What I Think Mi'kmaq Spirituality Is...
Spirituality is a mechanism that is influenced by the environment around us. It is also influenced by our language and religion.
Since Easter will soon be coming, I'll begin by discussing some of the spiritual beliefs that we Mi'kmaq have about Easter. During Easter, all of Eskasoni gathers together and goes to the Mountain and walks up. On the way to the top, there are 12 Stations where it shows what Jesus went through while walking up to the Cross. At every station the whole group of people stop and pray. They pray at every station of the Cross until they get to the top of the Mountain to where the Cross is. When you get to the top, people usually pray to the Statue and gather some Holy Water which is in a small pool. The small pool is located behind the Cross and in front of the Statue.
Spirituality is many different things and has many different meanings to people. It depends on life experiences and the over-all environment.
Spirituality has different effects on people. Mi'kmaq spirituality is one of sharing. Mi'kmaq people try to always be nice to each other and help each other out during times of need. The spirit of giving is a large part of the Mi'kmaq spirituality we possess.
Salites are gatherings of the community after a burial of someone in the community. These gatherings are where people sit down and eat and celebrate the personís life. Salites are also used to auction off items which were given/donated by the community and the profits are given to the family so that they can pay for the funeral. This is one tradition which I believe shows the over-all affect of Spirituality not only on one person but on a whole group of people.
Wakes are also a show of caring towards others. During a wake of a Miíkmaq person, people from all over the reserve and other reserves come in to pay respect. In other places, only the family and close friends show up to pay respect. Also when someone dies on a reserve, many people from the reserve come to comfort and help out with fixing the house for the wake. (Mi'kmaq people who have died are waked in their homes.) People also take turns sitting with the person who has died around the clock until the person is buried and laid to rest.
The St. Anne Mission at Chapel Island has been one of our spiritual traditions since 1630 when Saint Anne was adopted by the Miíkmaq because she was an Elder and a Grandmother.
The Mission is where petals of roses are picked by children who have had their First Communion and are dropped along a trail where the St.Anne statue will be carried. People must take off their hats and not move in front of St.Anne in show of respect. At the end of the procession line, there are prayers by the Grand Chief followed by the people and bread is passed to the people.
These are just some of the spiritual beliefs that we as Mi'kmaq people possess. There are many more spiritual beliefs that are part of our daily lives that I haven't even mentioned. As a Mi'kmaq person, you are constantly surrounded by spirituality; it is an eternal part of your being. Spirituality to me as a Miíkmaq native is essential because it makes me who I am and influences how I act..