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Dreams and Visions
I'm one that believes in dreams. Generally the Indian believes -- most of the Indians believe -- in dreams and in something unusual.(1)
Oh, they do!
Some of them do.
In Indian "dream" is bah-wah-dan or ^-na-bang-dàn. $i-naa-b^n-dahn is what you dream the night before. And then baa-wàa-dahn is again what you dreamed last night. Like, if I say, "I dreamt that," it's gii-nàa-b^n-d^m -- In-gíi-po-wàa-nàa, it's I "dreamt." Then you tell a group, gii-nàab-^n-d^m. See? . . . It's the same thing. The dream is the same thing. OK?
I don't dream very much, but when anything arises that makes a hardship in my area, that makes changes, you might as well say that I dream about it. The dreams advise me to look for something that's coming. When I'm dreaming it's a warning.
b^-bàh-maa-dI-zíi, that's "travelling around to see," in your dream. In your dreams you can travel around from place to place. That's called p^-pa-màa-di-zíi. That means that you travel around, that you use your traveling ability. With b^-ba-màa-dI-zi, the spirit. . . tzii-chaag, my spirit, is travelling, when I'm sleeping, to see, what's next, if I'm in danger, or if it's danger. It leaves the body when you're dreaming. When you dream, your spirit sometimes travells around. It goes someplace else, during a dream, but it's bound to get back there. Nobody can't capture it. He's a spirit of God. You can't get ahold of him. You can't do it with power or with medicine or anything. The spirit is what wakes you up. That happened to quite a few of my people. And they dream about stuff that they're thinking about. That's how they know what the answer is. The answer is there when you're dreaming. Then we know. But sometimes we wish that we could clarify a little better what we dream about.
Travelling around when you're awake is i-sa-bàa-maa-dIs, sa-bàa-maa-dIs gaa- wíin. . . . ngKi-waa-b^n-sàhn, I see what happened. My awake-vision, awake-vision.
Now there are some dreams that are a warning. If there's a warning before you, you'll dream something. Maybe they're having a meeting or some gathering that you're going to see in the near future. The near future doesn't take long to arrive. And when it does then the dream comes out. You could see it as you look. You'll realize you dreamt about something that you see.
If you're thinking about something that you want to know -- you want to understand it and you're thinking about it -- the more you think about it, the more it's in your head. And when you sleep then the dream comes, and it's what you're thinking about. You're thinking about the creatures, you're thinking about wild rice. You think about everything that you'd like to know a little better, and the dream comes. And in your dream you could see it. In a dream you see what you were talking about in that earlier part of the day. When you're thinking about something that you want to know, or you want to dream something, the dream comes after you think about it so much. Then the dream is there. The dream is in you. Ya.
My last dream -- the one before last night(2) -- was about fish on the lake, and about the fish that's in the water, and about the wild life of this country. Now before that dream I was thinking that if it keeps a-going like it is things might be OK. The people are interested in game and fish and wild life. And I dream of rice and the Indian way of life. I dream about it. And after I dream and then see the outcome when I'm awake, I realize I dreamt about it. You could say I dreamt about it. I dreampt about things with my body asleep. Dreams come when I'm asleep. They come silently -- silently -- and they're almost a secret to you, but it comes out. You could see a flash(3) in your dream. And when that flash comes you're dreaming about what you're thinking about that day.
I'm very superstitious.(4) I'm very superstitious in the Indian way, and I believe in some of these dreams.
This is the fact of my life I'm telling you because of the special questions you ask me. I would normally not tell anybody that, except that you know me. Ya. I would never, I would never! spread it out, because people wouldn't believe it anyhow. They might say, "But it's only a dream.(5)"
I had a lot of dreams, ya, but I just keep them to myself. You have to save enough for yourself and not pass them on, because it's hard for the people of this generation to understand. They're too busy with education. And it's hard for me to convince them to understand what I leave.(6)
Sometimes, sometimes, I don't spill the beans about my dreams. That's for me. If you had to have that certain dream they'd come to you too. But you don't have power enough that you believe in dreams, so they won't come.
You're not supposed to say anything about bad dreams because you want to hold it down as much as you can. Hold it down. You're not supposed to say anything about a bad dream or something that you don't like. Don't say much about it. Let the outcome come itself -- if it's going to come.
You hold a bad dream down so you don't scatter it. You don't spread it out. It might become a fact if you talk about it. If you talk about it, it'll come soon. But if you don't talk about it, and just forget it, and think, "It's all a dream," OK, then the dream goes back. "It's all a dream," means that it hasn't happened yet. It can still be changed. . . . If you talk about a dream it puts a life in the dream, with your spirit! I shouldn't tell a bad dream because maybe I can avoid it if I do not tell it.
Some of them dreams you aren't supposed to say anything about. But you're bound to(7) tell a good dream. Sure! If you have a good dream, you really talk about it! Well, you couldn't help talking about it. You can't help it because you're thinking about it all the time. So the outcome is there.(8)
Sometimes you're supposed to tell people. If it's a good dream, I'll tell it. And I'm wishing that everything will clarify that dream in their mind too. A dream of his and yours you can compare together. You're told. He'll come to you because he can tell you have a voice.(9)
Sometimes too, you're supposed to tell the other guy because maybe there's something going to happen to him. But on a dream like I had -- that warning of a bad to come to someone else -- they always tell.(10) Everybody tells so that all can see it. And maybe somebody can do something about it.
If you had a dream and didn't feel very good about it, you could mourn in order to avoid what you dreamt about. See, in Indian, when they have a bad dream and they're afraid something is going to happen to somebody in their family, or that something's going to happen to their friends and neighbors, they avoid that bad thing by mourning. I've seen it in my days. They put a big black mark right across their forehead. That's one way of avoiding the bad of your dream. But they have to do that before this person begins to pass away -- if it's a death they're concerned about. They know that stuff, you know. They take that charcoal and just mark a mark here and there on their faces.
I asked them one time, I said, "Why does that woman have a mark on her head?"
"Well, she had a bad dream. That black marking will avoid the accident or death."
