Little Drum

Fostering the strength and resiliency of Indigenous people worldwide…

Sunrise Ceremony

The ceremony started with Elder Sadie having us come together in a circle and she began sharing, “Today is a new day, a fresh start. Each new day is full of hope and endless possibilities.”  She paused and gently ran her left hand up the sides of the eagle feather she was holding.  “It is up to us what we make of today and every day ahead of us.  You are starting today in a good way, in ceremony.”  She pointed to the mountain with the eagle feather, “When the sun begins to come over the mountain and it’s rays dance on the lake, we will begin our ceremony. This is known as a Sunrise Ceremony and Indigenous peoples around the world all have some form of ceremony that honours the rising of the sun and the greeting of a new day.   We will have Frank come around with the smudge and each of you will have a chance to smudge yourselves.  He’s using a mixture of sage and tobacco today. And maybe for some of you, this is your first time smudging. There are lots of different ways to smudge, and you will figure out what is the best way for you.  My Dad explained it to me like this, that when we get up in the morning we have a shower to cleanse our bodies.  Well smudging is like having a spiritual shower, it cleanses our spirits.  So when Frank comes and stands in front of you, he will hold out the smudge bowl and the smoke will be flowing.”

She handed the feather to Frank.  “You can put your hands over the smoke, just as you would wash your hands under the sink.  Then cup your hands and bring the smoke up over your head, asking for the ability to think positive and good thoughts.  Then bring the smoke to your eyes, asking that you may see what you need to see today and that you see the goodness and beauty in the world, Bring the smoke to your ears so that you  may hear the messages you  need to hear and then to your mouth so you may speak with integrity and with kindness.”  Each time she brought the smoke up to show us what she meant.  “Some folks like to bring the smoke down each arm, asking for continued strength to feed their body well.  Down the front of their legs, so they have the courage and strength to continue walking on the red road and in a good way.  Once you’re done smudging and if you would like Frank to smudge your back off, please turn counter clock wise, so follow your heart, and turn so your back is facing Frank.  When he is done smudging you, he will tap you on your head to let you know to turn around.  Make sure that you continue to follow your heart and do a full circle.”

She began to chuckle, “Some of you will find that if you do not follow your heart full circle, you may have a bit of an odd day.  And some of you, well you are blessed as Contrary people you will naturally want to turn to the right instead of the left. It is in your nature to go opposite to everyone else. I honour those of you who are Contrary in our circle and if this is you, please just make sure you do a full circle. When everyone has smudged, I will say a prayer and our ceremony will be finished.”

The birds began to sing. “The birds are telling us the sun is rising, soon we will see the first shimmering of it’s light dance on the lake.  It is time to begin our ceremony.

©Monique Gray Smith



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