by Christine Egbert
Chief Joseph RiverWind/ A Prophecy Fulfilled!
I was recently blessed to meet a husband and wife ministry team that God is using mightily for such a time as this, that time spoken of in Acts 3:21, a time of the restoration of all things spoken through the holy Prophets from ages past. This husband and wife team is none other than Chief Joseph RiverWind, a descendant of the ancient Arawak Taino Tribe, and his beautiful wife, Dr. Laralyn, who is from the Cherokee and Muskogee Creek.
Their ministry is called Firekeepers International. (http://Www.FireKeepersInternational.org) Earlier this year, in 2018, during Israel’s “Jerusalem Day” celebration, Jerusalem’s Knesset appointed the RiverWinds “Ambassadors of God.”
The RiverWinds met my pastor, Matthew Miller, by divine appointment while in Israel recently. And at some future date, I will tell you how that came to pass. But at this time, I feel compelled by the Spirit to tell you an even more important story. Most of the content for this article comes from Chief Joseph’s book titled, “That’s What The Old Ones Say.”
A Bit Of History
In ancient times, in the times of the caves, the Old Ones were given a prophecy that was to change their world forever. The prophecy foretold of a time when three great war canoes, filled with bearded, pale-faced men, covered like turtles, would arrive on their shores, bringing with them “talking leaves” that would speak to them of the Creator. But the prophecy also warned that these men, covered like turtles (with armor), would also bring destruction…to their people and their way of life.
War Canoes & Talking Leaves
This ancient prophecy foretold by the Old Ones came to pass for the Taino people when three war canoes were sighted off the coast of Kiskeya (known today as Hispaniola, in the Dominican Republic). Three canoes, the La Nina, the La Pinta, and the La Santa Maria, brought to shore Conquistadors. They introduced the Taino people to their Creator’s WORD, the Bible, but they did so at the point of a sharp Spanish sword.
The Scriptures are indeed talking leaves. For God indeed speaks to us from the Bible’s pages, pages made from trees. And the Taino people listened. Unfortunately, the witness of these Conquistadors (their godless actions) failed to emulate the Most High’s command for all mankind to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Instead, a lust for gold that was to be obtained at any cost brought destruction to the ancient Taino people, destruction foretold in the prophecy of their Old Ones.
On December 5, 1492, Columbus established the colony of La Navidad (the Nativity in Spanish), in western Kiskeya. There, in a letter written to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Columbus described the Taino people. “They have no creed and are not idolaters. They are gentle and do not know what it means to be wicked…to kill or to steel...They are sure,” Columbus wrote, “that we come from Heaven.” Columbus assured the King that the Taino people had no weapons, except for sharpened stakes attached to the stems of reeds, which Columbus said they would dare not use.
In That’s What The Old Ones Say, Chief Joseph writes, “It is interesting to note Columbus’ error in stating we (the Taino people) had no creed, yet he also said we believed they had come from heaven. One does not understand the concept of heaven without some type of spiritual belief. Indeed, we did have spiritual beliefs. But apparently at the time of this letter our ancestors had not divulged information about our spirituality to these newcomers.”
Returning To Yah
Chief Joseph’s knowledge of the horrific cruelty committed for over 500 years by those who claimed to be Christians caused him to completely renounce the Christianity preached by his own father, a pastor. So he turned to the traditional teachings of his native people. But in Chief Joseph’s quest to learn from the Old Ones an incredible thing happened. Chief Joseph discovered an amazing TRUTH. Many of the accounts recorded in the Bible were the very same stories that had been told and retold for generations by the Old Ones.
Then One Night…
One night Chief Joseph found himself on his face in heartbroken repentance. That was the night he finally understood salvation. Chief Joseph had answered many altar calls in his lifetime before renouncing Christianity and going on his quest for TRUTH. But on this night something in him changed.
He realized suddenly that all his decisions held consequences, consequences for which Chief Joseph could no longer blame the Creator. From the Old Ones he had learned that the Creator gives everyone a special song, and that no one knows who they really are (what they were created to do) until they discover their special song. And that night, as God’s presence permeated the atmosphere, Chief Joseph heard the Creator’s loving voice: “Make music and point people to Me!” God then opened Chief Joseph’s ears to a heavenly symphony. The purity of each note, each crescendo, filled the room with praise to God as Chief Joseph’s tears of brokenness transformed into tears of exhilaration.
