Peter Beaucage – November 8/13
Teachings help us to live a good life, how to grow as a human being, with positive teachings. The teachings help us to find our inner strength, our inner spirit.
Semaa was offered first, before the teaching could take place. We want to include the spirit in our teaching. Our inner spirit (jiiby). The spirit that comes into our physical body in the womb of our mother. Jiiby travels with us all of our life until our last breath and our heart stops beating. The spirit then travels back to our creator and Gaagiizhgang – the place where we will all go, no matter what color we are. Our spirit belongs to our Creator –Gzhemnidoo.
Commercial tobacco is being abused by the human beings. We have to trade with our brothers from the south, for natural semaa.
Sage is used to cleanse our spirit, mind, body and emotions. We will then be in ceremony.
We cleans our eyes – to see good things in our brothers
We cleanse our voice – to be truthful and honest and not to harm others with our words
We cleanse our ears – that we will listen with a good mind and to take good things to live a good life. If we hear things that are not good, we need to forget these.
We cleanse our mind to be open to the good teachings and learning and to pursue the good trail. Others will follow our trail.
We need to leave good tracks in this life.
We cleans our whole body and stand before our creator in a good way to live our life to the best way we can. Mnobimaadziwin.
We don’t just light up smoke and that’s it..
The fire keeper will use these medicines. He will smudge all objects in his sacred bundle, will smudge the people, and himself.
He will offer prayers
He will pray over the water. The women will hand out cups and kwe will hand out water from a copper pouring vessel.
Nbii is part of the ceremony. The lifeblood of mother earth. Creation would not survive.
Nbii flows through mother earth. The gift of nbii was given to the kwewag by the Creawtor. Kwewag are carriers of nbii and they have to ensure that it is clean and to always be there for the next seven generations. Nbii is sacred. Kwewag need to take responsibility more seriously. It is becoming polluted. Josephine Mndamin is bringing awareness. Nbii is in balance with fire.
Dewegan – Invitations song about the doorway, for the 4 doorways. Thinking about forever and ever. It is beyond our realm of thinking. The Creators doorway. Sending a song to the Creators doorway and to the life that comes through that doorway.
When you light your fire, use your semaa. Think about the Creators light – The Fire
Scientifically, we think about it as radioactive materials burning. Fire has been burning for eternity since the beginning.
Grandfather Giizis – it is the same fire we will be working with, since the beginning of time. It is the Creators power.
As nini, that is your connection to the Fire.
Sing the Invitation Song: Zhaawendimooyaa Wii biinidgeyaa. All of my relations
The song opens Waabnong – the Eastern Doorway. The Fire is lit. We are ready to do the work. People will begin to approach the fire with their semaa and mshkiki.
Other songs take place. Many relation songs. You can sing as the fire is burning.
When you sound your dewegan 4 times, you are calling on the 4 doorways. All the relations pay attention. Spirit is called, that the ceremony will take place. Then you sing your song.
Those are the two firekeeper songs: Invitation song and Relations song.
When we sing these songs, we invite the spirit realm, animal world, plant world, fish world…The song travels all over.
You will then smoke a man’s pipe. The men will smoke it, the women can touch it.
There is a story of waamzhoozhe’s gift. He is coming, lets hide. He was coming in a birch bark canoe. He was singing and hitting the other side of his canoe. Those are the gifts our people had. We used songs.
When the Europeans arrived, they saw our relatives doing these things. In England, they considered this the work of witches. So that is how they explained it to others. They couldn’t understand how we could do these things.
Our people acquired these gifts through fasting.
Next, pass out the semaa from a bowl. Offer semaa to the people. Ask them to put their thoughts in their semaa, and what they have to be thankful for, and why they are here today. Collect the semaa in another bowl, from the people. Smoke this semaa in the pipe, and offer some to the sacred fire.
Pipe Ceremony. Prayer with the pipe. Use the men’s pipe because we are doing a fire teaching. Male spirit. Women are welcome to hold the pipe and pray with the pipe.
Shkode Nini is a big responsibility. Not just to make fire, but to work with the fire.
When you walk on Semaa Miikan, semaa is one of the most sacred medicines. You may stray off the road of the good life sometimes. It takes a lot of work to walk mnobimaadziwin. We also learn about ourselves as males. Shkiniigi – young man. There is also we need to learn.
Respect the other side of the human beings – kwewag
One day we will look for a partner. And kwe will look for a partner. It is important to understand about mnobimaadziwin, one of the most important teachings is to carry respect. Before you can respect others, you have to respect yourself. Use the 7 grandfather teachings as your guide. They help you to pursue mnobimaadziwin. Never disrespect a kwe. If you do that, then you disrespect Creator. He gave kwewag the gift of creating life. When using semaa, you are carrying those teachings and ready to work as a young man. There is absolutely no excuse to disrespect kwe for any reason whatsoever. You can’t say you drank too much..If you want to work with fire, you need to do that in the most respectful manner. Respect your fire and respect all things.
Set up the Sacred Fire
Begin your circle. The circle is an honor. There are protectors. It is relaxing. It is a good feeling.
Migiisii Miigwaan. When we use the eagle feather in the circle, the words are Sacred. You cannot tell lies, only truth. Words of the Heart.
The Sacred Fire was introduced to Nipissing, as it was travelling from community to community. It was to stay for 4 days. Bear Island had called Nipissing, as we are the next community from them. It was through NNADAP program. Peter Beaucage and Mike Couchie went to pick up the fire and transport it here. They were met at the landing and they had brought a galvaniaed pail with them to pick up the fire. We now use lanterns to transport the Sacred Fire. The women used to make fire bags and decorated them with porcupine quills.
Peter remembered his gookmis had made a smudge for mosquitoes with rotten wood. Peter went into the bush to get the rotten wood and put it in there.
The early 1980’s was the first time the Sacred Fire came to our community. Right after our first pow wow. 25 years ago. It is the first time the fire came back to our community, and now we have it at our school.
We notice that families are starting to use the Sacred Fires. It is healing for our community, and helping us grow as a nation.