The following is based on information received and provided
by Sally Milne, a Cree Elder, teacher, medicine woman and artist
from La Ronge who strives to help Aboriginal people incorporate
traditional ways into their modern lives.
In the vicinity of Lac La Ronge there's a lake that's said to be
home to a benevolent group of little people known to the Woodland
Cree as the Memekwesiw.
According to traditional knowledge, the Memekwesiw offer guidance
on natural medicines and how to live life in harmony with Nature.
They are said to be about the same height as two-year-old children,
but are easily distinguishable from them because they have no noses.
Memekwesiw in the La Ronge region are said to live in caves carved
out of the rock near the lake's shoreline.
They can appear in dreams, during fasts, or even in physical form
to persons whose hearts are pure. Their presence has been observed
in miniature campsites discovered in the forest, or through materials
they leave behind for people requesting their assistance.
Many Cree people of old looked to the Memekwesiw to supply them
with natural herbs and medicines required to treat ailments. A man
seeking medicinal help might place a small basket near the base
of a tree, for example, and leave it there with a request that the
Memekwesiw give him the herbs necessary to treat his condition.
When the man returned the next day, the basket contained the appropriate
|The Memekwesiw are said to live
at a lake
in the La Ronge region.
One report tells of a young man on a trapline in the La Ronge district
who awoke from a sleep to see two Memekwesiw peering at him through
a window of his cabin. One appeared to be male, the other female,
and both had curly black hair and no noses. They were wearing clothes
made of fur and leather that appeared to be from a bygone era. Twice
afterwards, the Memekwesiw appeared to the young man in his dreams
and told him of medicine.
There are some who believe the Memekwesiw currently are making
their presence known to a growing number of Cree people. This is
happening, they say, because the little people have dire concerns
over the fate of the environment.
La Ronge band Elder Sally Milne was raised in the traditional way
on a trapline, where she learned protection of the environment through
lifestyle. It was taken for granted that people used only what they
needed and they offered thanks to what they took. She says the Memekwesiw
were then a very real part of the lives of the Elders.
"If (mainstream society) can gain traditional knowledge from the
Aboriginal people on how to be more careful with what you do to
Mother Earth, she's going to last a lot longer,'' says Milne. "With
the way it's going now, what's the future for our grandchildren?''
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