Muslim Prayers in the Longhouse!??!


I saw the title of this thread when you posted it, Mi-Shell, but was feeling fragile and scared to read the thread in case it wasn't...what it is. I'm so glad it was such a joyful story of mutual discovery and accommodation. Well done to you all. We can only hope, and pray if that's your way, and above all, WORK, to make this the norm and not the exception.


Yesterday were at the monthly Longhouse celebrations at Wahta. Our Sachem (Faith Keeper) is since recently teaching some courses on Native studies at Georgian college in Barrie = 100 km south of the res. and from the course had invited some students to come up and join us for the celebrations this month. The students he invited however were newly landed immigrants– from Pakistan and Syria. Only as soon as they came through the door it was clear, that Terry had NO IDEA, what it means to BE Muslim.
5 young guys had brought their veiled women and small kids and also 1 set of doting parents and a friend from Syria, that was in the country less than a week and spoke no English.
So I ended up explaining to everyone, that, no, there is NO pork in any of the pot-luck dishes, we had Beaver stew, Venison and Moose.
But what IS Beaver??? is it halal?
What is venison?? What is a moose????? I it halal?
I explained, that all meat is blessed by the person that killed it using the smoke of Cedar and Tobacco and the Spirit of the Animal is send home to its Ancestors, to be born again. So happily our friends dug in.
They however had brought a rice dish that blew everyone’s mind, it was so spicy!
Then, no sooner were tables and dishes cleared away to make room for the round dances, that it was time for our guests to pray.
They asked, can we do this here in the Longhouse??
Our Sachem, Terry is– aehmm :bugeyed:– not known for being a very flexible adaptive person. After all he has to “hold on” and keep the Faith pure against all outside influences.....
So no, you can not pray in the Longhouse!
But now praying outside – in the snow that was coming down – and in the pitch dark cooooold?????
When I offered to give them a large comforter as a blanket to kneel on, they asked Terry, ifffff the shaman lady is willing to be helpful and accommodating, could not he too.......
Terry said nothing and they just knelt down right in front of all of us and prayed.
I am sure, it gave all the usual Longhouse visitors an opportunity to think and reflect.......
I decided to also pray, quietly– for cross cultural understanding and tolerance.

Then we proceeded with the usual “Standing Quiver Dance”, followed by traditional teachings – this time around Beaver and Deer hunting, Corn bread and marriage customs, when the woman goes out to choose a husband -among others.....
Our Muslim friends were all encouraged to join in the dances. The men did with gusto and also used our horn rattles in the Women’s Honour Dance.
The women did not dance. It took a while until my Mohawk friends understood, that Muslim Women are not permitted to dance in front of men. - So I went over to them to talk and teach. They told me, that they were astounded at Native customs and the matrilineal Clan system and the leadership of the Clan Mother.
I took the time to show them around the Longhouse, pointing out all our beautiful Wampum Belts and explaining their history and specific meanings. I let them reverently touch the mighty Wolf fur at the side of the Wolf Clan and explained our ceremonial Turtle Shell Rattles and a few other things.
There was also the “thing with the Red Indians”
“Red Indian” is not an appropriate term – rather use Native American or First Nations Person....”
“Oh” said one of the ladies, “that is the same as people calling us Pakies”
(Oh maaan, I do not even know, how to write that word...)
And trying to explain that Ojibwa and Mohawk and Sioux are not different casts, but tribes, formerly independent nations, now coexisting within Canada (or at least try to.....!!)
At the end of our gathering, after the last Stick Dancer gave up hollering for more songs and the Clan Mother did the closing Prayers, we go around in the circle and everyone is giving everyone else a by by hug.
Of course the Muslim ladies can not allow another man to hug them, so after I explained that to the Clan Mother, everyone agreed, that a handshake would be good Medicine as well.
I hope we see our new friends again next month.

As I person who is the part of Islamic tradition, I can only say - MashAllah (we say when we see or hear something beautiful or pleasing or anything what makes happy or astonished). In Central Asia are groups of women healers (Kirgiz). They're Muslims but work as healers or shamans. Islamic world is diverse and has place for everyone. We can only hope that other people will open for this idea (unfortunately, many Muslims from Middle East or the ones living in Europe, are not that open-minded, and not let themselves embrace different kind of people who are brothers and sisters in faith).


What a lovely experience, Mi-shell. Thank you for sharing it with us. I only just saw this and I am so happy that you took the time to truly show acceptance to the visitors. Hopefully your Sachem will be more open to visitors the next time. You always have such lovely stories to share! :)

Luna's Crone


I know someone in Ca that teaches Ojibwa to the children where he lives. He says where he is at there are very few people left that speak it.

He plays banjo or fiddle. shoot, can't remember.


I'm in awe of the entire experience you've shared here. Thank you so much for posting it.


Thank you so much for sharing that Mi-Shell.. Brought a tear to my eye it did :).


Hi Guys!♥
I am glad, you liked my little "report"


I wish people got along that well in my own little corner of the world...

Luna's Crone


Shouldn't that be something the spirits should decide. Every one has a different name for the Divine Creator and different ways to worship them. I think the spirits may have allowed it since they are displaced and need a place to pray. Most prayers usually contain the same content but spoken in different ways. Plus it would have been much kinder and forgiving to let them have corner to pray in.