HeartRising Podcast, I am Hannah Thomas and joining us is story keeper, Noodin. The name Noodin means Wind and his English name is Jim Beard. Stories and ancient traditions are passed on verbally and are not allowed to be written or recorded. Out of respect for his traditions Noodin makes reference to the sacred stories without telling them. He does have valuable stories from his own life and is generous with his wisdom.


One of the first stories in Native American teachings, in the teaching that my elder gave to me, is the story of creation. In the story of creation it defines the Chippewa or Ojibwa; they are the same people, their understanding of how the creation came to be and how the creator formed the creation. 

In that story the creator or, as they would call him, Great Mystery, he sends out a sound to try to find out how big this universe is. He sends that out into a blackness, there is nothing there. When the sound doesn’t hit anything but just keeps going away. Eventually he calls it back, that sound. When it comes back together it comes together in a bang and a flash of light. At that instant creator puts into that flash of light the life and the spirit of the creator.
That’s not different than most of the creation stories around the world. It’s almost the same story. I like to point to the similarities of that story to other stories of creation because it reminds us that we don’t have such a big difference in what we believe if we take the boundaries away. 
I use that as my opening story, usually, when I am telling stories at the fire. It goes further because in that story it also brings out the fact that we’re all connected, that we have all existed from the very beginning, that this is merely one time of realm of life that we pass through over the whole duration of the creation. 

Excerpt from: Wisdom of the Wind – interview by Hannah Thomas ~ HeartRising

To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> Ebook, IbookNook BookKindle Fire 

To read more about Noodin click on this link : James Beard aka Noodin

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


James Beard aka Noodin

Wisdom of the Wind

Telling Stories rather than Reading Stories

Painting by Nish Nung, Ojibwe Artist
When telling stories that have happened to me, I am speaking of the stories from the experience as spirit gave it to me. When telling the stories of the people, the Native stories, stories about the seven grandfathers that creator put on this earth to watch over us and try to help us to understand and follow guidance, or the four chiefs that brought us the medicines to help to heal the people and other stories that I tell. I tell them as I heard them at the fire. What that means is when I go to ceremonies or I visit communities of the Native people that are still in this country practicing their traditional beliefs, I listen to the old story tellers as they tell the stories. 
The stories that I tell are those stories, the ones that I have heard and very often, when I am telling them, people will say; You don’t sound like yourself. Your voice changes and sometimes even your accent. If I am telling a story I heard from a Canadian Elder, sometimes I start saying, aye, a lot. I visualize in my mind what I heard and who was telling me the story and I try to tell it the way they tell it. So I don’t tell stories that I have read in the books. I could pick up a book about the Ojibwa by Basil Johnson or some other writer of the Ojibwa and I could find story after story after story and I could tell those stories but they don’t have the same depth of meaning for me because they are not stories I heard. They are not stories where an Elder was trying to help someone to understand how to have a better life. 

That is a big part of what the culture is about. Everything in Native culture is about helping the people, helping community.  All of the teachings are to take care of yourself so that you have of yourself to give to others.  Everything is based on four factors that have allowed that culture to survive and to thrive for thousands of years. In my mind, they are not unlike values that would have been of our Celtic heritage or of the values that would have been of the African heritage or of the Asian heritage.

Those values, one is ceremony. Ceremony, not for Spirit but ceremony for the people. 

I met a little girl once who came up to me and she asked; What is ceremony? I looked at her and asked her if she brushed her teeth. She looked back at me kind of funny and answered that she did brush her teeth. I asked her if she did that every day and she answered that she did. I asked her if she held her tooth brush in her right hand or her left hand. She answered that she held her toothbrush in her right hand because she was right handed. I asked her what would happen if she didn’t brush her teeth every day. She answered that her teeth would rot. That’s ceremony! If you don’t do it every day your teeth will rot. We do ceremony to remind ourselves to be respectful to the creator and to the creation. It’s for us that we do the ceremony. I believe the spirits smile when they see us do it because they know that we are doing it to honor them but were really doing it to remind ourselves so that our teeth don’t rot. That’s the first thing of native culture that is critical is ceremony.

The next thing is prayer. Prayer is everything. It’s walking across the street to get from one side to the other. It is every movement that we make and every thought that we have. Spirit listens to all prayer and in Native teachings we pray in many ways. We meditate, fast, go into lodges, sit in community, talking circles, we dance. There are many ways to prayer. One powerful way is in the music. Most Native music is chanting. A drum or a shaker and chanting from our hearts. Some of it is a memorized chant and other songs are created as we go. It is as if spirit doesn’t really understand language but Spirit understands heart. When Spirit hears us singing or reaching out in prayer, Spirit doesn’t necessarily hear the words but Spirit looks into our heart to see what we are looking for, to see what we really need. That’s why, when our prayers are answered they don’t always come out the way we were thinking they were going to be. They come out the way Spirit read our heart to need them to come out to be. So, the prayer is done in chant or in voice in different ways but it is all a part of it.

The forth value is community. It is taking care of community. I know I skipped the third, I am coming back to that. The community is everything and you take care of the community. They do that through clans.

