What teachings do pipe ceremonies offer you, related to treaties as covenants – kihci-asotamâtowin [Keeh-TSI-us-SOO-tu-MAA-toe-win] – Sacred Promises to One Another, the Treaty Sovereign’s Sacred Undertakings? (refer to the assigned reading in the Treaty Elders of SK book). How do you understand spirituality as part of your treaty-identities miskâsowin?
Before the pipe ceremony I was very nervous to participate in it and was something I was quite unsure about. After I did some research and listening to the elder at the ceremony, I better understood the importance and why it is benefical for students to participate in. I believe it is important because the experience is about coming together and sharing a meal to learn Indigenous culture and to welcome our loved ones to a place to be with us and to learn about another culture other than my own. The pipe ceremony taught me how Indigenous people view spirituality and how that relates to myself.
I now understand spirituality as something we are all connected in. Everyone has experienced death and loss. We all have someone who is watching over us. It does not matter what culture we are from or what religion or race, we can all connect by wanting our loved ones who have passed to rest in peace and find happiness on the other side. The pipe ceremony allowed me to find a space and have my loved ones around me and find peace in knowing they were being prayed for as well as everyone else’s. It was a place to heal and a place of understanding. It was well explained and made me feel comfortable.
Treaties are promises to accept cultures and find a way to work together in peace and harmony. When people of non-Indigenous decent make the choice to actively learn and involve themselves in traditions when given permission they are making a promise to make a better future for everyone. All people have to work together to look at the past, acknowledge it and then move forward and heal from there. The promises we make include apologies and acceptance of those apologies. We need to work together as a team and not as segregated people. We are stronger together.
Pipe ceremonies allow truth and reconciliation because as we learned, pipe ceremonies were banned from Canada for quite some time and if they were performed and caught, the inciator would experience punishment or get arrested. Allowing the ceremonies to take place acknowledges the past and provides a place to move forward in healing and forgiving.