Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sacred stones or cottages lots?

The turtle's seven parts — head, body, tail and four legs — symbolize the seven codes of life: bravery, respect, honesty, humility, wisdom, honour and sharing.”

Monday, September 26, 2005
posted by db on Tuesday, September 27th at 3:20 PM
by JULIUS STRAUSS From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Silver Falls, Man. — When Caroline Bruyère was last taken by her family to the site of the sacred turtle on the banks of the Winnipeg River, she was a small girl. Now an elder of the Sagkeeng First Nation and a 62-year-old grandmother, she returned last week for the first time in 50 years. For the occasion, she put on a ceremonial sky-blue dress adorned with brightly coloured ribbons, sweetgrass and other talismans. She pointed out the stones that had been carefully placed by her ancestors around the turtle. "To you they're just rocks," she said. "But to us they are grandfathers." In the coming weeks, this pristine piece of the Canadian Shield is to be parcelled out and turned into lots for cottages...

...(T)he Anishnabe natives consider the turtle one of their most sacred symbols. The stones placed around the animal represent the incarnation of the spirits of the ancestors. The turtle's seven parts — head, body, tail and four legs — symbolize the seven codes of life: bravery, respect, honesty, humility, wisdom, honour and sharing...

...Ms. Bruyère is one of an increasing number of aboriginals attempting to reclaim her culture and the forgotten secrets of thousands of years of spiritual history. It is a journey fraught with frustration and setbacks. Much of the oral history has been lost and few, if any, records remain from the old days when aboriginals could be fined or imprisoned for practising their traditional rituals. "Our ancestors have passed on and they didn't tell us where are spiritual sites were for fear of persecution," Ms. Bruyère said...
...But while she clambered among the rocky outcrops and the small, wet clearings near Silver Falls last week, her eyes glowed with youthful excitement as she became aware of other ancient aboriginal petroforms. There were stones set equidistant in a circle and a sort of a stone ledge — Ms. Bruyère explained it was a spirit chair — surrounded by rocks...
...Non-natives often dismiss the sometimes vague claims that they are violating aboriginal religious grounds. Unlike European settlers, natives didn't typically clear the land and build imposing churches. Instead, their places of worship incorporated and augmented natural geographical features. To a white settler, the sacred turtle probably looked like an unremarkable outcrop of granite...
...Ms. Bruyère believes that only if the natives' ancient spiritual sites are protected can their culture rebound and the people begin to recover from the trauma of the whites' settlement of the land. "When Christianity came to this continent, our spiritual culture was outlawed and we weren't allowed to practise our spirituality. We have become dysfunctional because of that. That's why our people are having such a hard time." Then, before she left the site of the sacred turtle, she turned and, as though to herself, said: "I'm so happy we can find what our ancestors had and rediscover our spirituality. We're very young at doing this."


two hammonassett turtles

Box Turtle

black diamondback terrapin

Friday, August 18, 2006

Constant prayer

It's a (modern) Stone Turtle attached to another symbol in stone that is a constant prayer for Peace.
I don't remember where I found it, but I seem to remember it's the work of Viet Nam veteran...


I keep trying to add this link, as well as copy Peter's links:
but I just can't seem to do it.

And this one too that has nothing to do with rocks or stones:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

Diagonal Stone Fish Weir

A diagonal stone fish weir...
Summer 1997

Winter 2005...

And a short slide back to the year 1999...

(I took these photos from up in a tree and scotch taped them together...)
And then back to the Fall of 1998...

Close up of the Double Stones...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just One Picture

There was lots of rain this year, so the river ran high by what I think is the Stone Fish Weir. I found it hard to even go across the field to look at this structure that gave it's place-name to the area.
I hoped to get the Weir on the National Register, get it recognized, maybe preserve it, ever since 1997 when I realized what it was, this diagonal line of stones that's been here for who knows how long.
I've got tons of photographs that do little more than document its slow dissappearance due to the natural forces of erosion.
I went over the other day, July 29, 2006.
I took one photo and my camera batteries died.
It's the most upstream end of the Weir, where the river is eroding the east bank, a spot most likely to contain artifacts...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Pg 7

"Springs, rivers, swamps and ground water are living beings with spirits.
According to the 2001 Northern Cheyenne Reservation Survey on Traditional Economy
and Subsistence, over 97% of the people believe that springs have spiritual value.
Furthermore, over 90% recognize that water is very important to their social, economic
and spiritual way of life. “The conceptual meaning of water to us would be the physical
manifestation of the essence of life, of life itself, the fabric of life.” (Little Coyote,
1/8/02). The Sacred Buffalo Hat “came to us out of the waters” [of the Great Lakes
Region]. (Little Coyote, 1/8/02).
The Northern Cheyenne communicate with these spirits. The ongoing traditional
cultural importance of these water locations can be seen in the respect shown to these
locations and in the offerings made at these locations. Routine archaeological survey
on the reservation always takes into account water sources relative to the survey
boundaries. A good contemporary example of this is the current widening of U.S. 212
east of Lame Deer. A survey documented the ongoing use of three springs for
traditional cultural purposes and design changes were made to avoid affecting these
The Northern Cheyenne Natural Resources Department is conducting a survey
of springs on the reservation. This work will include not only the physical characteristics
of these springs but also their ongoing traditional cultural uses and the medicinal plants
that are often associated with springs (Rollofson, 1/8/02, Appendix F).
Water is also associated with the turtle. The turtle is good to eat and is always
associated with ceremonies. Some of the sweat lodges are patterned after the turtle
and its longevity. These sweats are made for long life (Little Coyote, 1/6/02).
The traditional water drum is still used by the members of the Native American
Church. “When you take those drums apart after ceremonial use, the breath of life
comes out of them.” (Little Coyote, 1/6/02). Water drums must be taken apart after
every ceremony. The water must be disposed of in a ritually specific fashion. (Little
Coyote, 1/6/02).
Swamps are filled with many spirits and may be dangerous due to the
accumulation of power at these localities. The Northern Cheyenne recognize the
spiritual qualities of ground water also. There are special prayers for digging wells.
Ground water represents the quiet nature of the earth. It should not be disturbed...”