Prayer to the Young Cedar

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Look at me, friend!
I come to ask for your dress
For you have come to take pity on us;
For there is nothing for which you cannot be used…
For you are really willing to give us your dress
I come to beg you for this
Long-Life maker,
For I am going to make a basket for lily roots out of you.
I pray you, friend, not to feel angry
On account of what I am going to do to you;
And I beg you, friend, to tell your friends about
what I ask of you.
Take care, friend!
Keep sickness away from me,
So that I may not be killed by sickness or in war,
O friend!

Read the prayer to the young cedar to the class and discuss. Record the answers to questions on the board:

  1. What do you think, “I come to ask for your dress” means? (asking for the bark)
  2. “For there is nothing for which you cannot be used…”
    Can you list some of the things that you have learned are made from cedar bark. (regalia; including neckrings, headpieces, clothing, cedar blankets, capes, skirts, baskets, mats, etc.)
  3. “I come to beg you for this Long-Life maker”
    What do you think Long-Life maker means? (Many useful things are made with cedar and cedar bark; clothing, houses, canoes, cooking and storage boxes, which helped the Kwakwaka’wakw live on the coast since the time when the creator created all things (long life)