PROPOSAL FOR A WABANAKI CONFEDRACY MEDECINE LODGE CENTRE

PROPOSAL FOR A WABANAKI CONFEDRACY MEDECINE LODGE CENTRE

Messagepar admin » Sam 28 Fév 2015 12:46

KEEP THE WABANAKI CONFEDERACY CIRCLE STRONG


WABANAKI MEDICINE LODGE CENTRE

Cultural Renewal
and
Research Program



A WABANAKI NATIONS PROPOSAL

WRITTEN BY: CLAUDE AUBIN


PREAMBLE FROM THE WRITER

The purpose of this proposal for a Medicine Lodge Centre was written as a result of my observation and the need express at traditional gathering by many people member of the Wabanaki Confederacy. This proposal took few years to be completed and is reflecting the need expressed by the people of all the Wabanaki Nations to renew their own culture and to recognize the inclusion into the Confederacy of the new Nation the fourth prophet talked about, the Métis Nation.

This proposal is one way of employing and activating the Wabanaki people in the important work to documenting and renewing their own culture. Many people know that we must do this, but talk are cheap. What our people need is a written plan of action in a proposal format on how to do it and to retain it in respect of who you are.

Most important picture tells story about people. Visual images are very compelling aids to associate stories with pictures. A Medicine Lodge Centre is a pictures of a traditional camp to bring memories to the Elders.

WHAT IS THIS PROPOSAL

This proposal is a concept for a traditional Wabanaki Medicine Lodge Centre and a Cultural Renewal, Ceremonial and Research Program. The main development envisioned is a museum and a renewal program built on principals of Native culture and structured after the traditional lodge encampment of the Wabanaki people.


This concept and its development is well supported by the people of our community and by the Nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy. It will be guided by our respected Elders and ceremonialists amongst the Confederacy.

BACKGROUND

This proposal was written following the interest of Elders with the support of friends from Wabanaki Nations. It outline ideas for a Medicine Lodge Centre and programs promoting the full renewal of the cultural and economic life of the Wabanaki people.

Many citizens of our Wabnaki Nations are concerned that we must do something to preserve our culture and our ceremonies. Through difficult times, we have stayed with the vision of renewing the traditional circle of our people and we have shown our commitment to our culture and our ceremonial ways.

TAKING THE RIGHT STEP

Now we need to go to the next step. We need real financial support to ensure that those who have worked so hard to preserve our culture and the other who have backed it so far have the resources to keep it going in the right, traditional way. We can see that this program holds so much promise to improve every aspect of our Native way of life today for the future generations, culturally, economically, socially, politically and spiritually.

Our need is urgent. Our knowledgeable Elders passed on every year and with them goes all that they remember about our traditions. So much more responsibility goes on to the shoulders of those Elders and Ceremonialist still with us. Time is running out for our culture, land and people. This is why many of our people are very frustrated and this frustration is growing into desperation.

This proposal is a real chance for the Wabanaki people to built themselves up again in harmony with all people, Native and non-Native alike. it is an essential step in turning that frustration around and bringing our people together again in spirit of the Wabanaki Confederacy.

CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC RENEWAL THE RIGHT WAY
THE TRADITIONAL WAY

Through this proposal, we are taking a deep look at economic development along with our ceremonial and cultural development.

Economy was an integrated aspect of our society and our cultural way, before the coming of the Europeans. That principal has guided this work. The traditional economy of the Wabanaki Nations did not survive into modern materialistic times. Our culture richness and survival are now seriously endangered without the economic strength to sustain our people. We hunted and worked cooperatively. Now, days jobs have replace hunts and berry picking. We need to find economic solution that follow our traditional understanding. An important part of this project is looking at how to achieve economic and financial success in harmony with cultural renewal.

However the strictly commercial focus of many non-Native tourism related projects would be inappropriate given the larger socio-cultural aims of this project, and indeed, would be culturally-threatening in the context of an already struggling society. The real bottom line is culture and broad-based Wabanaki social renewal.


Our original Wabanaki economy was supported each step of the way by powerful cultural, social and spiritual activities. Our spiritual ways ensured the success of the hunt. The successful hunt meant food for our stomachs, hide for clothing and lodges. We survived and continued our ceremonies, it was a circle. May be if we no longer succeed is because we broke that circle.

