Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mi'kmaq Ancient Lecture Hall

Mi'kmaq - Ancient Lecture Hall

Picture an open space around a campfire where the breeze mingles the smell of smoke with the sweetness of the forest beyond.

The walls are the trees and perhaps a river rushing by, the roof an open sky, the background music, the chirping of squirrels interspersed with the sweet song of the woodland thrush or the harsh cry of the crow.

Picture a circle of people, sitting on grass provided by Mother Earth, a circle of equals where no one's word  is greater than his brother's.

Listeners all, the people gathered sit for hours or even  whole days listening without interrupting the speaker. 

Breaks would happen often, for the Mi'kmaq are a people who take pleasure in humor, and the stories incorporated tales that  brought laughter. The laughter would usually begin with a small chuckle and petty soon the forest would be filled with merriment.

Laughter the best medicine.... The Mi'kmaq lived to over 100. Membertou, the great Mi'kmaq Sagamaw, is reported to have lived to  one hundred ten. Of course, they were  a very disciplined people, stoic, pushing themselves to the utmost in all areas of their lives.

The early explorers considered the Mi'kmaq to be a very intelligent people. Perhaps this emphasis on storytelling was one of reasons. 

The Mi'kmaq listened to hunting  stories, war stories, stories of what they believed in...Glooscap, legends of the stars and of animals, stories of ancestors and lineage. Always these were tales that taught and amused for the storyteller was always a great entertainer.

The novel Mi'kmaq Song explores the ancient Mi'kmaw customs. It's available as an ebook readable on any computer and most tablets. http://goo.gl/i7zQy. It can also be purchased as an ebook.

There is a road in the hearts of all of us, hidden and seldom traveled,
which leads to an unkown, secret place.
The old people came literally to love the soil,
and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of
being close to a mothering power.
Their teepees were built upon the earth
and their altars were made of earth.
The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing.
That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of
propping himself up and away from its life giving forces.
For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply
and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of
life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.

Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota