Origin stories of two Beaver Bundles, The Tobacco Planting Ceremony, How Lizards became included in the Beaver Bundle
Subject: Ethics, Pipes, Piegan, Tobacco, Trickery, Transformation, Bundles, Beaver Bundle, Folklore, Swims Under, Mike
Transcript: Aapikohkomaanimm is the person that included the scalp in our Beaver Bundles, this is a correction that I mentioned scalps were included in the Okan. I will tell you how we acquired some of our sacred possessions. Our ancestors were camped by the South Peigans. They did this to participate in the South Peigans social dances. These rituals involved lighting the ceremony by burning a huge fire which was also used to light the event for four nights. The male participants would dress up in their best attire and stand opposite the female participants. This gave a chance for the females to size up their chosen partners; it was also used to meet future husbands and wives. The men would not know who was choosing them for partners. When the dance was over, the women would go home and get clothing that duplicated the dress of their chosen partner, they would then return to the next dance and reveal their desires. A poor pitiful man named Aapi�kohkomaanimm happened to be at the dance, he was dressed very poorly, and noticed that a fine looking woman had dressed to match his clothing. He felt really embarrassed and wondered why any woman would desire him. He had nothing to offer, because of his status. He belonged to the poorer section of his tribe. He felt really hurt and quickly left the dance, returning home he told his relative of his embarrassment. He then told his relative that he was leaving the camp and wondering off and never returning because of his embarrassment. His relative informed him that he was accompanying him on his journey. They left for a long time, then deciding to return home, the young man hesitated, he wondered away from his relative and lay down by a big beaver den to rest and regain his strength. During his sleep a messenger was sent to invite him into the Beaver Lodge. The messenger was the son of the chief of the river people came and started taking him into the water, he was invited to spend the winter with his guests, during that time he was transferred all the prize possessions of his hosts. His relative knew where he was at and waited for his relative'�s return. The time came when he was going home and the relative returned to escort him home. On their way home they decided to build a shelter or lean too by a huge river. They were seeking shelter in case it rained. They entered their shelter and went too sleep. In the morning they awoke and found another fierce animal laying in the entrance of the portable shelter, they were afraid to wake it, for fear of being attacked, the animal was very fierce. So they dug there way out from another exit. When they left their shelter they decided to kill the animal and burn it in the shelter. His relative smell the burning flesh and became very hungry. His relative warned him about eating the burned animal, this animal has cursed us and wanted to kill us, how can you think of eating him to give you strength and protection. But the relative refused to heed the warning and took some of the meat and ate it, and then they proceeded on their journey home. The young man who ate the meat became very weak and tired and had to continually rest. His relative was patient and waited for him. They wanted to reach the water, the young man entered the water and told his relative that this is where he was going to rest, that he couldn'�t make it home, to return in a year with his wife. This was the location where he was taken into the water by the river people. They then instructed him to try run for safety, into the cliffs before the waves touched him, if they touched him, he would have to live in the water forever. He ran as fast as he could and made it to the top of the cliff before a huge wave was crashed half way up the cliff. He made his way home and asked to live with his sister in-law. He offered to give her protection and assistance while he was staying there. He remembered the promise of the River People; they said they would offer protection in his activities and adventures. He later learned of an impending battle with the River tribe (possibly Shoshone). He had intentions of joining this battle, and killing the enemy chief. He met another warrior along the way and told him of his plans. They both scouted the enemy camp and planned how they were going to do battle. The young man made plans to swim downstream and meet the enemy before his fellow tribe. He then instructed his friend to go upstream when he started swimming toward the tribe; he would later meet him there with his victim. He then sang his war song given to him by the Beavers for protection and success and placed his sacred feather in his hair and his knife in his mouth and dove toward the middle of the fast flowing river. The enemy chief noticed the lone warrior swimming downstream toward them and walked into the river to do battle with this young man. When the young man was close enough he tried to stab him with his spear but wasnít successful. He grabbed his feather from his head and it magically turned into a huge stick which he was able to use to fend off the spear. The young man then was able to wrestle his spear from the chief and stab him with it, killing him instantly. He then took the body and swam out to the middle of the fast flowing water, his fellow tribesmen seen the whole incident and cheered. They then preceded downstream thinking this would be the direction that the young man would have to take. He floated downstream till he was able to swim against the strong current. He slowly swam upstream to where he instructed his friend to wait, and permitted him to touch the dead body to be included in the victory. That is when we started killing our enemies. That summer he returned to get his brother accompanied by his brotherís wife. They returned to the spot where he left him, she went to get it where she placed it, and then she sat down by the river bank. Shortly after her husband appeared out of the water and sitting next to her explained, ìhe was there to take her home.î She replied,î Okay, I will follow youî. The man explained that he was given instructions to follow for their safety. They were supposed to hide the river edge. He then asked her to run to the safety place, there they made the bundle. They then ran home quickly, without being caught by the Waterpipe People. Shortly after arriving home, his brother started making his bundle as he was instructed and shown. They were given these bundles as a gift from the beavers, for spending the winter with them. There were two bundles now with Aapiíkohkomaanimm gift. That is why we have them today and are apart of our ways. Aapiíkohkomaanimm starting planting tobacco, his brother also did the same. When his supply was getting low, he would instruct his wife to go to his brothers and ask him to share his tobacco with him, but he would only share a little with his brother. The brother would also borrow some when he was getting low. Later on he noticed that his brother wasnít asking to borrow any. He started getting suspicious; the lizards told him that his brother was stealing his tobacco crop. He later revealed what his brother was doing to his wife, he was instructed to look for his brother and stop him, but he had to perform a ceremony to prepare his for this task. He had to burn his incense and sing his sacred song. When he sang his song, the weather turned really bad and started to storm, blowing over many lodges. He sang is song again and the weather calmed down. He sang it again and the weather turned nasty again, this time a swarm of lizards appeared on the ground, they were there to help him locate his brother. They later found his dead body in his lodge with his mouth wide open; the lizards had to enter his mouth to retrieve the tobacco. That is why the lizards are included and drawn on the Beaver Bundle items and used in the Okan. The songs are different in the Okan and Beaver Bundle.