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Nookwezigan (Smudge)

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For many years, I worked on a First Nations reserve. It was part of my job to become familiar with some of the Ojibway language and culture and to promote it within a daycare setting. Native American customs and spirituality have always intrigued me and still do. The legends and rituals shared with me by my co workers opened my mind to other ways of thinking. I admire the simplicity of thought and their many symbolisms of nature.

While attending a Native Early Childhood conference, I chose a workshop involving an outdoor excursion. We slowly climbed a steep, grassy hill, leaving gifts of tobacco along the way for ” the little people”. At the top we rested on large rocks and meditated on a breathtaking view of the valley below.  When we returned to the community center we sat in a circle to be “smudged”. Nervously I anticipated my turn as a seashell with burning sage was passed around the group. I watched as each of my native colleagues stood one at a time, directing the pungent smoke towards their body with beckoning hands. Drawing it close and gently pushing it away. Cleansing themselves of negative energy. I was welcomed into the ceremony, treated no differently than the rest. As I embraced the smoke I believed what they believed. This was healing.



i am not Anishinaabe but

mino giizhigad




i am not native but

it’s a nice day


Written for Paul’s poetic prompt, “Medicine” over at dVerse Poets Pub.




11 responses »

  1. This is wonderful Mish. An excellent haibun with a most interesting haiku, in the Native language. I have used save on various occasions to cleanse my home and myself. I love this haibun.

    • Thank you so much, Toni! That means a lot to me. I have burned sage one other time for myself since then. It was like a reset button. Thank you for reading. Much appreciated.

  2. Very cool story. Immersion, empathy, exploration and all that good stuff.

  3. What a great experience for you. I hear about sage being burned in houses where illness or trouble has occurred to cleanse them and start anew.

  4. Thank You Mish for bringing this powerful medicine to the forum. Wonderful story brought to life in a superb Haibun.

  5. Nice haiku. I also liked the last two sentences about being healed by embracing the smoke believing what they believed.

  6. Reblogged this on Frank J. Tassone and commented:
    #Haiku Happenings #9: Mish’s #haibun for #dversepoets!


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