Somebody's talking to you in those dreams. The Indian believes in dreams. That's where we get it.(11) If you don't believe in dreams, oh!!, you don't believe in nothing, and you're lost!
Your guardian spirit, pah-wah-jii-gan, warns you in a dream. That's your dream spirit. bah-waa-ga-n^'n is the one that comes to see you in your dream. . . .baa-waa-zji-gaa-n^g . . . ba-waa-zj-ga-n^g means someone you dream about regular. It's someone who comes to you in your sleep.
You see, a lot of us Indians believe in our dreams. If that same person comes to you in that dream, that's ba-waa-zj-ga-n^n.
It comes before you. It comes a-warning you. Well it could be anybody. Bah-wah-zji-ga-g^n could be anybody. You dream about certain spirits. That's what you dream about. This soul could be anything. It's a soul bringing news for you. If you're in danger, it's news about the danger. Maybe it's good news, maybe it's bad news. When you get the news you commence to think about it. And then you wonder why it came. In a day or so you'll feel the answer. If it's going to be good, you'll feel good. If it's bad, then somebody's got a message against you.(12) See, that's the way of our religious belief.
It can be an animal, sure. It can be a bear. It can be anybody, so be aware, and think of it. Generally its a message to "slow down." That's what it is. The young fellows study about that lots as we grow old. After you study that for fifteen, . . . or twenty, . . . twenty-one years, then it'll work on your mind pretty strong. Yea. . . .
The dream is true. He comes to you and the tells you what to be aware of. He tells you the truth of life. Ba-waa-zj-ga-n^n will show you something. He will tell you something about what's going to happen. He will tell you whether you're going to see it. And he will tell you what this means. Ba-waa-zji-ga-n^g tells you what to do to avoid that. He tells you what to do.
He might say, "Go by yourself and ask me. I'm the messenger." Ba-waa-ji-ga-n^g is the same as the messenger. He comes before you individually in your dream. He talks to you individually in your dream.
Maybe you might have power in speaking. When you have dreams, and if you ask Him to do anything for you, He will. But you have to talk to the Creator of your body. When you pray to Him you should thank Him -- at all times, every day -- for what you eat, for what you live on. When you talk to the Creator call in the soil, the trees, and the birds to hear the meditation. Call them all in to hear what you say. Maybe you could say, "I'm glad you came to see me last night. You asked me to do this and that. You told me where I'm lacking. I should correct that. What I've done wrong you show me. If I'm doing right, you tell me. You have helped me. I'm glad that you come in my sleep, in my dreams. I'm still dreaming when I'm wide awake. I'm dreaming about the country and about what's coming forward. I'm still dreaming that in my sleep."
You hear the talking, "I see you."
That's a dream of Indian, ya. The Indian answers that dream with the life he carries.
Bah-waa-ji-g^n is bah-waa-ji-g^'n. Ba-waa-ji-g^n is the dream that you receive anytime, or here at night. This spirit, whoever you think of all the time, will come back. The spirit you have is the one that'll come back and visit you -- at any time -- in ba-waa-ji-g^/n.
The spirit can come at anytime, and if he's got anything to say he'll advise you. He'll tell you what he's there for. If you're in any danger he'll point out a few things telling you where to be careful and to watch, look, listen. And when you watch, look, and listen, you'll know that you didn't dream about the dream and this dream spirit for nothing. He's coming back for you.
See, that's ba-waa-ji-g^'n. He comes and visits you when you're asleep. He comes into your spirit. We couldn't tell what your spirit and what his spirit, the two spirits, are talking about when you are dreaming, but you know they're they're there. You still know they're there, and that makes you wake up slowly and you begin to wonder what he was there for. Maybe it's a warning, maybe it's a message from some other people or somebody. Maybe you're on a danger line(13) or something. He likes to talk to you when you're asleep, but he won't wake you. (75-5)[TR: You don't talk much in your dreams.] They haven't anything much to say, and you know very well that you're going to get the right answer. . . . You don't have much to say [either], and you don't know what you are going to say. In fact, you're dreaming. But there are a lot of things that you could talk about. Once in awhile I talk to people in my dreams. But I don't know what I'm saying to them. I forget. But sometimes you keep a memory of your dream. It will stay with you a long time, if it's serious. I don't talk much though in my dreams. And you can't talk to your spirit when you're awake because, you see, he's done on earth. You can talk to him, but he won't talk back. When a person's done on earth, he won't talk. But your a spirit that's living and when he comes and sees your spirit, then maybe they can talk, while you're sleeping. When you're awake he won't talk to your spirit. Your spirit is your spirit, ba-waa-ji-g^'n.
It's the same thing as your guardian spirit.
It might even be the Great creator of this heaven and earth, dressed in a different form.(14) That's your dream. That's your dream in life, if you're dreaming in life and believing in the Christianity of the spirit of life.
I seen him.
I seen him.
I seen the Manido himself!!(15) Well, I figure it's Manido because it gave me the spirit of life. That's my answer. See, I'm seventy-four years old(16) and I think He's taken good care of me. The great Spirit is a creator of me. That's what I believe in.
I had a dream in Ball Club, just before I came up here.
I was sleeping.
I was sound asleep.
And my little house was standing there, but I didn't sleep inside. I slept inside, but in the dream I slept outside.(17) I dreampt I heard a silk rattling, sa-teen(18) silk. Somebody was in there. I opened my eyes and I saw Him standing there, the Master of the earth. And He wanted to come. He wanted to talk to me, but I was half-dazed of sleep.
I looked at Him.
He was standing with His hands out, to remind me that He suffered in this earth, made the earth, and created the people. And I looked at his clothes. They were beautiful clothes! And He had a beautiful face! Before I could say a word He disappeared. I just nodded my head and I got up, and that quick -- in the blink of an eye -- He disappeared.
I woke up.
It's true! Two or three times I dreampt that. This is the third time I had that dream in my life.
I dreamt about heaven. I'm trying to live the best I could through the best truth I have. I dream about God standing before me and opening his hands. He motioned to me. That means He wants to help me. He reminded me that I have a little ways to correct myself in drifting away from the belief of the Creator of heaven and earth. Heaven and earth all meet me. He was a messenger.
