|PRAY FOR THE MEDICINE BUNDLE|
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Clayton Arrowtop Knot, keeper of the natoas or Sun Dance Bundle. The natoas is the Chief Bundle of all the medicines and any sacred objects among the Blackfeet. All societies are built around it. The Chief Bundle is far more sacred then even the medicine pipes and all the ceremonies on Blackfeet land. The first order from God since the Bundle came from the Sun; the medicine bundle finds its chief function in the fulfillment of a vow.
My grandparents Phillip and Mollie Arrowtop raised me. Phillip was the medicine man of the Blackfeet tribe. My grandfather, Phillip knew all the roots and knew all the songs to every ceremony of the Blackfeet culture. He was owner of the last Blackfeet Medicine Horse Bundle. He also had the Crow Bundle, Thunder Pipe, Ghost Bundle, and the Tobacco Bundle. I grew up with the last of the Buffalo people. As a child I was always herded to the ceremonies. This didn’t give me much time to play with other kids. They call us gima’da’pooka, pitiful babies or grandma babies. Growing up was just like that. It seemed like the school teachers knew. Somebody was telling them something.
My grandmother would send me behind Buttery’s Foods to dig out of the dumpster so we could have food to make soup. I remember eating horse meat. The old people would bring us horsemeat so we could have something to eat.
We were always going to do ceremonies and the people didn’t or couldn’t pay us. Most of the time they just gave us clothing or food. Often they just fed us. In the 1960’s when other kids found out we were going to ceremonies they made fun of us and called my grandmother a witch. So we went to church and kept on going to ceremonies. I was told at church and ceremonies we prayed to the same God.
While growing up we were still in hiding, because medicine people were not accepted back then. I heard adults tell their kids to keep away from him and his family. Being a kid and not knowing, being kicked away was hard.
I was instructed as a child to not take a pipe until I was 40. I forgot those instructions until the Tribal Council called me on my 40th birthday. They turned over the biggest, holiest bundle to me. They call it the Chief Bundle, the natoas, the Sundance bundle, the Chief of all medicines. It was the only bundle done properly in the last 30 years.