Walking in the "foot" steps of our ancestors...

"We're walking in the footprints of our ancestors; so we know who's been there before us."

They're everywhere in Northwestern sacred sites. If noticed by archaeology, or anyone for that matter, they're a mystery. I have always wondered what this "effigy" was about; some are found near or on graves, others are found where medicine is practiced or made (power.) They are only found in the high places; the places where "power" is said to live. Some are found near spirit seats at vision questing sites. Some are large, some are small. Some seem to be in the middle of ancient paths in ceremonial landscapes. But no one could ever say "why or what." And then, one day I remembered a story while writing for another forum. About "foots."

For the lost generations of indigenous peoples throughout the mid 1800s to post WW2 the highest losses came with the extinction of "medicine knowledge.” As these special people, Medicine Men and Women, died off or were killed, the secrets were silenced forever in the areas of Northern CA and Southern OR. One of the powers gained by these "high doctors" as they were called, Kegeywors to the Yurok, was something called a "foot."

Some of the old testimonies said they were an ankle bracelet made from muscle shells (fetishes) imbued with power to make you "run like lightening." These "Doctors" were generally women, who trained by going to the high country and running just like the men... as well as other things such as fasting for ten days (getting clean), praying and speaking with spirits known as the Wo'gas. But they all acquired the skill of running great distances at night-- running in a manner that defied logic with something called a "foot." It was obtained from the spirits who lived in the high places within the rocks.

foot print in water.JPG

Many times native people "marked" places and sacred paths called "ways." They marked them with stones depicting many things; teaching stones, donation stones, effigy stones. A friend, Tim MacSweeney once showed me a document where the indigenous signed or marked "white contracts" by drawing their foot prints on paper. Each signature was different much like when you identify tracks of others in the wilderness and you know "who's been there before you."

Credit: Tim MacSweeney

Credit: Tim MacSweeney

 

And so, today, so to speak, I walk in the foot prints of my ancestors, literally, as I track my own roots and history. These remarkable healers who ran like lightening, have quite possibly, left their marks for all of us to see.

Miniature "foot" fetish.

Miniature "foot" fetish.

Adisi Waya