Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Canada Trip, Part 8

Mary First Rider.

The Blood Reserve, the Indian hospital is visible on the right.

The Blood Reserve

During my visit to Cardston, I had the opportunity to visit the Blood Reserve. It's sort of an unusual arrangement, really. Only a single line separates the city from the reserve, where the Indian homes face the non-Indian homes directly across the street.

My aunt took me to visit a Blood tribal elder, Mary First Rider. She welcomed me graciously into her tidy little house and told me one story after another regarding her tribal customs. She talked about learning her language as a child, learning to identify sacred plants, the boarding schools, and recent efforts to revive her culture. We laughed a lot too. At one point, she paused and spoke to me in her language. I didn't understand, so she translated. She said, "You are a real person," meaning someone with a big heart, humor, and respect. I felt honored to hear those words.

We stayed several hours without even noticing the passage of time. I feel fortunate to have met such a knowledgeable elder, and I sincerely hope to see her again some day soon.

More to come...

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