For Jewelry: Wipe Clean, Keep Dry, Store in Safe Place!
Please be sure to treat it kindly!
It's recommended to remove earrings and jewelry before showering, swimming, etc. Earrings and necklaces should be stored in the box they arrived in or other enclosed jewelry box to avoid tarnish. Understand some materials used must be treated with a certain amount of respect, always see descriptions. My Jewelry is surprisingly lightweight, but also strong enough to fancy dance at any Pow Wow's Grand Entry! And that is strong! All jewelry created has been medicine man approved by my Ojibwe local healer and I have his blessing to create.
Please note the materials encased are natural and come from the earth. There will be "flaws" and "mistakes". I intentionally seek the imperfect, and personally love raw beauty. Each piece of jewelry will not look like the photo because your jewelry is unique, however I try to make the jewelry as close to the photo as I can. Each piece is made by hand and not a machine so tiny bubbles, bumps and slight imperfections are part of the unique characteristics of the jewelry.
Please label and link with love!
Every piece of work I create is a one of a kind statement! I source all my materials and supplies responsibly to maintain ethnical standards. I source directly from local businesses from my Rez to Online Indigenous Crafting Sites to United States Jewelry Companies. I go out of my way to ensure the materials I used are sold in the right way. I was taught to bring good energy into every step of my process and production, from the sketch pad to the work bench to your hands. Semaa, or tobacco, is one of the four sacred plants. An offering of Semaa is always made before announcing my intentions and taking. It is my way of giving back and thanking.
The Quills are collected a few ways: the natural life process of a deceased animal (roadkill), donations (others finding a deceased animal), and most likely from other Native-supporting/Native-owned businesses.
The Shells are collected either from other Native-supporting/Native-owned businesses or through online businesses specializing in shells for jewelry.
The Birch bark is sourced in a respectful and meaningful way, during the winter months it is mostly picked off the ground. Because of the remarkable preservative properties of birch bark, it can be harvested from dead or fallen trees.
The metal earring and jump-rings are Sterling Silver assembled in the USA.
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Ojibwe Oral Traditions of the Porcupine
Why the Porcupine has Quills Long, long ago, the Porcupines had no quills. One day, a Porcupine was out in the woods. A Bear came along and would have eaten Porcupine, but he managed to get up a tree where the Bear couldn't get him.
The next day Porcupine was out again and he went underneath a hawthorn tree, and he noticed how the thorns pricked him. He broke some branches off and put them on his back, then he went into the woods. Along came Bear and he jumped on Porcupine, who just curled himself up. The Bear just left him alone because the thorns pricked him so much.
Wenebojo was watching them. He called to Porcupine and asked "How did you think of that trick?" Porcupine told him that he was in danger when Bear was around. Then Wenebojo took some thorns and peeled the bark off of them until they were all white. Then he got some clay and put it all over Porcupine's back and stuck the thorns in it. Wenebojo used his magic to make it into a proper skin, and told Porcupine come with him into the woods. When they got there, Wenebojo hid behind a tree. Wolf came along and saw Porcupine and jumped on him, but the new quills pricked at him and Wolf ran away. Bear was also afraid of the quills and Porcupine was safe. That is why Porcupines have quills.
(Adapted from G.E. Laidlaw, 1922, "Ojibwe Myths and Tales," Wisconsin Archeologist 1:28-38.)
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Ojibwe Oral Traditions of Birch Bark
How the Birch Tree Got It's Burns an Ojibwe legend retold
by Aurora Conley
The Ojibwe people always had stories to tell that had a moral. A main character who was always used was Waynaboozhoo. But it is told that you cannot tell a Waynaboozhoo story in the spring, summer, or fall, only when there is snow on the ground or it is said that a frog will be in your bed. You can put down cedar and ask to tell the story and nothing will happen to you or your bed. This is what I am told. Now this is the story about how the birch bark got its burns. Often stories have different morals or different explanations so this one may be somewhat different from others that you have heard.
It was wintertime and Waynaboozhoo's grandmother called him to her. "Waynaboozhoo, omaa bi izhaan!" she called. "Come here. It is cold and we have no fire for warmth or to cook and prepare our food. I ask of you to go to find the fire, ishkodence, that Thunderbird has in the west."
"Grandmother," Waynaboozhoo replied. "I will go and look for the great ishkodence for you." He disguised himself as a waboos, a little rabbit, and headed off to the west looking for the fire.
When Waynaboozhoo finally reached Thunderbird's home, he asked, "Please share the warmth inside your home. I am cold and lost. I will only stay a little while, for I must be on my way."
The Thunderbird agreed and allowed Waynaboozhoo to enter his home. Inside, Waynaboozhoo saw the fire and waited until Thunderbird looked away. Then, Waynaboozhoo quickly rolled in the fire and took off running toward his home with the fire on his back!
