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Wednesday, July 26, 2017



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Crow Necklace and His Medicine Ceremony

There was a party of Gros Ventre Indians who went out for a hunt From Knife River where the old camp was, and while they were hunting, the Assiniboins came and attacked the hunters. Some getaway and were saved. A young man among them looked for his sister and could not find her. So he trailed them to their camp. This man was an Assiniboin who had been a little boy captured by the GrosVentre and made a slave.

Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet

The girl called him brother but was not really related to him. When all was quiet at night he went through the camp to look for his sister. He came to a big teepee and heard talking. Looking through a hole, he saw two men wounded whom he recognized as his own brothers. Now he had shot two Assiniboin in the conflict (and he recognized these two as the ones he shot).  Drawing his robe over his head, he entered and sat down beside their father, who was his father too. The wounded men told their father to fill his pipe and smoke with the stranger. The boy had not forgotten his own language, so he spoke to the old man and said, "Father, it is I." When he told what had happened to him, the father put his hands about his neck and fainted; the mother did the same. When he told them it was he who had shot the two brothers, they all laughed over it. He told them that he was looking for his sister, and the wounded men advised the father to call in the chiefs and tell them about her.

Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet

So the chiefs arranged not to move camp for four days, but to have a feast and call together all the slaves taken from theirs Ventre and let them eat. Then they had a dance called the Scalp-Dance, but the sister was not there. According to the old custom, slaves are supposed to belong to the tribe by which they are captured, so the slaves too got up and danced with them. All the slaves knew the young man. They called him "Crow Necklace.

Crow Necklace
Artist: Susan Seddon Boulet

“Before the four days were passed he said to the slaves, "Go steal some moccasins and dry meat and one of these nights we will run away." On the last of the four nights, they were all prepared. They stole sinew and cut pieces of Buffalo hide from the tents for moccasins. It was storming when they left - young women, old, and children, the young women carrying the children on their backs -and they ran North instead of East in the direction from which they came. Coming to a dry lake, they laid down in the deep grass and the snow covered them. Meanwhile, the Assiniboin discovered their absence and tracked after them but could not find them. They came to the lake but, seeing nothing of them, went home except one who stood looking. Crow Necklace crept up and killed him and took his scalp.

Artist;  Susan Seddon Boulet

That night they went until daylight, traveling North-East until they came to another dry lake thick with grass. There they stayed allay. Four days they traveled in the night and hid all day. By this time they were up at the headwaters. From there they came around toward the Missouri River and came out at a place we call "Timber Coulee." At that time it was full of timber. Crow Necklace was about to push down an old tree which had an Owl's nest on top. An old Owl said, "Don't push that tree or my young ones will get cold. We are the ones who have helped you get around to your home again. It ill be best for you to go back to your own tribe: there you will find chief's daughter waiting to marry you." So when they wanted him to marry some of the women he refused and said, "No! The young ones are my sisters and the old ones are my mothers. The Owl directed him, “After leaving this place, go directly to the Short Missouri to camp, then on to Wood-Trap (right across the river West from here).Here all the Spirits will set traps to catch all kinds of wild animals for you to eat. When you get there, build a tipi out in the bush. Go inside and do not go out, and they will bring you meat themselves." So they did this - fixed up nice and went in. Outside they could hear the noise of butchering going on around them.

Artist: Susan Seddon Boulet

When the noise ceased they went out and found meat cut up or wrapped in hides and laid up on scaffolds. The Owl told Crow Necklace that they were now not far from the tribe - at the next move they would reach home. The next day they moved until they came to a high hill. Crow Necklace fixed up a skull and painted their faces black. Astley approached, they saw a woman crying on top of a hill and someone pointed her out to Cow Necklace; it was his sister. He called to her, and when she saw him she fainted. Then the whole camp came out to meet them and everybody made much of Crow Necklace. Herold the story of their adventures and brought food for them to eat.

