Bison in field
episode 20 | Apr 29, 2020
Hunting & Fishing
Experts & Industry Leaders

Ep. 20: Hunting Stories from the Mázawakȟaŋ

In this episode of The Silvercore Podcast Travis Bader sits down with Marshall Lowen, a master firearms instructor, Canadian military veteran, master of the hunt and elder in the Metis community. Marshall shares with me some interesting hunting stories as well as his unique perspective on teaching firearms and hunting to indigenous groups and insight into fostering respect and understanding between indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Canada.
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Travis Bader: [00:00:00] I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits with the people in businesses that comprise of the community. If you’re new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, Where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer, as well as how you can join the Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million in North America, wide liability insurance to ensure you are properly covered during your outdoor adventures.

[00:00:43] In this podcast, I sit down with Marshall Lowen, a master firearms instructor, Canadian military veteran, master of the hunt and elder in the Metis community. Marshall shares with me some interesting hunting stories as well as his unique perspective on teaching firearms and hunting to indigenous groups and insight into fostering respect and understanding between indigenous and non indigenous communities in Canada.

[00:01:10] Okay. Marshall, we’re sitting down again. We had a lot of really great stories in our last podcast. And in this one, I’d like to expand upon your time as an instructor. Now you’re a firearm safety course instructor, you’re a master instructor. You spent a lot of time teaching within your community and the Metis community.

[00:01:28] And there are differences that I’ve found being an instructor myself when relaying information to indigenous communities as opposed to non indigenous communities and there’s a lot of misconceptions on both sides about where the rules are and I was hoping we could sort of expand on that a little bit. With the federal government having a, an initiative on indigenous training.

[00:01:57] It’s coming to pass and that’s something that’s being worked into the Hunter education as well and there’s going to be, I’m sure, a lot of questions from the instructors and relaying this information. What advice would you have for an instructor who’s teaching indigenous history and hunting rights to non indigenous people?

Marshall Lowen: [00:02:18] I think working, of course, you’ve got a wide spectrum. I mean, a lot of indigenous people are living off reserve.

Travis Bader: [00:02:27] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:02:27] You’ve got people living on reserve. One of the disadvantages that they have at this point was, for example, I was up in the Chilcotin and they have state of the art schools for the children.

Travis Bader: [00:02:44] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:02:44] And they have everything in there from basketball courts to, you know, all the modern conveniences, electricity, water, satellite, got computer rooms, and a lot of the kids leave there and go home to basically a tarpaper shack that has maybe television. But again, there’s. What do they do outside of school?

[00:03:17] So a lot of them end up watching TV, getting, I think a distorted idea of what’s actually happening out there.

Travis Bader: [00:03:27] Sure, sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:03:28] The life experiences of the people on reserve who are going to be different than the ones who grow up. And we have the Musqueam, the Tsleil-Waututh, to you know, the Squamish here who have much different experience and they have say up.

[00:03:42] You know, up the coast on isolated reserves. But I think one of the things that’s important, which is shown within the native community, is respect. And the type of respect that they’re going to look, you know, to the average, not outsider, we’ll say white person as introverted, not outgoing. And it’s interesting when I look at some of the traits that I’ve come across, for example, in a community of fellows chopping wood, and his friend comes along and he sits down and watches him

Travis Bader: [00:04:35] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:04:36] He doesn’t offer to help, it’s what I call non interference.

Travis Bader: [00:04:41] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:04:42] And if the fellow asked for help, he’ll give it. But what I found in experience with a lot of the group is they don’t ask for help.

Travis Bader: [00:04:51] Interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:04:52] Another thing that’s kind of interesting is a lot of the people I’ve met, I’ve learned by watching, imitating and try it again.

Travis Bader: [00:05:06] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:05:06] So if they see something, I was impressed when I was in Manitoba of a young fellow who was in his late teens who had made a fiddle.

Travis Bader: [00:05:17] Really?

Marshall Lowen: [00:05:18] Yeah. And he had watched the adults, he’d examined a fiddle, and he made a workable fiddle. I mean, it wasn’t a Stradivarius.

Travis Bader: [00:05:27] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:05:28] But he’d made one and he taught himself to play.

Travis Bader: [00:05:32] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:05:33] By watching what the fiddlers were doing and looking at it from the point of view that, okay, he’s doing this. Let me try that. No, that doesn’t work. Let’s check that again. Okay. And try it. You see, one of the interesting things is with the school system and with the lack of encouragement and the lack of future, a lot of the children wouldn’t get a full education.

[00:06:05] The drop out rate in Aboriginal schools is much higher for aboriginals than it is for non Aboriginal. That doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

Travis Bader: [00:06:16] No.

Marshall Lowen: [00:06:16] I was teaching, for example, different types of teaching, not firearms, but I was teaching carpentry to native people. Now these are the people who made sea going canoes, totem poles. But they didn’t appear to be good at mathematics or science, but they knew what they were doing.

