My 5th grandchild (a boy) was born on the evening of Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Many thoughts have crossed my mind, touched my heart and entered my soul since his first breath was taken. I will remember on the day of his birth that in the fields of Algonquin Territory, wild strawberries were beginning to ripen and that the wild roses along a forest treeline were in full bloom. Snapping turtles were laying their eggs in shallow-dug holes the turtle itself had excavated. There is so much more I will tell my grandson describing the moon of his birth.
I will speak to him at some point in the future about the fact that a pandemic was in the midst of changing our lives forever when his life began. I will teach him as best I can as his grandfather, the difference between common sense and nonsense, waste of life and purpose of life. I’ll reminisce with him on hot humid summer evenings about the heat wave we were caught in at the time his mom went into labour. There will be much for us to talk about, me and him, perhaps in a canoe on calm waters. The canoe is powerful medicine and I will call upon it at counselling times when my grandchildren are confused about life’s mysteries. My new grandson and I might be sitting in the bleachers at a powwow site a few years from now and we’ll speak then about strawberries and wild roses.
My new grandson is a handsome boy. He’s tiny at this time, only 18 inches long but he was born 3 weeks early, so in early July (when doctors said he would arrive) we’ll take another look at him. Regardless, I’ll love him always and offer teachings of the land to him for as long as I can. I intend to do all possible so that he will never be stricken with diabetes. I will nurture him and mentor him so that there will be less of a chance that he will fall some day to addiction and emotional misery. He will become one of my fishing buddies. Together, all my grandchildren and I will feast on the shore of the lake and offer fish, berries, wild rice and corn for the feasting circle of our ancestors and future generations.
On the day my new grandson was born, I awoke in the darkest hour of the night and saw in my yard, several fireflies. One of them left the tall grasses and came towards the window. When only a few feet from the window pane, the firefly suddenly veered away and disappeared. It was my first firefly sighting of 2020. I knew then that my grandson’s spirit name is “Brings Fire”. At a time in the near future (this week) I will go to the forest with the placenta my daughter brought home with her. And as I have done for my other grandchildren, I will mark out a circle in the forest with tobacco into which I will place the placenta. I will speak at that time to the Good Spirit about Brings Fire and what my promises are to him. He will know about fire, that which he will watch over at ceremonies and that which burns in his spirit and that of his nation. He will know the sun, the moon and stars. He will protect water as if it was his greatest treasure. My new grandson will leave his mark in a good way. I’m certain of it!
Right now, the little man prefers to live in dreamland. He sleeps constantly, offering only a small whimper or a tender twitch now and then to signal that he is also taking part in the family visit. Brings Fire wouldn’t fare very well at this time in an arm-wrestling contest. He’s not about to do a grass dance or hoop dance anytime soon, so weak he is at this time. But he’ll grow! He is a pure human being now, without any wrongs to interrupt his sleep time. If it was up to me, he would not be baptized. There are no sins weighing him down. Let him make up his own mind about the definition of spirituality when he comes of age. If he chooses in the future to become a Christian, a Muslim or whatever else offered by a religion, then so be it. I’ll honour the choice he makes no matter what it is.
May he grow into a strong wise man who will be honourable and dedicated to the wellness of the Algonquin Nation and to all other Peoples of Indigenous bloodlines. This is my prayer, not only for him but also for all my grandchildren and yes, for all Algonquin children still now in their time of innocence.
Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind (Albert Dumont)