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Innu Cosmogony

Respect for Dreams and the Drum

6:42 min. - “The Innu had great respect for the drum and for dreams. That’s where their survival came from. That’s what I understood when my grandfather told me about life. To him, real life was his drum which gave him power, and his dreams”. Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur, Innu from Unaman-shipu


Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur - I was a child. To stop me from being afraid, they had me notice noises in the bush. For example, branches creaking in the cold, or two trees rubbing against each other; in my mind, that was like someone whistling at me.
We respect kukumess as much as we do the caribou. There's a way of picking kukumess up to carry it: never by the eyes, not like this... or kukumess could get angry. This is what you have to do for the first kukumess you catch. Out of respect, I won't call it "kukumess", but fish. You must cook it with the scales on, without scraping it. You only remove the intestines, then boil it as is, with nothing added. We also keep this part, because it's edible. We always keep kukumess on a bed of spruce.
Narrator - We clean and put absolutely everything away, exactly as it was. The organs are returned to the lake, and the branches that have touched kukumess hidden away. Since the Innu is here to improve the whole and he's part of the whole, it pays to be respectful. By offering this respect to the universe, we ensure a return from the latter, in the form of intentions. Intention accompanies and helps the Innu develop his perceptions. It's like being lucky... The more our perceptions are developed, the more access we have to other worlds. Actually, we see life on a universal plane before regarding it from an earthly perspective. In Nutshimit, we live mainly in association with the dream world and the animal world.
Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur - The Innu had great respect for the drum and for dreams. That's where his survival came from. That's what I understood when my grandfather spoke to me about life. He got his power and his dreams from the drum. The drum was used in various situations. They used it when there was a famine, or if there was bad weather and they wanted good weather. After two days of bad weather, the drummer took out his drum in the evening, and by midnight the weather had already become calm. There was no religion then. The Innu respected the drum and their dreams. Even though they were dispersed, they could communicate with each other as easily as by phone. They were able to contact each other, speak to each other face-to-face, through their dreams. My grandfather told us his dream. He described the activities of the other person. I imagine they heard each other distinctively, they knew exactly what activities or work the other was doing.
Narrator - There are three ways to communicate with the animal world: the drum, the shaking tent and the medicine bag. In all three cases, we attain the animal world by going through the dream world. You must dream about the drum three times to know how to play it and how to use it. A friend from the dream world might help you. This ally will listen to your request and come to answer you in a dream. Everything goes through the dream world. To be a candidate for dreams and the drum, you must deserve it and be respectful of everything. The dream world will contact you.
Music - Rodrigue Fontaine, Bill St-Onge, Luc Bacon, Mathieu Peters, Andrew Pocker


Dan Godro 5 years ago

Merci pour le partage, j'ai reçu de bonnes vibrations à entendre Jean-Baptiste Bellefleur

Bernard Dumont 5 years, 10 months ago

Tellement beau! Merci!

johanne blacksmith 8 years, 4 months ago

je sais ce qu il veux dire et je comprends je les vecu en reve la transmission ce fait en reve parnos ancetre il choisir la personne

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4 Related Video to Innu Cosmogony

3 Related words or expressions

akutakanu eshkanat
we hang the antlers on a tree
shaking tent
natshi-minu-akutau ushkanima
out of respect for the caribou, he’ll place the bones in an elevated spot

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