Oral Tradition


"Imagine the sacrifice our ancestors abided by for us in preserving the rules, codes, protocols and our prayers in order to keep our ceremonies, culture and traditions strong."

Allan Pard - Piikani

When you're in those kind of rules, codes, if we practice those and abide by those protocols, then our prayers and our ways become much more stronger. It's sort of, it's sort of like a sacrifice to maintain this, those rules and obligations. If you live by that, then you'll be able to help people with those bundles. But there's, there's uh, sacred public knowledge that could be public, and shared with the public but when it comes down to sacred knowledge, or transferred knowledge, it mean that in order to understand or share that information, the only way can acquire that is that you have to live it. You have to do it and make that obligation. It's just not information that's shared with the public.


"To learn about your culture is to go to the Elders. With their guidance and support they will teach you the ceremonial and traditional ways."

Jerry Potts - Piikani

When you, when you go out and you have the yearning to learn about who you are and where you come from, well, naturally you go to the elders and you do that. I know back in the days when they first started to do this stuff, to get involved with our ceremonial and traditional ways, we were very fortunate to still have some elders around that were able to guide us, and give us the right help to go into the direction. And I know, I was told, "well, if you gonna do something, you have to have a pipe.

And, with every step of learning you have to pay for it. That's one of the hard things that we have. Like even when we revived the Brave Dog Society, here on our reserve, it was inactive for forty-five years. And you go and you hear somebody, you approach an elder, and they got one of the ceremonial pieces, and they say, "Well, I paid fifty head of horses for that." Yeah, here we are, like the economy we live in, the state we live in and a lot of times it's the people that, that work towards this stuff. It's not like the old days, where you had five hundred head of horses out in the back year, and you tell somebody, "Yeah, well, you go over there and fifty of them horses are yours, for the take." Because they paid from their heart but they knew the value of it, because they knew when they transferred it, they were going to be getting some that stuff back as well too.



"The tools we use to send our prayers to the Creator assists us in our journey of life."

Joe P. Cardinal - Cree

It has a good message. That's the way I take sweet grass. Try to ease that mind, that spirit within us. That's the way I believe it. Maybe the next guy believes it differently. We say we purify the mind and the spirit and I really believe in that. God speaks to us in here [the heart] we feel it here [the heart]. We do not hear his voice, but we hear through here [the heart]. Sometimes we don't feel right, we don't think right. We use the sweet grass so that it would be more meaningful. That message will be more meaningful. I will understand it. I will deal with it the best way I can, something that I have to deal with. So my feeling is it's good sometimes.



"Using what we have been given in the right way will lead to collaboration."

Allan Pard - Piikani

For the Blackfoot people, it came for, it came to us thousands of years ago, to make pipes and to start using tobacco, and growing tobacco. We're one of the few tribes that grew tobacco and have a sacred tobacco. The Creator, in giving us the pipe, the use of pipes and tobacco, gave us the instructions that in using the pipe with our prayers, our prayers would be heard. So that's why we use the pipe, that's why the pipe is so significant to us people cause it helps with our prayers. So over time, the use of tobacco and pipes to help us become successful and wealthy, and over time, it was just not practical to be carrying your pipes around. It was sometimes even more practical to send tobacco to symbolize the use of the pipe. So, when you're approaching an Elder, for something culturally significant, the protocol is when you can bring your pipe to him and offer him your pipe, he cannot refuse your request. So in the regard to him, we're offering the gift of tobacco. It's in a sense offering the pipe to a person so therefore we're expecting cooperation, collaboration.





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