This proposed Medicine Lodge Centre and Cultural Renewal and Research Program is one way to re-establishing the cultural and economic integrity of the Wabanaki people. It will support our people in all our economic endeavour by providing a Centre for the practice of the numerous ceremonies which used to be an integral part of all Wabanaki Nations daily life.
We have listened carefully to our Elders who have advised us to concentrate immediately on cultural, ceremonial and spiritual opportunities in respect of other religious denominations in our communities and we expect the same. They have told us that from these sources the economic opportunities will become clear. Development must be in our own hands. It must be done the right way, the traditional way.

COMBINED ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL BENEFITS

Tourist market information is telling us just how much impact this program could have not only in our community but on the whole region. It will created many permanent jobs for our Wabanaki people both in the development of the Centre and its operation.

It will add many new tourists to stay overnight or to camp because this Centre will extend their stay in the area, bringing money into our local economy. On top of all this a good part of the centre's operation could be paid for through admissions, offerings, a trail ride experience, traditional encampment, sale of crafts and other revenues from activities carried out with respect of our traditions. It will follow our traditional way avoiding the institutionalizing of our ways.

As this project address one of the last and certainly most sensitive features of the Wabanaki Nations, culture and ceremonialism, this project demands a very throughout and careful examination of the cross-cultural nature and implications of such program. That program must renew Wabanaki society and traditions.

Economic renewal will come only if it is in harmony with the cultural renewal process. This proposal seek to illustrate that culture and social renewal are compatible with, and even a requisite for, obtaining a favourable financial outcome. Culture and society must always take precedence over financial motivations. This view is also held by the Elders themselves.

TWO VOICES

To bridge cultures, this document is written in two voice, the Native voice and the non-Native voice. This has been done with the full participation of the Wabanaki people themselves, in particular with the cultural liaison support of the youth Centres, individual Wabanaki people. The dual perspective of Native and non-Native viewpoints has been applied throughout the writings. This concept has been applied to financial as well as conceptual matters and , through time, to extend to the development of every aspect of this project organizational, philosophical, logistical, and program related.

Cultural insiders, from the Wabanaki Nations will have to work with a foot in both worlds ,reviewing existing literature and sources in the non-Native world while participating in family community and ceremonial activities of the Wabanaki Nations and Neighbouring Nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy. Their recommendations and their observations will be much more effective and relevant given this fundamental cross-cultural approach to the work.
A TRUE EXPERIENCE OF THE WABANAKI CULTURE AND LAND

Our people will be able to renew their tradition here.Its is because our people will want to be at this place , that it will work for the visitors. It won't be just for show. We know that this kind of true experience is what visitor are looking for, what we are looking for and what will make it a success as an attraction and a success for bringing understanding between Natives and non-Natives traditionalists and of course amongst religious denominations in our communities.

Appreciation for Native ways and our living respect for nature is so great today when people are looking so hard for renewed harmonious relationship with nature environment. That harmony is there in the mystery of our traditions through the medicine Bundles the Wampum Belts and our Shake tent ceremony.

This project is about culture and environment and how they are naturally fit together. We are confident of our vision and of what we have to share with our Native and non-Native brothers and sisters.

Our cultural traditions and social esteem will be renewed. non-native will learn about how our traditions can be so important in our modern way of life. This kind of communication is the only solution to problems if misunderstanding between natives and no-natives.

CULTURE AS A WAY OF KNOWING AND A WAY OF DOING

There are many definitions of culture. The Proposal uses the term culture in it broad anthropological sense:

Culture is the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and to generate social behaviour.

Culture is a dynamic value system of learned elements, with assumptions, conventions, beliefs and rules permitting members of a community, a Nation, a Confederacy to relate to each other and to the world, to communicate and to develop their creative potential.

A Wabanaki definition of culture could goes like this :

First the Creator gave us authority to exist along with the universe, with the sacred Bundles and the Wampum Belts representing that authority and being the link between ourselves and the Creator. Then our culture was given to us by the Creator through the being of light as a way to live, to learn, to relate to other people, in their real and spiritual forms and to communicate and relate to the universe.

