Tag Archives: native american

Late Night Poetry

6 May

Here’s another poem, this one on cultural identity. Let me know what you think!

Good Heart Project: An Awakening

4 Mar

Alarm_Clocks_20101107aI kicked this project off with the snooze button, my old friend. We shook hands several times this morning causing me to rush around to get my kid to school on time. Luckily my class isn’t till the afternoon but I’m not a fan of multitasking in the morning. Pouring milk in the little mans cereal with one hand and trying to butter a piece of bread for a sandwich for his lunch with the other. A mothers grace and tact.

Arising early in the morning so that I can prepare for the day in a good way is important. My reasoning behind this falls to the medicine wheel and talks with elders. The east, the colour red, is the direction of the things that are spiritual. Would it not make sense to wake up early enough to greet the sun as it rises? I heard once that it is in those few moments that the sun rises you perceive the world differently, it is coming alive and awakening. It is in those few moments that prayers are more powerful as if the rising of the sun lessens the divide between the here and the heavenly.

Good medicine. It is said that if you pray over water as the sun starts to rise until it is risen that it too becomes medicine for whatever you were praying for. It is that powerful. I always wanted to try this out because I believe it but sadly I believe in the snooze button too.

Rise with the sun. imagesCACBND4X

First, I’m going to have to figure out when the sun rises! I usually am up between 6:30-7:30 am but I live in a townhouse. I live in a townhouse with no eastern facing windows. I live in a townhouse with no eastern facing windows and is positioned in such a way I couldn’t even see the sunrise if I walk to the lip of the lot near the road and stood on my tippy toes.

I am going to put my snooze button to rest, hopefully. I will rise earlier so that I can write in the morning, do some yoga (did a few moves this morning), and get in some prayer. I say “will” because any other statement sounds wishy-washy. This will be a feat in itself.

Another important point about the east!

I come from two tribes, the Dane Zaa and the Cree. The Dane Zaa were dreamers while the Cree were medicine people. Dreamers. My ancestors (great-great and beyond) dreamed there way to heaven, dreamed of where the next hunt would take place and even positioning details. It was through dreaming that they brought back songs to sing for the people. Again, this ties into music choice, as songs were used to pray for the land, pray for the sick, pray for the seasons, pray for animals, and thus music was sacred.

I remember my Grandma telling me a story of when she was young and watching the drummers firedrum fireside and the people dancing around the fire in what is called a Tea Dance. Dancing is praying too. Anyways, because we are a Northern tribe and colonization and sedentary lifestyles wasn’t at full throttle, most people lived in camps and travelled seasonally. My grandmother said her Aunt Bella got up to one of the drumming songs and started to do Chubby Checkers twist! This is the part my grandmother laughs at and places her hands to her mouth and I can see a glimpse of the young girl hidden in there. So old Aunt Bella is doing the Twist somewhere in a Northern forest to a Danne Zaa prayer song and then the silence cuts in. Grandpa seen her dancing like that and said that these were prayer songs, and not made for the Twist. Dance over.

Last point: There is so much more that I know to the dreaming side of the Dane Zaa but only so much that is appropriate to share. One thing I will say though, is that they slept with their heads facing the East with medicine bundles near them. Currently my head is pointing North when I sleep, and this has a lot to do with the sloped ceilings in my room that make sleeping to the East a challenge. A challenge I will arise too! My sleeping quarters are getting a repositioning feng shui – Dane Zaa style!

Dreams are so important, did you know that there is a South American tribe who gathers in the morning to share their dreams? They believe that the dreams belong to the collective and not to any one individual. Also, if you look at what dreams have meant biblically… any one remember Joseph and his coat of many colours? Young Joseph ended up being jailed and then his exit from jail was through interpreting dreams for the king. Dreams.

I want to share a clip of a gathering I was at and attend every year… It shows the tea dance and has the voice of one of the last (publicly recorded) dreamers.


❤ Seriously, that warmed my heart this morning.


Have a good hearted day people!


Helen K


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I was born not knowing and have only little time to change that here and there

Moontime Warrior

A Blog by Erica Violet Lee

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