He's a Creator. He's a Creator who has very light color and wears beautiful clothes. His clothes were sa-teen silk. And he wore a red-colored scarf(19)
Where did He get those clothes?
He created them.
He was like all these masters above. There's St. Peter and all of them who are above. They're the same people for any religion.
He was white.
He looked like a white man because he came from above. He wore whiskers. He had whiskers like a white man's. Yes, he did. But the Indian says He could look different too.(20) He says, "You shall see something." I figured he was white because He looked like He was there to put an education before me that I have to learn.
He came to remind me that I'm drifting away from the Indian way of life. I think it was a dream that was given to me to remember to pass on what you see. "You're the oldest," is the way they tell me. I'm the oldest . . . , one of the oldest, working in history. And I could repeat it. I could repeat my dreams. I could repeat it, telling what it's for. In my dreams I'm told, "Be aware. Something may arise someday, somewhere." So when I'm in a car, when I'm on a journey, I think of all these dreams. I think of all of what was handed to me in my dreams in life.
I tell about the fireballs too.(21) I've seen them too. One of them came right up to me, one time. And when it got up it flashed the woods. A lot of them have seen that.
The Creator came to me twice before, that I know.(22) That's the regular amount of times for that kind of dream, those two or three times. I had dreams like that before. Once when I was eighteen, where we lived, I saw that. And then again I saw it a couple of years ago.(23) I saw that both in 1918 and later on, about two years ago.
And last year, '73, I saw them black horses calling.
I was laying there sleeping, and when you have unusual dreams there's something up. I think a horse dream is a good dream. They're a blessing because they work for you. They're out in that fence all the time. They'll even die for you. But if you take care of them they won't have to die.
A horse labors with you. He's smart. He's next to you.
I don't know how the dream came, but anyway,
When I woke up I sat there and thought, "How I love horses!" Those little horses, they were all black and brown. Wasn't their kicking, wasn't their looks, jolly? They were full of life. That was given to me, to the Indian, to believe in. It made me feel good.
I talked to several of them old timers. They laughed. "Yea, that's love." I talked to Joe Fairbanks, and all them about it. Oh yea, they could tell you about that. They get that way too. They have dreams. And they believe in their dreams.
A horse is a great thing in your dream. Horses work and labor for the people. And the horse is saved, now that we don't have to torture a horse. We used to have to make him work with a whip. The horse is a good animal. The horse is a big thing. A horse is good luck. A horse shoe is good luck too. The body of a horse is good luck. But it can't be abused. Horses are loved. Everybody loves a horse. They are beautiful. They can't talk, but he's your friend. Once a horse likes you, he's your friend.
So all the friends of mine were there in that dream. That's all I could answer.
"Why did I see horses?" I asked one party. "I dreamt about horses."
"Oh, well that could happen. You have lots of friends."
"Yea, I heard that before," I said.
"Horses are friends. Also, a dog is a friend. When they're once a friend they're always a friend. I found that out with a horse."
When I heard that I felt better. I must have a lot of friends since these were all horses in my dream. When I got through talking and looking around I said to myself, "Where's the people?" The people must have left and the horses were right behind.
Oh geeze! That was an awful dream, but it was a boost.(25) The horses were so jolly and happy. They were free to the world. They were going to the next world, you might as well say. I know that because the big gate opened. Anyhow, I don't know where they were going.
I thought about that dream for a week. I finally figured it out. A horse is a friend. They were so glad to hear me talk the people were glad to hear me and meet me and everything. Afterwards the horses loved me too, because I drove horses all of my life in the woods.
I even had horses. I had a nice team. I had a nice horse. I had a nice riding horse. Nobody couldn't do anything to that horse.(26) I took it over and the horse understood me. The one that sold him to me said, "We've expected that the horse would kill you by this time. What did you do to it?"
"Nothing. I just talked to him."
A horse knows, a dog knows, just how you feel towards him. They know if you hate them. They can't talk. Be good to animals and they'll be good to you.
I was still alone when I woke up.
This is something proven that I dreamed before. [When they die] they're going to take animals too, I thought.
Black horses, just think! That's an awful thing. But I felt good too. So I got up. "I thank you for all this," I told the Manito.
The horse dream would be good to you. If you dream about fish, that's another good thing. Fish has scales, and that means there's money coming to you. When you dream about fish you're going to get some money. That means you have money coming to you. Maybe it's not going to be so great a sum, but it's coming to you. You don't know when, but sooner or later you'll have it.
A lot of them dreams is the answer to something. Yea. But when the dreams have unusual animals, especially crawlers, that's not so good. Four legged and two legged animals are all right. They're a blessing.
I had a lot of short-based dreams, short dreams. I always see somebody dressed like a man. . . . A short-based dream is short dreams. It's dreaming on a short basis. It's not a long dream. So when I commence to see that I wake up.
A short dream is a warning. Maybe I'm going to run into something. Maybe I'm going to see something. Maybe I'm going to see death for somebody. Maybe I'm going to see a wake. Maybe I'm going to see a friend die.
My next dream was thinking of how good and how nice a fellow [a certain friend] was, how he was good to us, and how he lived with us as a white man. He was married to a native girl, and they were both good. And the outcome of why I dreamt about him is my answer now. I dreamt about him because there was something coming before that couple -- death!
He always told things to people to make me mad. He always dug into me, telling people, "I suppose you're natural like that Indian." I was use to that kind of talk from him, and it didn't bother me. But this time he said to me, "If you don't shut your mouth, I'll shut it for you."
I looked at him.
"You ain't no medicine man."(28)
He said he wanted to fight, but bought me a drink instead. I sat along side of him, and I was thinking, "You've been pegging me, you've been saying words you shouldn't say. I'm sorry for you. I thought about telling him about my dream. But if I tell him anything, if I tell him not to do anything, he wouldn't believe it anyhow. But be careful what you say to others. Be careful what you say about your pal. That's what I believe."
Mr. [E.] was a good friend of mine, but I didn't tell him about that dream of the woman and the warningns.