The Wabanaki people achieved many things which they set out to do, but often in manners very different from the way we normally expect things to be done. Wabanaki people approach matters in a situational manner. Their world view is very personal compared to the predominantly impersonal world view of the non-Native society around them. this is a fundamental aspect of the Wabanaki people.

This Centre will have to develop in harmony with these ways of seeing the world. As situations arise, day to day, moment to moment, thinking and emphases may shift and evolve. That is the way we must be. If respected as a certainly of how things will proceed, then the venture can work.

THE WABANAKI PEOPLE , A SOCIETY IN TRANSITION

The Wabanaki Nations like many contemporary Nations , are a society in transition. Tolerance needs to be developed between the non-Native impersonal, linear perspective, and the Native personal, situational perspective. The Wabanaki organizers that will be allocated to the project may not always follow a strict written plan or a prescribed schedule, but, provided they have the support for their efforts, they will be just as successful at achieving their goals as non-Native who follow plans rigorously. Contemporary Wabanaki people attend meetings and review plans, but they also look around them at nature, their dream and listen to their Elders who have had feeling and knowledge about something.

This written presentation will serve as a guide, but the final answers and decisions must come in the traditional cultural way. The Wabanaki organizers of this program will keep going, adjusting theirs actions, keeping their patience, then moving when indication line up telling them that the action is right.

Given several generation of cultural contact, Wabanaki people are no different than any other Nations . They can operate effectively from this perspective while retaining their own cultural perspective learned from the Elders and relatives as they grew up. On the whole, the Wabanaki people respect the intent of these sorts of non-Native ideas and considerations and it is clear that they will incorporate the information into their thinking.

However, it should be made clear that Wabanaki concepts of organization, development, categorization, timing, labelling, roes etc, should increase in future documentation and plans, especially those documents which are to be used by the Wabanaki themselves. Operation cross-culturally, with a foot in both cultural worlds, will be challenge to all who participate in this development. This is the Wabanaki reality.

RESPECT

In this program of cultural and ceremonial renewal there is a real need to act quickly before vast amounts of essential cultural knowledge disappear with the passing of traditional Elders over the next few years. Much has had to be explained here so that the urgency for immediate action can be understood. Out of expedience one finds oneself speaking and writing about things that are not often discussed except on special occasions. Given the urgency of matters, this is a special occasion.
It remains very important to respect and protect the secret and sacred aspects of traditional knowledge. We hope the readers of this proposal will respond in accordance with this principle.

A CHANCE FOR THE WBANAKI PEOPLE

We the Wabanaki people are planning to develop a Medicine Lodge Centre based on our age old traditions know by some of our Elders. We know that this museum and lodge can be great and can draw the Wabanaki Nations and the non-Native together, and produce greatly needed economic renewal for all our people. This proposal outlines a confederate vision. It is a vision for our own people and for all people wishing to know the true nature of the Wabanaki culture.

This proposal shows how a Wabanaki museum can be developed in our Native way, with respect for the natural world, drawing power from the support and guidance of our Elders, and using very important concepts from our cultures as Lodges, Bundles, Clans and Wampum Belts. It will also show how significant our view and fundamental values are in the world we all share.



A CULTURAL EMERGENCY

The timing of the Medicine Lodge Centre is critical to the Wabanaki Nations. Each years we lose more of our Elders with their strong traditional knowledge. The same is true of the other Nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy. With them goes much knowledge of the ceremonies and the right way to bring back our traditions. And it is the old ones one in their 70'S, 80'S, and 90's, that are going the fastest. They are the ones that actually experienced the ceremonies with their grand parents.

We have the most to learn from the very old ones. We have so little time, and the old men and old ladies are tired and sick in their old age and in most cases, they are quite poor. This means that the next five or ten years are very precious to the Wabanaki.


PROGRAM BACKGROUND

The Medicine Lodge Centre proposed here would present the living culture of the Wabanaki people as understood through the teaching of contemporary Elders and Ceremonialists who still maintain many of the core traditions.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed first hand the tremendous explosion of interest in Native culture through the great success of the Wabanaki Confederacy gathering that was first started in Canada in 1993 at Restigouche. There as been a remarkable resurgence in Spiritual gathering participation and traditional performance. The Wabanaki have played a key part in all of these events and developments. People around the United States and the world are expressing concern that the richness of Aboriginal cultures be preserved just as we must save our natural environment before it is too late.

