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Thread: Paging Gazhekwe

  1. #101

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    Well, there are some similarities, but some wide differences as well. Many western religions were rooted in a reverence for the Earth, and that seems to be the common ground. From there, the Maia worship seems to go into a dominance over all things, requiring sacrifices. Along comes Christianity, which seems to separate God from the earth and require allegiance only to God. Earth worship was relegated to Paganism and attempts continue to eradicate it.

    In our culture, the Earth is our mother, who nurtures us, and we are supposed to respect and treat her as our mother. We thank her for her gifts, and we take care of her so she can continue to nurture us. We are dependent on her, and she depends on us to respect and care for her in return. When she is threatened, as now, we are all in danger. We don't worship her in the Western sense. We are part of her, and her well-being is essential to ours.

  2. #102

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    Now, about that 4 a.m. communication?

  3. #103

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    Here is a song poem about the Earth Mother by John Trudell, Santee poet, artist and activist.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxNbcd0e_QI

    and here are his comments about the Earth today, the Earth is a living entity:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHS6392MzEs

  4. #104

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    Days of the week. Keep in mind, these were not needed until white contact. Days were counted by the moon.

    Note, these days are from a strongly Catholic community. Other communities use the numbers, Ntam, Niizh, Tswi and so on giizhigaad.
    Shkwaname-giizhigak - Monday, day after prayer day
    Niizh-giizhigak - Tuesday, day two
    Zosep-giizhigak - Wednesday, Joseph day
    Spinaganwan - Thursday, Consecration
    Jiibatago-giizhigak - Friday, ghost day
    Maanii-giizhigak - Saturday, Mary day
    Name-giizhigak - Sunday, Prayer day



  5. #105

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    Thanks for the feedback. I was born and bred Christian. I think I am a seeker of truth. So many cultures and religions. The one truth I see over and over is the mother earth symbol. So important! Here is one interpretation of Gaia.

    The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis. Originally proposed by James Lovelock as the earth feedback hypothesis,[1] it was named—the Gaia Hypothesis, after the Greek supreme goddess of Earth.[2] The hypothesis is frequently described as viewing the Earth as a single organism. Lovelock and other supporters of the idea now call it Gaia theory, regarding it as a scientific theory and not mere hypothesis, since they believe it has passed predictive tests.[3]

    Personally, I think we need to love this earth and nature. Whatever religion or life view it takes works for me. Nurture is the word that comes to mind. Back to the mother symbol.

  6. #106

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    Aho! Sumas. That is what we all must work for.

    Here is a treat, we can be a part of this peaceful women's demonstration to celebrate and protect the water. It took place this past August in Simcoe region, Ontario, where a landfill is under construction over an aquifer. The singing starts about two minutes in.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RunsepT1Q

  7. #107

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    Well, this came in the other day, and I am still thinking about it. A good thing about it is that is doesn't resolved any outstanding issues, since each tribe was not consulted about the totality of outstanding claims, issues, and lawsuits like the one against BIA for "losing" billions of trust dollars.

    BROWNBACK, DORGAN APPLAUD SENATE PASSAGE OF NATIVE AMERICAN APOLOGY RESOLUTION
    WSAHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) today applauded Senate passage of the Native American Apology Resolution, which offers an apology from the United States government to American Indians.

    “The Senate’s action today is a big step for the relationship between the federal government and Native Americans,” said Brownback. “The resolution seeks reconciliation and offers an official apology to Native Americans for the hurtful choices the federal government made in the past. With this resolution we acknowledge previous failures and express sincere regrets.”

    Dorgan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, joined Brownback as co-sponsor of the amendment.

    Dorgan said, “It is difficult to know the history of the First Americans and the destructive policies our government has too often followed regarding them, and not be filled with both sadness and regret. It is appropriate that we, as a nation, express that sorrow and regret with this apology resolution.”