But I wouldn't commence to go to hook him(30) in any way, because he was a good friend. I liked him. I liked to tease him too. He'd get mad quick; that's just the way he was. . . . He really never did get me mad. I know, because everybody here knows him and I talked to him all the time. He'd raise the roof with me and then turn around and ask me to ride home with him.
That time I didn't. . . .
With all the things he went through with me, it looked like we could have been enemies, but we weren't. He was going to lick me a lot of times. He even pulled my glasses off one time. I always said we were like brothers. We were too close-a neighbors to be enemies.
One time he told Orson Weekly, another neighbor, "I'm gonna take my god-damn buckshot and shoot Buffalo's drum."(31) Well, he didn't like my drum when he heard it, so he was going to take his buckshot and shoot holes in it.
"He won't be able to shoot it no more," Orson told me after the accident.
See, that's what happens when you talk without thinking about what you're saying. That's what happens when you don't believe in warnings. When you don't pay attention to them.
So one day I looked at him thinking about that. A few days afterwards he was killed. [He and an Indian friend offered me a ride home, but I didn't want to go with them.
A little while after that there was an awful wreck. There was an awful wreck up there in Deer River. I didn't want to look at him [in/after that wreck]. I couldn't.
I walked in another place and the first thing I knew somebody asked me, "Did you see the wreck?"
"Go see it," my other neighbor said.
"Why?" I said. "I don't think I will look at it. It's bad enough to hear our neighbor got killed. That's enough. I don't want to see any more or hear any more about it, because he was a good neighbor of ours. That's too bad!"
"There was one Indian boy with him, but he got out of it alive. . . . The guy that made it through the wreck was an Indian. He believes in the Indian medicine, Midaywe.(32) He used it, sure. . . . He just went to the hospital for a checkup and in a day or so he came home. He went to the hospital just to show that he was in the wreck, for insurance.(33) Those two might have been quarreling too. You never know, no.
I think about that too. It might be I think too much about that because he was a good neighbor of mine, a good friend of mine. The other guy was a friend too, but he didn't get hurt much.
I figure that if he was careful when he was saying something, or about what he was doing, for his health, I think he could have gone further. Boy he was well known. He was well known.
But listen! Because I'm Indian I should have known better. The Indians says if you have a dream and you want to avoid that dream, get up in the morning and make a big black mark on your head. That signifies that you're in mourning. If you blacken your face before what you dreamt happens, that'll stop it.
For avoiding things in a bad dream we say . . . nii-aa-gwash-kaan, nii-aa-tahsh-kaan nii-n^-$k-kway-t-aan, nii-payn-dahn I-naa-gii i-ni-maa-ni-do$-kay, m^-nii-do-kay . . . m^-ni-do-nii-k^-no-naa jiss-I-way-bI-sin. That's how we say it.
I'm glad you know that. I didn't realize that.
I forgot -- I didn't forget it, I knew it -- but I didn't act on that dream. It isn't the idea that the one that got killed didn't believe in nothing, maybe, but he didn't believe in the Indian belief. It could happen anywhere. But he had an Indian with him. Indians should know that. I figured that the Indian he was with would know that. But the Indian got out of it all right.
Ed was a nice fellow and all that. He was always meaning well and all that, but if you forget the Creator, if you forget the dream, if you don't believe in anything, maybe you'll end up with a hard death. You'll have sufferage if you don't believe in something.
Another white neighbor, Cliff Sjolund,(34) visited me in a dream one time. He's a master(35) who lives near the reservation. He said to me, he said, "Paul, I'd like to have you in one group. The tribe and the white people should work as one group. From here on I'd like to have you all near-together so we could understand one another. From way back you didn't know English. Don't you know English is easier to handle than the Indian language? It's more understandable, and most of the Indian children speak English now. We have schools for the young people, which they like. The old history is just drifting awy, very fast, but I'm glad that you're here."
I didn't have a chance to say anything back. I just woke up.
Well, we believe in those dreams. Times and times again I said that. You may think the Indian is superstitious for believing in dreams. But they're not. You're made that way, especially an Indian.(36) It's part of our historical belief. We're not educated the same way whites are. We're educated by our own language, our own language. We're educated enough. We're educated for our way of life. We're educated in our own way of life, and without anything destroying our minds.
That beverage, alcohol, will destroy your mind. But dreams helps your mind. I said that many-a-times.
It wasn't long after that accident when another neighbor of ours, a friend who shared his life with me in a good way, told me, "Ah-wah-nIn. There's a medicine man." Then he said, "I have more power than you have."(37)
I just looked at him.
It wasn't very long and he was gone.(39) Maybe he didn't feel good. People don't feel good when they talk like that. Did you notice that? If anybody talks wrong, if they say anything destructive, they don't feel good. You can figure that out. Yep, they don't go very far. And that's why I always told everybody, "Be careful."
I make mistakes too. I shoot off a little bit. When I do, I apologize and say I didn't mean to. I tell them I didn't mean it. That's the way things go.
Well, it hurts me yet today to think of these two friends. Good boys(40) and best neighbors, gone. Why do they have to go? Maybe they said things behind my back. I don't know. I feel bad for them. It could be that they said something wrong. It could be that they didn't pay attention to the signs and warnings.
A couple weeks ago I had a dream that I was going up the river. That was an unusual dream. The river was going dry. In fact, it is going dry up at the Mississippi. One of the conservation guys told me, "The fish are all dying. They're hardly getting through because the water's so low." I had that dream just about the time of that accident, but maybe a little after it.
That's an unusual dream. And I had that dream after my friend's accident. After I had that dream of the pig, I thought to myself, "You're going to see something about something." That kind of dream is unusual. It's unusual to dream about a white pig in the water. A pig is ku-kúsh. That's a pig. ku-kúsh is a "hog-it-all." He just eats anything. That means I'm going to see something that's going to be a very big surprise to me. See? That kind of dream meant a surprise was coming, and I was surprised.
