Bison have been a recurring animal throughout my life.
I was born in the NWT and lived there until I was 29. Often the wild and free roaming bison herds would be seen on road trips in the sandy dunes or at times wonder into town. My mother was born in Manitoba where the provincial flag has a bison on it. She moved with her family when she was five years old to the Northwest Territories. The North was not developed back then, dirt roads from Edmonton to the North, no industry except for commercial fishing but yet a young Ukrainian farm family moved there making it home. My dear friend who is an instructor at an Alberta university is also an elder AND keeper of two bundles for her Sundance ceremonies. Only 9 ladies from her Sisika Nation hold the right to attend the ceremony.
I was asked to partake by taking care of the elder who would enter the lodge at certain times.
I was to wear a dress for the three days of ceremony, as did all the women.
I was to cook for the elder, and supply the ladies in the lodge their flavored water with natural herbs and fruits I picked on the land.
I was to watch over and protect the tipi which held the two bundles until time was called for them. I never touched them.
At the end of the ceremony which was held over four days, we were to go in and have prayer with the ladies in the lodge.
Full on POWER and grounding was felt. My friend and teacher of life... painted my face with her paints all made from the fat of the Bison, the buffalo. There were to be no cameras ever on the sacred land where the tipis and lodge were set up in a circle and camp. There were no lights or generators during the three days either, only fire.
It was the most calming, powerful, grounding and beautiful experience I have ever been part of. Prior to that she had a dream that I was surrounded by bison. Two years later I married a bison rancher. I knew then that the bison were not his spirit animal but mine. I never ate bison again. I eat animal protein but learned through Elders that if an animal is your spirit animal, you cannot consume it. To come full circle, after my divorce, heartbreak that shattered me into a thousand little pieces, it is now that I see in the mosaic I created out of those bits, some lost forever, but to create something new, something more beautiful & powerful.
It is a rebirth like the Phoenix. It is through the spirit of the bison once taken advantage of that I return.
The bison are part of me. Their spirit is gentle yet powerful & have returned in my life. ❤ #grateful