Tag Archives: ancient echoes

Common Threads- Aboriginal Spirituality

 We are visiting Ancient Echoes a museum and interpretive centre in Herschel Saskatchewan where you can learn about the life of the Plains Indians.Our guides Dave and Sue Neufeld take us for a long hike and we stop 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. This arrangement of stones was for a vision quest and Dave decides to try it out. He says it is very peaceful and surprisingly warm lying spread- eagled on the ground even though the day is freezing cold. During 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. Our guide Dave Neufeld points 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 are also many Biblical characters who fasted and prayed before making major decisions.Dave Neufeld says it is too bad that when the Christian missionaries had initial contact with aboriginal people they didn’t first search 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. While Dave is lying in the vision quest space Dave Neufeld gets out a drum he has made and drums and sings 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 

We are all one people

We are all one nation

We are all one color in her eye. 

We are all one color if we try. 

Other posts………..

Common Threads- The Bahai

Common Threads- A Buddhist Monk



Filed under Herschel, Religion

What Am I Doing On A Birthing Stone?

birthing stone ancient echoes herschel saskatchewanI’m resting on a birthing stone that was used by women of the Plains Indian groups who erected their tipis around Herschel, Saskatchewan hundreds of years ago.  On a tour of Ancient Echoes, an interpretive centre in Herschel, our guide told us an aboriginal female elder who visited the site identified the stone as one women would have used while giving birth. birthing stone herschel saskatchewan

The stone allowed women in labor to basically be upright with their backs resting in the gentle curve of the rock. Ellen Pearson a University of North Carolina history professor writes that in most Indian nations women did not give birth lying down. She says a bed of leaves was amassed beneath the standing mother as a soft place for her infant to land.

prairie view herschel saskatchewan

Prairie in Herschel Saskatchewan November 2013

The stone was a  comfortable resting place and the view it provided of the prairie was certainly very peaceful and lovely. I’d never heard of a birthing stone before. Perhaps it will be reinstated someday as helpful aid to women wanting to give birth in a natural way. 

Other posts about Ancient Echoes………

Dave’s Vision Quest

A Saskatchewan Great Plains Grizzly Lands Up in Scotland

Other posts about Plains Indians……….

There Must Be 50 Ways to Use A Bison

Killing A Bison Is Hard

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Filed under Canada, Family, Herschel, History

A Saskatchewan Great Plains Grizzly Lands Up in Scotland

My husband Dave is dwarfed by this statue of the Great Plains Grizzly Bear which we encountered on our visit to Ancient Echoes, an interpretive centre and museum in Herschel Saskatchewan.  There are no more great grizzlies on the prairies but at one time thousands made their home there. The demise of the bison as a food source and the threat posed by the  influx of European hunters forced the big bears off the prairies. 

Made from Manitoba tyndall stone by Saskatoon artist Kim Epp this sculpture is a graphic reminder of how the in flux of settlers changed  the prairie landscape forever.  A sign by the bear notes the Great Plains grizzly was once an integral part of the aboriginal scared circle of creation. One in ten grizzlies have white fur and in some First Nations groups the white bears were thought of as spirit bears that had special powers. 

Our guide at Ancient Echoes, David Neufeld told us we know for certain there were great grizzlies in the Herschel area of Saskatchewan because a Scottish lord, James Carnegie the 9th Earl of Southesk shot one there on July 20, 1859. He recorded the event in his diary which was published fifteen years later.

The Earl went on a hunting expedition across Western Canada.  According to David Neufeld the game trophies from his trip to Canada are still on display on the walls of Kinnaird Castle in Scotland. 

I checked the castle out on the internet and you can rent rooms there and go hiking, shooting or fishing in the area. Perhaps you can also catch a glimpse of a Great Plains grizzly that lived over a hundred years ago in Herschel, Saskatchewan. 

Other posts about Ancient Echoes………

Dave’s Vision Quest

Other posts about bears………

Meeting Not One But Four Bears

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Filed under Canada, Herschel, Nature