This is the Web-page of the Bulgarian Indian Society
Voices from the Eagle Circle - the Indians of Bulgaria
We are the people from the Eagle Circle - the first Bulgarian Indian Society. It was founded on March 10th 1990, and although we have only been together for a short time, most of us have been following the Sacred Red Path for many years. The Path we had to face was often one of hardships, conflicts, mockery and lack of understanding, but even though there have never been many of us, we have felt united within the Sacred Circle of the Eagle - that bird which flies closest to the Great Spirit's heart and whose eyes see everything.
Many people wonder what can possibly connect us so closely with the Native Americans since thousands of miles separate us and we are heirs to a different culture... These people do not understand what provoked our interest and love for the American Indians. But according to us it is a duty of every honest child of Mother Earth, of every son and daughter of this planet, to pay a due respect to all the Native Americans and to all the native people who are the Keepers of the original human values. Unfortunately, most of these values have been forgotten or even lost by many people. That is why the Native Americans may rightly be considered to be among the Teachers of Humankind.
A common ancestry
As followers of these teachings, members of the Eagle Circle believe that all things are connected, nothing is accidental; and nor was the founding of the Bulgarian Indian Society. Ages ago in the Asian steppes our predecessors - the Proto-Bulgarians - had a way of life very similar to that of the Plains Indians in the XVIII-XIX centuries. The Proto-Bulgarians were horse-people, they lived in leather lodges 'yurta' and respected Father-Sky (Tangra) and Mother-Earth (Umai). The warriors shaved their heads, leaving only a scalp lock very similar to the hairstyle of the Pawnees, the Osages and other native tribal men. Amazing similarities can be distinguished between Bulgarian old carpets and covers, and those made by Navajo people.
The history of Bulgaria is similar to the history of the Native Americans to some extent. Our people spent almost five hundred years (1396-1878) under the Ottoman yoke, but we managed to preserve our nation with its own language, religion and traditions. At present Bulgaria is a small, ex-communist country, which has fallen deeply into a heavy economic and social crisis. Our membership of the Eagle Circle Society makes us all feel much happier, stronger and more united.
There are striking similarities between the domestic, religious and military life of the Native Americans and the ancient Bulgarians which point to kinship and a common ancestral origin for the two communities, many, many centuries ago, somewhere in Siberia. This gives us a sense of excitement and obligation but it is not in itself the touchstone of our credo. 'You can recognize an Indian by his Way of Life, not by his blood percentage', claimed Chief Lame Deer from the Lakota people. This truth has worked its way to the heart of every one of us and we believe that the Native American philosophy is a correct and profound assessment of the world in its essence and diversity. 'Being Indian does not necessarily mean having 'red skin', but rather a particular way of thinking!' , says Billy Miles from the Tuskarora people. For those who profess this way of thinking, cloud and grass, tree and water, man and animal, fish and bird are deeply and inherently connected, being the creation of one and the same Great Mystery. In spite of their intricate interrelations all things are equal, since they have a common Sacred Task - to bring out their nature utterly in harmony with the rest of this wonderful world.
Being good is not sufficient - we have to be true! That is what the Sacred Red Path is giving us - the great opportunity to be real Human Beings, to be Earth People. We should seek the source of truth in our own hearts, for it is the Great Spirit who bestowed it upon us. In this quest for Truth, often identified with striving for Perfection, we can achieve our Freedom.
The Way of industrialized society is losing its power - ecological crises, political impotence, total alienation and loss of spiritual values are facts we can no longer ignore! It is not surprising then that many people have recently turned their attention towards the teachings of Yoga, Zen, Dao and other ancient sources of truth which have stood the test of time. These are good Ways but they are not the only ones... Everyone has his or her own Way - as we say here, in Bulgaria: 'Every train has its passengers.' Something more - we do not intend to say that modern civilization is totally wrong, but we believe much more in the Old Ways. Indeed, life is changing, but we are sure that some fundamental truths remain eternal. These truths are the old rules of Mother Earth, which form the basis of all life throughout the history of the planet.
