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A Sacred Story – An Anishinabe Legend

An Anishnabe (Anishinabe) Legend

It was spring when the young Anishnibe Warrior came to Community.
There was something different about him that many did not understand.
With his well spoken ways and the confidence in which he held was
something foreign to these people that were of the “Traditional
Circle”. After several months of being in the community many
were afraid to speak with him or considered there to be something
wrong with him yet no one could find fault with the way he did things
not even the work that he did. This Young man knew very little of
the ways of the Circle and so he thought that he would go and learn
their ways. Much talk and teachings came from this and he learned
very well what was expected of him as a Warrior in the Traditional circle.

After many months of teachings he came back to the Elders to question
them concerning the state of community and why it was that so many
things were denied the others in the circle. He saw old people,
disabled people, mothers that were relying on the Gov. to care for
their families as their men were sleeping in someone else’s bed,
and many more things that bothered him. He was told that he was
meddling in the affairs of the community and that this was not an
acceptable to the community. It did not seem right to him that only
the people that could pick the sacred medicines were allowed to
have them and it did not seem right to him that the Elders did not
have Eagle Feathers for being elders, yet those that could dance
and were young and strong did. He again was told that it was how
it had become to be in this community and unless he could think
of a better way then that was the way of things.

This Young Warrior did not like it at all and became very irritable
over this as it seemed that the ways of the dominant culture were
creeping in and that no one understood that the teachings of community
are for all and not just the few who can fend for themselves. So
he went to his place to ask the Grandmothers and the grandfathers
for help in this matter. He knew this was a life or death situation
for the community so he placed his gifts down first and then entered
lodge, this was a fasting lodge a lodge of need, not like the teaching
lodge or the prayer lodge, but one of a different type constructed
differently than the others. So he prayed and fasted for many days
and so it was that the Grandmother from the Northeast came to him
and spoke not a word to him but drew a circle in the center of the
lodge and put 4 points on it and told him to go and travel the four
directions and you will have your answer that you seek.

The young warrior thanked her for the sacred teaching and left
the lodge and offered many more gifts to the Grandmothers and Grandfathers.
He left the lodge and traveled east first. In the East along a small
brook in a clearing sat the Crane and he watched the Crane for a
time. When the Crane left he offered again his gifts to the Grandmothers
and Grandfathers. When he approached the spot where the Crane was
he could smell a very familiar pungent aroma and found that there
was a 10 acre field of sweetgrass there nested in the heart of his
trap line. He began to pick and harvest the sweetgrass and harvested
with care not to pull the roots but to allow it to regrow again
next year. He filled up his sled 4 foot high with sweetgrass braids.

He returned back to the people that he saw were in need and passed
out all of the sweetgrass to the community. He held nothing back
not one blade but gave it all away. He then went to the South and
found wild tobacco growing and did the same with the tobacco ties
giving it all away saving not one piece for himself to keep He then
went to the West and found Sage and did the same and passed it all
out to the community saving not one piece for himself. Then he went
North and came upon the great Cedar Grandfather and did the same
and passed them out once again to community for those that were
in need and saved not one piece for himself.

When the Elders questioned why he had done it he said “because
everyone is equal and everyone deserves to have what everyone else
has. I have nothing but know where to get it because I walked the
path of the Grandmothers and Grandfathers and you may believe that
if there is need again in this community that I will come again
and do the same, you that make yourself great at the woes of others
are not great and your Sacred Lodge is an abomination to the Grandmothers
and Grandfathers, put your own house in order and then help others
to do the same when all houses in community are in order then there
will be peace in the lodge and many good prayers will be sent out.
I will give one more gift to show this as it was told of me to give”.
So he again left and went many days to the west to seek the great
gifts of the Grandmothers and the Grandfathers. He found a valley
with Eagle Feathers in it and again he offered his gifts to the
Grandfathers and Grandmothers and came to community and gave the
Golden Eagle Feather to community for healing. He gave all of them
away saving not one for himself, he gave one to every person the
was in need and could not get them for themselves. This last act
of defiance against the Elders outraged them to the point of openly
speaking out against his gifts.

Then the community powwow came and by chance a young dancer the
son of an Elder lost his Eagle Feather in the Circle of dancers,
and the cry went out for Veterans to come to return the Spirit of
the Eagle to the People with honor. In full Regalia as he was told
to wear he stepped forward and took his place in the East with the
other Vets. When it came time to be questioned as to who would pick
up the feather and give it away again it was found that he was the
only Veteran that was also wounded in battle so the honor was his
and his alone. When he did pick up the feather, he asked a question
of the Elders who was it that he was required to give the Eagle feather to ?

He went to a young girl that was in a wheelchair and gave her the
Eagle Feather to keep. I came for community, the one that dances
has many she had none, care for what you have or the Grandfathers
and Grandmothers will lessen your burden.

This is a true story of the people.

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