I told this story to a friend in the campground, Gillian of Saskatchewan, who knows the ways of First Nation people through her work as an alternative educator. She said that in Saskatchewan it would be a rare occurrence to give away the smudge dish and ceremonial feather. The tribe does not offer its secrets and knowledge to outsiders.
I felt surprised that she was surprised when I showed her the shell and feather.
I suggested that Kevin, in working for the national park, must have concluded it was important to share the culture of the First Nation Newfoundlanders with visitors. Since it was the final fire circle of the tourist season, it no doubt felt natural to him to give away the smudge dish and ceremonial feather.
Gillian nodded, then noted with surprise that we were allowed to drop the tobacco into the fire in prayer. “Maybe it’s easier to give away for the Mi’kMaq,” she said.
“Maybe the knowledge is so buried that sharing it is the only way to give it new life,” I mused.
She felt with me how special my gift from Kevin was.
“It comes with responsibility,” I said.
She nodded. “It always does.”
END OF SERIES. [Photo credit all photos: Lew Coty]