A personal bundle is a collection of sacred items that help us make our way through life with peacefulness, balance, health, and wellness. A bundle does not have to be kept in a physical bag. The “bundle” is the items themselves. Bundles are sacred and each item within them carries significant meaning. Often, bundle items are given as gifts, and may have been gifted by a parent, grandparent, teacher, or an elder to help you along your path. Read more about a bundle’s purpose, and some items you might find in one, and how you can start your own.
Elder Minoawinnagaboo (Ernie Morrison) spoke with our Azhemiinigoziwin (AZH) Program about his bundle and how it came to be. When he was younger, his grandparents taught him about bundles, even though they were not brought out often. When his grandmother passed away, she gifted the spirit of her bundle to Minoawinnagaboo to take care of him as it did for her.
Each item in his bundle is a gift and carries a special story. Minoawinnagaboo believes everything in your bundle should have a story or memory that goes along with it. Anything you hold dear to you or has value–even family members–can be a part of your bundle, making everyone’s bundle unique and personal to them.
Minoawinnagaboo also explained that physical items in a bundle can give thanks for different actions and feelings. Love and forgiveness are things you cannot see, so having a bundle lets you see them in physical form. Just like we are unable to see the Seven Grandfather Teachings, they are always with us.
In his bundle, Minoawinnagaboo carries seven grandfather rocks given to him by a late teacher, another rock he received as a gift, and a stone from an Intuit elder. Each side of the stone has a different animal carved into it; an elk, bear, wolf, and turtle. Each item holds significance to him and carries its own unique story.
Other common sacred bundle items include gifts you were given when you received your Anishinaabe name, pipes, eagle whistles, shakers, a drum, or medicines.
Seven Generations Education Institute’s bundle includes our Drum (Saagajiwe), our Eagle Staff (Gookomisinaan), our pipe, and everything that sits with them. A drum carrier ensures all protocols are followed and coordinated for them. Our items are feasted twice a year at our spring and fall ceremony.
Starting your own bundle
Determine if you have any items that hold significant meaning to you. Start by asking yourself the following questions. Have you ever been given something meaningful? Does that item have a story? Who gave it to you? Why did they give it to you? If an item is essential to you and takes care of you, consider including it in your bundle. Taking care of the items that take care of you is what having a bundle is all about.
How to honour your bundle
Feasting and honouring your bundle items gives them acknowledgment and thanks to the spirits for bringing the items to you. Some people display their sacred items or keep them together in the bundle until they are ready to use during ceremony. Feast your bundles with the spring and fall seasons. SGEI hosts a spring and fall ceremony where staff and students are encouraged to bring their sacred items and bundles to feast. To learn more about the feasting process, check out our post on our Spring Ceremony.
Interested in learning more?
We always recommend reaching out to an elder to learn practices and seek additional knowledge. If any staff or students of SGEI would like to learn more about bundles, please contact our Cultural Lead or our Drum Keeper. We hope this post sparks interest in you to start your own bundle!