Dave’s Vision Quest

dave vision quest ancient echoesThis week we visited Ancient Echoes a museum and interpretive centre in Herschel Saskatchewan where you can learn about the life of the Plains Indians. People from the Gros Ventre, Blackfoot and Cree nations all once made their home in the area. 

me and sue neufeldOur guides Dave and Sue Neufeld took us for a long hike and we stopped to learn about different stone formations that were important in the cultural and religious life of the aboriginal people who erected their tipis around Herschel in the 1700s and 1800s. dave vision questThis arrangement of stones was for a vision quest and Dave decided to try it out. He said it was very peaceful and surprisingly warm lying spread- eagled on the ground even though the day was freezing cold.
dave on the high prairieDuring a vision quest a person spends a period of time out alone in nature fasting and praying and waiting for a vision that will give their life purpose and direction. 
In many First Nations groups a vision quest happened in puberty as a rite of passage. It was a sacred ceremony for a young person searching for a guardian spirit.dave's vision quest However according to one article I read this was not the case for all of the Plains Indians, in particular the  Gros Ventre who lived for a period of time near Herschel. In the Gros Ventre nation it was much more common for mature men to initiate a quest seeking a vision. So Dave would have fit right in. 
dave vision questOur guide Dave Neufeld pointed out the correlation with Biblical stories where prophets had visions that provided direction not only for their lives but for the lives of the people of Israel. There were also many Biblical characters who fasted and prayed before making major decisions.walking on the prairie in fallDave Neufeld said it was too bad that when the Christian missionaries had initial contact with aboriginal people they hadn’t first searched for the similarities between native spiritual practices and Christianity rather than focusing their attention on the differences. It might have saved a great deal of heartache. 

drumming for vision questWhile Dave was lying in the vision quest space Dave Neufeld got out a drum he had made and drummed and sang a beautiful song in his strong voice. 

Chorus: We are all one people

We all come from one Creator way on high

We are all one nation under one great sky

You and I

vision quest drummer 

We are all one people

We are all one nation

We are all one color in her eye. 

(The verse was sung three times – the second time the last line went ‘all one color in his eye’  and the last time ‘all one color if we try’)

 

 

 

Other posts about First Nations people……..

Mennonites and Canada’s First Nations People Have More in Common Than You Think

Residential Schools- The Hiroshima of the Indian Nations

Caleb’s Crossing

Discovering Sacagawea

Hopi at the Heard

Hopi at the Heard- Pottery

Hopi at the Heard- Kachinas

Visiting the Hopi Reservation

Finding Sacagawea in Sedona

1 Comment

Filed under Canada, Herschel, History, Music, New Experiences, Religion, Travel

One response to “Dave’s Vision Quest

  1. Pingback: They Look Like Photographs | What Next?

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