A Sacred Story
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 there 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 there families as there 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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