my ceremony was in the southern sky last night

by waaseyaa'sin christine sy

last night i made a little ishkode and started it with a bit wiigwas i carry in the back of my daaban where the things you need for changing a tire go. yea, back there. always throw a bit of that back there cuz you never know when you’ll need to make ishkode. replaced it with some newspaper, just in case.

anyway, a fire for ceremony is always good starting with wiigwaas, so try to keep some of that with you. the sound of it burning will make you smile. all crackly and cracklin’.

pulled out that sheshegwan that nini taught me to make over skype. some women who’ve informed my thinking and practice are there, etched into that sheshegwan. one of them is sewn into it.

everyone (in my bundle) was there.

i was able to sing some songs.

and pray in our language.

all baby-talk, of course.

prompted by an fb post to pray for the missing and murdered women, so i did that and for their loved ones, too. and the ones who want to be somewhere other than where they are but can’t get to where they want to be–i prayed for them, too. i mean, when i say, “pray for”, i mean, i put a thought out there to the ether in mindfulness of them and all that.

who am i to ‘pray for’? i’ll add to the ether but not try to mess with it.

i also put a thought out there for my first creative writing teacher. three years with her in Minority Voice…she gave me everything to get going and keep me going for awhile. Alanna F. Bondar, dancing her way along jiibay miikana. she’ll light it up right.

and the salmon heading to quesnel lake. i cried for those ones. had too cuz it’s too much to shut out and too much to live with/think about everyday. but mostly i cried for the ones who benefit from killing the land, the water, our relatives so they can look good in their fancy cars, clothes, and houses and appease their egos and show off for each other.

“Oooo. Look at me.”

the salmon. and the killers.
the salmon skin is falling off.
the killers…..

i prayed for humility and lack of judgment. and, joy.

i remembered that ceremony fire last month in potagonnissing (place of the little mortar) in torrential down pour and how it’s true: those pottawatomi people, those ones who live with the pottawatomi, sure can make a fire. and those women. geez that was some good night.

the anishinaabeg nation is strong. and its strong because of us. but also because there are non-anishinaabeg who love life and who love us.

pretty grateful for memory and imagination. gizhewe manidoo came up with some good gifts, uh?

tried to remember what Helen Roy taught us about that word: ishkode.

anyhow, it’s important to get your ceremony going on whenever and wherever you can. “just do it”, as two of my teachers say. you don’t need permission. the anishinaabe way is your birthright. and being with yourself, the land, the spirits, and the language–that’s ceremony and that’s yours. you were born into it.

all that, and then i crawled in my tent: zzzZZZzzzzZzzz.