BECOMING AN APPRENTICE TO AN ELDER
(Learning the traditional way)
Relationship built on Trust
With all the years that Michael Bastine (Algonquin) spent with elder Mad Bear (Tuscarora/Iroquois) as his apprentice, he never once heard him say what anyone should or shouldn’t do. Mad Bear would give caution at times, but he respected free will. Mad Bear never tried to portray himself as an authority figure.
Due to this mutually respectful relationship, Michael and Mad Bear’s other apprentices had the opportunity to learn traditional medicine ways in an environment that was sacred and built on trust.
“I have consistently found that it is very important to listen, observe quietly and refrain from questions. Native people are very keen observers. They do not barrage their teachers and elders with questions. Instead, they watch and listen. It is a cultural learning modality born of experience and one worth noting.” -Tim Ballingham (Mad Bear’s apprentice)