Migwech Ancestors

Since snow and ice arrived, already many accidents are occurring. People are being careless and not giving the snow, ice and cold winds the respect due them. The ice does not make promises of health and safety to anyone. Even the super-cautious among us can experience injury from falling on black ice. So please take extra care!

Had a visit to my camp last week with a couple of guys to do some work. We manually carried in materials, enough to get the men with me started on a project. Once I put them to work, I walked the kilometre back to the van with a toboggan I had hidden at my cabin, to retrieve the rest of the supplies we needed to complete the work at hand. The snow-covered trail was rough, trees were strewn across it, fallen by the great strength of a storm which passed through about 10 days ago. Pulling the toboggan, loaded heavy with tools was not easy. A trip which usually takes 12-15 minutes took a brutal 45 minutes and I needed to sit for a while after getting back to the shack.

As bad as it was, the toboggan made my work so much easier. Back home much later I got to thinking about the inventions of the First Peoples. The structure and design of equipment and tools they dreamed up were truly deeply rooted into their sacred beliefs and of course their natural ingenuity when it came to working with things from the forest to improve their lives. The canoe, snowshoes, wampum beads and the toboggan are just a few of the things our people brought forth hundreds if not thousands of years ago that even the greatest minds of today’s modern technology cannot improve upon. Let us stand with humility before our ancestors who are responsible for these things.

A human being who steers clear of technology (as much as possible) and who cannot be seduced by money does not think like most other people. This is a human being whose mind is in constant communication with the spirit living in his/her heart. Such a person understands what prayer is. The land works with such a person. Our Anishinabe ancestors, the ones who invented snowshoes and the like, were such human beings.

I leave you with this winter wish:

Long ago, an ancestor would sit near a small fire where the “cold moons” of Winter had instructed ice to begin to form at the lake’s edge. Ice appearing on the lake directed the ancestor to acknowledge the moon, the water and the changes taking place on the land which had potential to bring suffering and hardship to family, friends and community. The ancestor would pray, with pipe or drum and the spirit of “Winter Season” and Kichi Manido would hear the prayer. With humility, the ancestor would request that the harsh winds of the season would be few. And that “fire” would warm the skill of the storyteller. The ancestor’s words, heard through the smoke of the pipe or the beats of the drum, were that “Winter Season” would be kind and bring peace and joy into the lodge of the good people.

It is with this in mind that I make my request that you, my friends, and all your loved ones, have a safe, healthy and accident free “Winter Season”.

With blessings,
Albert Dumont, South Wind.

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