Artist Unkown

All the hides he had asked to have tanned in order to make Medicine after he got back home. Among them was a White Buffalo hide. Softer he had married a chief's daughter as had been foretold, he made Medicine in order to understand all the mysterious beings and leave out none of them. And that cost him everything he had prepared - a hundred moccasins, a hundred robes, and a hundred blankets- everything in hundreds.

Friday, July 7, 2017

I have produced my first post on my new Facebook Page

Boy Stolen by Thunderbird

Artist:  Susan Seddon Boulet

Many, many years ago, a young Winnebago Indian Orphan-Boy lived in a small village with his grandmother. He found a friend about his own age. One day, they hunted for hickory wood to make bird arrows, which they used for hunting hawks. Orphan-Boy captured a young pigeon hawk and took it home. Soon, it became his pet bird.

Sometime later, Orphan-Boy put a little tobacco in a bundle and tied it around the hawk's neck. It disappeared for a few days, then returned without the tobacco bundle. Again, Orphan-Boy tied another bundle of tobacco around his pet's neck. It disappeared again, but returned to Orphan-Boy as it had before.

When the pet hawk became fully grown, Orphan-Boy suggested that it might want to go away and make a life for itself. So he tied another tobacco bundle around the pigeon hawk's neck, thanking him for staying with him for so long a time. Immediately, the bird flew away and never returned to Orphan-Boy.

Another day, Orphan-Boy and his friend hunted for dogwood to make pointed arrows. They accidentally became separated in a low fog. From above, however, a bad Thunderbird saw Orphan-Boy and swooped down, seizing him in his claws. The huge bird carried him away to its home in the high mountains.

For a long, long time the friend looked for Orphan-Boy. Finally, he gave up searching far and wide. But every day, he faithfully returned to the place where Orphan-Boy had disappeared, mourning still for his lost companion.

When the bad Thunderbird reached its mountainous home, he and his friends tied Orphan-Boy down to the floor. Their purpose was to hold him there until nothing remained in his stomach. Then they planned to devour him.

Little pigeon hawk decided to go and have a look at Thunderbird's prisoner. Imagine his surprise to find that Orphan-Boy, his kind friend, was the prisoner.

Little pigeon hawk left and decided to hunt for some young birds and roast them. Later, he returned, putting some of the meat under his wings and secretly dropping it into Orphan-Boy's mouth. Every day little pigeon hawk brought meat for Orphan-Boy until the Thunderbirds became suspicious of pigeon hawk.

The next day, the bad Thunderbirds decided to exclude little pigeon hawk when he came to visit Orphan-Boy. One Thunderbird pushed him toward the door, but little pigeon hawk accidentally on purpose fell close to the fire and scorched some of his feathers. He made a great noise and commotion, running to his big brother, Big Black-Hawk, who was Chief of the Thunderbirds.

"What can the matter be, little brother?" asked the Chief. Little pigeon hawk told his big brother the whole story from the beginning. When the Chief heard all, he became very angry.

Immediately, he went to the place where Orphan-Boy was still held down to the floor. The Chief scolded the bad Thunderbirds for their wrongdoing. Because they had pushed little pigeon hawk too close to the fire, the Chief announced they could no longer keep Orphan-Boy as their prisoner. Chief Big Black-Hawk cut the ropes and took the freed young boy home with him.

Every day, little pigeon hawk brought roasted bird meat for his friend Orphan-Boy, helping him to regain his strength. Later, Orphan-Boy made a bow and some arrows and took little pigeon hawk hunting with him.

Before winter weather arrived, Chief Big Black-Hawk informed his little brother that it would be better for Orphan-Boy to return to his own people.

"He does not belong up here with the Thunder Spirits, and I do not think Mother Earth Spirit will approve of it," said the Chief.

