Oh, my!! Our South Island and Ngai Tahu family read my blog! I hardly ever look at comments because I don't get them, but recently, I have. I shared with Rosina from Maori something I would like to share with all of you -- to Wendy, to Pauline to Barry and all the others.
More and more our Chief is telling this story in public. It is what we believe to be true about our salmon, the Nur in the Rakaia and other river systems in Aotera.
The Chief received an email from Aotera asking if she was familiar with the story of the Ice Waterfall which the Maori know. She had heard about the Ice Waterfall. Back when the US was building the fish hatchery on the Winnemem, the tribe's leaders were concerned. The spiritual people at that time sent some of the Fish through the Ice Waterfall of Bohem Pyuk, the Great Mt. Shasta, our Sacred Mountain, and the place of origin of the Winnemem as well as the Winnemem (McCloud) River. The email from one of our Maori family reverberated in the Chief's heart and and stirred up memory.
We could believe that the US sent eggs around the world and they only survived in New Zealand, a fluke of nature, a conundrum. Then there is the story more miracle than mystery of spiritual Winnemem sending the fish through an Ice Waterfall on their Sacred Mountain to stay until they it was safe to come home. The old spiritual people could not imagine what the future held, but were prepared by the spirits for a dam which would flood their Homeland, destroy sacred places, kill their Fish runs and possibly exterminate their way of life. This story does not end with Shasta Lake Dam. This is a story of two sacred mountains Bohem Pyuk and Aoraki, both with ice waterfalls, a story of a warm belt in the ocean which keeps the salmon in New Zealand from mixing protecting the DNA which would enable them to remember the hard and long trip back from their salt water home, acclimating in the estuary of Glen Cove, tasting the sweet water of the McCloud or Winnemem River, remembering the three water falls, the hundreds of miles back Home. Sacred Bond or Fluke of Nature? Winnemem and Maori and their extended family already knew in our hearts when we met that there was more to the story than an odd scientific conundrum, did we not? This is the story of two peoples who still pray to their Sacred Mountains, share a story of an Ice Waterfall, despite trauma and progress still keep a spiritual responsibility for fish who know both ocean and river, who still pray, still know the stories, still dance, still know their language, and will never give up their old ways, ancestors, and sacred duties no matter what. Fluke of nature? or sacred compact coming to fruition because the Winnemem and Ngai Tahu Waitaha people did not stray from their paths and stayed close to the Mountain, the Rivers, their Fish, and never forgot their old stories and never forgot how to pray, holding them in place so they could complete their ancestor's prayer just as the fish were held so they could return Home someday. Ko te Nur te tipua oranga. Ka whaiwhai tonu matou! Beedi Yalumina! It is all one prayer!
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