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May 06, 2022
Native Caregivers and Sprit Guides: Life Lessons and More.

"If you lead a good life, you’ll never really die ." Native First Nations Saying. If you care for someone you love long enough, chances are you’ll be there as they go through the process of dying. All cultures, communities, a...


"If you lead a good life, you’ll never really die."  Native First Nations Saying.  

If you care for someone you love long enough, chances are you’ll be there as they go through the process of dying. All cultures, communities, and tribes have their rituals for helping those through their final breath, including how to treat the remains and placate spirits after passing. 

This is the first in a series of shows I’ll host over the course of the year about cultural rituals and rites for the dying, and those who’ve passed. 

There are many things we can learn from these rituals.  Although they can differ quite a bit, there are similarities and overlaps.  Understanding each may help our own hearts and minds heal after those we love have left us.

This episode opens with a native prayer offered to us by my friend, Maurice Switzer,  a citizen of the Missasaugas of Alderville First Nation in Ontario Canada.  In our conversation, Maurice shares how the Anishinabek Nation traditions have changed over the years.  He describes how younger generations are looking back and working to adopt historical traditions of their own native tribe’s people. 

Maurice’s family culture is a unique blending of Mohawk and Jewish heritage.  Both cultures’ approach to caring for aging parents isn’t as far apart as we at first might think.  Together, we discuss aspects that can help us think differently about how we care for our own loved ones, and ourselves, too.

Listen in to learn more about:·      

  • Insights into how native/indigenous caregiver
  • skills differ from our own care approaches
  • How families are benefiting by coming back together again
  • What traditions are being re-adopted by younger people and how this can help  older generations  
  • How grandparents have become the North Star for many
  • The importance of the number 4 to native peoples
  • How the position of First Nation elders is differs from seniors in mainstream society
  • How tribal elders influenced the early formation of the US government
  • What traditions are changing over time and why
  • How Native people’s life beliefs are similar to the position of the sun throughout the day and year, and how this impacts the heart at the time of passing
  • Beliefs of how the spirits decide which newborn baby they’ll inhabit 
  • Beliefs in how ancestral spirits work through pregnant mothers
  • How spirit guides are determined
  • The importance of how elder’s name newborn children
  • How spirits guide us through life accomplishments
  • The understanding of a thanks giving vs. prayer
  • And more!

Guest: Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation, one of some 40 member communities of the Anishinabek Nation in Ontario, Canada. He is also proud of his Mohawk and Jewish heritage.

He currently lives in North Bay, Ontario, located 250 miles north of the provincial capital of Toronto, Canada's largest city. Maurice serves as a member of Nipissing University's Indigenous Council on Education, and on the board of North Bay's Indigenous Friendship Centre, one of 120 such centres located in cities across Canada to provide a variety of culturally based services to urban Indigenous residents.

At various times, he has been a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, editor and publisher at five Canadian daily newspapers, communications director for the Assembly of First Nations ‐‐ the national political voice for over 600 communities in Canada ‐‐ and the Union of Ontario Indians, and an adjunct professor of Indigenous and communications studies on the Laurentian University campus.

Host:  Nancy May, Author How to Survive 911 Medical Emergencies, Step-by-Step Before, During, After!  Expert in managing the path of step-by-step caring for an aging parent or family member, even from over 1200 miles away, or more. For a Free File-of-Life to www.howtosurvive911.com. Nancy is also the Co-Founder of CareManity LLC, and the private FaceBook group, Eldercare Success.

Disclaimer: The views, perspectives, and opinions expressed in this show are those of the show guest and not directly those of the companies they serve or that of the host or the producer CareManity, LLC. Information discussed should not be taken as medical, legal, or financial advice. Please seek the advice or you own personal medical, legal or financial advisors as each person’s situation is different. (c) Copyright 2022 CareManity, LLC all rights reserved. CareManity is a trademark of CareManity, LLC.