    The Native American Apology Resolution passed as an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill. The resolution extends a formal apology from the United States to tribal governments and Native American people nationwide. The resolution of apology does not authorize or serve as a settlement of any claim against the United States and does not resolve many challenges still facing Native Americans. The Native American Apology Resolution has been introduced in previous Congresses, and passed the Senate in 2008, but was not signed into law.

  8. #108

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    Quote Originally Posted by sumas View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. I was born and bred Christian. I think I am a seeker of truth. So many cultures and religions. The one truth I see over and over is the mother earth symbol. So important! Here is one interpretation of Gaia.

    The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis. Originally proposed by James Lovelock as the earth feedback hypothesis,[1] it was named—the Gaia Hypothesis, after the Greek supreme goddess of Earth.[2] The hypothesis is frequently described as viewing the Earth as a single organism. Lovelock and other supporters of the idea now call it Gaia theory, regarding it as a scientific theory and not mere hypothesis, since they believe it has passed predictive tests.[3]

    Personally, I think we need to love this earth and nature. Whatever religion or life view it takes works for me. Nurture is the word that comes to mind. Back to the mother symbol.
    Gaia has been a topic of interest in our household over the years. Mostly the wife actually, as I'm disinterested. She has looked into it and (hopelessly) explained a bit of it to me. She has partipated in a few events and retreats. One involved going to Sedona (AZ), a state where there are many interesting and different ideas floating around. She met some people in Arizona who were on their way to a sauna similar to the one where several people were accidentally sickened recently.
    Last edited by vetalalumni; October-10-09 at 07:06 PM. Reason: edit and then a correction

  9. #109

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    She met some people in Arizona who were on their way to a sauna similar to the one where several people were accidentally sickened recently.
    Two people died: Sweat lodge victim's family says she was in shape.

    So sad.

  10. #110

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    To be honest, I am perhaps a bit shallow. I am not familiar with incidents mentioned.

    I am interested in world religions and world views. I do firmly believe in Mother Earth.

    Give Her any name you want. It is real!

    So sad to think that there are people who exploit others in the name of religion, science etc.

    I can only speak for myself. Gaz stories and semantics enrich my mind and imagination. I hope she keeps sharing her rich history.

    Appropo of nothing, I am a cat person. I had two Persian cats, both lived well into their twenties. Now dead. I miss them. Cats are phenominal. Now we have a mutt dog and we love him too. But dogs aren't cats.

    Cat Woman keep sharing your thoughts and history!

  11. #111

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    It was a tragedy that the deaths and illness occurred at what is supposed to be a very spiritual cleansing and healing ceremony. Joe Bruchac, the Abenaki elder who was intereviewed by the news agency provided a cautionary note, that those who imitate these procedures may not have sufficient knowledge to conduct them safely.

    There was one person who pointed out the walls were sealed in plastic, possible creating an airtight space which was then crowded with too many people. Most sweat ceremonies would have maybe 20 people inside a small lodge covered in blankets. You want darkness and heat, but not completely airtight.

    In my experience, they open the flap two or three times in an hour, more if they have more people, and air comes in, as they add hot rocks. There are other rules and practices for health and safety. You wear one layer of natural cloth, no synthetics. Women are not allowed in during their moon time. If you feel too warm, you can lie on the ground near the edges of the lodge. Being in contact with the earth gives you a chance to cool down. If you feel ill, you need to get out, that is permitted. It does seem as if some of these precautions may not have been followed.

    Lately some practitioners have been asking for doctor's clearance for persons with diabetes or heart conditions. The power of this ceremony can not be underestimated.

  12. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by gazhekwe View Post
    It was a tragedy that the deaths and illness occurred at what is supposed to be a very spiritual cleansing and healing ceremony. Joe Bruchac, the Abenaki elder who was intereviewed by the news agency provided a cautionary note, that those who imitate these procedures may not have sufficient knowledge to conduct them safely.