Forgiveness, The Greatest Challenge
In his book, Chief Joseph quotes Romans 1:20, which says: “The unseen things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things made, both His eternal power and Godhead, for them to be without excuse.” Chief Joseph writes, “Our people knew who the heavenly Father was. Yet Trickster (Satan) knew how to make us turn away from the Gospel message brought to our shores. The doctrine of conquest left the indigenous people of this land with a poisonous 500 year old root of bitterness…” Chief Joseph’s greatest spiritual challenge was to forgive. He had to forgive before God could use him. He had to forgive the Spanish Conquistadors, the Christian missionaries, and America for stealing their tribal lands under the guise of “Manifest Destiny”. If he failed to forgive, he would be nothing but a hypocrite. So he forgave.
Chief Joseph RiverWind was raised by talented musicians. They instilled in him a love for music. Music had filled his home and permeated their gatherings with joy. It had prepared him, he now understood, for the divine calling the Creator was entrusting him with. That night Chief Joseph asked the Most High to instill in him a hunger for the Creator’s Word. And that hunger was instantly given. Chief Joseph became ravenous, not only to read but to dig deeply into the Hebrew and Greek.
Music and Spiritual Battle
In Scripture, Chief Joseph read that Israelite worriers entered battle playing instruments. With songs of praise and blasts from ram’s horns victories were won. This was God’s pattern. He realized that he was to do battle in the spirit with musical instruments. So the Army veteran, Chief Joseph RiverWind, traded his riffle for a drum, his sidearm for bagpipes, and his knife for a flute, instruments that were, according to literal Hebrew, used in the Scriptures for warfare.
Origin Of The Sun (Son) Dance
The Lakota lived in the east, long before they were pushed west to hunt buffalo on the planes. The story of the Son Dance, as told and retold by the Old Ones, occurred during the time when the Lakota still lived in the east. A time of great sickness fell on the people. Many were dying. Their medicine men and women had tried everything to no avail. So the old Chief, as was his custom, went up to the sacred mountain to fast and pray.
With his arms stretched toward heaven, he cried, “Creator, Maker of all things, Giver of breath, I come humbly before You on this vision quest. Your people need help. They are dying. I do not know what to do.” He explained that they had tried everything. Nothing had worked. Then he asked if there was a plant, a tea, a salve they could make to heal the people. He got no answer.
On the second day, after singing, praying and dancing all day, the old Chief again raised his arms toward heaven. “Wakan Taka, oh Great one, You alone know all things. You spread the stars across the sky. Your people are dying. I do not know what to do.” This time the old Chief asked if there was a song the Creator could give him to sing over the people and make them live. But again, there was no answer.
On the third day, as hunger gnawed at his empty stomach and a fiery thirst burned in his mouth, the old Chief once again raised his hands toward heaven. “Tunkasila, Grandfather, You who are without beginning or end, who formed man from the earth of the planes, Your children need help. They are dying!” This time the Chief asked if there was a dance the Creator could teach him, so that he could pray and war in the spirit realm. But again, no answer came.
Then on the fourth day, as the sun headed west toward its setting, the Chief again raised his hands toward heaven. His hunger and thirst had abated, fed through prayer and song. “Great Mystery, You who made the moon and the stars and placed them in the sky. You gave us life and sustained us throughout our generations. Please, Creator, Your children are dying. I don’t know what to do, other than pray and seek an answer. How can my people be saved, oh Great One in the sky?”
This time, the Great One sent a Spirit Being. The old Chief dropped to his knees, as the Spirit Being moved his arm and drew a large opening in the sky with his finger.
“Look through this window,” the Spirit Being instructed the old Chief, “and you will see the answer to your prayers.”
So the Chief looked into the window drawn in the heavens and beheld a man. He was pierced and hanging on a tree.
“He is dying so your people may live,” the Spirit Being told him.
As the last rays of the sun sunk into the western horizon, the window in the sky began to close.
“Wait!” the old Chief cried. “What is his name, that we may remember him and his sacrifice? For there is no greater honor among our people than to give one’s life for another.”
