Tim was born in Blackfoot Country, Montana, of Siksika and Northern Peigan tribal heritage. During the Eisenhauer period of attempted “termination” of the reservations and “acculturation,” Tim, and many other native children, were seized from the arms of their family and community and taken to residential schools, where the stated purpose was to “kill the Indian, save the man.” His mother stole him back.
Traditional native photos are typically fierce because the men were warriors. What does this have to do with spirituality? To be a warrior requires great courage, to be willing to fight to the end. One wears his best finery in going to war, because today may be the day one meets Tonkashila – Creator – face to face. If you’re interested to gain a felt sense of Native American spirituality, we’ve shared videos here for you to experience.
The drum is important in Native spirituality because it helps the community send the prayers to Creator, in the form of songs. It is also the heartbeat of the People, and connects the People to our mother, the earth. The heartbeat is the first sound we ever heard. This drum, which Tim made of cedar, ash, and elkhide, shows who Tim is. You can see the eagle, with whom he has a special relationship, the Beaver, as he is Beaver Clan, and the medicine stick, which is an important story for Beaver clan. It also shows Tim’s big smile. The rendition is Salish, rather than Plains, because of work Tim was doing with the Coastal Salish people, of the Northwest.
Tim grew up in Southern California, learning both Lakota and Blackfoot ways, both of which are in the Plains Tradition. His beloved Grandmother Ida was a traditional healer, and taught him the Old Ways, which means, in part, to always walk a sacred path. He is a Sun Dancer, and has danced this most sacred ceremony for a decade. His Tiospia, or extended Sun Dance family, are Bear Medicine Healers, who dance in South East Washington. They dance for the healing of the People. His name was given to him by his Grandmother Ida, and it means, “Man Who Captures the Long Knife”.
Tim was involved in law enforcement for 30 years, but always practiced spiritual direction in a lay capacity. Later, he received his Masters Degree in Divinity at the University of British Columbia at Vancouver, in the School of Theology. Tim follows the teachings of Christ as well as the traditional ways. Tim feels privileged to serve as a Native American Spiritual Guide in the Plains Tradition to travelers from any walk of life, Native and non-Native. One need only come with integrity to the walk, and honoring of Creator and of the People whose traditions these are. Please note that Tim is a Native Spiritual Director, not a licensed mental health professional. Tim does spiritual direction in person in Bainbridge Island, or on the phone. He also gives workshops and lectures. For more information, go to Canku Wakan to learn more about Tim’s Native Spiritual Direction. Tim was a small bore rifle shooter on the US Olympic Team. He was on the Governor of California’s Top Twenty Marksman List for five years. He is the 2008 State of Washington Small Bore Prone Champion Shooter. As an NRA Rifle Instructor, he also offers shooting coaching for those seeking to increase their home security. Protection of the People is part of the warrior pathway, but of course need not be part of every spiritual path, even on the Red Road.
Tim Iistowanohpataakiiwa is not a mental health professional. His services, in affiliation with the Bainbridge Institute for Integrative Psychology, are limited to offering spiritual direction.