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Ononkwashon'a, the Medicines

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  • Ononkwashon'a, the Medicines

    She:kon, Sewakwekon:

    Ne wahi rohtkawen ne Ononkwashona aionkweia'takenha. Otia'ke kakhwa itewaks. Akwekon teiethinonhweraton ne Ononkwashon'a tsi sekon ionkia'atakenha's.

    As I was doing my opening day prayers this morning I thought a lot about the way we are to respect the medicines and the way they are to be gathered. By not knowing how to do this we can cause a lot of damage to ourselves, those we use the medicine on and the earth itself.

    I debated whether or not to share this information on here, because when I was being taught I was instructed that not everything was to be shared in an open manner. Yet I feel with this teaching being shared at least the people who read this forum will think when they go into the woods.

    We were always taught when you go into the woods looking for medicines that we were first to announce to the forest our intentions and to offer thanks for being allowed to enter the home of many different and varied creatures and plants. We were to offer thanks to the winged creatures that fly and make their homes there. We were then to offer thanks to the fourleggeds who live and make their homes there. Also to the little crawling animals and insects. Once that was done we were then to look for our medicine and when we found it we were to look for the mother plant, the big one and offer her oionkwehonwe, real Indian tobacco, none of the store bought stuff. We were to thank her for being there and tell her what we were going to use the medicine for and for whom. We were then to offer her thanks that she reproduced and had "children" all around her. It is these plants that we took to use for our medicine. We were instructed never to take the mother plant as she was the producer of new life. In this way our medicine would be strong and would always work well.

    To ignore this and pick any old plant even the mother plant would cause the medicine to go bad and healing would not take place.

    Our elders tell us this is why much of the earth is sick today and why the earth is angry at the human beings, especially the white man. The white loggers go into the forest and take the biggest trees and cut them down. They do not offer thanks, nor do they take the little plants, they take the big mother plants and cut them down along with the little ones so that whole "families" are eradicated. Those who go into the woods collecting medicines to sell take every bit of medicine they find and leave none to reproduce. The human beings have forgotten how to treat the earth and medicines with respect and as such we are getting sicker and sicker. It is only going to be when we begin to show proper respect for all of this that we are going to begin to get healthy again. How about you other Indians? How do you gather your meds? Just my thoughts. Onen.

    Skennen enhsenontonnionhake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.

    [This message has been edited by Tree (edited February 28, 2001).]
    Skennen enhsenontonnion':hake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.

  • #2
    As for me - I just go to Walmart!

    Just kidding!

    Thanks for sharing this important part of culture - as you know we do it pretty much the same way.

    BTW - have I mentioned that you have such a way with words. Very eloquent buddy!


    • #3
      Hey Tree

      Sweet Medicine said that in the day when we forget being indian we would do the same as the whites. We would dig for the black stone and the yellow stone just as the white people who came because we went crazy and forgot the medicine and the food that the creator made for us and we would use the white food and medicine which makes us crazy like the whites.


      • #4
        I think the Cheyenne way announcing your intentions and giving thanks is the same.
        I cannot elaborate further because it involves so much sacred info concerning the ceremonies we practice.


        • #5
          This a beautiful topic, and while we all cannot share everything we would like to because this is a public board, what we are sharing is leading us to new understanding about ourselves and each other. I made the comment in another topic that we are all more alike, despite that we are from different nations and tribes, than we had thought.
          And Gache, I agree with what you said-some of us have been made crazy by being exposed to the white mans' ways. The words of your prophet have answered a question I have been asking myself here lately. I had thought it was me, but I know now that it is not me that has changed so signifcantly, but the world around me. Recently, I have felt very different from the non-indian people I interact with on a daily basis, and I had thought that it was only that I am growiing older, but your words make me see that it is not me that is changing so much as the ways of the world I must go out into every day.



          • #6
            Tree, let me just add this.
            If you don't need to take it from the woods then don't. Everything there is a part of the ecosystem and some plants, flowers, stones, grasses, bark, fallen trees..whatever might be crucial in the survival of one animal, plant, tree, get the idea. This is something I learned while living in a state park. Even antlers that have fallen are a huge source of calcium for animals like the fox and the squirrel. Just be careful what you trample or take and never take all of something in the wild, they need to reproduce themselves as well.
            Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


            • #7
              She:kon Bear:
              Good words. You are absolutly right. It was never our way to go in and "clean" house. ha ha ha. I know many women, in my family on my kid's mom's side, who walk in the door and right away start cleaning this or that and changing things around without even asking me if I wanted it done. The same applies to the woods. The life or evidence of the life forms that we find there are all a necessary part of keeping this part of the created order running in a delicate and appropriate manner. To interfere in this does great damage to everyone and everything mainly because it does upset the balance. There are definitely two ways of walking into the woods. As a guest in someone else's home or as an intruder doing a break and enter. ha ha ha. Again good words Bear. Onen.

              Skennen enhsenontonnionhake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.
              Skennen enhsenontonnion':hake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.


              • #8
                Tree, if it may be asked, as a way to understand the concept of respect, could it be stated your explaination of how to walk in the woods reflects how to respect at people. bit by bit a layered understanding may be sinking in. your thoughts, comments, and converations are gratefully appreciated. dave.
                dave cole


                • #9
                  one thing i thought of as i read these posts, was how important it is to actually be in the "woods". i remmeber a few years ago a good friend came to see me. we had worked together in the city on some rights issues, and had developed quite a comradre. he came to visit one weekend when i was planning to harvest some marsh cane. i asked if he'd mind helping me gather a few bundles and he obliged. while we made our way down through the swamp, one thing that i was suttley aware of was how uncomfortable my friend was in the woods.
                  he just did not seem very grounded. almost like someone who gets dizzy.

                  i know that alot of us dont spend much time in the environment - not at least like we once did. also, i know that its not practical either. many of us have jobs in the city, kids in a good house with running water. we should all have those things. sometimes though, its good to get back into something that has been apart of us for a very long time.

                  im glad to hear about others who spend some time gathering medicine, materials, and noticing our surroundings. it is good to have a happy medium of contemporary and traditional.



                  • #10
                    Well I was taught if you treat your children like they are guests, you will raise healthy happy children, who definitely know how to treat people with respect. It is the same in the woods. If you remember you are a guest you will learn how to be respectful of people too and vice versa. Onen.

                    Skennen enhsenontonnionhake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.
                    Skennen enhsenontonnion':hake - May you have peace in your mind and heart.


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