Presentation on theme: "Spiritual Protocols Beliefs and Practices. What she said… RELIGION IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SCARED OF GOING TO HELL. SPIRITUALITY IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE."— Presentation transcript:
Spiritual Protocols Beliefs and Practices
What she said… RELIGION IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE SCARED OF GOING TO HELL. SPIRITUALITY IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN THERE. (Anonymous Indian woman who’s an alcoholic, Redwire Magazine, )
Attendance at Indian Residential Schools in Canada has had a tremendous effect on the Spiritual Practices and Beliefs of Aboriginal Peoples across Canada. There is varying adherence to Christianity and Traditional Ways even in single communities. Native peoples have maintained their spiritual beliefs and practices from “historic” times.
Strong ceremonial protocols among Indigenous peoples made the negotiation of peace and friendship treaties and relationship building with the British and French possible. The European brought long standing protocols to the Americas which mirrored Indigenous practice. Native peoples have upheld those protocols and still speak of “polishing the silver covenant chain” of 1676 and maintaining positive relations.
A Seneca Speaker said, “Let the chaine be kept cleane and bright as silver that the great tree that is cannot break it a peeces if it should fall upon it (sic).” The covenant chain continued until 1753 when Mohawks, claiming to have been cheated out of lands rightfully theirs, declared that the chain was broken.
Elders must be offered tobacco when you ask them to share their knowledge. Please note, it is very important to be specific in making your request. If they cannot help you, they will say so and not accept the tobacco. You may then ask for a referral. This exchange is similar to a contract between two parties and creates spiritual obligations on both sides.
When giving tobacco, place it in front of the elder and state your request. If you hand it directly to them, you remove their choice. The elder will indicate acceptance of your request by picking it up. Always speak to the tobacco BEFORE placing the tobacco before them.
Tobacco Tobacco is one of the sacred medicines of our people. A tobacco tie is simply the making of a small sacred bundle if you will to hold the tobacco. A tobacco tie is made with a small square of 100% cotton (usually red) cloth and it is tied with either a narrow strip of 100% cotton cloth or a narrow piece of red ribbon. Making a tie for the tobacco makes it easier to carry on your person, to make an offering of tobacco to another person, and to hold on to for longer periods of time. Offerings of loose tobacco are made as well, in particular to the Sacred Fire.
Tobacco Protocols Tobacco has been used for many generations as offerings to the spirits, for planting, for gathering food, for healings and for ceremonies. The sacred uses of tobacco are different for many tribes but a basic truth remains, tobacco should be used for prayer, protection, respect and healings. Tobacco is medicine. The meaning of medicine can be translated according to perceptions, i.e. power from the creator and/or knowledge of self.
On the question of obtaining guidance and help from an elder, it is the one asking for guidance in his or her journey, by protocol, who makes the request for the opening prayer and gives the tobacco to the elder or spiritual advisor. The giving of tobacco should not be delegated to the adjudicator. “You cannot withdraw from your own protocol.” Therefore, the claimant must present the tobacco.
There are four colours that are most frequently used, but again this may vary across Turtle Island. East – Yellow (Eagle) Attitudes and Insights South – Red (Mouse) Feelings and Integration West – Black (Bear) Developing the Mind/Soul North – White (Buffalo) Maintaining the Positive
Smudging is a ritual way to cleanse a person, place or an object of negative energies, spirits or influences. The smudging ceremony involves the burning of special, sacred plants and herbal resins, then, either passing an object through the resulting smoke, or fanning the smoke around a person or place. The spirit of the plant then purifies whatever is being smudged.
The Sweat Lodge provides a purification of the Mind, Body and Spirit. It is a returning to the womb experience that allows the cleansing of spirit and a new beginning, a form of re-birth. It remains a powerful force for clarity and positive change. There are many protocols across Turtle Island for this cleansing ritual, you may request instruction if you are invited to participate.
Long Houses Longhouses are long and narrow bark covered houses that the Haudenosuanee (People of the Longhouse), also known as the Iroquois, lived in until the latter part of the 1800's. These homes contained one large extended family. All the women and children living in a longhouse were of the same clan. Longhouses had two doors and no windows. One door was located on each end of the longhouse. Numerous longhouses in an area created a village. The village was sometimes protected from intruders by a palisade (an 18 ft. tall wooden fence). The Haudenosaunee planted gardens around their homes. They planted foods like corn, beans, and squash. They also hunted game and birds, they fished, and they gathered wild plants, berries, seeds, and nuts.
Historic Long House
There are many places of ceremony and ritual across Canada, in many different structures and places. The Haudonasaunee Long House remains an active place of spiritual sustenance in the Iroquoian community. There are many teachings, clan protocols, and historical oratory and condolence ceremonies held in the Long House today.
The Native people of British Columbia also use a Long House for their ceremonies, but there is is often called a “Big House” and Potlatch (give ways) are held there by families. In BC, in simplified terms, the more you give away to your community, the higher your stature as a family goes. There are songs, dances, masks, and important protocols for passing on practice and belief.
Historic BC Big House
Modern BC Big House
The Midewiwin (also spelled Midewin and Medewiwin) or the Grand Medicine Society is a secretive religion of the aboriginal groups of the Maritimes, New England and Great Lakes regions in North America. Its practitioners are called Midew and the practices of Midewiwin referred to as Mide. Occasionally, male Midew are called Midewinini, which sometimes is translated into English as either "shaman" or "medicine man".
Teaching Scrolls Called wiigwaasabakoon in the Anishinaabe language, birch bark scrolls were used to pass on knowledge between generations. These scrolls were described as very sacred and the interpretations of the scrolls were not easily given away. The historical areas of the Ojibwe were recorded on scrolls, and stretched from the east coast all the way to the prairies by way of lake and river routes.
Shaking Tent Design of the jiisakiiwigaan ("'juggler' lodge" or "Shaking Tent" or traditionally "shaking wigwam") is similar in construction as that of the mide-wiigiwaam. Unlike a mide-wiigiwaam that is an oval domed structure, the jiisakiiwigaan is a round high- domed structure of typically 3 feet in diameter and 6 feet in height, and large enough to hold two to four people.
Medicine Wheels A Medicine Wheel is a physical manifestation of Spiritual energy. An outward expression of an internal dialogue. A mirror in which we can better SEE what is going on within us. It is a wheel of protection and enables us, and allows us, to gather surrounding energies into a focal point and to commune with Spirit, Self and Nature. (ALL elemental forces) Creation!
Ancient Medicine Wheel
Modern Cree MW
Seven fires prophecy is a prophecy originally taught among the practitioners of Midewiwin. Each fire represents a prophetical age, marking phases, or epochs, in the life of the people on Turtle Island (North America). The Seven fires prophecy represent key spiritual teachings for North America, and suggest that the different colors and traditions of the human beings can come together on a basis of respect. The Algonquins are the keepers of the seven fires prophecy wampum.