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The Siksika Nation - Spiritual Life

Sun Dance, Siksika (Blackfoot) Indians, 1908

The land was a gift from the Creator in Siksika spiritual life. All things were equal in the makings of the Creator. While humans were a part of the world of living things, they were certainly not masters over it. The Siksika were well aware that they needed the land, the sky, the water, and all their fellow living beings in order to survive, and they treated the world, the Creator of the world, and the spirits of all living beings in the world with reverence and respect. To do otherwise was to invite catastrophe.

Siksika spirituality was expressed in a number of different ways. Of particular importance in Siksika culture was the pipe, which was smoked and used in sacred ceremonies. One could not tell a lie when smoking the pipe, and the thunder medicine pipe was used when the first crack of thunder was heard in the spring. This signaled that a time of prayer and fasting was needed to ensure a good year of hunting and travelling.

The buffalo was an animal that the Siksika depended on in order to survive. To call the buffalo, the Siksika used iinisskimm, or buffalo stones, in certain ceremonies. The use of these stones would help ensure that the buffalo would come to the Siksika, so that the Siksika could hunt them for food and all the other essentials of life.

Medicine bundles were another important element of Siksika spiritual life. These bundles would hold sacred artifacts such as the pipes and buffalos stones, and any other sacred artifacts. Special individuals were assigned to hold the medicine bundles, and were given the task of protecting and guarding them. To the Siksika and other Blackfoot Nations, the bundles were living beings that helped connect the people to the spirit world. Proper use of these bundles would help ensure a good year for the Siksika.

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