“His name is Bright Morning Star,” the Spirit replied. “Remember His Name!” Then the Spirit was gone. The old Chief fell to his knees weeping, but assured that his people would live.
This, according to the Old Ones, was the origin of the Sun (Son) Dance. When the Chief came down off the mountain and told of his vision, the people made up this dance to honor the Creator’s Son, the Bright Morning Star, who died so that his people might live. But over the centuries, the dance has changed. As the Pipe-Carier, who recounted this ancient tale to Chief Riverwind, said, “We have the tree of Life and we dance and sing, looking toward the sun. And we pierce our skin just as He was pierced. Some tribes dance without piercing, but this is how it all began.”
Israel’s Lost Tribe’s & The Cherokee
Hebrew writing, some dating back 2000 years, has been discovered on cave walls and etched into stone throughout the Americas. But there’s even more very credible evidence that the Cherokee people must be descendants from Israel’s scattered tribes. James Adair, a Hebrew scholar, who lived among the Cherokee people for 40 years in the early 18th century recorded many amazing similarities between the Cherokee culture and the Hebrews of Scripture.
The Cherokee name for the Creator is YoHeWaH.
YoHeWaH is ONE triune being called El-o-HeyM.
The Cherokee account of CREATION took 7 days, in which God formed a man from red clay, then formed a woman from the man’s rib.
The Cherokee teach that the Creator YoHeWaH caused a great flood, after which He promised never to flood the earth again. The flood wiped out all the giants, and only one family survived, the family of a man named Noo-uh, whom the Creator instructed to build a large Canoe. Onto it, the Creator led two of each animal.
Per their most ancient religious laws, the Cherokee were not to keep idols.
The Cherokee were commanded to work 6 days and rest on the 7th.
The Cherokee consider pork unclean.
Ceremonial Cherokee songs often start with, “Hallel, Hallelu-yah!”
The Cherokee forbid the practice of divination. Witchcraft and “bad medicine” was punishable by death.
When the Cherokee went to war they carried a sacred arc into battle.
Both Cherokee and Hebrews sacrificed fat offerings for sin, trespass, and peace. Both Cherokee and Hebrew priest wore white robes, 72 bells, a sleeveless jacket, and a breast plate set with 12 stones.
Similar Linguistic Structure In Hebrew & Cherokee
The Cherokee word for wife is “havah” or “avah”. “Chavvah” a similar sounding Hebrew word that means “giver of life” has been translated into English as Eve, the very first wife ever mentioned in the Bible.
The Cherokee word for earth is “yahkane”. It means Yah’s footstool.
Similarities In Timekeeping
In both Hebrew and Cherokee cultures a new day begins at sunset. A new month begins with the first sighting of the new moon. The new year, which is celebrated with a gathering, begins with the first sighting of a new moon in the Spring equinox.
Biblical Feast Days & The Cherokee
The Cherokees celebrate a yearly Feast Day similar to the Hebrew Passover. Songs sung during this celebration include the phrase “YoHeWaHsho Mashi-yo,” which means “the anointed ruler.” Likewise, the Cherokees celebrate Feasts that correspond in timing and other aspects to Torah’s mandated First Fruits, Shavuot, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.
These are just some of the similarities enumerated in the writings of James Adair which strongly indicate a connection between the Cherokee people and ancient Israel. Explorers and botanists, men like William Bartram, James Mooney, John Payne, and Daniel Butrick, who lived among the Cherokee for decades, have also attested to these amazing similarities.
At some time in their ancient past, the Cherokee people have either been greatly influenced by Hebrews, or the Cherokee people are in fact descended from Israel’s scattered tribes. And there are other Tribes living in the Southeast (the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Haliwa-Saponi, and the Muskogee Creek) whose tradition and culture show a Hebraic influence, but these are not as well documented as those of the Cherokee.
Their Old Ones had long prophesied that a message to return to the old ways would be brought to them, and it was. But tragically, the Christian missionaries, who fulfilled this prophecy by bringing Scripture’s “Talking Leaves”, failed to do what the “Talking Leaves” actually said to do. Like the scribes and rabbis spoken of in Matthew 23:2-4, these misguided missionaries exchanged Yah’s written instructions for manmade Church traditions.
