Pictographs in northern Saskatchewan : vision quest and pawakan
Lipsett, Katherine A.
Pictographs in northern Saskatchewan have been linked to the vision quest ritual by Rocky Cree informants. The intent of this thesis is to examine the Rocky Cree religious belief system, through ethno-historic documentation and contemporary ethnography, in order to attribute meanings to pictographs. Elderly native informants in communities close to pictograph sites were interviewed concerning their knowledge of traditional religious beliefs, the vision quest and the cultural function of pictographs. By formulating an understanding of traditional Rocky Cree religious beliefs it is possible to discover what 'dreamers' were experiencing during the vision quest and what they dreamt of. The physical characteristics and psychological profile of the spirits, which might have appeared to the dreamer as his guardian spirit, must be reconstructed, since pictographs were visual representations of what was witnessed in the vision quest. Informant knowledge has allowed for the analysis of pictographs and a greater understanding of individual meanings and their cultural context in traditional Rocky Cree religion.