Travis Bader: [00:06:39] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:06:40] So when I had to explain geometry to them, have you looked at West coast art? It’s very geometric.

Travis Bader: [00:06:48] Good point. Yes.

Marshall Lowen: [00:06:50] Even never studied geometry. How did they do it? You have to think, but obviously people like Bill Reed, Susan Point, they’re very, very talented, right? And their work is a lot of cases magnificent.

Travis Bader: [00:07:08] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:07:08] Now, not every Aboriginal as an artist, but there are a lot of Aboriginal artists. And so there is an ability there, but how do you access it? Now, people will talk about colonialism and the school system. I’ve had the chance to look at Aboriginal students as opposed to Chinese students, and the Chinese students want to learn by memory. They want to know, you tell me what the answer is and I’ll work towards it.

Travis Bader: [00:07:40] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:07:41] Show me what you know. And in carpentry and what we’re doing, sometimes there’s more than one correct answer.

Travis Bader: [00:07:49] Yes.

Marshall Lowen: [00:07:50] Right? And that can baffle people. So in one case, I was able to put a group of Aboriginal carpentry students with a group of Chinese students.  I teamed them. The Aboriginal students had the hands on skills. They could use all the tools, but they had difficulty making the calculations.

Travis Bader: [00:08:15] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:08:16] The Chinese on the other hand. Could do all the calculations in the science, but they had no hands on and the teams worked quite well.

Travis Bader: [00:08:25] You have the wood.

Marshall Lowen: [00:08:26] Right. It meshed together. And the other thing was a friendship struck up that they started to find similarities in their culture.

Travis Bader: [00:08:36] Really?

Marshall Lowen: [00:08:37] Yeah. I mean, I have a fellow that I know who’s Chinese and he’s actually Inuit.

Travis Bader: [00:08:45] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:08:45] He went up to Baffin Island.

Travis Bader: [00:08:47] Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:08:48] And ended up working with Hudson’s Bay and then becoming a minister in the government in one thing, another, and to look at them, everybody thinks he’s Inuit, his wife’s Inuit. And so he’s Inuit, he speaks Inuit language.

Travis Bader: [00:09:02] Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:09:03] You know, when you look at things, you know the Mongolian type, and you look at the Inuit.

Travis Bader: [00:09:08] Yeah, there’s similarities.

Marshall Lowen: [00:09:10] There’s similarity. But what’s happening is, there’s a conditioning, and I look at it in a different way. I’ve had some very promising students, one particular up country who I was convinced, one of the smartest kids I ever worked, but he had a case of what I called learned helplessness.

Travis Bader: [00:09:33] Right, okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:09:34] And he just didn’t think he was capable of achieving anything. Well, I can’t do that. What do you mean you can’t do that? Well, I’m no good at it. And so there’s this reluctance. What I’ve done in the past is look for a link and kind of hard for somebody who had just taught what I call mainstream people. When we had the instructor class for Aboriginal instructors, the suits from Victoria.

[00:10:09] Failed a lot of the potential instructors on the grounds, for example, Oh, they didn’t make eye contact with the audience.

Travis Bader: [00:10:18] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:10:19] Or they didn’t speak in a loud affirmative tone. And yet these are cultural facts that you avoid eye contact. You don’t have to make eye contact in a native community. It can be an insult if you are staring at people looking directly at them.

Travis Bader: [00:10:40] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:10:41] It’s a bit equivalent to another one I know that in certain asian countries, you don’t point at people with your finger.

Travis Bader: [00:10:49] Yeah, that’s a good point. That’s a good point.

Marshall Lowen: [00:10:51] So again, you have to be cognizant of what these people grew up with. And you don’t know. You don’t know if they grew up in the city or grew up on a reserve.

[00:11:01] You don’t know. There’s the real horror show of, you know, the schools, you know. So you have to look at that and I’ve sort of learned this from having a couple of disabilities. I’ve, when I, I get anxious and I didn’t go, why isn’t that person faster than like, why is that person taking all that time?

Travis Bader: [00:11:26] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:11:26] And I’ve had to realize that some people are having trouble and stuff. Maybe they’re not as swift as me.

Travis Bader: [00:11:33] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:11:34] Maybe something has just happened to them, you know? You know, you have to, I think in a lot of ways in what I do with a lot of the students is I put myself in their shoes and think, where are they coming from?

Travis Bader: [00:11:51] That appreciation is huge. And, and I’d like to say understanding, but maybe you don’t understand it, but what you said respect.

Marshall Lowen: [00:11:59] Well, you, for example. You know, my, my friend, I’ve got a native friend up country, he’s a fisheries officer. We went up and did a whole bunch of courses up in the Chilcotin. So I meet him in Williams Lake at the Chilcotin national government, and we drive along in the car. And this is typical conversation.

