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homage: Andrew Naytowhow (1933 - 2005)

"êkâ wîhkâc asênik ayisiyiniwak kîspin kiwîcimikowak kita-wîcihacik" (don't ever refuse or turn away people when they approach you for help) - best described my father, Andrew Anias Naytowhow and his way of living in the world.
When he played, worked and shared this concept of 'pimâtisiwin' (good life) with family, friends and adopted family members he truly lived based in the principle of kisewatitatowin (the ability to love and respect all of life) with others, including the spirit world beings.
Andy worked with beings from all walks of life: health care workers, prison staff, chief and council, treatment centre counsellors, addicts, alcoholics, criminals and equally with beings from all nationalities. He loved children and had a large extended family and was loved and respected by beings from all over turtle island and beyond.

I will request prayers for this project that is named wêpinâsowina (offerings to the spirits), via this magic making instrument / computer called the internet and to the wind spirits of the world wide web.

When I first was asked by Cheryl L'Hirondelle to collaborate on this project called 'wêpinâsowina' and that it would be dedicated to my father (the late) Andrew Anias Naytowhow, I was somewhat hesitant at first. My hesitation was due to many years of training within nêhiyawin (Cree worldview) which, in its transference from teacher to student is sometimes flexible and at other times rigid.

Eventually I felt good that some aspect of nêhiyawin could be and would be educating other human beings or 'our relative' as we are often told to acknowledge the other nationalities living also on our mother, the earth. In that way it would help these beings also.

My reason [therefore] for being involved with Cheryl's wêpinâsowina project is from stories I have heard from Elders that advocate a mind that is directed towards spreading the word on the importance of revealing knowledge, strong stories and teachings that are much needed for mankind today.

The important aspect of introducing the concept of wêpinâsowina to beings from all walks of life was a central part of my father's philosophy (before passing over to help us from the other side). In his practice of freely giving of himself (and the nêhiyawin teachings) to beings he met on his travels throughout North America, I in turn have developed this same philosophy as I go about my life journey.

I am happy to know that Cheryl isn't delving into great detail on the inner workings or totality of what wêpinâsowina represents. That would be taking away from the individual pursuit of the knowledge seeker. Her introduction to the general idea behind nêhiyawin, is well within our philosophy of compassion and sharing. As I understand it, when someone asks and is in need of some assistance spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally we must respond. This too is something my father believed in and practiced.

Since hearing a brief story from an Elder thirty years ago, I have been watching the weather patterns change. In his story he had indicated that such a phenomena would happen. He had instructed me to watch the elements: the earth, air, fire and water, saying that they would speed up.

This is what I have been trained by Elders to tell in moments when the listener is ready to hear stronger stories. This is essentially why I have gotten on the biggest wind talker, the world wide web, because with it, one can also access the strong stories of love and compassion to millions that may not have access to Elders as I have been fortunate to have experienced.

I am thankful and grateful for this dedication to my father and the nêhiyawin way of looking at and living with the world. If this website helps other sentient beings on our mother, the earth, then we are indeed living the truth of our existence as has been spiritually foretold by a loving and kind creator.

Joseph Naytowhow, 2006

Joseph Naytowhow is a member of Pakitahaw Sâkahikan (Net Casting Lake) known today as Sturgeon Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
For the past thirty years he has been a drummer and singer within pow-wows, ceremonies, social and cultural gatherings and mainstream artistic culture.
For the past twenty years he has worked professionally as a storyteller and musician for various audiences throughout North America and beyond at schools, storytelling and music festivals, heritage sites, cultural camps as well as for radio and television.