20 yr old near death experienceDreams are not just a foreshadow
In both books there is a deep belief in a purpose or calling for every native person communicated through directly from the Creator or through dreams, spiritual guides or ancestors.
Snowboy says that, when a human being is born into this world, there is a spirit guide that becomes that person’s companion for the rest of their life either a spirit animal or an ancestor guide. According to Hill, this “strong spiritual connection, which is a very natural source for a person’s spirit, is like the battery to our body” (Hill, Intro)
Part of honoring the Creator and expressing gratitude to spirit guides and ancestors is by celebrating with ceremonies such as the ones connected to the sacred goose that fed the Cree people for thousands of years.It’s significant that: “On the day you were born, your grandfather killed four geese.” (Snowboy, 2)Hill also gives an example of ceremony in the first lines of her book – she was raised with teachings and customs of the Longhouse people from Six Nations and introduces herself as Gawehogeh which means flower in the floating water. This is the name she was given at a ceremony at the Longhouse
From a young age, Hill recognized the tremendous responsibility and power of receiving messages in dreams. In her book, she takes us through a series of dreams that she can remember as early as 4 years old in amazing detail many of which feature spirit guides and ancestors referred to as either “old native man or old native women” and incorporate animals such as the grizzly bear, eagle, butterfly and cattar pillar that teach lessons on the other themes we will be discussing such as temptation, behavior, knowledge. Many of her dreams are corrective – “with every correction you make as a result of a dream or message, your spirit guide comes closer to you.” (Hill, 63) Then from your prayers you send to the creator, he sends direction down to your guide and then your guide gives it to you. That’s how you get closer to your own spirit, your spirit guide, and the creator. Dreams can also be sent as a test or a challenge to see how much we believe in our selves and hold onto our values.
As with Hill, Snowboy started to hear The voice at the age of 7. Unlike his contemporaries, Harry grew up in the bush with his grandparents listening to the Elder’s stories of how we were created, our ancestral ways, and the spiritual laws governing the land and the people. This prepared him to receive the call to become a healer.Snowboy explains that a generation of Cree people were lost to the residential schools so that in his community, until he was called to be a spiritual healer there was no one to teach or receive that gift of becoming a healer from the Creator. Quote: I was feasted for my achievements. Like the time I killed my first bird or the fish I caught in the wintertime. Family were invited to share in the food at a feast. I never suffered from a lack of identity because of these ceremonies. (Snowboy, 8)
“The LifeGiver gave the native people the duty of caretakers of his land but also the ability to connect with it both physically and spiritually” (Snowboy 64) Communities have to bring back how their ancestors honoured life when a baby is born into this world. At every stage the rites of passage ceremonies are a spiritual awakening for the child. Now that so much of this knowledge and tradition has been lost, the relationship between humans and the Creator has been lost, the relationship with the earth is marred and people can no longer receive or fulfill their calling so they become lost and become vulnerable to addiction, abuse and self doubtSimilarly, Hill describes a dream which says that when the Europeans started their genocidal process of changing the original Aboriginal culture, we started to lay down the ancestral ways and lost their original culture and spirituality and this marks her people going down a different path.
In their books, both authors discuss their approach to healing which are different but both agree that lack of healing leads to unhappiness and addiction which makes you vulnerable and reduces your spiritual connection to the Creator. Hill outlines the steps to healing as the Healing = 3 A’s; Awareness, Acceptance, and Action (Hill, 78) saying that many of the self- destructive behaviors in our lives come from being hurt and then acting out as a result. Instead if we take conscious charge of our lives and control of our actions,feelings and behaviors, only then can you become healed and experience peace and happiness.
Snowboy’s message of healing is all about restoring the Spiritual dimensions of life and reconnecting with the Spirit Guides. His message is about striving for understanding and leaving aside judgement.