For some time now, and encouraged by our recent spiritual gathering, our people have been bringing back many ceremonial and cultural objects that have wandered from the Wabanaki communities. The idea of developing this museum as a working interpretive centre of Medicine Lodge emerged from the people talking about that need.

I
Leadership of Wabanaki Nations should resolved a motion that:

1. Recognize that the past and future richness of the Wabanaki culture is centred on our ceremonial and spiritual traditions known by our respected Elders,

2. Support a program of ceremonial and spiritual development guided by respected Elders as the basis for an integrated concept of a Wabanaki international museum/ceremonial centre.

This motion would of course support the creation of the Medicine Lodge and Cultural Renewal and Research Program and of course a school Cultural Education Program for the children.

The ultimate aim is to obtain participation of the entire Wabanaki communities. To be successful, the energy of this program must come from our people. Without them and by them there is no Wabanaki culture.


PROGRAM ORGANIZATION
_________________________________________________________________

MEDICINE LODGE MUSEUM & CULTURAL RENEWAL PROGRAM


ELDERS COUNCIL CHIEF AND COUNCIL
Spiritual Authority
Cultural Review
Guidance Approval


WABANAKI NATIONS CULTURAL DEPARTMENT


CULTURAL RENEWAL WABANAKI SCHOOLS
PROGRAM MEDICINE EDUCATION PROGRAM
LODGE CENTRE
CONTEXT OF CULTURAL RENEWAL IN THE WABANAKI COMMUNITIES

The preceding illustration shows how the Wabanaki Cultural Department would tie in to the community organizations and related activities. The illustration that follows gives a general outline of the Passama Wabanaki and ceremonial renewal program, showing how cultural renewal fits in with an overall approach to the process of renewal of our entire society. It also shows how cultural renewal has different branches to it.

TERRITORIAL RENEWAL
Land Settlements

RENEWAL

ENVIRONMENTAL RENEWAL ECONOMIC RENEWAL
Natural Reserve Tradition-based & Contemporary
Species reintroduction interpretive services,tours
Environmental interpretive trail ride,crafts
protection Accommodation, camping, trading
recreation, retails sales
traditional camping, services
hunting & gathering, food.

CULTURAL RENEWAL

MATERIAL CULTURE RENEWAL
Bundles
Wampum belts
Ritual items
Secular items
Sacred Lodges

TRADITIONAL CAMP RENEWAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Clan Lodges Language
Nation Lodge Cultural history
Elders lodge Traditional stories
Ceremonial Structures Contemporary issues
Seasonal Camps Oral history
Inter-tribal & Nations Legends

CEREMONIAL RENEWAL
Community Ceremonials
Medicine Pipes
Sacred Medicine
Traditional Healing and Ceremonies, Traditional Gatherings and teachings
THE WABANAKI VISION OF THE SACRED CIRCLE

We want to present the sources of our visions for the readers to understand our proposal from our point of view. The following ideas explain why we have conceived the Centre in the Way we have.


These ideas give a sense of the principles that will guide the development of the Medicine Lodge Centres and Cultural Renewal and Research Program. It is our vision based on all the traditional ways that set our proposal apart from anything that has been proposed or done by anyone else. This vision will be key to our success.

A LIVING MUSEUM IN THE WABANAKI WAY

As a Wabanaki equivalent for museum, the Earth carries with a sense of, honour, power, spirit, ceremony, and the deepest respect. In our traditional ways, many important personal and sacred articles would be placed with the dead in their burial lodge. These are items that the deceased will need in their future journeys. These old things are honoured in this way, just as the non-Native brings honour to historical and archaeological artifacts and treasures in a museum. Our concept of museum is different than the non-Native. For us even the ideas of death is different. It is a turning point for the continuation of life. Death is a kind of renewal.

The objects in our museum are not objects separate or remote from the people, as is all too often the case in non-Native museums. They are objects imbued with meanings, stories, and songs. A Native Museum is a spiritual place full of objects with very specific connections to people, their lives and their spirits. These meaning are expressed through stories and songs and dances. The material and the spiritual worlds permeate one another. The objects of our material culture are like living beings.

