Traditional beliefs and practises

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I never heard my grandfather discuss the worship and prayer of animals to that of today. And now we include animals in prayer like the Eagle. Unlike what’s occurring now, I’m not aware of it in our past. I never heard my grandfather or my grandmother talk about this. Only that, once a moose was harvested or other any animal, the bones were respected and properly stored. If the bones or the head of the animal were left lying around, it was believed you would not catch fish, moose or any another animal or that of the otter again. The otter once harvested was highly prized. We did not leave anything discarded, mink as well. These animals, the otter and mink were vital resources for the fur trade and to the survival of our people. But I never heard them (grandparents) talk about praying to the animals to that of today. I never witnessed my grandfather do this. He only prayed with the bible. At least to my own knowledge this is what I know. But to pray to animals, I never saw them do this. I’m not aware of them doing this. For us, we valued and cared for the bones of the animals simply for the fact these bones were vital for our survival like the moose bones Cecile has mentioned. They were cared for and used as tools for the hide, i.e.: mi-ki-quan, (hide scraper) and the otter hide scraper (mi-ki-ta-wen). Further, the preparation process of the moose hide involves the scraper Cecile mentioned. The leg bone/femur from the moose is carved into a sharp scraper to remove the hair from the moose hide. It’s then soaked in water for three nights. Then the hide is draped over an anchored log and scraped with this bone called ‘pash-qua-he-kan’. That’s what I know. But to use these bones for prayer, I’m not aware of this. I never heard my grandfather talk about this, he only prayed. But to your question earlier, it is likely more common on the east coast. I did hear about it but it was not practiced here. A lot of different practices took place long ago.


Traditional beliefs and practises by Anna Bella Solomon


Worship prayer animals Respect moose bones otter bible bone tools

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