Inukshuk: Statue of stacked rocks in human form. Used as guide posts. Symbol of friendship, hope, brotherly hospitality.
Totem Poles: Pacific Canadian natives used to depict ancestral pride. They never represented gods. They commemorated relatives or relayed the details of a memorable event. Sometimes the poles would even contain the ashes of a great leader.
Dream Catcher Originated with the Objibwa / Chippewa. Parents used to protect sleeping children from nightmares.
Everything is sacred. Listen to the trees. Pray to God, recognize greatness and be thankful. “To honourWakan Tanka, honour his works in nature.”
Sacred herbs burned in a shell or earthen bowl. • Smoke brushed or washed over eyes mouth, ears, hands, heart and whole being. • Cleansing, purifying
Used to bless people before weddings, pow wows or for healings. • Ashes are returned to earth and not stepped on • Four sacred herbs: Cedar, Sage, Sweet Grass, Tobacco (Can be found anywhere)
Autumn • Celebrate that spirits acted on their behalf to give them food • Renew the earth with prayer, chants, dances • Adopted as Thanksgiving
One of the most powerful rituals • Pipe symbolizes unity and harmony of the world • Stone Bowl symbolizes truth • Stem represents how we are to live in harmony and balance • Involves all elements: Earth, fire, air, water. Unity of all creation
Before lighting a prayer is said that the whole universe and all it contains be transferred to the pipe • Then lit and delivered to the fire which is the great spirit • Everything is dissolved in cosmic unity of the Great Spirit
The Sun Dance • Summer festival that takes place over 8-16 days • Started with the Great Plains nations • Very powerful and important ritual • Banned by Canadian government in late 1880’s
Uses circle as symbol of sun, an important giver of life. • Participants dance for long periods around a central cottonwood pole that they call the “tree of the universe”. • Face and pay respect to the sun • Some dancers stick sharp wood hooks in their chest and connect them with long leather strips to the pole. • As they dance, they pull back the leather and tear their flesh.
Scars of the wounds are a symbol of their faith • Body is the only thing that they can control and offer as a sacrifice to the creator. • If they experience pain others will not have to suffer from famine, war or disease. • This celebration is about renewal and reconnection with the spirit. • It is no longer banned and is celebrated again today.