Little pigeon-hawk took Orphan-Boy back to the very place from where he had disappeared a long time ago. That evening, Orphan- Boy's old faithful friend came as usual to that place and found Orphan-Boy had returned! How surprised and delighted both boys were to see each other again. Orphan-Boy told his old friend everything that had happened to him since he had been kidnapped by the Thunderbird.

A Thanksgiving feast was prepared by the grandmother for both families to celebrate the happy homecoming of the boy stolen by the Thunderbird. From that time forward, Orphan-Boy and his faithful friend had many happy hunting times together, trying never to be separated again.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Long ago there was a man who was known as Notkikad. This man was a good husband and father and worked hard for his family. He planted a great deal every year and cared for his gardens so that there would be plenty of food. He was always grateful to Tabaldak, The Master of Life. And gave thanks, each harvest. One year, though, things did not go well for him. There was a late frost and his garden was killed. He planted it again and then there came a drought. Again he planted, but now it was the autumn ant the cold weather came and killed the plants before they were ripe.

Notkikad was very troubled. His wife and children had gathered berries and other foods from the forest, but without the dried corn and squash and beans for them to keep over the long cold time, he was afraid they would not survive. Now the cold season was here and the leaves were falling from the trees and the freezing winds blew. What could he do?

That night, before he slept, he made a small fire and offered tobacco to The Master of Life. “I have never asked for help,” he said, “I have always been thankful for the blessings given to me. But now I am troubled, not so much for myself as for my wife and children. I want to know what I can do.” Then he went to bed and dreamed.

In his dream, The Master came to him. “I am giving you these special seeds,” The Master said. “I am also giving you a time in which to plant them.”

When Notkikad awoke he found the seeds were there beside him. He went outside and though the leaves were still falling from the trees, the weather was now warm and pleasant as if it were the summer. With the help of his wife and children, he prepared the soil and planted all the seeds.

The sun set and rose and the seeds had already germinated and lifted green shoots out of the earth. The sun rose and set again and now the young plants were already waist high. So it went from day to day as the special seeds given to him grew rapidly in only a handful of days.

Then Notkikad harvested his crop and dried the corn and beans and squash for the winter. He and his family stored all of the food within their wigwam. Then, as suddenly as it had gone away, the cold winds returned and that special season given by The Master of Life was gone.

To this day, the people say, that special time is still given to us each year, even though we have none of the magical seeds. That time, which people call Indian Summer today, was called Nibubalnoba or “a man’s summer” by the Abenaki. It reminds them to always be thankful.

To visit the storyteller's website:  CLICK HERE

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Native American Code of Ethics

Shamanic Drum Circle
by:  Susan Seddon Boulet

1. Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen if you only speak.

2. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy, and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance.

3. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.

4. Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honor.

5. Do not take what is not yours whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours.

6. Respect all things that are placed upon this earth - whether it be people or plant.

7. Honor other people's thoughts, wishes, and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

8. Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.

9. All persons make mistakes. And all mistakes can be forgiven.

10. Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body, and spirit. Practice optimism.

11. Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. They are part of your worldly family.

12. Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life's lessons. When they are grown, give them space to grow.

13. Avoid hurting the hearts of others. The poison of your pain will return to you.

14. Be truthful at all times. Honesty is the test of ones will within this universe.

15. Keep yourself balanced. Your Mental self, Spiritual self, Emotional self, and Physical self - all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.

16. Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

17. Respect the privacy and personal space of others. Do not touch the personal property of others - especially sacred and religious objects. This is forbidden.

18. Be true to yourself first. You cannot nurture and help others if you cannot nurture and help yourself first.

19. Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your belief on others.

