Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Uishkatshan, Nikjako'kej, Gray Jay, Whiskey Jack, Mésangeai du Canada or Canada Jay - This Is Our National Bird
Why the Canada Jay Comes to You for Food.
"At the time when the people first came upon “our land”, the animals and the people spoke the same language. The people needed guidance from the Creator about how to survive on the land. The bird, uishkatshan, offered to fly up to the Creator to seek advice on their behalf. Each morning uishkatshan flew to the Creator and came back with guidance about how to hunt the moose, trap the beaver, make clothing, build shelter, and prepare foods.
When the people had all the wisdom they needed to live in a right and harmonious relationship with the land, they wished to give a gift to uishkatshan for acting as messenger from the Creator. The bird, uishkatshan, said that a gift was not needed but the people insisted. So uishkatshan proposed that each time they hunt in the forest, they can leave a portion of what they have hunted or gathered for uishkatshan.
Thus, the people adopted this custom, and each time uishkatshan came for food at their camps, it reminded the people of their sacred relationship with the Creator and the land that supported them."
The following story was told recently by John Kearney and is based on an Innu creation story that he heard many years ago. He also challenges us: " May we also learn from uishkatshan how to live in a right relationship with our land."