Having the objects with us or near us gives those objects their power and their meaning. They in turn act on our lives to renew our lives in every way. A visitor to the Wabanaki Medicine Lodge museum would participate in the story-telling, witness the dances and might even have the chance to participate in certain ceremonies. The artifacts in this museum would come to life as they have always done for our own people. This would be a place of living culture and all who care to witness or participate would be home guests.

THE TRADITIONAL CIRCLE

The Elders say " Keep our circle strong". Everything works in circles-the lodges, the camp and all of nature around us. our lodge is the home of our families. Our Camp circle is the home of our community. Nature is the home for all people and the living things. The Eagles flies in great circles. The sky and the horizon are great circles. the seasons moves in a circles always coming back to where they began. The sun and the moon are circles. We see this with our own eyes.
When people look at our culture, circles are everywhere, in our lodges, in our sacred ceremonies, in our designs, our clothing, our weapons. in all of our dances and ceremonials and our traditions, we follow the circle of nature.


Our Medicine Lodge Centre would work according to these traditional views of the world, the way people get along with each other, and the way they regard nature.

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SPACE

The Medicine Lodge Centre will be like a home. In any home, There are places for visitors to come, and other parts that are private, for our own family or community. That is the way it should be with the Medicine Lodge. People will be welcome into the public parts of our lodges and camp, but some things will be kept private for those people, such as our own Wabanaki people, who understand enough about our deeper ways. In this way, we will be able to share important experiences with the visiting public and, at the same time, protect and care for the mystery that keeps our Medicine strong. This is very important and basic idea of our culture and our ceremonial ways.

WHAT WE MEAN BY RENEWAL

The whole idea of renewal is basic to our traditional values and world view. Renewal is the most important idea in this program laid out in this proposal. In the old days sort of speak, we could look around and see everything coming into the world, growing, bringing about a new life, getting old, dying, and the whole thing would repeat itself. We can still do that today when we look at nature. The year would go around in this circle through the seasons, always renewing itself. We would try to follow those ways of nature in our own lives and in all of our ceremonials. Even dances, stories, and songs would always point out the way our life would be renewed over and over again. Many mysteries of life were revealed to the people in this way.

So, our overall purpose is to renew our culture in the right traditional way. In looking at each individual part of our traditions, we still ask ourselves over and over again, What is the traditional way to renew that part of our culture?

THE AUTHORITY OF THE BUNDLES AND WAMPUM BELTS

The Bundles and the Wampum Belts are the heart of our renewal traditions and all our ceremonial activities. They are not as projected and interpreted by anthropologist of political signification. They are our link to the Creator. They are our natural laws given by the Creator. In our ways, the Bundles and the Wampum Belts are the authority to exist from the Creator. The ceremonials that come from the Bundles and the Wampum Belts are our way of recognizing and strengthening our authority and of renewing our lives. The Bundles and the Wampum Belts are the highest material expression of our culture. Through them and their ceremonials we can learn of all our values, our traditions, our social and cultural ways and how to lead healthy personal lives.
The idea of Ceremonial Bundles and Wampum Belts goes back a long, long way back to the beginning of Creation and our culture according to the stories told to us by the Elders and special ceremonial people. These where Bundles and Wampum Belts of spiritual objects and designs containing power which could be harnessed for good.

Only certain people have earned the honour of having Bundles and Wampum Belts transferred to them with the rights to open or to use them. The Bundles and the Wampum Belts reveal the power of our spiritual world through the rites of our respected Ceremonialists empower by the Creator. They are use only during our sacred ceremonies.

For the Native people the Wampum belts and the Bundles are even seen as part of the way we define our culture.

"First the Creator gave us the authority to exist along with the universe, with the Wampum Belts and the Bundles representing that authority and being the link between ourselves and the Creator. Then our culture was given to us by the star people as a way to live, to learn, to relate to other people, in their real and spiritual forms, and to communicate and relate to the universe".

Due to the central importance of the Wampum Belts and the Bundles with their respective ceremonies we should direct our immediate attention on them, as they are our source of communication with the star people and the Creator.

