In the summer of 2020, The Beads on One String Foundation met TJ Ravenwolff, an Athabaskan and Muscogee Creek Native American from Alaska. He serves as the Intercessor for the Alaska Medicine Song Sundance, a sacred Native tradition, and is a culture bearer and intercessor in the Lakota Tradition. The Beads Foundation was able to give TJ a grant which allowed him to attend and help lead the sacred Sundance ceremony on the Lakota tribal land in South Dakota that summer.
TJ’s journey from his youth to his role as a tribal elder is fraught with pain and resilience. In his words, “My story is not unlike any other Native American story. I have survived through many life lessons and struggles, navigating abuse, neglect, alcoholism, addiction, homelessness, suicide and anger. Historical trauma is in my DNA. Life and the traditional cultural ways of our indigenous peoples brought forth a Spiritual reconnection to my ancestral ways that made me who I am today.” Two of those ancient ways are the Sundance and the Red Road. TJ introduced the Beads Foundation to the Red Road, a Native tradition which offers a path of connecting with Spirit, of connection and Oneness with all things.
The Beads Foundation mission is dedicated to the exploration of Oneness and the unity of all life. The Red Road is a deep and personal path to live life in unity with Spirit and all of Creation. TJ describes the Red Road as a path “for living a spiritual way of life. It is to acknowledge that all things in Creation have life and spirit, to treat all with respect and honor each other’s ways, knowing that we all come from the same place and that we are all related.” TJ’s and the Beads’ journeys connected deeply with each other.
We asked TJ if he would help us share the wisdom of the Red Road with our friends. He generously created this video with Jennifer Gilden, a volunteer with the Alaska Midnightsun Sundance Council. It is with gratitude to TJ for his wisdom and generosity and to Jennifer for her artistic and technical skill that we are able to share this video with you and share the beauty and depth of the Red Road.