Mi'kmaq Ceremonies By:Mallory Warren

There are many different ceremonies in the Mi'kmaq culture. Some of which being sweat lodges, sacred pipe, talking circle, and smudging.

Sweat lodges

Sweat lodge also known as "sweats" are done for healing . A spiritual cleansing really! Sweat lodges are generally four rounds long with breaks in between to cool down. During the first round a grandfather is brought in. Grandfathers are stones that are heated in the fire.When you splash water on the grandfathers it creates steam, when this happens all four elements presents in the lodge. Earth below, air around, fire in the grandfathers and water in the steam.

Sacred Pipe

Sacred pipes, are commonly mistaken as the 'peace pipe.' The Scared pipe is one of the most meaningful and powerful of the sacred objects for the Mi'kmaq culture. They use the pipe to communicate with spirits.

There are two types of sacred pipes, a personal pipe, and the pipe carriers pipe. The personal pipe is just as it says for your own personal use. The pipe carriers pipe is used in the community for different types of ceremonies , celebrations, and just gatherings of many.

They say if you are a true follower of the Mi'kmaq spiritual ways NEVER smoke so-called 'recreational drugs' in the pipe.This is made very clearly when you are using the scared pipe. In some nations of the Mi'kmaq culture they use peyote in the south west. Mi'kmaq nations are not given these medicines. Some nations take using these drugs as an insult to the Creator who gave them what they need, and to the nations for who these medicines are truly sacred.

Talking Circles

Talking circles are a traditional way in the Mi'kmaq culture to solve problems. Talking circles allow people to express themselves in an open and welcoming environment.

When you enter the talking circle you go into an opening in the east. When you enter the opening in the circle you walk in a clockwise direction to find a seat. When everyone has been seated, the opening is closed to join the circle of people together. In this ceremony, once the people have settled in, the leader explains what is to take place. Usually a Talking Stick (pictured above), a feather, a stone or some item that has significance is passed around in a clockwise direction from one person to the next beginning with the leader who is now holding the sacred symbol as he explains. Only the person who is holding the talking stick is permitted to speak, everyone else listens attentively. By listening to the speaker it shows a sign of respect, and this eliminates the chaos that is created by everyone trying to speak at the same time.


Smudging Ceremony

During a smudging ceremony the Mi'kmaq use the smoke of the seed medicines to purify the body, energy, ceremonial or ritual space or any space, or personal objects. It calls on the spirits of different scared plants to drive away negative energies and to restore the balance. Different types of plants some such as sage, cedar, sweetgrass , lavender and copal are burned and the smoke is directed with a feather or a fan made with several feathers. They are used to brush or wash the smoke over our eyes, ears, mouth, hands, heart, and body. Some people choose to brush the smoke over their backs "To lighten there troubles."

Ceremonies have a huge impact in Mi'kmaq culture and their day to day lives. From communicating with there ancestors spirits, cleansing themselves of negativitie energies. Solving there problems in an open judge free way. Lightening there troubles, ect. They are also benefiting , and so helpful .

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