We all belong to clans. In my Celtic, well, in your name Thomas you have a clan. In my name Beard it comes from Bard and that is an ancient clan. The Bards’ were story tellers so I guess I am in the right business today. They also were leaders of their communities and they were somewhat protected when they traveled because people depended on them to carry the news from one community to another. So I look back through that and say, okay, of my Celtic heritage I am of the Bard clan.
Of my native heritage, I am adopted into the Loon clan. Ironically, the Loon clan has the same identification in the Ojibwa Nation as the Bard clan amongst the Celts. Must be a coincidence.

The community is everything but the community has to start from the family and then grow itself up. Each of the clans have a responsibility to the community to take care of certain tasks for the overall good.

The Loon clan is a chieftain clan. The Crane clan is also a chieftain clan and the Eagle clan is also a chieftain clan so that there are three. The reason that there are three is so if two clans don’t agree the third clan can speak to make a majority.

Then you have the art of gifting. That is the number three that I skipped. Gifting is everything to the culture. It is so important to the culture that in the eighteen nineties the US government outlawed gifting in ceremony by Native American people. They also outlawed ceremony. One of the reasons they outlawed gifting is that they realized it was the cohesion; it was the glue that held everything together.
If I am sitting with you and you look at something I have amongst my sacred items and you say that you really like that thing and that it calls to you. It would not be unnatural for me to reach down and take that item and put it in your hand and say this is yours. It’s time for it to travel. Just as my teacher took the feather that was over thirty years in his bonnet and put it in my hand and said it was time for it to travel. That’s gifting. Gifting between the people is done almost every time they meet. You come to a home and they will first make sure that you have food and that you are comfortable. Then, before you leave, they will offer you something from their home for you to take with you. It becomes a part of them that will become a part of you and creates a sharing between you and that person of one another. That creates that bonding that holds people together.

Those four things are so critical to the culture and yet we don’t do any of those things today. We are so busy finding a difference between one another. Your eyes are blue, mine are brown. Were different, your hair is blond and mine is, heh, pure white but once was brown. So were different. But the realty is that we are one. We are connected. That I am you and you are me. We are all of one being throughout the universe and we need to respect all things in that manner. 

Excerpt from: Wisdom of the Wind – interview by Hannah Thomas ~ HeartRising

To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> Ebook, IbookNook BookKindle Fire 

To read more about Noodin click on this link : James Beard aka Noodin


Great Spirit Place

Grand Monadnock

Grand Monadnock
In early spring the changes on Mt. Monadnock, in New Hampshire, are often dramatic. The hiking trails begin to melt off the ice that has built up during the winter and the trails near the base soften as the saturated mud warms. Each step one takes becomes a test to see if the ground is firm. A step on the soft path will often result in a gusher of muddy water squirting up from hidden pockets in the ground. Melting water comes down the trails making them streams to be traversed by the hikers anxious to climb the mountain. The trees barely have buds and yet those hints of budding new life will quickly form and fill the forest with lush shades of green between the groves of evergreen that dominate the forest scene.

View of Grand Monadnock from Gilsom Pond

At the summit one can see out over five states from this mountain that stands alone. The panoramic view is awe inspiring and more than one hundred thousand hikers traverse this beautiful mountain each year to experience the beauty and energy of this place. It has been said that the word Monadnock derives from an old Indian word meaning mountain that stands alone. Geologists today use the term Monadnock to describe any mountain that stands by itself.

This is the home for Noodin. In the winter he lives in a lodge in the state park at the base and in the summer he camps amongst the campers that come to enjoy the serenity of the beautiful forest.

Excerpt from: White Mocs on the Red Road / Walking Spirit in a Native Way

Excerpt from: White Mocs on the Red Road / Walking Spirit in a Native Way

To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> Ebook, IbookNook BookKindle Fire 

To read more about Noodin click on this link : James Beard aka Noodin 

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Wisdom of the Wind
Excerpts of interview with Hannah Thomas of 2012

I've almost always got a story and usually I don’t know what I’m going to tell about until I’m talking to an audience. I kind of have a feeling for what someone might be looking to hear. 

James Beard aka Noodin
I’ve come to believe, in my own life, that what it’s all about is connecting with who we really are and understanding that. One of the basic teachings in Native Spiritual teachings is an understanding of who we are by knowing where we come from and understanding how we will go forward reaching into a depth of the all of who we are.  

In our society we tend to look at ourselves in a material way. Everything we have in our day is of a material sense, whether it’s working in the kitchen with our pots and pans or it’s driving our car down the street or its attending a school and paying attention to our books and writing or even being in a relationship. 

These are all of a material sense but what native teachings share is that the material part of who we are is only a part. It is only about half of who we really are.  We are truly of spirit and material being and that in this day and age we tend to lose sight of the spirit part of our being.

Excerpt from: Wisdom of the Wind – interview by Hannah Thomas ~ HeartRising

To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> Ebook,
 IbookNook BookKindle Fire 

To read more about Noodin click on this link : James Beard aka Noodin

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A better way to educate our youth?

