A number of years ago, before all the new housing development in Regina, there was a system of dirt trails on the western edge of our Queen City. These trails were like a wilderness refuge near the edge of civilization. Mountain bikers, BMX riders, hikers, and runners were about the only groups one would occasionally see out there. At the time, I was still trail running about seven to 12 kilometres almost daily. My route was usually out-and-back, the turn-around point was the impassable Wascana Creek near the Paul Dojack Youth Centre (a correctional institution). Some of this prairie land was the property of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), their national training base situated not far away.
One morning I noticed quite a number of large traditional aboriginal teepee’s had been erected in the same area where a semi-permanent indoor sweat lodge and outdoor portable toilets were in place. If you are a mid-distance trail runner, then you understand how luxurious it is to have access to a comfortable toilet in the midst of nowhere. It was my little secret route with modern amenities, and I was not going to reveal the location to anyone outside of my wife.
I did my usual run that morning and was subject to a little heckling by a number of young aboriginal guys who were serving as gatekeepers to some sort of a Aboriginal Healing event hosted by a nearby Reserve. I decided to return to the event after I had finished my run, showered, and had breakfast. My wife was kind enough to lend me her tiny Honda CBR125 street bike – something that was suitable to ride on the dirt and gravel paths to my destination.
I have learned from my many years of living and working amongst Aboriginal and Metis people to ask permission from the Elders to be there in the first place. I did not NEED permission, as it was Crown land. But, it is always more polite and congenial to start off right with a cultural group very different than my own. I first approached a really big guy and asked him where the Elders were. I could see on his facial expression that he was not overly happy to see a white guy on their turf. He begrudgingly led me to a large open tent where the Elders were talking and laughing around a semi-circle. As soon as I entered the tent, a young guy said something very derogatory in Cree about my colour and race to those standing around. A condescending laughter filled the tent. I immediately walked up to the young man, looked him in the eye, and replied back to him in broken Cree. The shocked look on his face was priceless and the tent was suddenly very quiet. I had basically said to him in Cree,
Shut up and go away…you little shit. I have come to talk to the Big Boss (or Chief).
I then smiled at him and began to laugh; the others in the tent soon joined in on my laughter. The smart-ass kid was visibly disturbed and stomped away angry and humiliated. The Chief welcomed me to sit down beside him and talk with them. I did so for nearly four hours.
From the moment I was invited to sit down and talk with the Chief, I was treated with the utmost respect by all those present. Later on, a woman in her early 40’s, with very long flowing hair, began to speak to me. The thin frailty of her form, the lines upon her face, and the sorrow in her eyes revealed a lifetime of alcohol and drug abuse. She had explained to me how the older man (and Chief), a natural herbalist, had literally saved her life. She belonged to him now in some sort of codependent way. I began to talk to her about the love of God and how he continued to heal my pain and sorrow in this life. At the time, I had considerable pain (physically and emotionally) in my life and spoke about how God carried me through those difficult times. I was quite aware that others were listening in on our conversation, but I was feeling a tremendous peace and so was she. I could see that the Chief was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable with this sudden manifestation of God in our midst. I did not want to overstay my welcome, therefore, I stood up, thanked my new friends, and dismissed myself.
As I walked amongst the aboriginal vendors of “healing” I realized that most of them were not traditional aboriginal healers but commercial proprietors of New Age philosophy and occult practitioners. One thing I have learned about myself, as a follower of Christ, is that we are but mere containers of the glory of God (by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit). Wherever we go, the glory of God goes with us. Each individual believer in Christ holds unique authority and power over the occult, and the Satanic powers behind seemingly innocuous practices to the uninitiated and/or uninformed.
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:19
Some of us carry great authority in the unseen realm and literally put a stop to the workings of darkness in an instant. I have seen this in my own life, time and time again over many years.
…I am sending you to them to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. Acts 26: 17b-18
Just showing up tends to send the rats scurrying into the shadows. The occultists can no longer practice their evil ways, the innocent and the uninitiated simply walk away, and the misguided practitioners close up shop. I could see the anger and rage in one aboriginal man’s eyes – he knew that I knew who and what he really was. Others were just dumbfounded and confused. In a matter of moments almost the entire event had been shut down and I had not even uttered a word. Surely God was making Himself known here. Even the young drug dealers were scattering, only to be picked up and arrested by the city police at the dividing line between the City of Regina and the Federal land boundary. I left that place with a sense of great peace, happy to have made a few new friends, even happier to see the occultists masquerading as aboriginal healers, flee the premises. I think the continual presence of city police at the entrance to the venue pretty well shut everything down in the end.
The following Spring and Summer, I continued to look for the teepees to be erected, but they were no more. Eventually the semi-permanent sweat lodge and outdoor bathrooms were removed. I never saw the Chief or his woman ever again.
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