Growing hunger for native spirituality Cannot receive the Creator until mind and soul comes together to be strong enough to receive his messageBecoming an instrument of the Creator so that he can work through youPage 1“It is funny how I don’t seem to remember much of my early education at school. It’s probably because of the powerful impact of the Cree teachings I received from my grandparents. What I learned from Cree stories and legends held immense power. How could anything else compare with the magic and pride I felt when I heard stories of our ancestors? ” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 11)“…the love my family bestowed on me cannot even begin to describe the feeling of knowing you have a purpose in this life” – snowboy 41
Indigenous presentation #1
The making of medicine peopleDeborah Hansen-Lange, Bounmy Inthavongand Corine Vreugdenhil-Witteveen16 January 2012
Presentation outline:• Introduction • Brief background on Indigenous history• Spirituality, healing and ceremony • Group discussion• Family and Education • Group discussion• Temptations of life and returning to ancestral roots• Last words • Questions and comments
Brief background“The reason that this book was written is to explain theimportance of respectful understandings.” -Hill, 2009 (pp. ii)
Colonization • Establishment of settlements • Demands of the fur trade • European ethnocentricity • Transformation of lifeSource: http://atethepaint-canadianbacon.blogspot.com/2010/08/history-of-canada-pre-colonization.html
Residential schools• Lost of the unborn generations • Generations without guidance• Lost of identity • Life without language and culture Source: http://www.virtualcurriculum.com/N3225/spring2006/melissa_wendi/3.htm l
Urbanization• Economic and social inequalities • Health • Poverty • Education• Dissociation from the land Source: http://www.rogest.com/templates/Gallery.htm l
This week’s readings1. Spirituality, healing and ceremony2. Education and family3. Temptations of life and returning to ancestral roots
Spirituality, ceremony & healingThere is a purpose or calling for every native personcommunicated from the Creator
Spirit guides• Spirit animals and ancestor guides “…this strong spiritual connection, which is a very natural source for a person’s spirit, is like the battery to our body” - Hill, 2009 (pp. ii) Source: http://reverentiallyspeakinglove.blogspot.com/2010/10 /spirit-guides.html
Celebrating with ceremony • The Sacred Goose connection: “On the day you were born, your grandfather killed four geese.” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 2) • The Naming Ceremony: • Gawehogeh – flower floating in the water Source: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Northern+Gateway+hearings+mystery +Some+intervenors+were+signed+without/5978681/story.html
The significance of dreams “With every correction you make as a result of a dream or message, your spirit guide comes closer to you.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 63) • Dreams as corrective • Dreams as a test or challenge Source: http://blog.cifor.org/wp- content/uploads/2010/10/indigenous- canadians.jpg
Identity and spirituality “How could anything else compare with the magic and pride I felt when I heard the stories of our ancestors?” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 11) “I never suffered from a lack of identity because of these ceremonies.” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 8) Source: http://mediacentre.canada.travel/content/travel_story_idea s/aboriginal_culture
Identity and spirituality “The Life Giver gave the native people the duty of caretakers of his land but also the ability to connect with it both physically and spiritually” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 64) • This duty has been lost by European genocidal activity Source: http://www.turtleisland.org/discussion/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=69 56
Approaches to healing• Healing – 3 A’s (Hill, 2009; pp. 78): 1. Awareness 2. Acceptance 3. Action• The more responsibility you take, the more you can experience peace Source: http://www.bearclawgallery.com/Pain tings.aspx?PaintingImageID=2161&Pai ntingID=1565
Approaches to healing• Snowboy’s message of healing is about restoring the Spiritual dimensions of life and reconnecting with the Spirit Guides Source: http://seventhgenerationhealingnetwork.web.officeli ve.com/HarrySnowboy.aspx
Approaches to healing• Group discussion (15 minutes) – forgiveness and healing • Group discussion for 5 minutes • 2-3 minutes for each group to present thoughts
Discussion questions1. How can we take some of Hill’s and Snowboy’s Indigenous teachings with respect to healing and incorporate them into our “Eurocentric” mentality that was devised out of fear (Hill, 96)?2. Reflect on the two authors’ perspectives regarding self- determined actions and behaviors vs. spiritually determined actions such as love and forgiveness with respect to healing?3. Snowboy and Hill were called to be healers, however according to this week’s readings; every person is called by the Creator for a specific purpose. How could these quotes regarding healing lead a person to understand their spiritual calling?
Quote 1“I have learnt to forgive the past because peoplehave their own hurt. I had to forgive because Iwas given the duty to work with the healing of ourpeople. I had to start with my own healing beforeI could take that light I was given and share it withthe rest of the world.” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 72)
Quote 2“He (Jesus Christ) explains that we human beingsare the ones who separate each other because ofreligion. This had to stop and he said that heavenlooks down on us all being equal. Jesus began todoctor me in that ceremony and whatever it washe took out my anger and resentment towards theChristian community was gone. It was anincredible experience...When I go visitcommunities I talk about the visit from Jesus…Iencourage people not to judge but just simply tryand understand.” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 75)
Quote 3A human being is born with lonelinessIt is not an earthy emotionIt comes from the attachment to the life giverWe are not aware but define it by our humannessWe regard it not by the depths of its originBut a longing a deep longingWe walk the earth with this loneliness - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 29)
