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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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The Boy Gets Caribou Medicine Power
from "Legends and Stories from the Past" by Geoge Blondin

There was a family with a boy to raise. As usual, all Dene people craved to have medicine power in their family. The parents wanted the boy to own some medicine power, but the boy did not receive any. The parents did their best, using whatever knowledge they had, so their boy could receive medicine power. But no luck.

When the boy was just a child, the father taught him the best way he could. "Look," he would say. "We have a very powerful spirit. He is the Holy Spirit that has made everything for us. He made this earth, so that we could live on it. He made daytime, so we could work and play. He also made night, so that we could rest and sleep. He is a very kind Holy Spirit. We have only to pray and ask him to give us what we need. We pray this way. Some people have visions that enable them to sing holy songs. That comes from the Holy Spirit. People like your mother and I learn to sing these holy songs so we can pray to the holy Creator," said the father.

He continued to speak. "I have my dream and pray to the Creator to give you some medicine power, but you are not receiving it. When I have my dream and sing, you should pray very hard and talk in your own way to the Holy Spirit. He is very kind and if he wants to, he may give you medicine power, which we need badly. The Creator wants us to be good people on earth. The Creator knows everything that we do, think, say or talk. If you think or talk in a bad way, or do bad things in your actions, the Holy Spirit will not give you medicine power. The power comes from the Holy Spirit, it's holy. It is not easy to get medicine power. You have to be good. That's all there is to it."

"Like I said," continued the father, "the Holy Creator is our friend and we can ask of him whatever we need. My boy, if you sin, that will prevent you from receiving medicine power from the Creator. But our friend, the Holy Creator, is a kind person. Right now you are a teenager, not quite knowing what you are doing. When you pray to the Holy Spirit, you should beg him to forgive you for the bad things you have done. Maybe he will forgive and give you medicine power. Your mother and I will also pray for you."

The boy's father preached to him a lot. Another thing that the parents did was to stay alone in the bush most of the time. They made the boy sleep close to a strong medicine person who had died a long time ago. If the Holy Spirit is present there, he may appear to the boy and give him medicine power. But there was no such luck for
the boy.

In the past, another thing that powerful medicine people did was to make a mask. On the land, in the country, there is a lot of that. What they would do is make the boy sleep alone for two or three nights. If the boy was lucky, he would see a vision and receive medicine power.

The parents did everything possible for the boy, but nothing happened. When the boy became an adult, about twenty years old, he began to hunt a lot. During one of those times in May, the caribou were heading north. The hunters waited on the caribou trail. The boy went hunting. There was a long lake where he saw a lot of caribou coming. He ran to the lake and waited. There was a caribou, the leader of the herd, walking far ahead of the others. The boy waited behind a willow patch. The leader was walking close by. The boy sat down and did not move. The caribou stopped and looked towards him. The boy was confused.

The caribou walked right up to him and began to talk. "I came here to give you a medicine power pipe. If you wish to talk to caribou, fill your pipe, light it and smoke it. Then you will be able to talk to the caribou about anything you want. It's a medicine power pipe. You will be able to pull caribou herds to your people. In that way, the people will benefit from you. Keep the pipe on your person at all times. It will protect you as well. If you want caribou, you can kill some. Maybe the last three or four. If you talk to caribou, I will answer you in the future," said the caribou.

That is the way it happened for the boy. He now had medicine power from the caribou. From that time on, the people benefited from the boy, as he was able to talk to the caribou when caribou were needed.

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