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  1. #1

    Default North American Native Lore

    Perhaps Gazhekwe could help with this question, and others that may arise. A friend leased a small cottage at Walpole Island First Nation in the 1980s, on the perimeter road, looking out at the shipping channel. He would often see an older man, maybe 70 years old, walk just past the cottage and look into the yard behind the cottage, where an old dwelling once stood. Parts of the foundation and fireplace could be seen in the shrubs and tall grass there. He would pause about 30 seconds to a minute, then retrace his route in the direction he came from.
    One Friday, when my friend arrived for a weekend stay, he noticed a half circle of stones, the open part of the circle facing the river, with a clam shell in the middle. Not wanting to disturb this, he left that area of the lawn uncut for the rest of the summer. In early November, when he winterized and boarded up the cottage, my friend noticed that the stones and shell were gone.
    Is this a well known practice? Any comments?

  2. #2

    Default

    Interesting. I don't know the specific meaning of this. The specific location or direction the opening was facing might help. How long ago was this tribute found? Could it have been the elder gentleman who placed it there? Was he native?

    Now, the greater native population of Bkejwanong is Anishnabek (Potwatomi, Ojibwe, Odawa). A circle is a common symbol, depicting the concepts of balance, wholeness, the oneness of life. A shell can represent travel by water, a journey, a quest. A shell was the symbol of the great migration from the east coast.

    My guess would be that someone was preparing for a journey in the direction of the opening of circle, and was placing this dedication to MishiPeshu, the Great Water Panther, for a safe journey. There was probably tobacco placed within the circle. Someone more familiar with these signs could probably interpret more about the nature of the quest. If the stones were removed, it could mean the quest was complete.

  3. #3

    Default

    Interesting. I don't know the specific meaning of this. The specific location or direction the opening was facing might help. How long ago was this tribute found? Could it have been the elder gentleman who placed it there? Was he native?

    Now, the greater native population of Bkejwanong is Anishnabek (Potwatomi, Ojibwe, Odawa). A circle is a common symbol, depicting the concepts of balance, wholeness, the oneness of life. A shell can represent travel by water, a journey, a quest. A shell was the symbol of the great migration from the east coast.

    My guess would be that someone was preparing for a journey in the direction of the opening of circle, and was placing this dedication to MishiPishu, the Great Water Panther, for a safe journey. There was probably tobacco placed within the circle. Someone more familiar with these signs could probably interpret more about the nature of the quest. If the stones were removed, it could mean the quest was complete.

    Mishi Bizhiw is the water spirit who controls the water and to whom bad weather on the lakes and drownings are attributed. So is good weather, and that is why offerings are made to Mishi Bizhiw to assure safe passage.

  4. #4

    Default

    We think it was the older gentleman, a native. Opening was perpendicular to the river, west. This was in the late 1980s, so details are sketchy.
    He would have a difficult time finding a clam shell, today!
    Thank you for the input.

  5. #5

    Default

    I'm curious about the clamshell. Was it a full bi-valve, open or closed? Or a half shell, and if so, was there tobacco in it when first seen?

  6. #6

    Default

    It was a full shell, open, no clam inside. Do not remember any tobacco.
    Last edited by Bobl; March-03-15 at 09:37 AM.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thank you, bobl. I have a beautiful mental picture now of a tribute I have never actually seen. Love it!

    In Paging Gazhekwe, I have several times told the story of the destruction of a stone used to place tributes for Mishipishu for safe travels, good fishing, and probably many other reasons. The River was a major resource for travel, for food, for spiritual journeys. It is so wonderful to find an actual example of a personal offering of this nature, right up to our times. I hope people are still practicing this right up to today.

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