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Mary Louie, In her own words

Interview by Marie Burke

Page 24

Buffalo Spirit

It is not easy to balance it. A lot of people that come and they bring something, sometimes they bring tobacco and sometimes we have a lot of tobacco, but that doesn't help with our bills. It's OK. We don't mind that. We manage. But they have to realize that. We always have to protect ourselves. We always have to prepare. We always have people here. We always have to cleanse ourselves, purification. So to get ready for the people, there is a lot of things we always have to get ready. And tell them what they have to do. You know, if they can do it and if not. They will be back again. It's OK for them to come back two or three times, but they should learn what they need to do. We give them directions of what they need to gather to help themselves, but if it is something else, then usually we go and gather it and get it ready for them. There is a lot of them that don't know how to go out there and gather the medicine. . .

If they need to see someone, Indian doctor, then they need to pray on it. If they allow themselves to suffer for this length of time, then they will take the time that is needed to heal. It is up to the person.

The winter ceremonies and the summer ceremonies, I know a lot of them have been taken because of the government or because of the fear that has come to the Elders for the protection of their children or their grandchildren and themselves. A lot of them have gone underground in the bushes or in the woods to continue it and very few that we are aware of are still taught.

So a lot of them know of it and they still carry it in some manner. The right teaching has not been given because each one has a protocol to it. Each ceremony has a protocol. Even mine has a protocol. It has been neglected for some time.

When I was asked to bring it back, I was shown what to do because it was the spirits that showed me what I had to do. They showed me almost step by step. So if they want to learn bad enough, if they want to get help for their people and they are not sure who to go to, then they need to pray on it.

And sometimes they (the spirits) want to see how sincere they are so they will take longer, but they are shown, whether it's going to a ceremony or going to an Indian doctor for help or participating in a ceremony. They will be shown what to take and what to give to all of the keepers or to the Indian doctor that they go see. So if they have the patience and they really want to help or they really want to learn, then they will be shown when the time is right. Then they will know when they have to go.

Because of the fast pace of life now there is so many that have really lost their ways, because of the urban or because of the religion. The religion really interfered with the people a lot and it's hard for them to balance it, because they are not sure what is, what it is that is making them sick.

And what I would call their Indian-ness...That is what I call a shumick. It starts bothering them even from the time of the beginning. We are given certain laws to abide by and there is certain rules we need to learn about and if that is not given at that time then we become a certain age, they have dreams, they have visions, they hear things, and if they don't talk about it to somebody then their fear is what are you taking for you to hear these things.

So they don't really know who to turn to, so they are at a loss. But if they pray on it, if they are sincere and want to know what it is and pray on it, they will be shown who to go to.

So they don't go and pick up somebody that they hear somebody say 'Oh, you can go and see this person to help you' and that person may not even know the teachings. . . It may have been something they have learned from the book. There are a lot of people that are picking up these books, because they are written and they are reading to learn and not going out and earning it. They are not earning it. They are not earning it. They are not being humble.

So if you want to earn it, you've got to go out and fast. You go swimming every morning. If you sweat, you go to the sweat house. You don't just use it just once every month, or once every three months or six months. You use it as a purification, a cleansing.

And there is two of them, there is one for the men and there is one for the women, and you are not really supposed to mix it, but it has been and that was my teaching was never to mix it, and I didn't know at the time what my grandmother said when she said you don't mix your sweats. I had no idea, because she didn't explain. As I got older, then I understood what she meant after so many years. I was just keeping that stored away.

So one of the things is if you are going to learn about your ways, you have to combine your heart and your mind together. There is a young lady that always says the longest journey in your lifetime is from your head to your heart. So that's true, because we need to combine that and not just come from your head all time. Always listen to that inner voice, and eventually you will have a partner here to guide you through that, to guide you. So to never make fun of any ceremonies or the ways of other people, because each one is different and to respect it as you would respect the church. There is no difference, we all pray to the same Creator and I have read the bible and all the teachings within that bible and even though it is written, it is still part of the teachings we have from our Elders, our teachers.

But the respect that the Creator has given us is all going to go away if we don't start respecting it again. Everything that he has made or given us is connected to us, whether it is the animals, the birds, the rocks, the plants, the trees, the water, the ground, mother earth, the air, the food. All of that was put there for us, so we need to have respect.

And teaching your children, having them sit at your feet when you go to meetings or go somewhere and that is part of thir training. Once they are older, then they can work in the kitchen or split wood. Of course, that is not going to be much longer. That's going to be gone, but there is always things that are going to have to be done that they can do, to be part of. They need to teach their children to be part of their lives. . .

It's happening in some places. It's not always working, but it is happening. They need to look at that and if the doctors can't help them, then maybe their own people can, the medicine people, and they should be in the hospital like that you know.

Whether it is to help them, to assist them and diagnose something or by the medicines by looking at it 'OK, if your medicine don't work, then try this.' They have to remember that it is the medicine people that have to go out and gather it, because protocols are done as well. With the mothers coming in the deliverance, they should have the midwives there in hospital. They need to allow that to happen, instead of having it alone.

They need to help them also with having the grandmothers and the grandfathers there to help them work with the children when they are brought in, because they miss their families; helping them to be content, whether it is telling stories or praying with them. That is one of the things is that doctors will never understand, the medicine people, never be able to fit their shoes because they never have to go through the discipline that they had to go through within their growth, but as working as the team they need to think about that and work to accept it.

If they are not misusing it and they are humble to the Creator's children as they come and they use what they have to help the people and they don't set a price, it is up to the people to give and one of the things I really have to look at is what I call the shumick...don't look at the color. They look at what is in here (she points to her heart) and if they are sincere, then they say this is what I want you to do, to go through to elp you with this. We have to look at it as with incarnation. They are sent back to do something. We also have to think about the children. There are a lot of children that are half-breeds and a lot of people make it hard on the children because they are half-breeds, and yet the shumick may choose them to carry on, whether it's the pipe, to gather the medicines, to gather food, the pipe tobacco. Each one of us has a job. They all can't do the same thing. So as long as they don't sell the medicines or charge a certain price, then it's OK.

If they start charging or selling then it will be taken away. Through the punishment of the spirits, if they mock it, they will get a spanking by it. . . If there is a intermarriage of different nationalities, then you don't share what you know with them. You don't get to learn if that is not meant to be. Just let them be. Because once they start learning they feel they are going to know more than you. It is the children that pay the high price.

The shumick comes through the parent, the grandparents, the great uncle, the great-great-grandparents. It doesn't matter how far it goes back because maybe they will see something in that one. And they want that one to bring me forth. They look in here (points to her heart). We don't go choosing. They choose us. And it's sad that the white people are doing it anyway. I feel bad about it, but our people are so busy trying to keep up with the Joneses, and whoever might be, that they forget their own purpose in life. They forget that they might have made commitment before they came. They forget that they made a commitment of who their parents were going to be. So whether they are raised by them or not, there's a commitment that they made and they have to carry it out and they are not to forget that. Or deny that. . .

A quick fix I call it. It's because you are impatient. You have to allow yourself to be patient and to pray and ask 'I don't understand what is happening to me and I need to

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