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Nature's Law
Spiritual Life, Governance, Culture, Traditions, Resources, Context and Background
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Secret Societies

Visual representation of nature's laws

"The chief told about their Warrior Societies – police or protective organizations. Among the Blackfoot was a series of men’s societies, in which membership was based on age and which were the dominating factor in the tribal organization. The power of the head-chief depended on his cooperation with these societies. Their definite order, ranging from youth to old age … The function of these age societies was primarily to preserve order in the camp and on the hunt, to punish offenders against the public welfare, and to cultivate the military spirit" (McClintok 1937: 11).

Special Societies in Cree Tradition
Interviewer - Earle Waugh, PhD.


Brings Down the Sun speaks, "I myself was a member of the Braves, the most powerful of all the men’s societies in my time. It was started long ago by a man who had a strong dream. He saw a band of dogs and the way they acted. The Braves ruled the camp and helped our chiefs to keep order. We punished men and women who quarrelled, and sometimes killed people who disobeyed our orders. When it was time for our tribe to move camp, we were accustomed to march around with the beating of drums and singing, each member carried a knife, a bow, and a quiver filled with arrows, we stayed behind and ate the food that was left; and, like dogs, we followed slowly, entering camp after all the lodges were pitched. We placed our big society lodge in the center of camp, and on the morning we danced, took possession early" (qtd McClinktok 12).

"The Dove Society was originated by a man named Change Camp. In a dream some doves gave him the dance. They said to him: ‘Gather together a band of people of all sizes, both young men and boys that have no power in the tribe. If they band themselves together, they will become strong and everyone will fear them … the Doves had no regard for anyone. If a prominent chief did not do as they said, they continually annoyed him and played many tricks … if a woman was going to pick berries and they ordered her not to do so, but she disobeyed, they awaited her return and spilled her berries, or they took long willow sticks and beat the berries from the bushes where she was at work. The always took one woman into their society who liked to dig roots and pick berries, so they could have an abundance for their feasts. The head-chief, and even the powerful societies, overlooked these things and excused them, saying: ‘the Doves are young and foolish, and will do anything to have their own way. It is bad to oppose them" (qtd McClintok 14-15).

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