    There was one person who pointed out the walls were sealed in plastic, possible creating an airtight space which was then crowded with too many people. Most sweat ceremonies would have maybe 20 people inside a small lodge covered in blankets. You want darkness and heat, but not completely airtight.

    In my experience, they open the flap two or three times in an hour, more if they have more people, and air comes in, as they add hot rocks. There are other rules and practices for health and safety. You wear one layer of natural cloth, no synthetics. Women are not allowed in during their moon time. If you feel too warm, you can lie on the ground near the edges of the lodge. Being in contact with the earth gives you a chance to cool down. If you feel ill, you need to get out, that is permitted. It does seem as if some of these precautions may not have been followed.

    Lately some practitioners have been asking for doctor's clearance for persons with diabetes or heart conditions. The power of this ceremony can not be underestimated.
    What is concerning is that some will enthusiastically grasp upon a new (to them) experience with near reckless abandon. Education and mentor-ship helps ensure safety etc...

    In no way am I disparaging what gazhekwe has conveyed in this thread. Far from it. I too have enjoyed the abundant information even though I've not taken the time to independently understand it better. Gazhekwe has inspired me to research the history of the Oneida Indian culture.

    In retrospect, my post # 108 might have been misunderstood to make a correlation between Gaia and the terrible incident. Let me be clear, to my knowledge there is absolutely no correlation at all.
    Last edited by vetalalumni; October-11-09 at 12:13 PM. Reason: important edit!

  13. #113

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    Some years ago we were at the Detroit Festival of Arts. One tribe had a dance and drum exibition. While we watched, a white cloth was laid out. Two young girls did a dance that solicited money on the tarp. A lot of money was collected. At the end of the dance, these young women presented the money collected to what they perceived to be the oldest woman in the viewing crowd. It was so touching,

    What was the ritual and its symbolism?

  14. #114

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    It's nice to see who has been peeking in here! Welcome Sumas, Vetalaumni, Jimaz. Is anybody else out there? Anybody have any questions? I am so glad you asked about that dance, Sumas. It's a chance to explain a powerful community multipurpose event.

    Dances are one way to celebrate, honor and bring the community together. There are often such dances where money or goods are given to help an elder, or to help with transportation costs for some who have traveled far to assist with the event, or any other reason. There might be such a dance to help a family whose house burned, or to honor a returning veteran, or to celebrate a wedding. In the dance you describe, it was likely either to honor the particular elder for her contributions to the community, or to assist her in a time of need, probably a combination of both. At the beginning of the dance, the emcee would explain the purpose. It sounds like this particular occasion was used to demonstrate respect for the elders as a community teaching event, a reminder to participants of that deep seated principle.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; October-11-09 at 09:14 AM.

  15. #115

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    A message about Columbus Day:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il5hwpdJMcg

  16. #116
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    2,260

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    Is anybody else out there?
    Yes, I've been reading the thread.

  17. #117

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    Hi, Pam, thanks for checking in! It's like that tree falling in the forest, good to know it is making a sound.

  18. #118
    Join Date
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    You have 1,396 views according to the counter, so don't feel lonely.

  19. #119

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    Good to know people are looking, too. I have another thought for today to follow up on Post 115, the Columbus Day offering. This one has to do with 2012, a pre-Columbian twist.

    The Mayan calendar does not end in 2012, though it is a very significant year, ending one era and starting another. Most prophecies about the date stem from Eurocultural speculation about why this particular part of the calendar seemed to end on that date. Much later dates into the 4000s are found in other parts of this artifact.

    I posted this on Facebook and got these comments back:

    You are right. Mayans never predicted end of world. They have artifacts with 'future dates' past 4000AD. Google it!

    someone point out where it says we are all going to die?


    Which it doesn't say. The point being that the discoverers of this artifact and those interpreting it imposed some Eurocentric Christian ideas to it and opened the door to a lot of colorful, imaginative stories. Some of the predictions seem to be straight from Nostradamus. Research indicates also that the date of 12-21-2012 is not all that accurate. Some say the date has actually passed at various different times from the 90s through 2006.
    Last edited by gazhekwe; October-12-09 at 02:51 PM.