These two dreams are separate. They are not related. They are a warning for two different things. This pig dream was just another warning. It could be a warning for anything. If you see something unusual that's a warning too. If you see a cow suffering, or something suffering, that's a warning.(41) Or you may see a guy suffer. When there's something that you don't like, when you see something you don't like, that's a warning. That's the same with them unusual dreams.
Sooner or later you'll see something that's an answer to your dream or to a warning sign. That's the way it is. Maybe some of my people are sick. Maybe someone's pretty sick. Something unusual answers you. If you see unusual things, or dream of something unusual, you'll feel uneasy. See?
There's no time limit, no time on that. The answer will be there sooner or later! It's natural. That Great takes care of that.
Of course that isn't the first time I dreamt. I went through a lot of dreams. I went through a dream when I was about sixteen years old. When I was sixteen years old I was at Red Lake school.(42) We used to go to church regularly when I was in the sisters' school at Red Lake.
I told her once about my dream when I got home, because she didn't die. That was about ten years ago then. ["died in 30's --'32?; dream c. 1916] I said, "Ma, I dreamt about you. I dreamt that I was looking at you in a coffin. They were taking you to the grave."
"Oh yes!" she said. "You're going to see me that way?"
Well, I did. I saw her like that when they were taking her to the grave.
I asked her, "Why did I dream like that?"
"Well, you're going to see me at my funeral."
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I thought of that all the time too. That's a long time ago. It was 1914, '16, something. See, I went to school at Red Lake.(43) That's a fact. Dreams are true.
xxxedit year(s) below
(75-4) She died somewhere in the thirties, about thirty-two. [TR, is 1950 correct?] I wouldn't know just exactly, because everything's got to be a fact about death. ... I think it was about 1945, or '40.(44) Let's see, that dream was in 1914 or '16. It was '16, and I think she died around '50. Yea '53, '54. [ died in '32??] That was about thirty, forty, years ago. I saw it. I saw her in the coffin. I saw her in the coffin. I saw her taken to the graveyard. And that's what she said: "Oh, you're going to see me when I'm past away." I saw her in her deathbed. She just died when her heart stopped beating. She died an easy death. She just went to sleep and never woke up. So that's what she told me: "Oh, you're going to see me when I'm past away." That's a true story about my dream.
My mother said that she was going to live a long life because it was a long dream. "It's going to be a long life," she answered me, "It's a long life, that's your dream."
After I told her my story she asked, "Were there a lot of people?"
"Yes. There were a lot people there, on both sides of the room."
[There were a lot of people , and that meant she's going to live a long life.]
Last night I dreamt that two guys took my pocketbook, and I had a few dollars in there.(45)
I was thinking about that dream all morning, and I woke up early too. I was thinking about that all the time. I think about my dreams, especially those funny(47) dreams. That's a crying dream I had. It's a heartbreaking dream. I hope it isn't me that's going to have the heartbreak. That's what I'm thinking about. A dream like that makes you think all the day long. When you have a dream like that you begin to re-collect your own life, and you re-collect your old friend's life.
When you dream about a black bird or something, that's unusual. It's the Indian belief, you know, that those kind of unusual things are not a very good warning. When you dream about something black, a bird, like some crow or something, it isn't very good. Dreams for m^k-k^-dày m^'k-w^'h, black bear, or a black bull are bad too. Black bull in Indian is m^k-kU-dày du-nó; do-nóo bI-zíi-kay, that's a bull. do-nó is a cow (??) that's very touchy in his temper, and he bulls around. He's a bull. . . . He shoves the cows, he shoves the calves around where they're supposed to be. bI-zíi-kay is what we say because that's why he's got horns. bI-zíi-kay means a cow, a bull or anything; and the bull is do-nó, do-nó. That black bull is bad for sickness. When you dream about bulls, that means there's going to be sickness too, in Indian. They know what it is. Sickness is coming. An ailment is coming. That was the first time I ever dreamt like that. Now I'm just wondering what the outcome will be to it.
So anyhow, I had the feeling that something was going to happen. Those two guys look like Indians. They looked dark, like red men, like the Indians! Maybe that means they maybe are going to have an uprise or something. It made me feel bad. It could be a dream of something going to happen. I'm not sure who the other guys were, but they were Indian. I didn't want to turn these guys who took my pocketbook in neither, so that cured that right there, and I lost that money in my pocket, in a dream.
Well, I though about that dream all morning. I woke up early and started thinking about it. I was confused and began to wonder what would happen next. You can't see the black crows and the men in the dark. You can't see who they are. That's unusual, for me anyhow. Generally I know the guys when I dream of some guys. But I did notice that the one of them I was walking with was my friend.
It was Sandy Morrell of Bena. Sandy Morrell is about as old as you and he believed in the Indian way. And he told me a lot of stuff that he believes in. And it struck me every time I talked to an Indian. They have an Indian way of life and history of theirs. I think he's in a home(48) now. He maybe suffering. He maybe ill. The last time I saw Morrell was about twenty years ago., fifteen years ago, maybe. The last time I thought about him was about two weeks ago. I thought about him now and then.
I got to thinking about him and wondering if maybe something was wrong with him now.
Anyhow it was a long day, thinking about my neighbors, my friends at home. I was afraid that maybe something was wrong with them, so I called up,(49) we called up, this morning. Everything with my friend in Ball Club was OK. Fine. I felt it was OK then.
Next to be seen is what the outcome of the dream will be. That remains for me to see it, or maybe to hear something very surprisingly. That remains to be heard or seen.
I think the outcome will be sickness, or maybe somebody will be hurt pretty bad. There may be sickness, and ailment, or death. I might hear somebody who was closely attached to me has died. I'm worried about that guy that joined me in the walk.(50) Maybe he don't feel good. Maybe he's already dead. If he IS dead, I'm dreaming about dead people again. So there must be something that I'm going to hear or see later on. I'm just wondering about that. I don't know.