Thunderbird flew behind Waynaboozhoo throwing lightning flashes at him! Waynaboozhoo grew tired and yelled for someone to help him. "Widoka! Widoka washin! Help me!" he cried.
Then omaaî mitig, the birch tree, spoke. "Come, hide beside me my brother. I will protect you." The little waboos hid beneath the tree while Thunderbird flashed and thundered, angry that Waynaboozhoo had stolen the fire. The lightning bolts missed Waynaboozhoo every time but they hit omaaî mitig. Dark burn marks scarred the white bark of the tree. That is why the birch tree now has burn marks on its bark.
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“NATIVE TEACHINGS ARE ABOUT A WAY OF LIFE”
The information stated is only a small portion of the many and extensive Native Teachings that exist. Teachings vary from First Nation to First Nation and even from one geographic region to another. For more information, please consult with a Traditional Elder, Healer or Medicine Person.
Native American tribes are very diverse. Cultural teachings, philosophies, and social dynamics differ greatly from one tribe to another. Even within one tribe, stories and teachings may vary from region to region. The teachings shared in the Kinoomaagewin Mzinigas (Little Teaching Books) and Traditional Teachings and Other Brochures (Anishnawbe Health Toronto (AHT)) may be presented differently in other areas.
THE FOUR SACRED MEDICINES
Tobacco is the first plant that the Creator gave to Native people. It is the main activator of all the plant spirits. Three other plants, sage, cedar and sweetgrass, follow tobacco, and together they are referred to as the four sacred medicines.
The four sacred medicines are used in everyday life and in ceremonies. All of them can be used to smudge with, though sage, cedar and sweetgrass also have many other uses. It is said that tobacco sits in the eastern door, sweetgrass in the southern door, sage in the west and cedar in the north. Elders say that the spirits like the aroma produced when we burn tobacco and the other sacred medicines.
Traditional people say that tobacco is always first. It is used as an offering for everything and in every ceremony. “Always through tobacco,” the saying goes. Traditional tobacco was given to us so that we can communicate with the spirit world. It opens up the door to allow that communication to take place. When we make an offering of tobacco, we communicate our thoughts and feelings through the tobacco as we pray for ourselves, our family, relatives and others.
Tobacco has a special relationship to other plants: it is said to be the main activator of all the plant spirits. It is like the key to the ignition of a car. When you use it, all things begin to happen. Tobaccois always offered before picking medicines. When you offer tobacco to a plant and explain why you are there, that plant will let all the plants in the area know why you are coming to pick them.
When you seek the help and advice of an Elder, Healer or Medicine Person, and give your offering of tobacco, they know that a request may be made as tobacco is so sacred. We express our gratitude for the help the spirits give us through our offering of tobacco. It is put down as an offering of thanks to the First Family, the natural world, after a fast. Tradtitional people make an offering of tobacco each day when the sun comes up. Traditional tobacco is still grown in some communities. For example, the Mohawk people use a traditional tobacco thatthey grow themselves and that is very sacred to them.
Sage is used to prepare people for ceremonies and teachings. Because it is more medicinal and stronger than sweetgrass, it tends to be used more often in ceremonies. Sage is used for releasing what is troubling the mind and for removing negative energy. It is also used for cleansing homes and sacred items. It also has other medicinal uses. There is male sage and female sage. The female sage is used by women.
Like sage and sweetgrass, cedar is used to purify the home. It also has many restorative medicinal uses. Cedar baths are healing. When cedar is put in the fire with tobacco, it crackles. When it does this, it is calling the attention of the spirits to the offering that is being made. Cedar is used in fasting and sweat lodge ceremonies as a form of protection: cedar branches cover the floor of the sweat lodge and a circle of cedar surrounds the faster’s lodge.
Sweetgrass is the sacred hair of Mother Earth. Its sweet aroma reminds people of the gentleness, love and kindness she has for the people. When sweetgrass is used in a healing circle it has a calming effect. Like sage and cedar, sweetgrass is used for smudging and purification.
TAKING CARE OF THE MEDICINES
You take care of these sacred medicines by keeping them in a dry place. They can be stored in paper bags or wooden boxes. If you have been using alcohol or drugs, Healers say you should wait four to seven days before touching the medicines. As our awareness and knowledge of our traditions and culture increases, so does our honour and respect for these ways. This has not always been the case in our communities. There are always those who present themselves as Healers, Elders or Medicine People who have not earned that title and may use the teachings and medicines in the wrong way. It is important for everyone, especially young people, to be aware of this and to exercise caution when they seek healing, teachings or advice. It is advisable to consult with people whom you trust to get referrals to respected and recognized Traditional Elders, Healers or Medicine People.
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