Banff, Alberta. I visited the Town of Banff in the snow and went to most any indoor place I could find. There was a wonderful museum, the Buffalo Nations Luxton Museum. One exhibit caught my attention and held it for sometime.
A life-size display of a ceremony held to express appreciation for the community’s survival through tough times. It was said to be a Plains Indian ceremony.
Around a circle, there were drummers and seated people singing. Some sort of hallucinogen was involved in the ceremony. At the center of the circle was a pole; four ropes hung down from the pole that ended in thick hooks. Two hooks were connected to a volunteer’s upper torso at the chest and two pierced his back. A buffalo skull hung on the same ropes as the two back hooks and hung approximately two feet below the back hooks. Wearing body paint (white with blue polkadots on his arms and white with blue vertical stripes on his legs) and a short leather skirt, this volunteer “dances,” leaning away from the pole and pulling against the front ropes until the hooks detach from his body. I was hoping he got a triple dose of whatever numbing substance might have been available.
My snowblower didn’t work on the 18 inch drifts of snow around my house. After 6.5 hours, I succeeded in shoveling the entire area. My irritation gave way to a feeling of gratitude for being healthy enough to have accomplished this feat. I started thinking about how surviving ordeals could lead to more gratitude than those days where all goes well. Then I thought about this exhibit. Gratitude is important to put life in perspective.
Buy it. Read it. Let me know what you think. –TMLL