Until I make a move of some kind to overcome that dream, it will keep working on me. Maybe I'll take charcoal and mark my face with it. That's what they do to overcome the effects of some dreams. That's what they do, sometimes, to avoid that. So, I have a chance to make a charcoal mark on my lip or face and avoid having that dream work on me. I could also talk to the Great, talk outside, and ask Him to let us avoid, please avoid, anything that will happen. I could talk to the spirit, my spirit, sIn-dah-mag, too, and ask that we avoid what's coming, so that nothing will happen. wIn-dah-mag, "he will tell me," the personal spirit of dream.
Well, I've already done that. I asked the Great this morning, "Please avoid anything that's dangerous for me. Let me avoid anything that's dangerous for my ear, or dangerous for my seen-ery."
So if I'm approved by the Spirit, then I did well. Gizay-Manido(51) tender and love, spirit of God Creator, might approve. gi-zjày-m^'-ni-do means the love of the people, the spirit, the love of the spirit. . . . My spirit, In-daa-win-d^'-maag, might also help -- that's if he could tell me.
See, by asking Him, maybe I can avoid what's coming. Maybe the dream was sent just as a reminder of something that I lack. But it may be for sickness too, or maybe it means very bad weather's coming. It could be a warning for any of those things.
And maybe those Indian guys were trying to tell me something. Maybe what they were trying to tell me was that I was going to get my pocketbook back.
I'm in that age that I see those things, and I see it because I believe in all that stuff. They say if you believe in it, it will happen. But I hope I don't see this one happen.
But anyhow, after a while, I got amongst people and I was all right. I was thinking about it all day, but well, still I don't know why I dreamed this.
What's that dream for? Was it that I was thinking about the old man the day before? Or was it that I was thinking about my friends at home? I don't know what the outcome will be. Maybe it's too early to tell.
I went for a walk to get fresh air and to do some thinking about that dream I had last night. . . . I don't know what the outcome will be. Maybe there won't be anything to it. Maybe it has already happened. See, the answer is, from what I see now, that the guy was worrying about his money. But it was really my money, you know. So when I got down to see him, he handed me my pocketbook.
"Oh," I said to myself, "when you dream about a fish, that's money." When you dream about a fish that means money, but you don't know whether you're losing it or whether you're going to get it.
In the dream I lost that ten dollars I had. But now, later on, he put that ten dollars back. When I woke up that ten dollars was in my pocketbook, and when I got to the UMD campus your friend Dave Smith handed me another ten dollars. See? So that may be it. That might be the meaning of that fish right there. So that might-a been it. The warning was that you lost ten dollars, or maybe you were going to get ten dollars. I'm wondering whether I'm going to get money or whether I'm going to lose.
I was thinking about that ten dollars in my pocketbook before I went to bed. When I did go to sleep that ten dollars in the dream was gone. But when I woke up I still had it in my pocketbook. Then I began to think that these two guys didn't take it.
And when I saw that fish I thought there was money again. See? When you dream about fish, that means money. I asked myself, "What were these two crows eating that fish for?" There was something to that too, you know. [That was something else.]
I forgot this dream I had last night when I receive that ten dollars this morning. That's the fish. What were those crows eating that fish for? The fish should have been alone there. I should have touched that fish, but I didn't touch it. I knew when I dreamt about fish that I was going to get or lose some money somewhere.
I should have touched that fish so that it would be mine. I didn't touch the fish. I didn't touch the guys. I didn't touch anything; that way I might hear something. I didn't touch it because I might destroy the good will of the fish that's bringing it to me. The scales on them is money. If I touch him he leaves me alone. In my dream I didn't get my money back.
I don't know what the outcome will be. That's a bad dream. But anyhow I got the ten dollars back on the money.
Today I kept thinking about this black crow and those two Indians that I saw in my dream last night. And I met that other guy. I think maybe he's sick or dead. I heard he was dead, but I dreamt about him anyway. I didn't talk to him though. I said to him though, "Move in hard."(52) He wouldn't come. That's a good thing, because if he'd a come, why maybe something would have happened with me. He didn't come near me. I walked out there, but didn't see him any more. He didn't come in, but I saw him walk alongside of me on the road. He walked just for awhile, then stopped.
When I saw those two black crows trying to destruct, I knew that's no good neither. If it was a sea gull it would have been all right. A sea gull's a light color. So when the crows ate that fish then I knew the dream was for money.
But something, something else, could be figured from that too. I may hear news when I get back down to Ball Club. I may hear something about somebody that I know. It could be my people, some of my people, some of my folks. They're not very well neither. I was thinking up and down like that. It maybe friends. I'm still going to be surprised when I see what it is. One passed away, and there's another death coming later. They say there's always three in death. They might be Indians, or they might be close friends. They might be very friendly. I wouldn't know why there are three, why there aren't two or four. There's always three in death. When one leaves, they always say there's two more coming.
I hope it ain't me.
If it was going to be me I would have had nerves, twitters, acting up on my back. I wouldn't feel just right. I don't feel just right, but I know by the way I feel that it isn't me. It's somebody else that I know very well. I think that way. When I get nervous, scared, and everything, well, then I might be affected. Then I might get hurt, or sick, or attached or something. But even though it's not me this time I have to do something about it when I get back. That can be avoided, you know, if you do something about it in time. I was thinking about that, part of the day. That's what I thought about.
Maybe I'm thinking about my area too much because I'm far away from there.(53) I think I'll be glad to go back and see what the outcome of my dream will be. I'd say that dream of that fish and those two guys was unusual. I've never dreamt this before. They were in the dark there. I saw them in the dark. There's no light(54) in the house, but I saw them in the dark. But I know they were Indian. They laid down in the bed along side of me. I don't know what that means. That remains to be seen or heard. I think it means that somebody that I know is going to get bad news or good news, but I don't know.
I believe in dreams, and that dream bothers me. I think about that, naturally. It's natural to think about that when you dream you lose money like that there. But then it's only a dream anyhow.(55) So I began to think that it's only a dream anyhow.
It might be that I was so confused about my neighbors. Maybe I dreamt those things because I ate a big meal Sunday that didn't agree with my stomach. It could be that too. I thought too that maybe that dream was just caused by an overloaded stomach by a big dinner. That could be it too, you know. At my age it isn't good to eat too heavy. Before my mother's death we had a big picnic. That big dinner we had could have offset my sleep. There's all kinds of ways to figure that.
