The Return Of Pi-wa-pisk-oo

Anna Faulds is Dene Suline from Lue’ Chok Tue’ (Cold Lake, AB) who grew up in and currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta. Anna appears on the APTN series Blackstone as Teresa the band council office manager. Anna is currently involved with the return of one of the most sacred items of the Cree and Blackfoot peoples – the Manitou Stone. It fell to mother earth a long time ago and marked the peace between two warring nations (the Blackfoot and the Cree). It was situated on a hill named Iron Creek on the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border. The stone is also known as old man buffalo or Pi-wa-pisk-oo (ironstone in Cree). It sat between their territories, and the elders said that if it was ever removed, war would commence, there would be famine and disease, and the buffalo would disappear from the land.

In 1869 a missionary, Reverend George McDougall, removed the stone from the hill where it had rested for so long. After this war, disease, and famine followed. The peoples of these nations and the buffalo populations both dramatically declined almost to the point of extinction for both. Reverend Mcdougall lost two daughters to smallpox as well. The reason the missionaries took the stone away was because it hindered the forced conversion of the Blackfoot and the Cree to become Christians. It is considered a powerful medicine and a sacred entity to both these nations to this day.

The Manitou stone has travelled across Canada many times throughout the centuries. Its current resting place is at the Royal Alberta Museum close to its original home but it is held in iron shackles, with a small placard instructing people to not leaving offerings in front of it. One side of it looks exactly like a human face in profile, the rest of it like a buffalo, with a thick, curly hide. Anna Faulds is currently in the process of organizing a meeting to press for the return of this sacred stone to the Blackfoot and the Cree. For more information search YouTube for Manitou Stone Pipe Ceremony and information session.

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