RIGHTS AND TRANSFER

According to our Native ways their is the idea of rights. We must start questioning how Bundles and Wampum Belts are interpreted and presently used. We must prepare to give the Wampum Belts and the Bundles to the rightful Ceremonialists. Every song, dance, artifact, design, and anything else that had ceremonial meaning, could only be used or kept by the person who had the right to that thing. The rights always remained with that person unless they where transferred ceremonially by a proper series of events. If someone simply obtained and object or tried to perform a particular song or dance, it didn't mean that they had the rights for that object. People must properly received those rights and the proper ceremonies that goes with the Bundles and the Wampum Belts. In fact it could be very costly and extremely dangerous for that person to try and hold those things without properly getting those rights.

The Medicine Lodge Centre and Cultural Renewal and Research Program will work according to the principle of proper transfer of objects and ceremonial activities to those who have obtained the rights in those things. The transfer of rights is a proper way to renew our ceremonial livelihood.

The interpretation, learning and re-culturation of the ceremonials and the transfers to our people is the key step in our renewal process.

This is not a simple matter. The way people came to have objects transferred to them often took a great deal of time. It involved a very personal and typically private series of events, shared only by the individual, certain ceremonial people and perhaps some close relatives. Only the Ceremonialists knew of the proper ways to help the individual with the transfer.

Dreams and visions were important ,coming unpredictably like gifts. Through them the people learned more about the right way to move ahead. This applied to transfers and to the making of mew ceremonial objects. A simple decision to just get something transferred or to craft an object was meaningless and disregarded without these other factors and messages to support the action.

All these rules for transferring rights for different ceremonial and cultural objects and ways must be fully respected in a cultural and ceremonial renewal process. They will make the things work the proper way for the people.

OUR GOAL OF RENEWING THE TRADITIONAL CAMP

Probably the easiest idea for people to understand is the renewal of the traditional camp circle. That is the strongest and clearest long term goal of the Cultural Renewal and Research Program.

Today, when we hold important ceremonials like the shake tent, only few people participate because they are scare of these ceremonies and what non-Native religion has portrait them. Many people have lost touch with their traditions and they don't come out with their family to the ceremonies at traditional camp. But we must always leave vacant rightful place in the circle for other families if they want to join the camp and the ceremonial. We believe that they will want to come and join the camp again.

We will know that we have fully renewed our society and culture at that time in the future when all of the families of the Wabanaki Nations have brought their lodges to the traditional encampment and put them up in their rightful places in the circle.

At that time, we will also see that the lodges of our Elders will be put up in their proper places. Then all the people that come to the Camp will know how they fit in with what is going on there. The values of the old days will be strong there and our people will be proud to carry out the ceremonials. The health of our families will be restored. We will be able to carry on with rich and happy lives once again.

THE TRADITIONAL CAMP AND THE SACRED LODGE

We want to draw a picture to help show our ideas. It is a picture of our traditional camp as it has always been. We hope you will think deeply about these ideas and about the meaning behind these things.


In our traditional ways we have always returned to the sacred lodge, the ceremonial lodge, to renew ourselves and to draw our people together. We want to bring our ceremonials back to the Medicine Lodge Centre like in the old days, like in the traditional camp. through the ceremonials we learned of the right way to approach our hunts, the right way to keep harmony among our people, the right way to deal with the struggles of life and death. Everything inside our spiritual lodges is arranged with the greatest respect and care. Everything is in harmony. Everything has a meaning.

It is here that our Ceremonialists and our Elders understand and then reveal the deepest secrets and meaning of our Wabanaki way of life. It takes our whole life to become an Elders, to become "Old Man", "Old Lady". That is why we respect our Elders.

Our Ceremonialists, Bundles and Wampum Belts holders can be young or old. By their wisdom and selfless actions they have earned the honour of respect in our culture.

Our values of sharing, harmonies, understanding and peace are kept pure through our ceremonies. All this comes from nature and from the Creator. It is the same today as it was in the old days, but many people have drifted away, confused by a world that doesn't seem to understand Native people.

Our ceremonial are the key to the future of our culture. They will be the central focus of our Medicine Lodge Centre and Cultural Renewal and Research Program. Like our lives, the Medicine Lodge Centre must be centred around the ideas of the Sacred Lodge.

THE GREAT CIRCLE OF THE WABANAKI PEOPLE

The clans or community was and remains a basic feature of our social structure. Our Wabanaki Nations have several Clans with different names. All lodges in the traditional camp were arrange in a great circle, with the lodges of each clan close together around the sacred Medicine Lodge at the Centre.