And then after I woke up I went along the road to a long wood [road?] life [light?]. I saw some money folded up. It was three dollars. I picked it up and unfolded it. Somebody dropped it on the road and there it was.
This is true!
In a move to overcome that dream I'll go to the Great. The sooner I learn about the meaning of the dream, the sooner I'll forget about it, because if I keep a-thinking about the dream, those certain dreams, then I commence to not believe [I can do anything about it]. ??? A dream is a dream that maybe come before you.(56) Sooner or later a dream will come before you.(57) A good dream is good. A bad dream is coming before you someday. See, I made signs.
Then sooner or later, you begin to see
We had great Indian doctors from a-way back. They were experienced doctors. Indian doctors study, but they don't study too hard.(59) They see what they're supposed to do in their dreams . . . ba-wàa-d^n . . . that's what you dreamed. ii-nàa-b^n-d^ng is a dream. That's what you see, when you sleep. They believe in their dreams. They could see things in their dreams. By studying so hard you could see how you are going to make it in your sleep and in your dreams. In your dreams you become empowered with chii-chaag, the spirit that you believe in. Power from your spirit is m^sh-kà-wi-zíi, strong spirit, strong Spirit . . . of Indian, strong spirit. That spirit you believe in helps you through your dreams. b^-wàa-dàhn, there, "dream" . . . b^-wàa-ji-g^'n, or b^-wàa-ji-g^'n, either way. Power from your dream, from the Mahnido, is Mah-ni-do mash-kah-wi-zii-bah-wah-dan, or bah-wah-zji-gàn. If you believe in the spirit he will help you. But you have to have, m^sh-kah-wI-zii-i-wIn, will power. You have to have will power. You have to be willing to grip your will power and help me. The Anishinabe doctors, nah-nang-dah-wi-way-I-nI-nii, know that.
[xxx End of Ch. 27: Dreams and Visions. Start Ch. 28: Power here.]
Move the following text to end, by
Angels; dream; visitors; fireballs
[[45-16] ba-wa-zi-g^-n^s? baa-wa-gI-ga-n^g, dream huh?
Just like that [the angels had] round, and nice and curly [hair]. And this was curly too, and they had long hair. Very well! And they were dressed in pure white, pure, pure.
[45-17] They look like women, with golden hair just shining. They wore gowns up to here. And they had bugles. They were calling the dead--that's what I figure...
Move the following text to a discussion of learning"
[68-7] Sure! I did. But I also learned by reading the good book, and by reading the nature of the earth, and the nature of the birds. That's all I have [need] to do.
Move the following text to a discussion of jealousy:
OK. You say on [tape] #39, page 21, that, [Rep -"They'll do anything if they're jealous of you."] You're talking about the old-timers. But the young people want to g along with the whites so they don't get too excited about that.
from p. 17:
Move to another section:
(9-15) [In the old days] most of the time they'd camp along the river.(60) Geeze that was something. I dreamt a view of the olden days one time. I dreamt that dream, and I know that place from way back. There was a little log house by the river, and there were Indian camps(61) all along the river by the log house. It was getting too hot to go out and catch fish, and getting too hot to pick berries. They had all the berried dried up that they wanted, then they rested up. Then they put camps around this little log house by the river. They got a little powwow, a little moccasin game, and a little pass-time going. They all joined and ate together like a picnic. They got all the meat and fish they wanted. They got everything right by the lake shore, right by the river. They camped on the river or on the lakeshore. That water, what they ate out of, has a big meaning to them. They made their tea out of boiling water. They boiled their water and made their tea. That makes good tea or coffee, whatever they had. Coffee came in later, in my time. With coffee they made good coffee from rivers and creeks and springs. They had springs, drinking-water springs. Oh geez that was good. It was a great, great country. By the time winter came they had plenty of wood, plenty of game.
(74-28) crow = àahn-dayg
Move this to chapter on Jessokid (Ch. 32)
I had a namesake that had a question come up before him. This party wanted to find something out. My namesake answered, "I gotta fast. In about three days you come back." He fasted on that three days, and he worked on his conscience and mind, and worked with his mind. ... (*9-16) Oh ya, we fasted. At times the old people went without food. ... Then in dreams the answer came. See, they come natural if you fast and exercise your mind. Everything's natural -- the way you ask for it, and the way it works. It works natural. After you've fasted, exercised your mind and learned your dream, you put up a tipi. After he fasts he eats a little of something and then he goes in that tipi. He gets an answer in there, through his mind. While he was getting an answer that tipi would shake by itself. There's power there and just that power would shake that. I've seen them do it. I've seen them do it, yes.
8. Dream Interpretation
(39-22) The only way [you can tell if someone is working on you] is to go to a spiritual man, gii-sah-kahn, tipi shaker. Go and ask him, "I had a bad dream."
He'll say, "What is the bad dream? What is that dream about?" He could understand your dream. He'll tell you, "There's a group working against you, or there's a party working against you. Maybe there's three of them, because you saw the crow and the fish and the water and everything."
Move this to other section relating to vision quests
(9-16) Well, there was a certain amount of them like that [young fellows who would go out into the woods and fast and things.] Their folks was deep concerned on fasting, and they told them when to fast and what to do. For example, they told them if the want to eat berries or something they should grab some charcoal and put that on their neck. You can eat anything if you put charcoal on your neck. Before you go in the berries, before you hunt, you take charcoal and rub some of that on you. That's needed. It's a sign that takes over the fasting.
(52-35) I've done that
(22-3) [When you were younger did you go out by yourself and fast?]
Yes. I fast. 38a...(9-17)
I went out by myself and I felt there was a guide on my body. There was a guide in my spirit. We all know each and everyone of us has a spirit; they repeat over and over that your spirit is the one that's with you. And when you forget your spirit, your spirit cannot be close to you. But when you remember that your spirit is with you, the Great, -- you cannot see your person right with you, but you believe in Him -- He's close to you and you're not in danger. And if you're in danger, He will try to help you. But if you can't make it, he'll help somehow. You cannot only ask the Great for betterment all the time. NO, you have to suffer for it, the same as I said before. You have to work for the betterment, for that great place in the next world that we're going into. You have to work hard, you have to suffer, you have to pass the words, you have to show them how.
