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Kettle & Stony Point First Nation History Culture Stories

Medicine Story
by Carole Pelletier

“Ah, usually in medicine families the Ojibwe people, or Chippewas, or whatever they wanna call us -- they usually choose their medincine people by members of their family, like if they show an interest, or they watch you from a very young age.  And you can pretty much tell  . . . where you’re going, with how you listen.  And, [if you are] involved with the Elders and whenever you listen to them tell stories, which I always loved.

I really loved to hear all the stories.   And . . . I can just remember falling asleep behind a stove, the old cook stove at my grandmother’s house, listening to their stories.   If there was a group of people around, I would like to be listening and involved, to hear what they had to say.  So they look at all these things when you’re growing up, how involved [you are] and [how you are] interested in the medicine.  And what do you use for this, that’s kinda how they can tell, and they can tell at a very early age.

I can tell when I talk to people about medicine, and you know if I’m going in the bush, who asks me, ‘Can I go with you gram?’  Or you know, ‘Can I go with you?’  That’s how you know.  So I went on my first medicine walk when I was six years old with my uncle Bill Henry, and I’m sure all of you know who Bill Henry was.

He practically lived in the bush, it was nothing for you to see him --see this person coming out of the bushes, hair hanging down, and his long coat on, walking through the bush coming out . . .  And . . .  he took me on my first walk and I loved it!  When I first got into the bush, I just could not believe how beautiful it was!  It was like you could hear the birds better, they were just there, you know.  They were just singing.

It was like this huge umbrella or canopy over you and the sun was sorta filtering through, and it was just -- I can’t even describe the feeling.  When you open the earth up, when you dig the earth to find a plant, dig out the plant you want.  It’s the fragrance of the earth.  It’s just amazing, it’s just like you almost hallucinate when you smell.

It’s beautiful ‘cause you can see all these things, you know it’s beautiful, and the smell of it is something you never forget, and every time you go in the bush it’s the same.  It’s the same way, that feeling doesn’t leave you, so you learn about the medicines.   And you know, you just learn, like, maybe one at a time, or whatever.  You don’t try and learn everything today --   it’s a life long process, I would say.

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