Get Archery Lessons in Toronto and learn to shoot like a pro!

Mide - Chippewa

Mide' (Great Medicine) is the native religion of the Chippewa; the complex organization of this religion is called in Chippewa, Mide'wiwin (Great Medicine Society). In Chippewa belief, Mide' was a gift of the four directional manido' (spirits); the east manido' came among the Chippewa as a miraculous child in order to teach them the ways of Mide'. In Mide', human behavior is understood to deeply influence health and life; goodness, respect, the meeting of obligations, produces long life and health whereas evil eventually harms both life and health. The members of the Mide'wiwin are drawn from both male and female members of Chippewa society; after an initiation, they then can rise through eight separate ranks. The initiation, done at meetings of the Mide'wiwin in the spring, is a process of cleansing the spirit. The cleansing is accomplished with the mi'gis, a small white shell that serves as the emblem of Mide'. For the white shell appears on the surface of the water whenever a manido, or spirit, causes the water to move. In the initiation ceremony, the mi'gis is pushed beneath the skin where it removes evil; the initiate then removes the mi'gis, usually through the mouth, from his or her body. If the mi'gis were to remain within the body, it would pollute the body with the evil it has absorbed. Once initiated, the member of Mide'wiwin society moves up the ranks after receiving special instructions; each member is required to attend at least one Mide' meeting each year in order to renew their spiritual power.

There are no exact rituals enjoined on the Mide'wiwin: no ceremonial clothes are worn nor are there any ceremonial objects involved. Each member of the Mide'wiwin, however, must live a life of exacting morality; lying, stealing, and the drinking of alcohol are absolutely forbidden. Once initiated, the Mide'wiwin member, through both songs and medicine, cure other members of society from their illnesses. The Mide'wiwin are not doctors (dja'sakid) who are a separate class of healers in Chippewa society; the Mide'wiwin cure illnesses that are the consequences of evil, sin, or irresponsibility. Each member of the Mide'wiwin carries about a bag of herbs and mi'gis; in combination with the medicine the healer also sings some song from his repertory that will make the medicine effective. A doctor (dja'sakid), on the other hand, does not acquire his healing knowledge from others but learns it from direct experience of suffering. The dja'sakid cures his patients by shaking his rattle, passing his hands over the the patient's body, and by swallowing several bones which he then uses to determine where the disease is located.

Popular Posts