38b... [When I was there] it was just like I saw the waters, an she started boiling up. They had a quite little water there too. It was just like it was telling me, "You aren't supposed to do that." So I moved on.... You're not supposed to set there and look. I'm supposed to work. I'm supposed to get fuel, get a pile of wood, get something to eat. That's what you're made [for].
39a(52-37) I didn't see [an animal which became my guardian spirit]. Maybe the blessing I received from the priest kept that away. ... If I had one I would have a right to tell you [about it]. ... But [that's the kind of thing that you normally wouldn't be telling people about.]
1. Unusual things that happen, particularly unusual things in nature are generally considered "signs." These "signs" are extremely important to traditional peoples, and are frequently interpreted by someone with appropriate power/experience/inclination to do so. Dreams are often considered "signs." See also discussion of "signs" in Chapter(s)...XXX Cf., Ch. 34 , "Messengers and Unusual Events," Ch. 35, "Fireballs, and The Shadow Man."
2. This was recorded in October 1976.
3. A "flash" is a prominent thing or exaggerated thing or action that you recognize as being prominent. It's something you recognize as being important.
4. Paul Buffalo explained that the word "superstitious" in Ojibwa means "one who believes in everything he sees."
5. "It's only a dream," means to a non-believer speaker that it isn't real; for Paul Buffalo "only a dream" means that it hasn't happened in time yet. "It's all a dream," means that it hasn't happened yet in awake time, and somethjing that hasn't happened yet can still be changed through ritual or whatever it takes.
6. It's hard to convince the younger generation to understand the history, customs, etc. that Paul Buffalo is trying to leave for them.
7. Most likely to.
8. Eventually you'll see that what you dreamed about actually occurs in non-dream time.
9. He can tell that you are a person of influence in these matters, and what you say about them counts a lot.
10. Later on, on page 686, he doesn't tell a friend about a bad dream. But that is because he feels the friend, a white, wouldn't believe him. Those Anishinabe in the traditional belief would likely always tell their friends.
13. A dangerous path of life.
14. Winibozho, animals, spirits, medicine people and so forth have the power to change external forms. Thus the Great Spirit and other spirits . . . can appear to you in many forms.
15. AIH says that it could not be the Gitchi Manitou.
16. In 1974.
17. Paul Buffalo said that in the old days they usually didn't sleep inside the wigwam in the summer time. They slept outside, often next to a smudge fire to ward off the mosquitos.
19. A Roman Catholic stole?
20. Men, spirits, animals, messengers, can change their outward appearance. Cf., xxx.
22. One doesn't always remember dreams, hence the ". . . twice before, that I know."
23. This segment was taped April 1974.
24. Tim Roufs.
25. It really made him feel good and perped him up.
26. No one coule train the horse.
28. Attempted insult.
29. Non-acceptance of the attempted insult.
30. To attempt to harm him magically, for example by putting the hex (or "hook," or using jibik) on him.
33. Some traditional Indians avoided going to the hospital as that was a place they thought people died at, and, more importantly, they often considered the X-rays to be like the "throwing" of a bad hex in traditional belief. Here Paul Buffalo clearifies that this individual, a very traditional Indian, went to the hospital because of the insurance and not to seek a cure or healing or anything else. It's OK for him to go there for insurance reasons.
34. Cliff Sjolund, Sr., married to an Indian.
36. Traditional Indian.
37. Not only an attempted insult, but also a taboo subject for discussion -- especially for whites.
38. Non-acceptance of insult, and maintenance of taboo not to talk about power, especially how much of it you or someone else has.
39. He died.
40. Old men frequently talk of each other as "boys," without disrespect.
44. Paul Buffalo usually did not remember what year his mother died. He usually did not think in terms of years; he thought in terms of events. He would think of an event and try to attach a date to it. Sometimes he would try to think of the year in terms of where he was living at the time. In the case of the dream of his mother dying, he knew that the dream event took place while he was at Red Lake school, and from there he would figure out about what year that was. He knew the year and the day he was born, the Fourth of July 1900, because that was the year that the white people really celebrated their own new year. In the case of trying to figure out the year of his mother's death he first tries to figure out how long it was from the time he had the dream until she died, and he tries to figure out how long ago it was from the present time (late 1970s) she died. She actually died in XXXX. The events surrounding his mother's death were much more important than the year she died. Cf. Ch. 53?? "Mother Dies."
45. Paul Buffalo relates the dream, and then for a long time reflects on various parts of it, and what they might mean. When he recorded this he had just had the dream and was in the process of trying to interpret its meaning. It was puzzling to him as it was an unusual composit dream with first the two guys in bed with him, and stealing his money, then the crows eating the dead fish.
46. Regional Anishinabe Indian people.
48. Rest home.
49. Called from Duluth to Ball Club by telephone.
50. Sandy Morrell.
51. Gitchi Manito, the Great Spirit.
53. He's speaking in Duluth.
55. And as a dream it can be prevented from occurring in present life, with proper rituals. So, why worry? Cf. footnote number 146.
56. The dream may actually come to be in your non-dream life. And every dream has the possibility of "coming before you" in your non-dream life.
57. Sooner or later what you dream will occur in non-dream life, regardless of what rituals you have done.
58. They bring the dream before you and ask you to interpret it.
59. They pay attention to nature and natural events, that is, they "study" it, but they do not get all of their knowledge from that conscious "studying" of nature. They also get information and insights from dreams. Nevertheless, they are very conscientious about studying the natural world and its signs. That's also what he means below when he says, "By studying so hard you could see how you are going to make it in your sleep and in your dreams", that is by studying nature hard and in your sleep and dreams you will come to understand how to do things. Cf. also Ch. 33, "Medicine Men / Medicine Women," Ch. 34 , "Messengers and Unusual Events," and Ch. 35, "Fireballs, and The Shadow Man."
61. Indian family groups camping along the river.
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