Intriguing stuff this, at least for me. My elders spoke of a lot of mysterious things like this but it was never written down by anyone. Our Bodewadmi cultural thoughts and language are completely oral. Much of it has been written by various folks but there remains a lot that is either untrue, incorrect, or unverifiable. In short, I do not trust the stuff that has been written or recorded by some individuals, as there is no way to tell where they got their facts, and if the informants they used, in some cases, were even telling them the truth. There is such a thing as many informants attempting to make a name for themselves and exaggerating much of what they shared, or simply giving someone a “canned speech” just to get rid of them. I have heard many things said about those “informants” by elders. Many were called sell outs and were not respected once the gete Neshnabek knew they had been talking to the whites about our cultural ways.
To date, there is not a Potawatomi alive still practicing our old ways. I know of many of the old teachings and songs, but lack the “body of folks” necessary to help conduct said ceremonies. Some of the Ojibwe people are practicing a form of the “Old”, but it is still a mere shadow of what once was the truth of the matter. I once shared some old waubenoh songs with a certain group, but they tried to claim them as their own, and soon all was forgotten anyway. In short, if something isn’t practiced as a ritual every day, it is soon forgotten, and that what has happened to our old beliefs, and about to happen to our language as well. The old language is dead and gone, with a few of us still in command of some of the words, but not nearly enough to rescue them, and make them useful again.
I think I know what it feels like to be a dinosaur. One of my kids once called me that, some years ago, because I was trying to bring back some of the old ways of doing things, and it had to do with the material culture, more than the spiritual side of it. We go on though, eh?
Nin se Neaseno.
Mjesh ode zhechkewen enendemokewat gode bemadsejek ngom.