The Way forward...
The Native American Way or Sacred Red Path, which the people from the Eagle Circle have adopted, is really good and powerful. The Native Inhabitants of Turtle Island achieved a harmonious balance between their inner being and the outer world. Most of the modern American Indians still have this Knowledge. Perhaps the Great Spirit's wish is that people like us, who wish to be true Earth People, should add our effort to restore the broken balance of today's world, following the ancient wisdom of the Native American traditions. We ardently believe that it is so, because we are steadily following this Path. It all started back in the years of our childhood and adolescence, with the 'Indian novels' and 'Indian films' that later inspired unquenchable thirst for authentic information on American Indian history, culture and spirituality, so difficult to find in Bulgaria. The Native Americans are not very popular in our country; very few books about the Indians, their traditional lifestyles, history and philosophy are issued in our fatherland. We are trying to change that situation by offering books on Native American subject-matter to different Bulgarian publishers, and by giving consultations to help with their publication. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to publish books ourselves for financial reasons.
We have already established contacts with some Indian organizations and individual Indianists in Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Russia, the USA, Slovakia and other countries. Thanks to these great friends and kind adherents we have learned many important things, received interesting materials and very useful books about the American Indians. We are extremely grateful to these relatives-in-spirit of ours who live in different countries of our common world. Thankfulness fills up our souls when we think about and pray for our dear brothers and sisters all over the world - without their help we could not get necessary books and other materials on Native Americans. The shortage of means and the visa restrictions for Bulgarians as citizens of an ex-communist country, make visiting Pow-Wows and other gatherings abroad almost impossible, even though members of our society have been invited to such events.
We have also established connections with some Native Americans representing the people of Lakota, Blackfoot, Ojibway, Seneca, Comanche, Flathead, Pawnee and Navajo; the Omaha people sent the Eagle Circle a Sacred Pipe, the highest symbol of the Good Red Road. These contacts gave us a lot - our knowledge gradually expanded, our feelings and thoughts matured, and although there is still a lot to learn, we are well aware of our Path, and of how and why we are following it.
We understand the differences between the various Native American cultures. That is why our society is separated into groups dealing with the traditions of the Plains (Lakota, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Comanche, Kiowa, Mandan, Pawnee), Woodland (Iroquois, Ojibway, Sac & Fox) and South West Indians (Apache, Navajo and Hopi). We still do not have groups dealing with the North West Coast, South East and other Indian cultures. At the same time we are very interested in current issues, in the present life of the Native Americans. The Eagle Circle Society is not a political organization, but we support the interests of the Native Americans in some forms of legal protest.
In addition to our 'theoretical' activities we organize several tipi camps every year in the Bulgarian mountains. There we can live our dreams - we sing and dance traditional Indian songs and dances, we have councils, we learn the old Native American skills, make Indian clothes, different items, weapons and ornaments ourselves. We also play traditional Native American games, have feasts and celebrations. We lead Pipe-offering and Sweat Lodge ceremonies, raising our voices in prayers towards the Great Mystery for the life and good health of our relatives and friends, for the happiness of the whole of Humankind and all the Bird-people, Animal-people, Tree-people, Grass-people, Water-people, Stone-people... for peace and harmony on the Earth.
You can find us in the libraries where we spend our time researching into the spiritual and material culture of the Native Americans. You can also find us in our camps, at our Pow-Wows where we dance, sing and exchange opinions about the traditional American Indian life-ways. Bulgarian mountains, river valleys and lake shores are a beautiful and everlasting source of energy and inspiration, of good medicine. The great Bulgarian poet Ivan Vazov exclaimed, from amidst the splendour of pinewood and rocks: 'I am at home now!' Living in the mountains and in the forest during our traditional camps, we feel exactly the same way.
The Eagle Circle people send their voices to all who find in their hearts and minds feelings and thoughts in accordance with the ones we profess!
All our relations!
BULGARIAN INDIAN EAGLE CIRCLE SOCIETY