Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers to Trek Trail of Tears With Australian Horse Trainer


Update: ICTMN has received confirmation that the grandmothers themselves will not be going on this trek, more information to come.

The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers is planning to trek more than 800 miles from Oklahoma to Montana on the Trail of Tears led by Australian horse trainer Carlos Tabernaberri.

Carlos Tabernaberri Australian Horse Trail of Tears

Tabernaberri was discovered by Noqah Elisi, Cherokee, after seeing a man in a vision quest who told her she was to follow the footsteps of her grandmothers. She then saw him on a DVD she found in a box of books at a garage sale, reports

“His way of working with the horse without using pain as a motivator just touched me so deeply,” she told ABC News. “Traditional Native values all talk about respect. I don’t care if you’re a full blood, a chief, if you’re wearing buckskin and covered in feathers. I don’t care who you are, if you’re not treating that animal with respect then you’re not living traditional Native values.

“I saw that balance of right relationship with Carlos—I haven't seen that with other trainers. He is reminding us of the traditional Cherokee values.”

Elisi and Tabernaberri formed a bond and Elisi sought approval to ride under the banner of the council.

Tabernaberri’s involvement in the trek was supported by Grandmother Margaret Behan, Arapaho and Cheyenne, after she spoke with him for minutes on the phone.

“Carlos is very intuitive with the horses, he can communicate with them,” Behan told ABC News. “A horse whisperer, you know? They talk to them, can communicate and connect with them. They become very one with each other.”

Tabernaberri is honored by the invitation, and even after he told Grandmother Behan that there are many horse trainers in the United States they could use, but Grandmother Behan was clear that they want him to lead the trek.

“It is going to be an amazing spiritual journey—not only for them, but for me,” he told ABC News.

The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers formed in 2004 after the grandmothers met in Phoenicia, New York—home of the Iroquois Nation—in response to a prophecy made by their ancestors thousands of years ago. According to the video below, that prophecy says we are at a critical time in history, and that if humans don’t change their ways the consequences will be dire. It also says the thirteen grandmothers, who are from around the world, will light the way for the rest of us.

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chatolyday2's picture
Submitted by chatolyday2 on
Why are they calling it the "Trail of Tears"? Why are they walking to Montana? Shouldn't they be walking the opposite direction?

noqahelisi's picture
Submitted by noqahelisi on
Osiyo, There were many “trails of tears” that all Native American peoples were forced to walk during the genocide, dismantling and forced relocation to reservations and prisons. All of those involved in this ride are Apache, Comanche, Toba, Cheyenne/Arapaho, Cherokee, Penobscot, Lakota, and others, have ancestors who were targeted for extinction and subjugation; my ancestors walked the Cherokee Trail of Tears from Red Clay, to Tahlequah; Grandmother Margaret’s ancestors were taken from their home in Montana to Oklahoma in chains. Oklahoma was a place of disease and systematic starvation; for families to stay and survive together required great strength of will and determination. Those who decided to return home to Montana knew they would be hunted down and executed; for some, this was a risk worth taking. That there are Cheyenne people in Oklahoma and in Montana is a testament to the great strength, determination, and love in the hearts of Cheyenne ancestors. Those Cheyenne who decided to leave Oklahoma, were re-captured and imprisoned in Nebraska, escaped again; to finally make it back to their homeland. Beginning at Fort Reno, Oklahoma, we will follow the trail of the Cheyenne people who made their way back to their beloved Tongue River Valley and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, where we will join with Grandmother Margaret as she hosts the 11th gathering of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. After that gathering, we will return to Oklahoma where horses and riders will the follow the Cherokee Trail of Tears South back to my home, the mountains of many smokes deep in Cherokee Country; carrying with us the teachings, blessings and prayers of those 13 wise women. We are the grand children of those who stood in the face of genocide, with great courage, strength and love, determined not to pass from the face of the earth. This ride is our voice proclaiming to the world that our ancestors did not suffer in vain, because we are still here! Noqah Elisi: G-granddaughter of Sarah Jane Willis who was full-blood Wolf Clan Cherokee born in Hamilton County, TN, buried not far from Red Clay, TN. (I do not ride as a representative of the Cherokee Nation, I ride for my grandmother and for my own healing, and to say "S'gi" to all our ancestors for making it possible for us to be here today)

fshearer's picture
Submitted by fshearer on
Can people travel with them?