  20. #120

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    Here's a recent article about that: 2012 isn't the end of the world, Mayans insist.
    Spooky, perhaps, but Bernal notes there are other inscriptions at Mayan sites for dates far beyond 2012 — including one that roughly translates into the year 4772.

  21. #121

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    Note the article discounts the deliciously scary Western style predictions. It points out that we all enjoy a good scary story. Most storytelling in the native world includes the sense of teaching some principle. People listen and expect to learn. NO native teachings predict the end of earth. The earth will survive, though we might not.

    What do we learn from these apocalypse scenarios? From On the Beach to 2012, we watch them and plot how to survive. It is not human nature to go quietly into that good night. It is good to think about survival, and maybe about prevention. Survivors must be strong and healthy.

  22. #122

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    This is an Anishinaabe tale of the survival of the Earth. I copied it off the 'net so I wouldn't have to key the whole thing. The site is defunct, this was the cache, and I've modified to reflect the story as I heard it. The bolding of Nanabozho is a function of copying the cache, not significant to the legend.

    In the beginning of time, the Great Spirit, Gitchi Manitou, dreamed of mountains and valleys, rivers and forests, animals and birds. When he had finished dreaming, he understood he was meant to create the world he had dreamed. And so he did.


    In this world the sun had the power to light the Earth and to warm it, and the Earth had the power to heal and grow. Water could renew and purify, and wind offered music and the breath of life.



    Human beings had much to learn, so the Great Spirit sent them a teacher, Nanabozho. Son of the West Wind, grandson of the Moon, Nanabozho was a good teacher, though he was also a trickster. Nanabozho had brothers, who were much lazier than he. He was forever warning them to be careful. Though Nanabozho and his brothers enjoyed the companionship of birds and beasts, there was one enemy in this world. These were the Serpent People.


    One winter day, one of Nanabush's brothers went out to hunt, but when he had not returned by the next morning, Nanabozho realized something was wrong. He had warned his brothers never to walk across the frozen lake, but he suspected this brother had disobeyed him.



    All that winter Nanabozho searched for his brother, but as time passed he became more and more convinced the Serpent People had drowned him. They had the power to live beneath the frozen lake for months at a time, and if they had taken his brother there, he would not survive.


    At long last, one day he heard a loud booming sound. He scrambled to the top of a hill to see what he could see, and what he saw amazed him. Spring had come, and there, in the valley below, beside a lake lay two Serpent People sunning themselves. The booming sound was only the beating of their hearts.


    Anger welled up in Nanabozho when he saw them, for he knew they had stolen his brother. He drew his bow and shot an arrow into each serpent, and though the arrows hit their marks, the serpents simply slipped into the melting lake and disappeared. Moments later the water in that little lake began to rise, and before long the whole valley was flooded.

    [ In the version I heard, there were no other people to begin with in the story, Nanabozho was the First Man assigned by Giche Manido to name all things. Along the way, he and Maingun (wolf) became companions. Some of the spirits became jealous of their friendship and they drowned Maingan under the ice. Nanabozho was so griefstricken and angry that he went under the ice and hunted down and killed one of the spirits. The spirits' retaliation follows.]



    Now Nanabozho understood. The Serpent People meant to drown him too. Quickly he climbed to the top of the tallest pine tree, but the water continued to rise until every part of the world was covered.

    [As the water reached his nose, Nanabozho asked the pine tree to stretch as far as it could. The tree obliged and stretched to twice its full length, and still the water rose Again he asked the tree to stretch, and again it stretched to another full length. At four times its normal height, the tree could stretch no more. The water again rose to his nose. He could help but relieve himself, and the water sent the results swirling into his face again and again. Finally the water began to recede, but only until he is just out of the water, perched on the tip of the tree. Animals he had been naming began to gather around him.



