Hugh Brody – Maps and Dreams - The Dunne-za map of the Egg
Type of Spiritual Experience
The Dunne-za are a group of British Columbian/Canadian hunter gatherer peoples living in the Canadian subarctic. This is a world of world of forest, prairie, and muskeg; of rainbow trout, moose, and caribou; of Indian hunters and trappers. It is also a world of boomtowns and bars, oil rigs and seismic soundings; of white energy speculators, ranchers, and sports hunters.
Hugh Brody came to this dual world with the job of “mapping” the lands of north east British Columbia as well as the way of life of a small group of Beaver Indians with a viable hunting economy living in the path of a projected oil pipeline. The result was a book called Maps and Dreams, Brody’s account of his eighteen-month stay with these people. A later book The Other Side of Eden adds to the information he gained from this trip with some additional observations.
This is his description of the map he saw, I was never able to obtain a photo of the map itself, even though I tried by contacting him…..
A description of the experience
Hugh Brody – Maps and Dreams
At first sight the contents seemed to be a thick layer of hide, pressed tightly together. With great care Aggan took this hide from its cover and began to open the layers. It was a magnificent dream map.
The dream map was as large as the table top, and had been folded tightly for many years. It was covered with thousands of short, firm and variously coloured markings. The people urged the chairman and other white visitors to gather round the table.
Abe Fellow and Aggan Woof explained.
Up here is heaven, this is the trail that must be followed; here is a wrong direction; this is where it would be worst of all to go, and over there are all the animals. They explained that all of this had been discovered in dreams. Aggan said that before their contact with Europeans, the northern peoples of North America neither made nor used intoxicants of any kind. Abnormal states of mind were induced in shamans by drumming, singing and dancing, visions were part of spirit quests and related shamanistic searches for power and for the causes of misfortune. None of these skills rituals or private spiritual activities depended on drugs…
Inside the hall, the elders explained that whenever a dream map is taken out, someone must play a drum and chant … And one of the elders made the room echo with the soft insistent rhythm of the drum and song.