Keepers of The Medicine
retold by © cromokee
A long time ago,an "Old Man" appeared at the edge of the Haudenshonni Village.
He was limping and had to use a stick to help him walk. His Buckskin clothes were dirty and ragged with many holes. and he looked very tired and sick. He came to a Bark covered Long House that had a Turtle Skull over the hide covered doorway. He knew he had reached the Dwelling of the Turtle Clan. An Old Woman was scraping a Deer skin nearby, so he asked her if she would give him something to eat and a place to rest for awhile. She looked up at this ragged and dirty Old Man and scowled. She told him to go away and that she had no food. So, the "Old Man"staggered away.
Soon he came to another Lodge that had the Skull of a Wolf over the doorway. As he approached a young Woman pulled back the skin covering the entrance and began yelling at him to go away. She began throwing sticks and stones at him so he ran away as fast as his old legs could carry him.
After awhile he came to a third Bark covered Lodge that had a Bear's Skull over the Doorway and he knew that it was the Home of the Bear Clan. As he approached, a Young Woman, who had been kneeling in front of the Fire Pit, came foreward to greet him. "Kwe! Kwe! Doda." (Greetings Grandfather) "You don't look well." "Come inside and rest while I get you something to eat." She got him a bowl of Corn Soup from the Clay Pot that had been sitting on three stones near the Fire. When she took it to him, she saw that he was in pain and had a Fever.. In a weak voice, he asked her to go to the Brook nearby and and gather some Willow Bark. When she returned he told her to scrape off the inner layer from the Bark and steep it in hot water. After he had drunk the Tea, he began to feel better and the Fever broke.
But, almost immediately he began to have Stomach Pains. He sent the Young Woman to gather a certain Root from a small shrub that only grows on the Northern side of the Mountains. When she returned, he had her cut the Root into small pieces and Boil it to make a Tea which took away his Stomach Cramps.
Each time she cured him of one Sickness, He immediately contracted another and so on until she had learned all the Cures for the common ailments of the Onkwehonwe. (Real People)
As she opened the Doorway Flap the last time, there was a Bright Light illuminating a Handsome Young Man standing there. He said to her," Please don't be afraid. I am Shonkwaiiatison ( The Maker of Our Bodies). Since you have been so kind and helpful to me, from this day forward, all the Medicine Men and Women, of the Onkwehonwe, shall be members of the Bear Clan.
...And so it is to this Day...