Every Clan is respected and all the people have a say. Every Clan has its respected Elders who were part of an Elder Council which would help us make decisions for the good of the tribe the good of the Nation and the Confederacy.

We want to bring back the honour of all our Clans and our Elders. In this program of cultural and ceremonial renewal the Elders Council will play a leading role in guiding our approach to matters.
They have the true knowledge of or traditions. It is only if we listen carefully to them that we can be sure to keep our culture alive, to make our program a success, to keep our circle strong.



THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLECTION FOR RENEWAL OF OUR SOCIETY

To renew the strength of our culture and our tribe, it will be important to restore the wide range of cultural objects, many of which are currently held in non-Native museums around the country and the world. The restoring of the traditional objects to the people, especially the ceremonial objects, will help them return proudly to the traditional circle with their lodges. These objects will be put in the hands of their rightful keepers according to traditional understanding. The objects have ceremonial, personal, or historical significance for different individuals and for different clans. Their return to traditional owners, will give strength to the owners , helping them to contribute meaningfully to the renewal of the culture.

The Elders from the clans and the ceremonialist will know the rightful approach to this rejoining. Elders who have not practised their tradition for a long time would nw be able to return proudly to the cultural ways, bringing renewed strength and stability to their families and clans, The Ceremonialists, especially the Bundles and the Wampum Belt keepers, would help and encourage these Elders in getting active again as their material culture is restored.

The Elders and Ceremonialists would be like the curators recognized in most no-Native museums. They are the experts in the traditions and in the material culture.

The young people from the clans will be like the interpreters or guides on non-Native museums. They will learn about the cultural artifacts from their clan Elders who at some time have held those rights. Soon they will have important objects transferred to them according to traditional ways. In the old days these young people would have been hunters and food gatherers, warriors, or makers of shelters and clothing. They would have objects transferred to them to help in their lives. They would tell stories of their clan, of personal achievements. They would perform dances and songs, prepare food, built lodges , practice traditional crafts, use the objects and share their experience with camp visitors. Today, they will repeat these activities with the same pride and conviction.

These symbols of how to live will be brought back to our young and old people in every clan through the program of cultural and ceremonial renewal. Because the articles are personally important to the clan members, every one would have a deep sense of pride and personal connection to the objects and their special meanings. Our clan social structure would be restored.

In this way, our Medicine Lodge Centre could become what many non-Native museum aspire to be a place of living culture.

The collection of objects associated with each clan or the Nation would grow, change and be transferred item by item to people as the Elders became very old and saw the need to pass on the responsibility of caring for the items. In this ways, these special articles would continue generation after generation in a process of constant renewal.

All the people in the clans would learn of the honour of their clans represented by the objects now transferred and held by the clan members. All would have a chance to participate, and all would be carried out in accordance with traditional knowledge and ways. Everyone in our society could feel a part of the Medicine Lodge Centre. Everyone could encounter people with sincere pride and deep knowledge of the culture living in those collections. It will be a rich and exciting place to be.

THE CLAN LODGES

All Algonquian Nations have traditional Clans. The Wabanaki clans will also be revitalized through the programs of the Medicine Lodge Centre. On renewal of clans, the interpretation from the bundle by the ceremonialists will give us the guidance of how to proceed. Right now we intent to renew our clan and the Elders expressed their needs showing sign of getting started again. They are important as they have responsibility for the traditional camp. Different clan hold different responsibility such as security safety, preparation of social events, encouraging everyone participation etc.

Every Clan had a special function, generally in relation to the ordering of the daily life associated with traditional camp. Some had responsibilities related to law and order, welfare, administration, camp rules etc. Renewal of the traditional clan will bring the Wabanaki people together for the common good of the whole tribe. It will help pull together the community and help those Clans to strengthen themselves. Clan members will support the Bundles and the ceremonials which will form the heart of our renewal activities.

The different Clan can take their special responsibilities as they would apply to the traditional camp. This would come into effect at the Medicine Lodge Centre, Both Making decisions, and presenting the cultural ways according to rights and traditions. The Clans would be an integral part of our Medicine Lodge Centre and Cultural Renewal and research Program.

