Today, I have learned a lot of new information surrounding Indigenous practice and teachings. One of the Digital Media Production 1st year students had their dad come in to talk about the 7 grandfather teachings and we even had a smudging ceremony. First, We went to the smudging room at the college and Elder John smudged the whole class, this purified all of the negative energy in everyone, then we went to the studio and learned virtues to a healthy life.
Although I have been in a smudging ceremony before, I still love the experience of being purified and the smell of the sage burning. However, Elder John used a feather to help with smudging and I have never seen this before in a smudging ceremony. From my understanding, he used the feather to help purify the back of everyone, making sure they were rid of all negative energy, front and back.
During the discussion, we talked about the virtues, the animals that represent them, and how you show/use each one. These include love (Eagle), respect (Buffalo), courage (Bear), honesty (Sasquatch), wisdom (Beaver), humility (Wolf), and truth (Turtle).
The main thing that I learned from this lesson was that you can’t use one of these without using more or all of them. You can’t love yourself without being honest with yourself and you’d also have to be truthful to yourself about actually loving yourself. In learning this, I shared a personal experience where I have used most of the virtues. Altogether, I’ve shown truth, honesty, courage, and respect.
At the end of the lesson, my teacher, Michele, gave Elder John a gift and he gave all of the teachers gifts in return. I was a bit taken back when he came up to me and handed me a gift. He told me that he always brings an extra gift in case a person, like me, were to share and connect with what he was teaching. The present was a smudging bowl and holder. I think that this was the sweetest present I have ever received. It was unexpected and very special. This will also help to give me motivation to learn more about Indigenous culture and practices.