The group pulled their canoes to the shore to set up camp for the night. Bill got the fire going as Duncan pushed the canoe back into the water, getting in he paddled a hundred yards off shore. The group looked at Bill and asked what is Duncan doing? Bill looked at them and explained to them that Duncan was going to get fish for them. They looked out at Duncan and saw him standing in the canoe with a spear in his hand. They didn't understand what was going on. Bill then explained to them that it was the way of the Ojibwe to spear fish, something that few had ever seen.
Soon Duncan paddles back to the shore with four good sized Walleye as the group watched in amazement. Duncan cleaned, wrapped them in tinfoil and added wildrice, lemon and onion and put them in the fire.
The group finished their dinner, one that was the way of the Ojibwe. They had never had anything as nearly as good. The group was getting more and more interested in the way of the Ojibwe. This is the way they had lived for hundreds of years.
Later as they sat around the fire, a half moon shining above them and the majestic forest surrounding them, Bill looked over at Duncan and said, Duncan please continue telling our guests the history of the area. With that, deep in the background the soft din of the drums started. Again no one heard them except Duncan. In the surrounding forest there was movement between the trees.
Duncan began to tell them of the great Ojibwe Chiefs. Bug-O-Nay-Geeshig or as the whites called him, Hole-In-The-Day the younger and his father, Hole-In-The-Day the elder, the great war chief of the Ojibwe. His story moved on to Chief Buffalo, Broken Tooth, Flat Mouth and the great woman warrior, Goes Across The Sky Woman...He told them of the use of birch bark and how it was used to build their canoes, some of which reach thirty feet and could carry twelve warriors with all their equipment. How it was used to make pots to hold food and water and for their housing, and howthey were used to record the history of the Ojibwe people. He told them of the ''Sacred Scrolls of the Midewiwin'' the secret society of healers that the history of the Ojibwe people were written on, some dated back over a thousand years. The guests were enthralled in the stories and could feel themselves drifting back in time. Being in the heartland of Ojibwe added to their feelings.
Duncan asked them if they enjoyed maple syrup. They all said they loved it on their pancakes and Duncan smiled and then told them of how the Ojibwe tapped the maple trees for the syrup and how they used it to keep their food from spoiling. The guests were falling deeper and deeper into his spell.
His melodic voice held them, his eyes burned into them and they could feel the power that he had. He told them the story of the Weendigo, the terrifying creature of Ojibwe legend. By the time he was done all four of them were terrified. The darkness of the night surrounding them, the calls of animals mixed in with the darkness, and far in the background the drums, the drums were always there and only now did they hear them.
Seeing that they were spellbound by his stories, he then told them of the spirits or as he called them the Manitou's. How each of them had a Manitou and how the Ojibwe had two souls and all other living things had a soul. He told them of the ''Teaching Rocks'' and the creation story of the Ojibwe.
They felt that they had become part of Ducan's stories. Then he told them of the Anishinaabe Thunderbird, the symbol of the Ojibwe people. The Thunderbird was the most powerful of all Manitou's and lived on the edge of earth. So powerful that a human could not see one and live. The Thunderbird was the protector of Mother Earth.
When they heard that they quickly had questions for Duncan. They were all ''tree huggers'' and felt that we were doing much damage to Mother Earth. Duncan could feel their concern and knew that they were people of the forest.
They didn't notice the movement around their campground, nor the eyes flashing in the moonlight. Duncan didn't have to notice, he knew that they were there. They were always there.
Far to the northeast heavy clouds were building, winds were stirring and the air was becoming heavy with humidity.
The group went to their tents and dropped off to sleep. Bill made sure that they canoes were well anchored to the shore as Duncan picked up the scraps of food left, they didn't need a black bear or a pack of wolves coming into camp to feed.
Soon all were asleep. To the north the clouds were moving steady across the sky, the moon was now covered and there was little light. Winds were starting to move the branches of the trees, and the water on the rivers and lakes was roiling.
To be continued.
Kavika 2012. All rights reserved.