Dailies: May 28, 2013
This morning, after breakfast, Ryder and I decided that we would check out lil crow, a coffee shop/bistro/art gallery/performance venue that is only a few hundred metres from where we are staying. While getting our coffees we met David Maracle, the owner and operator. We told him a little about our project and he played some music for us and discussed his other endeavours which included sculpting and speaking engagements. After chatting for a while, David asked if we had been in the teepee around the back of the shop. We hadn’t and (since he was going to stoke the fire inside anyway) he offered to take us in.
Once inside David told us that the teepee had been a wedding present for his wife, but since Mohawk people had traditionally lived in longhouses and not teepees, he had to get some friends from an Ojibwe tribe to help build it. We sat around the fire for a while and talked. When the topic of ‘smudging’ came up, both Ryder and I had to admit that we didn’t have a good understanding of what was involved.
David explained that smudging is something of a purification ritual in which one gives thanks for the basic tenets of life. It is easy to get sidetracked by all the things we don’t have, like fancy cars or tvs and so on, he said. It has become a particular issue for First Nations people because their way of life is not traditionally based on material consumption. Yet the youth, exposed to different priorities through media, do not understand necessarily why their parents do not provide the flashiest of toys for them. We smudged with white buffalo sage-it is a wonderful experience and smell! It made me take pause to appreciate some of the struggles, or seemingly unfair situations I have encountered in my life. In the end, you appreciate the things you work for far more than the things that are handed to you.