Assinaboine Wisdom: Interview with Lorne Lewis

Story and photos by Danny Beaton
News From Indian Country

(L - R) Lorne Lewis and his children, Jasper and Angel Blue

We can have a starting point here, about Mother Earth. All our old teachers are gone, there’s nobody here any more. Jim McConnell was an uncle, my mom was the youngest of thirteen kids, there was twenty years difference between her and her brother so all my grandmas and grandpas are my uncles and aunts, so now I got grand kids and great grand kids, its odd. One of the things Jim McConnell taught me lots and Buster Fourstar he was my uncle and he taught me lots, my mom taught me lots, I had an auntie I lived with, Jenny Gray, she taught me a lot of the old ways.

Then I had my visions, from there I was able to come into the old teachings, that’s my trail and I’ve spent a lot of time with elders, that was my thing any time I’ve had, I spent with elders. I’m very very thankful for that. Because now it’s gonna help, because we were coming out of the dark ages, it’s where you had after World War II, in came the fast cars, in came the rock and roll music and in came alcohol, because Indians were given the right to drink. From there the government did a relocation that scattered everybody out, that caused our traditional language to be stopped, ceremonies struggled to be performed, the industrial age with materialism took off with the wars and it affected Indian Country. That’s where our culture suffered again after the initial colonization.

Now anybody who was paying any attention in the 1970s knew there was still our old teachers around, I was very fortunate to have hung in there with them. The Creator picked me for something, he scared me straight, I thought I was going to be a hippy all my life. That’s what I wanted. But I got straightened up, that’s the first part of my life. That’s how I came to live where I am now, kind of where Fort Belknap is and it’s in Lodge Pole, that’s where my mom was born right here, it’s where my family is from. That’s where all my spiritual teachings came, after that from the spirit world and told me what I had to do, and it didn’t all come at once, it came over a twenty year period, I finally knew what I had to do. It’s for the people, there’s a movement going on across this land, it’s going on all around the world really.

assinaboine_lewis-.gif Talking about our people, one of the things we talk about, the Sleeping Giant waking up on our land, the Sleeping Giant is called Ink Domi or Coyote or Spider. One thing that’s important to know is that churches tried to destroy that philosophy amongst us so now we got elders that were put into the schools or government programs back then, this had to do with the churches. The churches told them, our old elders, that Ink Domi is evil, an evil way to worship, you now have some old people who say Ink Domi is no good. But he is the one God picked to build this land and to go around and teach the ceremonies. That whole philosophy is the Sleeping Giant. That’s Ink Domi. His teachings have to come back, the original way of doing ceremony.

The original ceremony is all about the heart, it’s not about look at me “I’m piercing,” it’s just a humble gentle way that the Creator gave us. When you go there you do it right, you shed them tears, then God will open that door. One of the problems I’ve seen and come to know is that the religious persecution that went around the world, what they did is that they forced people to do away with all the intermediary Deities, so they go straight to God, they don’t pray to the angels no more, they don’t know how to contact their relatives, to ask for help. That’s one of the biggest problems, our way of life was one of the last ones to ever be persecuted because it was our land and we were of this land, we were able to retain it one way or another. So everything we have is there, you just have to seek to find it.

Time has been picked and it’s coming back, that’s the Sleeping Giant. When it comes back it’s going to be I would say overwhelmingly powerful. The movement that I work with is from the Great Spirit, the Great Mystery, God. If you allow the Creator to do the work it’s going to go through.

There’s a big awakening happening now amongst our young people, it’s been a silent little thing trying to get the young people to come forward. But here recently it seems to be taking off now. It’s a really good feeling, I’m the old guy a lot of the times in the bunch, we are accomplishing things in the sense that our young people are hungry for the old teachings, so that whole process will play itself out, and we will get there. I don’t like the position that I’ve been put in, all I know is that I have to put it to the people, put the people in a position so that they can deal with it however they want. That’s all that is.

We need to talk about the past too. Maybe when the beginning of the land, our Creator took a look at all of us and he wanted to give a job to his children, a position to teach his children. One of the positions that was given to the Indians of North America is to be the guardians of our Sacred Mother Earth. That means to be able to communicate with everything on Mother Earth, the trees the stones the flowers the medicines the animals the birds the fish the sun the sky the moon the rivers, these Indian ways allow you to be able to communicate with all the elements that give us life, that maybe many of us have forgotten and it’s still here. That’s where we need to go back to.

He gave us as keepers of this Mother Earth the ceremonies, many tribes have throughout the onslaught I guess you can call it, everything that was done upon us, they tried to destroy what we had, but somehow God put it so it went into hiding or it was kept somewhere, even if it was kept in the mind, he allowed it to still be here, our way of life.

I always call it the way to open the door to heaven, its all still here it doesn’t come from sitting inassinaboine_lewisknees.gif a ceremony, just because you know how a ceremony goes. It doesn’t come that way, it comes, by the secret, life has gotten so technical, complicated and we forgot the real trueness of how to get back these ways and it comes from the heart. Many of these ceremonies you do them right, you do it from the heart, that’s where the secret is. Many times it doesn’t happen any more, in that regards, so those that try to look at life in a way that I’m talking, those are the ones that God will come down and he will touch you.

The only way God is going to hear you is through tears, and that is how he comes to hear you, so these ceremonies are still here, everything is still here, we just need to humble ourselves, in order to get back to that. It’s not going to come no other way, because we can’t fool Creator, nobody can. If there’s more of us that are able to look at life in a real humble way then there will be more things that will come and it will happen faster for us.

The original ceremonies are for Mother Earth, there’s a big, big, difference, everything in life has two sides, that’s the way God made it and one of them means some of the ceremonies are man made. I would say the majority of them are now, and there’s very few that follow the original protocol and those are the ones that are working but those aren’t the ones that anybody is talking about either it’s just the way it is. Because anything that is true and anything that is good in this world will never get the recognition, will never be put on a pedestal and glorified. Because God is not going to let that happen, it’s like that old saying “to have anything good you usually have to suffer for it.” That’s the philosophy of it.

The people who have been suppressed, the people who had nothing, the time is coming now for them, things are going to change, the haves and the have nots are going to switch. There’s going to be healing coming for the people and the land.

Remember the Creator is very gentle and loving, he doesn’t want to see his creation go to nothing, he has set a path, people need all to be aware, because there are things that are going to surface now, that are going to be of truth and it’s going to be the path to our survival. Things that may have been forgotten, things that are out of the ordinary, will come to the surface, those are the ones that hold truths, and those truths are of the land, the true trueness of the land. What was given in the beginning for us to hold onto. That’s the whole key it’s from the heart, that love, love for everything not just each other but love for Mother Earth, love for life itself and that love only comes from the heart, it doesn’t come from no other place.

You take a look at Jesus, he was like our people, not too long ago, that’s the kind of man he was, he was only a man but he had a spiritual gift.

All our Relations.

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