My favourite of the spring teachings is the one about Moostoos Ohtsi or Buffalo’s Belly Button. As it has been shared with me, the buffalo would trek to the northern prairies to come together as one herd so that they could mate and have their calves in the early spring time. After the mating period the male herd would break off once again and the powerful matriarchs would spend the spring and summer nurturing and teaching their calves on the prairies. These animals are strong medicine for our people and our land, so wherever a buffalo cow dropped a calf, a flower would grow. This beautiful flower was given the name Moostoos Ohtsi, which is Cree for Buffalo belly button.
These little stories hint at much bigger truths. This resilient little flower became an important part of the lives and medicines of my Cree and Métis ancestors. As a medicine leader, Moostoos Ohtsi was known to be extremely powerful and was only used in poultices for the deepest pains like rheumatism. The buffalo was the life of the prairies and a major player in ecosystems across the plains. Western science lacks knowledge of the full extent of the buffalo’s impact on the prairie eco-system, but Indigenous science does not. Today you can see Indigenous groups across the prairies repatriating the buffalo to return balance and health to our land. It is the land that connects us all.
In the words of my dear friend Tim Eashappie, “Walk with a good heart on mother earth”.
This is part of a series of mindfulness prompts that are based in Métis teachings. Each weekly post has an image specifically designed to fit the lock-screen on your phone. The idea is that you can make mindfulness easy, effective and beautiful all at the same time. Placing each new image on your lock screen serves to keep it in the front of your mind while the week allows you enough time to lean into the learning.