    Nanabozho saw the world that they had always known was drowned, and gone with it were the wicked Serpent People.


    Nanabozho called Loon to his side. "Loon," he said, "you are a good swimmer. Dive down below the water and bring me some mud so that I can create a new world."

    And Loon dived, and dived deeper still, but at last she gave up.



    "I cannot reach the world," she said.


    So Nanabozho called Beaver to do the same, but Beaver failed. "The world is too deep below," he told Nanabozho.


    [Duck also tried and failed. Finally, Muskrat volunteered to try. The others laughed at the little Muskrat, not believing she could ever do such a thing. She was gone for a long, long time, and everyone thought she would never come back alive.]


    Then someone cried, "Look there," and Nanabozho reached into the water and pulled out the nearly drowned Muskrat. He dried her and warmed her, blowing into her face and brought her to life, and then he saw that in her paw she held a few tiny grains of mud.


    [Nanabozho spread the mud onto the back of Turtle and told Turtle to go out onto the water and wait.]



    "Grow," he commanded the mud, and it began to grow larger, until it was large enough to hold two ants. The ants climbed on and began to run, making the mud patch spin, and it grew large enough to hold two mice that jumped aboard. The mice made the mud spin faster still, and so it grew, and grew. Once it was big enough to hold Wagosh, the Fox, Nanabozho told him to run around the island each day. When Wagosh did not reappear, Nanabozho knew the Earth was big enough for all the animals to live there.



    And that, so the Objibwa say, is how Nanabush made the world we know today.

    [And so, here we are on Turtle's back on four lengths of a tall pine tree.]

  23. #123

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    Thanks once again for your sharing. You are the only forumer who has words and stories I copy and file. I am a founding member of a historical organization. Simply put, I love earth history. I will never use my copies in published works without your permission. I do hope you realize how powerful your insights are. My Dad was from the British Isles and was very Fey. Some of that ability was passed to me.

    I really wish you would take your thoughts and stories to a publisher. I would be the first to buy your book.

  24. #124

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    Thank you, Sumas. That is an interesting idea about putting things into a book. It has been done. You might enjoy the MIshomis Book by Eddie Benton Benai, an Ojibwe elder. Mishomis means Grandfather. Eddie got in a lot of trouble with Anishinaabek from all over for putting these things in writing. Like him, I believe it is time to share these traditions. We are in the time of the Seventh Fire, and all people need to understand these things if we are all to make a good sustainable life here on O Gashnaan Aki, our Mother Earth.


    There is a long tradition of storytelling by the elders. It is the way our teachings were passed down ever since any person could remember. Wintertime is the main time for stories, passing those long dark evenings gathered around the fire. In this way many many life lessons are passed down.

    Think of the many lessons in the flood story above. It starts out with the renewability of earth, something to preserve, goes on to living in harmony, the dangers of putting things into the water that we do not want to consume, the dangers of walking on the ice, not underestimating those who seem insignificant and more.

  25. #125

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    It will soon be time for Ghost Supper across the land of the Three Fires. I found a beautiful story to share on this tradition. Notice as you read it the order of the Feast. All feasts are set in a certain way. All include a cup of mide (mih-deh', fat) to flavor the food. Certain foods are served in a certain order.

    Ghost Supper By Grace Dickinson Johnson
    Sun contributor, published 11-1-2002, Glen Arbor Sun
    It was a good day for the Ghost Supper in Peshawbestown, Leelanau County. The early evening clouds were leaden and hung low in the sky. The late fall air was crisp and very still. Indian people in this land of the Ottawa and Chippewa were remembering their dead today. The Ghost Supper—Feast of the Dead by tradition falls on All Soul’s Day, usually on the second of November.

