Sept 4th 2018
When I first started doing traditional land use and traditional knowledge studies with elders from other reserves, settlements, locals and zones, I quickly became frustrated with them.
They wanted us to protect the cultural and traditional medicines and sites, but were extremely secretive of the locations.
I would tell them that it was almost impossible to commit to zero development around sites that were not identified.
Slowly and surely the 15 major Aboriginal groups that Kelsey Norton and I were working with shared their sacred information with us.
We swore that we would keep their secrets, and we have.
They do not want people to know where their medicines are.
For thousands and thousands of years these sacred sites have been kept locked into the minds of the medicine people for a reason.
Just a few years ago one of the Nation members discovered rat root and they used a back hoe to dig it all up.
Then they used a pressure washer to clean the dirt off, and they sell the mass produced medicine for money!
The ones who found the medicine did not get the location from me.
And they never will.
Sadly I will probably go to my grave just like so many have gone before me with this knowledge locked away inside my brain because I am fearful that our cultural practices will be sold off like any other commodity..
Like the mass slaughter of the plains Buffalo, some people only look at our medicines as something they can sell.
My warning to those who practice their traditional ways is to be aware of this.
Beware of those who would tag along with you and not know the significance of the tobacco prayers and need to keep our sites to ourselves.
Please follow Annette Hobart and my example.
Provide medicines to those you trust, but always know that there are those who just want to sell it for profit.
Sadly, that is why we do not let others know the sites.