Quote 4“Awareness is knowing the person that we havebecome, and knowing it’s not who we are meant tobe. We have allowed society and circumstances toshape and mold us into someone that behaves inways that is hurtful to ourselves and others. Webehave this way out of hurt and fear….Hurt and fearis the main factor that causes people to becomeangry, revengeful, mean, distant, withdrawn, cold, addicted, judgmental, arrogant, etc. Our awarenessthat we have developed into a person we don’tlike…is the first step…We can begin to changeourselves by first becoming aware of ourthoughts…and start getting rid of the negative andfearful thoughts.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 78)
Quote 5“Acceptance is acknowledging that you haveallowed this to happen. Now you have a choice.Are you going to allow yourself or others to defineyou out of fear, or are you going to choose tobecome the best you! The you, that you weremeant to be? Accepting that blaming yourself orothers, doesn’t help change your inner self, it onlygives you an excuse to behave in a self-destructiveway. When we accept the fact that we can controlhow we feel; how our life has turned out; and ourdestiny or path we are walking, we can thenunderstand our power.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 79)
Quote 6“Action is making these changes of behaviorhappen by being assertive about the awarenessof your inner self. Only we are aware of thethoughts, attitudes and behavior that we chooseto use. We have to be assertive about practicinghealthier thinking, feeling and behavior.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 79)
Hill and Snowboy• Family played integral role in development• Many similarities growing up• Family reaction to dreams/voices Source: http://www.hreoc.gov.au/education/bth/community_guide/index.html
Families“The movement out oflonghouses and intonuclear families.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 97-98)• Children are precious• The voices of Elders are extremely important Source: http://www.communities.qld.gov.au/gatew ay/about-us/corporate- publications/community- connect/community-connect-issue- eighteen/keeping-indigenous-families- together
Families • Families include ancestors • We are part of the family of the universe“We are the youngest ones in thefamily of the universe, yet somepeople have forgotten this and act likewe are the creators of it.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 44) Source: http://www.rmbrwhen.com/nativ.htm
Families• Dreams and voices helped heal family• Family helped push against peer pressure Source: http://www.freespiritgallery.ca/toddbaker.htm
Families• Current education is inadequate• Ceremonies need to be passed on• Healing work from residential schools Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/artdesign/story/2007/12/04/norval- morrisseau.html
Family and discussion• Group discussion (15 minutes) • Group discussion for 5 minutes • 2-3 minutes for each group to present thoughts
Discussion questions1. Family is very important to both authors. Using the quote you were given, discuss how the author’s perspective on family differs from your own perspective or belief.2. The history of aboriginal people has been altered due to colonization. Consider your quote and discuss how the path of indigenous family has been altered.
Quote 1“My father listens to us when we say somethingbecause he knows that we have just come fromthe heavens and he has been here longer.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 43)
Quote 2“The fire is the heart of all men. We carry that inour hearts and she (the grandmother) had tendedmy fire. I would see her again. She was to showme that women are the keepers of theceremonies. She taught me about respect andassisted in the healing of my soul through theunderstanding of family and women.” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 49)
Quote 3“When the white people came here and yourpeople started to move out of their longhousesand made houses like your white brothers, theyseparated their families. Whenever you separateyourself, there will be darkness.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 98)
Quote 4“They didn’t want the people to be united and towork together for the needs of their people andtheir communities. They (the church) wantedeveryone to just worry about themselves and theirnuclear family, that’s it, this way you becomeweaker and more vulnerable and easier to beforced to bend their values.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 97)
Quote 5“We need to question if the direction or advicegiven is against our own inner values of right andwrong, not necessarily what our religion or familyexpects from us but if it feels right to us.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 77)
Quote 6“As Native people, we never had incest or rapefrom our spiritual leaders, nor did our ancestorsrape and molest the non-native or native children.Children are considered gifts, little spirit beingsthat have been given to us from love shown by thecreator.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 71)
Temptations of life and returning to ancestral roots“Once a person is connected to heart, spirit and mind andworking in unison, then you are functioning as a healthyhuman being. Until then you are only functioning as a partial-being and therefore out of balance”. - Hill, 2009 (pp. v)
Temptations of life • Lack of guidance from family and community • Loss of identity and direction • Questioning • Insecurities and pain • Acceptance of modernism • Needing to conform“People have become so distant fromtheir original self or their own spirit thatthey become someone who iscold, mean and distant just for the sakeof fitting into society.” - Hill, 2009 (pp. 21) Source: http://mosaicwine.wordpress.com/
Returning to ancestral roots • Sense of identity and self-worth • Connection to the Creator and his creations • Purpose • The Peace Maker • Good mind and good heart“It’s important to teach childrenabout their identity.” - Snowboy, 2010 (pp. 66) Source: http://edmortimer.wordpress.com/2011/ 08/03/chief-looking-horse-speaks-at- protecting-mother-earth-gathering/
References:Frideres, J.S. and Gadacz, R.R. (2005) Profile of Aboriginal People I: Populationand Health. Chapter 3. pages 54-88 in Aboriginal peoples in Canada.Herry, A., Waldram, J., and Young, T.K. (2006) An overview of Aboriginal Peoples inCanada. Chapter 1. pages 3-23. in Aboriginal peoples in Canada:Historical, cultural and epidemiological perspectives, 2nd edition. Toronto:University of Toronto Press.Hill, W. Understanding life…What my ancestors taught me through my dreams.(2009) Pittsburgh: Red Lead Press.Snowboy, H. A Cree Shaman’s story: voice from the wilderness. (2010) Ottawa:Baico Publishing Inc.