    I sat by my Indian friend Archie Miller as we made our way up the road through Peshawbestown in his old Chevy sedan. There were campfires glowing red, with smoke curling up through the pine trees around some of the small houses. I thought about what Archie had once told me, that Indians were never lonesome when they were near their fires.
    We reached the other end of the village and turned into a dirt road and parked in front of a clapboard house. A young Indian was splitting wood while a few others were gathered around the fire. The woodpile was neatly stacked nearby for winter use. As darkness fell, the beauty of the earth was all around. Many of the plants had pulled in their summer finery and were wearing the starkness of single leafless stems. The damp air was filled with the sweet fragrance of pine pitch. Chickadees, up in the branches of the hardwoods and pines, cheerily sang out their welcome.

    Archie explained that it is the custom of this day to enter through the door without knocking. We moved silently into a dimly lit kitchen. The rich aroma of cooking and wood smoke permeated the air. A fire crackled and blazed in a potbellied stove at one end of the kitchen, radiating a comfortable heat. There was a lived-in feeling, with stalks of sweetgrass tied together, black ash baskets of various sizes, and bundled dried plants for medicinal use hanging about, and a cedar bough stuck up by a window: it all represented a culture that has been here for a long time.

    The hostess was strikingly attractive, tall, and slender. Her straight black hair hung loosely over her dark print dress. She wore an apron and quietly moved about in her handmade beaded moccasins, worn especially for this day. The table was neatly set and included a birch-bark container of napkins and the ever-present jar of bacon fat called “midah.”

    More people entered the room and we all gathered around the table. A prayer of thanksgiving was offered by an Indian elder; some of the words in the native tongue. Another Indian of the Catholic religion offered a prayer, and a few of the Indians made the Sign of the Cross. I thought about the religious conflict brought about when the missionaries came to teach their religion to our first people, who were already profoundly religious with a highly developed sense of the sacred.

    It was time for the sharing of food. venison, turkey and dressing, wild rice casseroles, Indian corn relish, fry bread, potatoes, squash, and corn soup—all reflective of native food and cooking. A pretty teenaged girl stood quietly in the shadows of the kitchen. She appeared in her apron, served corn soup, and kept platters filled. I liked her immediately even though we shared few words. Archie sat next to me and spoke quietly of his grandparents and talked about old ways. Across from us sat an elder over ninety years old. She had snow-white hair and sat very straight. Her eyes held a squint as she was slowly going blind. I saw a glow in her eyes, and as she ate her corn soup I wondered to myself if she was thinking of earlier days when corn soup was prepared in a cast iron pot over an open fire.

    I had an overwhelming feeling of reverence while sitting among these soft-spoken, kind, and primal people with their sense of being together, of being Indian, sharing food, and carrying on an important tradition.

    By tradition, when the last person finishes dinner and leaves the table, the hosts and hostesses leave the dishes of remaining food on the table and reset the table for the departed spirits that might pass by in the night.

    Following dinner, Archie and I stood together out on the back porch facing Grand Traverse Bay. A gentle breeze had come up and moved slowly through the trees as if mentioning a quiet message speaking of the departed ones. The remaining dried red leaves fell steadily from the hardwoods. I could hear tiny scraping noises as the leaves touched branches as they journeyed towards the damp earth. The last of the leaves were leaving the trees, fulfilling their cycle for the season.

    Archie and I drove away from the clapboard home and headed for his house at the other end of Peshawbestown. As we passed by an occasional campfire and the wandering foot trails that paralleled M-22, I thought about the departed spirits and their early days when they used these fires for heat and cooking and moved about on foot over their trails. Their life must have been harsh, but tuned into the rhythms of nature and its sense of time, the completion of each cycle of seasons.

    I valued this day for the sharing of a custom that I found beauty in, which is a special part of Indian life in northern Michigan. Archie is gone now, and this Ghost Supper of years ago lives on in my spirit, just as thoughts of my departed loved ones live on—my son Luke, my father Fred Dickinson, and my friend Archie and the old Indian stories he shared with me over his open fire.

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