The Cherokee and other First Nations tribes were commanded to give up their worship of the Creator through their Feast Days and new moons, through their dancing and beating of drums. Such things, although found throughout Scriptures, were, according to these misguided missionaries, demonic. Yet Israel’s King David declared in Psalms 150:4, “Praise God with the drum and dance.” (CEB)
Drum Or Tambourine
In “That’s What The Old Ones Say,” Chief Joseph RiverWind explains that the Hebrew word transliterated as “toph”, though often translated as tambourine or timbrel, literally means “a hide stretched across a wooden frame and struck with the hand or a stick.” That, my friends, is a drum!
I could go on and on, for there is so much that I learned from Chief RiverWind’s book, but this article is already too long. So I will close with a thought and then an exciting announcement. My thought is this: We must stop trying to put the Creator in a theological box. He won’t fit. I first realized this when I learned that many Orthodox Jews have and continue to discover Israel’s Messiah, Yeshua, not from reading the New Testament, nor from the witness of Christians, but from the Hebrew Torah itself…from words, from the letters, and even from the numerical value of those letters. In my article titled, “An Interview With A Dead Rabbi”, I told of Rabbi Simcha Pearlmutter, who came to faith in Israel’s Messiah by reading prayers that were published in Israel’s Orthodox Prayer Book. When this rabbi was alone in his office, he cried out these words to Yeshua. “Lord, I can’t fight you anymore. Either I must throw out the entire orthodox Jewish faith that I was born into, or I must accept You as given to me by our ancient rabbis, and as confirmed by our Holy Scriptures (the Old Testament).”
This is an amazing utterance in a time when so many have been led to believe that Yeshua (Jesus) came to start a new religion.
So what does Orthodox Rabbi Simcha Pearlmutter have to do with Chief Joseph RiverWind? They both learned the TRUTH, but not in the usual way. Chief Joseph had been witnessed to by many Christians, including his own father, but due to the horrific cruelty committed for over 500 years by those who claimed to be Christians their witness held no validity. The same could be said for Orthodox Rabbi Pearlmutter. He set out to destroy the name of Yeshua, but instead found Yeshua in his own ancient Jewish prayer books. Neither came to faith in Israel’s Messiah by reading the gospel of John. Neither came to faith in a church saying the “sinner’s prayer”. For these two men, and for hundreds of others like them, the usual pattern did not apply. That is because God cannot be put into a theological or denominational box. He’s too big! He doesn’t fit! God told Rabbi Pearlmutter, “I have made you clean before My Father in heaven. Now please make Me clean before My people. Cleanse My name before My people.” And He instructed Chief Joseph RiverWind to, “Make music and point people to Me!”
The atrocities perpetrated on Chief RiverWind’s people had caused Chief Joseph RiverWind to reject his father’s brand of Christianity. So filled with bitterness, Chief Joseph returned to the old traditional ways of his native people, where he heard stories that had been told and retold, generation after generation, stories committed to memory, word for word, by the Old Ones. These incredible stories revealed the Creator’s name, YoHeWah. They told of a Spirit Being, who responded to the prayers and fasting of an old Chief who went up on a sacred mountain (like Moses) to plead for his people, by creating a window in time, a window in the sky through which the old Lakota Chief beheld a man. This man was pierced and he was hanging on a tree. “He died,” the Spirit Being told the Lakota Chief’, “so your people might live.” When the old Chief asked who this man who died for them was, the Spirit Being told the Chief He was YoHeWah’s Son, “Bright Morning Star.”
Now For My My Exciting Announcement
Our congregation the Vineyard, located in what is known as the Tri-Cities area of TN, Johnson City, Kingsport & Bristol, has moved to a huge building in Johnson City that once was a grocery store, a building God has provided for us rent free. Our congregation is growing. People who’ve been watching our Sabbath services online for a while, via our Face Book page, as well as many locals, are joining us. God is leading them here to be a part of what He is doing at the Vineyard. And in just a few weeks Chief RiverWind and his beautiful his wife, Dr. Laralyn, will be among those moving here to join us. With Sukkot not far off, I can hardly wait! Just think, we will be celebrating Sukkot with the RiverWinds! How cool is that?