THE CONFEDERACY OUR INTERTRIBAL CIRCLE

In the old days, visitors would come to our camp. There was a place for everyone. Our visitors came from friendly tribes and Nations. They set up their lodges close to our own , becoming part of the large camp circle. Today's camp visitors will be Native and non-Native visitors we welcome to the Medicine Lodge Centre. In our traditional gathering we have a dance called inter-tribal when all people get up and dance together, regardless of their style of dancing or their tribe. The people come together in the dance.

We want to use the intertribal ideas to envision our program and our Medicine Lodge Centre. They would be welcome to bring their lodges and present their own cultural traditions as they best see fit.



As for the non-Native they are now learning to appreciate the tribal aspect of themselves . Many are seeking to understand the Native people of the World. There are many misconceptions and stereotypes about Native people that can be corrected through our program. As with each inter-tribal groups, non-Native visitor and guest would find an opportunity to participate in our culture and to experience the deeper aspects of our way of life. We expect most visitors to our Centre will be non-Natives.

The inter Nations idea works in many ways:

it gives our program global as well as local and regional significance,

It show our couture in the context of other closely or remotely related tribal and confederate cultures,

It provide a means of welcoming people off all cultures so that they will feel at home,

It builds respect and helps bridge the non-Native and Native Worlds,

And it gives us a chance to share ideas while maintaining the distinctness of each culture.

The intertribal concept opens un the potential for the Centre to become and international focus for cross-cultural awareness and interchange related to the experience of aboriginal people world-wide.

THE WAY OF RENEWING OUR CULTURE

Now, with an understanding of how we are thinking of the Traditional Camp, the Bundles the Wampum Belts, the Ceremonies, Clans and the traditional objects, we have thought about how we can renew our culture. three parts of our culture need immediate attention before Elders are gone:

We must renew our Traditional Camp and all of its Lodges,

We must restore our material culture, our traditional objects, most important among them, our ceremonial Bundles,

We must renew the Ceremonies themselves in all their forms.

Our rightful Elders and Ceremonialists will lead all of this, encouraging the involvement of all our Wabanaki people. These three part of our renewal are linked together. All three are needed for real cultural renewal to take place . Here is how we see this;



CYCLE OF CULTURAL RENEWAL

MATERIAL CULTURE RENEWAL
Bundles
Wampum Belts
Personal objects
Clans objects TRADITIONAL CAMP RENEWAL
Tribal objects Clans
Nation objects Elders lodge
Confederacy objects Family lodges
Every day objects Ceremonial lodges
Seasonal encampments


CEREMONIAL RENEWAL
Community ceremonials
Clans ceremonials
Personal ceremonials


This picture shows how everything is one circle. We Need all things to happened together for the circle to be strong, and will be our aim in renewing our traditional ways. Like lodges poles the strength of one part adds strength to the others.

WABANAKI AND THE SOURCE OF LIFE.

Surrounding the Traditional Camp is the greatest circle of all the circle of nature which sustain all people. The herds of dear and the whale one lived in the world beyond our camp circle. Our Medicine Lodge Centre will attract many people. Using our traditional ideas we want to think about seeing tourism opportunities as economic replacements for the deers and the whales.

LODGE VILLAGE
ACCOMMODATION, HOTEL, CAMPING RECREATION SERVICES
DINING & FOOD SERVICES
SACRED LODGES
TRADITIONAL ARTS .TRADITIONAL TRAIL
CRAFTS
RIDE OPERATION

This outer circle must be connected to and respond to every other circle, but especially to the inner circle the sacred circle. Everything can be one great circle if we do it in the right way. Our Elders and spiritual ways will help us to know. we know that we need the economic renewal and tourism is a great opportunity for this.


All this is our vision now. This vision will grow. These things that we are presently discussing in this part of this proposal show our basic Wabanaki way of thought. All these ideas together show how we come to decisions and think things out. One of the goals that we are looking at is for non-Native people to know that their is this special way of thinking for our people, a way that is different from the non-Native way. Many non-Native do not realize the richness of our values. This program give us a chance to bring deep understanding to non-Native people about our Native ways and of course built a true image of who we are as Wabanaki Nation and more so as Wabanaki people.


Claude Aubin
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