The teachings of the bear clan : as told by Saulteaux elder Danny Musqua
Relland, Michael Roger
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The Saulteaux Nation is comprised of 7 major clans the larger of which is the Bear Clan. This thesis examines the holistic philosophy of the Saulteaux world view and the oral teachings of the Bear Clan. The teachings, which emphasize the nature of healing and personal growth, were related by Elder Danny Musqua to myself from within the context of traditional Bear Clan ceremonies and practices. This thesis documents my journey to understand these teachings and in the process to arrive at a deeper understanding of self. This is done within the context of Bear Clan culture and within the context of my relationship with Elder Danny Musqua. This thesis relates my struggle to make meaning of these teachings on a personal level and how these teachings have affected my life. Narrative Inquiry is the methodology employed in this study. Through a reliance on narrative as the research methodology, the oral tradition of the Bear Clan and its traditional methods of knowledge transmission are honoured. The methodology utilized in this study is relatively unstructured in that no formal questioning process is utilized. Instead, it relies upon the relationship between the Elder/teacher and the son/learner in which to transmit knowledge. This process stresses the relationship between Danny and myself and emphasizes trust and respect as important elements of learning. In this relationship, knowledge was transmitted through participation in the sweatlodge, the learning lodge and through conversations with Danny. This approach to research respected the implicit nature of the oral tradition and allowed for me to make meaning of Danny's teachings in their original context and interpret them at a level appropriate for my own personal development. This thesis struggles to define traditional healing and the role that the healer, the one oppressed by illness and the spiritual realm play in the healing process. This thesis may prove valuable in educating and informing those who do not have an understanding of concepts of First Nations' healing. It may also serve as an invitation to all people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to expand their notions of healing or to search out a similar path in life.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
Copyright DateJanuary 1998