Thank you for sharing the Tsalagi prayer with me and with all of us. I read it over slowly a number of times and will again for it is balanced and wise and speaks from the heart of our ancestors. The one thing I had not packed as it is always last when I travel is my prayer pipe, what the dominant culture knows as a 'peace pipe' since it was something they saw while signing treaties they later broke. (No recriminations here as my ancestors were on both sides of the treaty making.) It was not understood by the Europeans that the pipe is a portable alter for offering prayers to our Creator in the spirit world. Tobacco is like wine in the church which becomes sacred by its spiritual purpose. It is not inhaled in ceremony as that would be giving something used. The tobacco is material and of this world and through fire becomes smoke rising into the spiritual dimension. The pipe carrier's prayers rise with the smoke from this world to the next. The pipe itself represents the duality of life, the union of the male stem with the female bowl. It also represents the kingdoms of nature, as the bowl is mineral, the stem is wood, usually there are feathers and leather. The colors of the quill or beadwork are also meaningful and different with differing tribal traditions. So I was very glad that the sacred pipe was not lost in the fire as it would have been the greatest personal loss of all, of greater value than the truck or the bikes or personal possessions. I was made a pipe carrier many years ago by an Ojibwe medicine man of the Grand Portage Band along Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota and consider it both an honor and an obligation to carry it well. He told me he had been directed in dreaming that it was a gift from nisaaya mukwaawug (our elder brothers, the bears). Before I leave on my journey to the northern forest I will do a pipe ceremony of thanksgiving for the kindness which has come my way through you good people, also my brothers. Miigwetch (thank you) and miiew (that's all).
Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...