20. Share your good fortune with others. Participate in charity.

This originally appeared in the "Inter-Tribal Times," October 1994

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Stretching Tree

Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky
Emily Carr 1935

Once an old man and a young man and two women lived together. The two women were the young man's wives. Now, the young man needed some feathers for his arrows. One day, seeing a hawk's nest in a high tree, he started to climb to it to get the hawk-feathers. Now, the old man was jealous of the young man, and had followed him. And when he saw him climbing the tree, he used his magic and made the tree grow higher and higher, and at the same time peeled off all the bark so that the trunk was slippery; and as the young man was naked, he could not come down, but had to remain in the top of the tree. When the young man failed to appear that night, the old man said he wished to move camp, and that the women were to come with him. And the next morning they started. Now, one of the women liked the old man; but the other one, who had a baby, disliked him, and when they camped for the night, she would take her baby, and make a fire for herself outside the camp and away from the old man. So they went on for several days.

All this time the young man stayed up in the tree; and as it was cold and he had no clothes, he took his hair, which was very long, and wove feathers in it, and so made a blanket to protect himself. The little birds who built their nests in the sticks of the hawk's nest tried their best to carry him down to the ground, but could not lift him, and so he stayed on.

Finally one day he saw coming, a long way off, an old woman bent over, and with a stick in each hand. She came to the bottom of the tree where the young man was, and began to climb, and climbed until she reached the young man, and then she turned out to be Spider. Then Spider spun a web for him, and of the web the young man made a rope and so reached the ground. 

When he came back to his camp, he found it deserted, but discovered the trail of the fugitives, and started to follow. He trailed them a long time, and finally saw them in the distance. Now, the woman who did not like the old man was following behind with her little boy; and the child, looking back, saw his father and cried out, "Why, there is my father!" But the mother replied, "What do you mean? Your father has been dead a long time." But looking back herself, she saw her husband, and waited for him to come up, and they stopped together.

Then she told her husband all that had happened, how the old man had wished to take both his wives, and how she would not have him, but how the other one took him. Now, the woman was carrying a large basket, and she put her husband into it and covered him up. When they reached the old man's camp she put the basket down close to the fire; but the old man took it and placed it some distance away. The woman brought it back and as she did so the young man sprang out and struck the old man and killed him. Then he killed his faithless wife; and taking the other woman, who was true, and the little boy, they went back to their old home together.

The Journey To The Sunrise

Frank Polson~Sunrise Ceremony

A long time ago several young men made up their minds to find the place where the Sun lives and see what the Sun is like. They got ready their bows and arrows, their parched corn and extra moccasins, and started out toward the east. At firstthey met tribes they knew, then they came to tribes they had only heard about, and at last to others of which they had never heard.

Louise Vien~Writtern In The Grain

There was a tribe of root eaters and another of acorn eaters, with great piles of acorn shells near their houses. In one tribe they found a sick man dying, and were told it was the custom there when a man died to bury his wife in the same grave with him. They waited until he was dead, when they saw his friends lower the body into a great pit, so deep and dark that from the top they could not see the bottom. Then a rope was tied around the woman's body, together with a bundle of pine knots, a lighted pine knot was put into her hand, and she was lowered into the pit to die there in the darkness after the last pine knot was burned.

The young men traveled on until they came at last to the sunrise place where the sky reaches down to the ground. They found that the sky was an arch or vault of solid rock hung above the earth and was always swinging up and down, so that when it went up there was an open place like a door between the sky and ground, and when it swung back the door was shut. The Suncame out of this door from the east and climbed along on the inside of the arch.  It had a human figure, but was too bright for them to see clearly and too hot to come very near. They waited until the Sun had come out and then tried to get through while the door was still open, but just as the first one was in the doorway the rock came down and crushed him.  The other six were afraid to try it, and as they were now at the end of the world they turned around and started back again,but they had traveled so far that they were old men whey they reached home.

As told in "History, Myths and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee" by James Moody ISBN#0-914875-19-1

Definition of a Pine Knot:  Fatwood, also known as "fat lighter," "lighter wood," "rich lighter," "pine knot," "lighterknot," "heart pine" or "lighter" [sic], is derived from the heartwood of pine trees. This resin-impregnated heartwood becomes hard and rot-resistant.