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 The Owls Spoke Navajo
Demons are real. A Navajo medicine man learned that the power of God proved to be greater than that of medicine men and demons.

If you were to fly like a bird across the Arizona landscape, you'd see dry, rough scenery—the desert. It's a wonder that much of anything can grow in that wasteland. Yet, a closer look will reveal that it is teeming with life.

 

...something strange and terrible began to happen in 1974.

In a way, that's a lot like my life. For much of my life, there was a dryness—my life was dead in many ways. But something happened about 20 years ago which brought life to my soul.

I was born in 1927 into the home of Earl Grey Eyes, a Navajo medicine man and shepherd in the traditional way.

Life was not easy. From the time I was very small I learned to shepherd the sheep, taking them from one grazing place to the next and watching over them as only Navajo shepherds can.

I received my schooling at the feet of my father who not only taught me the Navajo ways, but also the ways of the medicine men.

At the age of 14, I left home to work on the railroad. During World War II many Navajo worked on the railroads.

It was my job to see that the cooking supplies, bunks and housing facilities were moved from site to site. My work took me to several western states including Colorado, Utah, Washington, California and New Mexico.

After several years on the railroad, I returned to Navajo Mountain, Arizona, to take up farming and raise livestock. I also followed in the footsteps of my father and became a medicine man.

For many years I practiced my medicine. I treated many people. I had great power and control over the people in the surrounding area. My reputation was soon well known. I had great influence.

But something strange and terrible began to happen in 1974. A couple of people from the Alliance church began visiting us every so often to share with us the message of Jesus. My wife was interested, but I didn't want anything to do with them.

Then my family became sick. My wife was very sick. I tried all my potions and powers, but nothing did any good. We took her to the hospital in Gallup, New Mexico and then to Albuquerque. The doctors said there was nothing they could do for her.

Then my three daughters became ill. I also fell sick to this unknown illness.

Something strange began to happen. My sheep, cattle and horses began to die for no reason at all. Then other things began. Coyotes started coming around our place at night and howling. This is a very bad sign for us Navajo.

Then, worst of all, owls began to appear in the juniper trees outside our Hogan. There was not only one but several. They would come and hoot throughout the night.

As time went on, these owls began to talk to me in a Navajo way. They would say, "We are going to kill you … you … you! We are going to kill you!"

I knew these owls weren't speaking to me themselves. They were demons sent by another medicine man to an owl. When a medicine man makes contact with the spirit world, these spirits are given to him to help him in his dealings in witchcraft. A medicine man could use these demons and send a demon in an owl to a certain family and pester them. It will speak to them in Navajo and frighten them and eventually this fear will kill them as time goes on. This is what was happening to me and my family.

I tried all my powers to get rid of these owls and stop my livestock from dying and to heal my family, but nothing changed. It was no use!

My wife got worse and she was taken to Albuquerque. They sent her home to die.

After trying everything, I realized that perhaps the Christian friends who had been visiting us had an answer. It was my last—maybe my only chance—for survival.

That evening, I took my wife and three daughters and we went to the church.

It was rather late when we arrived and the church was packed. The only place to sit was on the front row. They ushered us down to the front.

There seemed to be a hush fall over the place when we walked in. I guess most of those attending never expected to see the medicine man and his family in church!

The preacher, a man by the name of Herman Williams, was just about finished his message. It seemed like right away he asked if there was anyone who wanted to turn his life over to God.

I didn't understand it all, but I knew that I needed an answer and if this preacher said Jesus was the answer, that's what I needed.

Right away I was on my feet. My wife and daughters followed me. We knelt together in front of the altar.

The church had people right there to take us into side rooms to counsel with us. My wife and daughters went into one room and I went to another.

"What is it you want God to do for you tonight?" they asked me.

I told them that I had come to the end of my rope. I explained how my livestock was dying for no reason and my family was sick. I told them about the owls and coyotes.

"I have come tonight because I know that God is the only one who can help me out of this terrible situation," I said. "I want to accept Him as my Lord and Master. I've come for salvation and for healing."

Together they led me in a prayer asking Jesus Christ to come into my life and forgive me for all the terrible wrongs I had done. Right then and there God changed my life. I didn't understand it all, but I knew I was no longer a child of darkness, but a child of the Light.

When I had finished praying, we came back and I rejoined my wife and daughters in front. They asked us to share what had happened.

My wife was first. She told how she had been very sick. How the doctors sent her home saying there was nothing they could do for her.

"Tonight," she said, "I have accepted the great medicine man (great physician in Navajo) to save me and make me well."

Then my three daughters joined in and spoke of how they had committed their lives to Christ.

Then it was my turn to speak.

"You people all know me as the medicine man of this area. Many of you have called upon me and I have doctored you. But my wife has been very sick. We have all been sick. What I knew, I tried everything in my power to doctor my wife, my children, and myself. But things have gotten worse. Our sheep are dying; our cattle and horses. Other things are bothering us.

"I'm glad that I came to make my commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ."

When we were finished, the whole church stood up and they each took turns greeting us and offering us words of encouragement.

I spoke with Herman Williams before we left the church that night, and I asked if I could speak to him about something.

He said sure, so I shared with him the problem we had been having.

" … They can talk to you so they must understand you. So this is what you need to do tonight … ."

"How can I get rid of those owls?" I asked Pastor Williams.

He thought for a moment and then he said, "They can talk to you so they must understand you. So this is what you need to do tonight. When you get home, you will probably see those owls there. I want you to get up and give your testimony to them of what happened to you tonight."

We didn't get home until about three o'clock in the morning. Sure enough, the owls were there. I could see them sitting in the juniper trees.

I nervously cleared my throat and began to speak to these birds.

"You owl people, I have something to tell you. When we left last evening, we went across to a church. We heard a message about a Saviour, the Lord Jesus. We have all committed our lives to Him—myself, my wife, and our three daughters."

I continued to tell them my testimony. "I gave what sheep I have left, what cattle and horses I have to the Lord. My home and my dogs and cats. Even this grazing territory I gave to the Lord.

"You all are trespassing, every one of you. In the name of this Great Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ, I command you, every one of you, to leave our place and never come back, in the name of Jesus."

When I stopped, it was so quiet, I could have heard a pin drop. Dead silence.

I began to wonder if they heard me. Then way in the back, an owl took off. Then another. And another. One right after the other.

To this very day, over 22 years later, they have not come back.

You know, the Lord Jesus is not only the Saviour of the world, He is also the Great Physician. He brought healing and freedom to my family.

We found out later that there were five medicine men who had put curses on my family and everything I owned. Praise God His power is greater than that of any medicine man. Through the precious blood of Jesus, my family and I found true freedom and life.

Peter Grey Eyes became a pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance after his conversion.

Originally published in Indian Life Newspaper, May/June 1996 and July/August 2004.
www.indianlife.org

 

 
 
 
 

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