20 August 2008


lllll ) lllllllllllllllll Naatowoksisskomm…

Almost a complete moon cycle passes since my last journal entry. I’m stuck indoors, ki there seems little worth writing about. All of it just a blur of preparatory work for the upcoming academic semester. The heat has been brutal. But matonni, just before the winds blew a cool storm system in from saatoohtsi, I noticed that omiksi mai’stoiksi were starting to flock together… there were, as they say, “murders” of them on my way to the office. Was it a signal for the impending storm, or an indicator of a change in seasons? One thing is clear, my count of ki’sommiksi for niipo is off. At the transition from sstoyii, matsiyikkapisaiki’somm ki aapistsisskitsaato’s were one ki the same. Where I thought matsiyikkapisaiki’somm was going to be, as the last ki’somm of sstoyii, I am tentatively thinking it was saommitsiki’somm, because of how deceptive it was, for both myself ki the aapsspinniiksi who lost so many eggs to the flash blizzards. Annohk, I thought the present ki’somm would be pakkii’pistsi otsitai’tssp, but it’s really not. Actually, this could be okonokistsi otsitsi’tssp, because although they started to ripen in the last moon cycle, most really came into readiness at the beginning of the present cycle. The pakkii’pistsi are not there yet… but they’re on the way. So, nitaanistaitsihtaa that annohk we are in okonokistsi otsitsi’tssp, ki I don’t really know how the last cycle should be referenced. I need to do some research.

Since my last journal entry, I have only two exciting experiences to report. One occurred while practicing naatowopii, immersed in aohkii as usual. I was focusing my awareness on Cygnus, or the Northern Cross – a constellation that is not presently recognized in niitsitapisskska’takssin, but which I believe may be related to omiksi ksikkomaahkaayiiksi who carried Pawaksskii across mo’toyaohkii. I had called to those naatoyiika’kato’siiksi, as well as others (sspommitapiiksi, ksaahkommitapiiksi, soyiitapiiksi), inviting them all to my session, announcing that I was in pursuit of istawa’pii ki kamota’pii, ki that afterward I would try to draw a representation of whatever they showed me. At that point, I began to feel that there were pitsiiksiinaiksi coiling around my ankles – a rattler on my right ki a garter on my left. My legs were immersed in the searing-hot aohkii, ki omiksi pitsiiksiinaiksi indicated that I had a choice to make, to receive something from one or the other. It seemed to me that the more agitated each of the pitsiiksiinaiksi grew, being under the steaming aohkii, the hotter each of my ankles became. I figured my selection would be made when one of the two gave up, running out of breath or becoming too hot… I would ask for a gift from whichever one remained. But after an extensive wait, neither of them quit. Both were able to bear it. I noticed, however, that my right ankle was hotter than my left. So I decided to select the cooler pitsiiksiinaa, the garter. It then told me that one of its protections was that it could hide underwater for long periods of time, waiting out any dangers above. It told me that I could make an anklet of its skin to wear on my left leg for that protection of avoiding trouble until whatever is pursuing me gives up. It also gave me a song. I got out of the aohkii right away ki recorded that song so I wouldn’t lose it. Then I went back into the aohkii ki again tried to concentrate my attention on omiksi ka’kato’siiksi. At that point, some imagery emerged from the darkness of my closed eyes… a ka’kato’si, radiating light in four directions, embedded in a matrix of what looked like a hexagonally-woven electric field. I saw this imagery briefly, ki then a sudden burst of energy - stylized, blue lightning in shapes reminiscent of those on our paintings of ksiistsikommiipi’ssi shooting from all directions toward ma ka’kato’si. These simultaneous flashes of lightning resounded in noistomi. It felt like I’d just been shot in the head with a massive bolt of electricity, accompanied by a sonic boom.. This was enough for me. I got back out of the aohkii, ki determined to respond by drawing these final visuals.

The other somewhat exciting experience that occurred since my last entry was a trip that ki’naksaapo’p ki niisto took to naatowoksisskomm, where we did a presentation on the challenges of trans-science communications between western ki indigenous systems. Our talk was well received, but hasn’t as yet produced any immediate invitations to attend other sessions, nor serious expressions of interest in trying to realize improved communications. We’ll have to see what ripple effects come down the road. However, the presentation itself was not at all the highlight of our trip. Rather, on the journey there, we drove through omiistsi miistakiistsi from the south, ki along this route encountered ma naatayo… the first I’ve ever seen outside of captivity. Ki’naksaapo’p pulled over on the side of the road, ki I was able to get close enough to take a few photographs before it fled to the woods. I followed it into the trees, missing a few great shots of it leaping silently through some small clearings, but then lost it completely. From there, we went to the Banff Centre, dropped our luggage off in our rooms, ki ate dinner. Then we went further west to Paint Potts ki gathered two pails full of a’saan. This was the first time ki’naksaapo’p had been to gather a’saan, ki he was quite overwhelmed with the site, ki the way the ochre welled-up from inside the earth, forming springs ki cauldrons. We determined to bring our students back there in the future, reintroducing this practice to our community. When we got home, after the presentation, each of us set to work cooking the pail we’d collected. Mine took almost eight hours to bake through, producing about four bread-pans full of maohki’saan.