Francis McAdam Saysewahum: Heart Lodge

Thanks to Sylvia McAdam for permission to post this video of her her wonderful father, Francis, teaching from his hospital bed on August 20th. He needs one of those t-shirts that say, “Old School Cree: Built to Last”. I would love to have a full transcription of his comments, but for now, Pearleen Kanewopasikot’s summary translation (below) is incredibly valuable.

Pearleen tells us:

He is remembering stories from his childhood where holy women came from Smoky Lake and Dog Lake where they used to have the sundance. They used to have a Heart Lodge and dance their medicines, they were so powerful they could raise the dead by giving them beads to bite and throw them 4 times and they could cut a rock with a knife like a slice of bread. The okicitawiskwewak used to participate in this including sundances. All the trees in the lodge had spirit. The land was holy and remains that way. Today there is nothing like that. There are still old people that used to tell these stories from my childhood.
(I met a cousin last week who told me a story about how long ago the center pole of the sundance held so much power it would stand by itself when they were building the lodge).
(There is no question there are holy women today who can see and hear teachings from the spirit world, we work closely with one of them and the other you have heard about but I’ve been going to her ceremonies the past few years – our ancestral knowledge continues to be passed on spiritually through them and other great wisdom keepers like Jimmy O and your Uncle Bernie and his wife Gloria).

 

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, a not-for-profit-in-the-making with the goal of creating Cree language literacy materials suitable for use by learners of all ages.
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