Only Creator can bless, blessings come down to Mother Earth,
tobacco (Kinnick-Kinnick), cedar, and other herbs, (no need for a fire).
synagogue to pray and Muslims go to a mosque and pray, the Siouan-speaking nations have what they call a Sun Dance that they go to for prayer; therefore, they do not get all that involved with smudging a Circle.
Creator can bless, blessings come down to Mother Earth,
never up from her!
If the smudging of the circle is done correctly you should
feel a peace of mind and a need to fellowship while in your circle.
The first thing we must understand before going any further would be that only the Creator can bless anyone or anything, I cannot say this enough times!
After the Circle has been marked off and the Fire Keeper
does what the Fire Keeper needs to do, the Keeper of the Circle can start
cleaning and clearing the Circle and the area around the Circle. There is no
set limit of how many people go about clearing this area; it is up to the
Keeper of the Circle as to how many help.
Once the Keeper is sure the area is safe for the dancers and
clean of any unsightly mess, the Keeper should start the smudging of the area
that is as long as it is being done long before any of the public starts
Again, there is no limit to the number of people helping --
this is up to the Keeper of the Circle. The Keeper of the Circle should start
at the fire, light the smudge bowl medicine from the fire and start smudging
the evil out of the Circle. First, the Keeper, while still facing the fire,
starts smudging, stopping at each gate for prayer and guidance. Now when the
Fire Keeper gets back around to the east, the Keeper should turn and face the
east gate. The Keeper of the Circle usually starts smudging once again, while
still standing at the fire, working around the Circle four times, stopping at
each gate again for prayer and guidance. Once back facing the east gate, the
Keeper should take one large step toward the east gate and start around the
Circle again four times. This needs to be done until the Circle is completely
cleansed and you can step out of the east gate. At the time just before Grand
Entry, while the Keeper of the Circle is smudging dancers and flags with a
talking feather in the left hand, the Keeper asks for a chance to speak to the
dancers. It is at this time that the Keeper of the Circle asks everyone if they
would place all of their bad feelings, gossiping, and bitterness on the ground
outside of the east gate before entering through to dance.
Usually just before the prayer and before the Veterans’
Dance, the Creator will be asked to come to the east gate to please remove all
of the bad feelings and come in to the Circle to bless it for our Gathering.
My three favorite words are “Before first contact.”
That would be a time before our way was polluted by other
than Native culture. The West Coast Indians (the Siouan-speaking language) used
sage because sage grows plentifully around that area. The Plains Indians (the
Siouan/Abenaki-speaking language) used sweet grass, a tall sweet smelling grass
that grows in area that the buffalo should still be roaming around in, and they
also use some sage.
The East Coast Indians (Algonquian-speaking language) used
tobacco, cedar, and other herbs, such as kinnick / kinnick -- (no need for a fire).
I can remember a time once, when I was very young, my grandfather, Sachem Tallfox, returned from a meeting out West (sometime in the early 40' )-- a trip to help do land claims
with another tribe. I am not sure which nation he was visiting at this time, I was very young.
At one of our monthly meetings at the church in Uncasvillage while he was teaching he talked about our the ways of our brothers and sisters over west of the Mississippi River,
and how they do their smudging.
It was at that time that we in our area included sage and sweet grass, along with our herbs while smudging, as my grandfather explained, our brothers and sisters out West and
the Natives here in the East can now spend more time in prayer by using all of
the things provided by our mother, Mother Earth.
The Christians go to a church and pray, Jews go to a
synagogue to pray and Muslims go to a mosque and pray, the Siouan-speaking nations have what they call a Sun Dance that they go to for prayer; therefore, they do not get all that involved withsmudging a Circle.
After first contact, the non-Natives tell us that we must have some kind of meetings at least once a year, or we as a nation cannot be recognized as a people.
So the Siouan-speaking people have a Gathering once a year
that they can invite others to and enjoy a weekend. An East Coast nation the
people that live within an area from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River, and
from Canada to Mexico, do what was called a Pau-waus (Gathering of the People),
today it is known as a Pow-wow. This is our church; we do consider this to be