I'll Tell You a Story !
by James Beard aka Noodin

Young people come to the mountain to meet a story teller called Noodin at the Hikers Cabin and to hear a story.

Hikers Cabib, White Dot Trail
Grand Monadnock
Twelve high school youth with two teachers knock on the door. The door opens and each person files into the large open room. As they enter they are looking around with a caution and natural curiosity. They see strange items laid out on the table and around the fireplace. They have entered a different world!

You know the youth are glad to be out of school. It is obvious they are taken with going to the Grand Monadnock Mountain in southwestern New Hampshire in the middle of the winter. Walking up the snow bound trail from the White Dot trailhead to the hikers cabin is beautiful in the serenity of the forest, the mountain and the winter snow. It is a gray, cold and overcast day and yet the quietness of the forest is enchanting and holds its own beauty.

James Beard aka Noodin
The fire is giving an ambiance of comfort and a minimum of heat in the large hearth. It crackles now and then just to keep everyones attention. The building is not insulated and does not hold the heat well. The room is comfortable and has a warm welcoming feel even if it is a little on the chilly side. After all, it is ten degrees outside. Everyone sits in a circle with the fireplace taking one side of the circle. This is the home of Noodin at Monadnock State Park.

What is that strange smell? A girl asks. That is sage, I answer. My name is Jim Beard in English. My name in the native language of my teachers is Noodin. I am an adopted one to these people and have been given some things by them to share with you.
I pick up a shell with leaves of sage burning and walk around the circle allowing each person to take a wiff of the pungent aroma of the sage. Sage is used by Native American people to open any gathering, I explain. They use it to invite good spirits and feelings of the people and to bring everyone in the gathering to a oneness in focusing. After walking around the circle I put the shell containing the burning sage on the floor in the middle of the circle.

Hold this for me, I say to a boy as I hand him a drum. He looks at it and feels the tightness of the Elk Hide on the drum. He looks at the way the Elk cord is tied to hold the drum together. I then hand a shaker to a girl in the circle. This is called a shizigwan I tell her. Shizigwan means shaker.

I will tell you a story and we will need these things in the story, I explain. The story is of the creation of all things and the connection of all things of the universe. As I tell the story there is not a sound other than the words of the story, the drum and the shaker. It is an ancient oral teaching of the people. Not to be written down but passed from one to another through all time.

We are all connected to all that is and to one another. It is our responsibility to care for one another and all that we know. To be respectful to all that is.
There are many items on the table by the door. You can look at them before you leave and I will answer any questions I can about them.

We are sitting in a circle.
I explain to them; No one in the circle is above another or below. We all are equal in the creation. That I share in the circle does not put me above or below. Your teachers sitting in the circle are at one with you. Not above and not below. Native people use the circle to teach that we are all equal and should be right size with one another. A feather will be passed around. Each person will have the opportunity to speak when handed the feather. You can say whatever you feel called to say and no one may speak other than the one holding the feather. When you have finished saying what you have to share then you pass the feather to the next person.

Each person speaks in turn as the feather travels around the circle. The first time only a few words are spoken hesitantly by the youth. The feather travels again and the group opens up. The people share their hardships and concerns and gratitude’s. All of the people in the circle respect the feather and no one speaks out of turn. One can feel the sense of healing in the circle. Tensions dissappear and a feeling of oneness and relaxation begins to fill the room.

As they leave the cabin each one is welcomed to return whenever they wish. I know that I will see many of them again over time when they come to visit Grand Monadnock Mountain and the Hikers Cabin.

To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> Ebook, Ibook, Nook Book, Kindle Fire

To read more about Noodin click on this link ~ James B Beard aka Noodin

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Story Telling at the Mountain Hikers Cabin

           Story Telling
                   ~  Grand Monadnock Mountain

My name is James Beard aka Noodin and I am an interpretive story teller at Monadnock State Park in New Hampshire. During the winter months I live in the Hikers Cabin on the White Dot Trail. It is a cabin with a living space and a large outer room that is used for various park related programs. When I am there, anyone is welcome to stop by and chat.

Winter Programs
November to April 2013

          Interpretive educational programs are provided for schools, camps, environmental centers, individual groups, museums, youth camps and academies. You are invited to bring your group to the mountain for an educational outing during weekdays. The group should not exceed twenty people do to accomodations.

            I utilize an oral teaching method telling various native stories or legends. The stories demonstrate the cultural attributes of the Native American People. The lessons contained in the stories encourage strong personal and community values for the individual. Native American drums, shakers and flutes are often used in the program to enhance the delivery of the story.

            These programs are offered at no cost to the public in the interest of helping others.

The interpretive programs can be provided off location at schools or other locations in the New England Area. Scheduling of these programs is on a first come first serve basis and must be pre-scheduled.

To arrange a program contact: Jim Beard @  , Phone: 603-261-7228

To read more about Noodin electronically (click) >>> Ebook, Ibook, Nook Book, Kindle Fire

To read more about Noodin click on this link  ~  James B Beard aka Noodin