Her purpose is to demonstrate and promote gentle healing. She expresses her commitment to healing through her business
Strongheart Resource Development. Conditions within Ms.CrossBear's family of origin and community cement her commitment to
improving conditions for children, their families and communities. She actively works on local, national and international initiatives
to facilitate well being.
Working together to change the world...
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Shannon CrossBear is a beautiful, powerful, spiritual Ojibwe /Irish woman. Shannon is an enrolled member of Fort William First
Nation of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, which is located in Ontario, Canada. She has lived on the shores of Lake Superior for the
majority of her life and currently resides within the boundaries of the United States in Hovland, Minnesota.
Wabagoness, her given name in Ojibwemoin, is a daughter, sister, mother and grandmother. Shannon has been a story teller for an
audience of relatives and friends for many years. As a columnist for the Cook Country News Herald she wrote over 200 hundred
article under the heading Mino- Biimadizawin (the good path/life).
Another pow wow season has begun. Dancers, Keepers of Drums, Singers, Arena Directors,
and supporters have begun their spring and summer journey’s on the pow wow trail.
It is difficult to explain what that means to those who only been exposed to pow wow scenes in movies
or multi cultural events that may have highlighted a bit of dancing and a few songs. Even those that have
inadvertently stumbled into a tradition of attending an annual local pow wow and learned some degree of
protocol along the way; when to stand, how not to take pictures without asking, not touching someone’s “
costume”, asking in a non intrusive way for an explanation of an activity, may miss the what comes from a
I would like to share some of my perspective, what I have learned and what I continue to learn
along the way.
One of my sons, along with all his half side and children, are lovingly referred to as pow wow addicts.
Long before spring arrives, the spring and summer calendar is examined. What week-end’s, which location,
what resources are needed, which are “must attend”, which needs new regalia or regalia repairs, are some
of the questions they grapple with as winter wanes. They are growing family of eight, so there is constant
need of another item.
Meanwhile, as “Noko”, short for Nokomis, grandmother, I look at my calendar. I look to see when and where we might meet along the trail. My criteria are slightly different
and I have learned through out the years to remain flexible and be open to the opportunities when they arise. I work a little each year to add to my own regalia, adding
beaded flowers representing the newest members of the family.
Those are some of the external readiness activities that proceed the pow wow season in our family. There are other things that are happening behind the outward acts of
preparation of regalia. Individual regalia differ and are dependent upon their reasons and motives for dancing. We are blessed with diversity in dance styles, ages, and
The drum is said to be the heartbeat of the people. The beauty of our circle of life is represented in the beat of the drum and the dancers: Our young women shawl
dancers, soaring and spinning never missing the connection to earth on the beat.
Our young women jingle dress dancers, healing through their disciplined and deliberate cadence. Our young men grass dancers riding the wind and touching lightly on the
earth. Our young fancy dancers alight with plumage and displaying the flight of freedom. Our older traditional dancers with all the knowledge embedded in their seasoned
steps as the hold the energy or those that have gone before and those that have not yet come.
There is so much more… the sacred songs, the singers, the true teachings about the gathering, it purposes and opportunities. As my elders said before me, this is enough
for now, until the next time.
Trips to the Outhouse
Shannon CrossBear c1995
Trips to the outhouse
daily routine of elimination
first thing in the morning
last thing at night
There are those that question
with concerns of undue hardship
it is not easy
to raise myself form slumber
and expose myself to the elements
raised for my slumber I am
to be joined with my mother earth
and the great mysteries
presented on the trail through the bush
Rewards from the spirit wait
It may be
A midnight display of northern lights
Or an awaking sunrise
Slowly stretching over the land
It may be a moon glistened snowfall
Or a bitter 60 below zero assault
Brining me a new appreciation of warmth
And insight into the sacred nature of fire
Grateful to mother earth for these gifts
For the four legged that grace me with their
The winged ones singing sweet spirituals
The sacred waters, father sky and
The Great Spirit
That so blessed the circumstances of my life
Trips to the outhouse daily routine of
First thing in the morning
Last thing at night
There are those who question
While I am busy obtaining it
On trips to the outhouse.
Mold mud pies in the spring
sculpt sand castles in the summer
Leap into leaves in the fall
Sink into snow angels in the winter
These are the things
that our children need
to plant and nurture the seed
of playing with and loving their relative.
It is as true at sixty as it is as six.
Catch a snowflake on your tongue today!
Meanings and Memories of Shannon Crossbear