[00:12:27] So how’s it going? Dead silence. Five minutes later. Okay. So, are you busy at work? Another five minutes. Not really.

Travis Bader: [00:12:43] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:12:44] And this is the way he is.

Travis Bader: [00:12:46] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:12:48] The other thing which we, I toy around with, and you have to be careful with this because you have have to know it. Up in that area, there are some obsidian deposits .

Travis Bader: [00:12:57] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:12:58] And we want to have a little bit of in fun. You ask them if they know where there’s any BlackRock and they get all funny with it.

Travis Bader: [00:13:08] Oh really?

Marshall Lowen: [00:13:08] They’ve been protecting the source of their BlackRock. I know where it is, but you know, I was on a trip.

Travis Bader: [00:13:15] Thats funny.

Marshall Lowen: [00:13:16] I was on a trip with him and the trouble is there, they can be very introverted and they do a lot of thinking and they express themselves in different ways. There’s a lot of body language going on.

Travis Bader: [00:13:29] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:13:30] And it takes a while to be in tuned. I mean, I can set at a fire with them at night and there’ll be two hours without any conversation.

Travis Bader: [00:13:40] And it’s just body language or just?

Marshall Lowen: [00:13:43] No, just body language. People getting up and moving and people reading what other people, somebody will get up, go over to the coffee pot, pour a cup of coffee, give it to you.

Travis Bader: [00:13:52] Very different culture.

Marshall Lowen: [00:13:54] Well, it is and it’s, it’s slower culture, but asking questions in class. It’s difficult because they don’t want to be hung out.

Travis Bader: [00:14:07] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:14:08] Terminology, I’ve found that one of the things you don’t say, for example, okay. We’re going to have the written test.

Travis Bader: [00:14:15] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:14:16] I go, okay, I’m going to have to, I’m going to ask you some questions.  It’s non confrontational. I do the exams orally.

Travis Bader: [00:14:27] Mhmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:14:28] I read it out to them, some, some of them have reading difficulty, I mean, that’s not just there. I mean, I’ve got friends who have dyslexia and they’re not good at reading.

Travis Bader: [00:14:37] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:14:37] They don’t want to be called out. They don’t want to be centered out. They don’t want to become the focus.

Travis Bader: [00:14:44] Of some cultures are very independent learners and others are group learners.

Marshall Lowen: [00:14:50] Yep.

Travis Bader: [00:14:50] So indigenous communities, I know they have a very big emphasis on the group. Training as a group scenario as opposed to singling out as an individual, that’d be a preferable way, I should imagine.

Marshall Lowen: [00:15:04] Yeah, we did this. What I try to do is integrate something, like I say, I guess it helps because I speak a little bit of native language and, if you get into their world and you ask them, okay, this is such and such. What do you call it in your language? And I explained this because my Lakota name is Mázawakȟaŋ, and that’s translated as many guns.

Travis Bader: [00:15:45] I love it.

Marshall Lowen: [00:15:46] My childhood name was Wenagiawanacopy, which means spirits to watch over him. But then when I did my vision quest, you know, got my other name, so

Travis Bader: [00:16:00] Interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:16:01] They get that. So again, it’s a bit of an icebreaker with them when you know, I’m your instructor, you know, I, I don’t say I’m you instructor, I’m here to show you some stuff and.

Travis Bader: [00:16:13] That’s a good one. That’s a good tip.

Marshall Lowen: [00:16:14] I’m here to show you some stuff and explain some stuff to you. And again, you take the approach that you’re there to help, help them. You’re not there over over them. You come there as an equal. It helps, with the native instructors, again, if you have that link, they, they will equate that to some sort of empathy for what they’re experiencing.

[00:16:47] Like in a little bit of a bad way. It’s like the Kanawaki, I’m putting up a block, a blockade to support the people in BC.

Travis Bader: [00:16:55] Right,

Marshall Lowen: [00:16:57] okay.

Travis Bader: [00:16:59] But what

Marshall Lowen: [00:17:01] happens is if you appear to be helping them, then they’ll accept it, but they won’t ask for help.

Travis Bader: [00:17:10] So back to your wood splitting analogy. In non indigenous culture, you come up to your friend’s house, you see them splitting wood. It’s typically proper, you grab some wood, ask if you have another mall or axe and you help out, get the job done. That would be disrespectful?

Marshall Lowen: [00:17:28] That would be intruding.

Travis Bader: [00:17:29] Ah, and.

Marshall Lowen: [00:17:30] The fellow might be doing it, maybe he’s angry.

Travis Bader: [00:17:34] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:17:34] It’s a way of, you know.

Travis Bader: [00:17:37] That’s a  good point.

Marshall Lowen: [00:17:38] You know, I always remember one of my friends from down at Musqueam, one of the fellows got a new boat, and one of the elders said to him, Oh, that’s a nice boat. Yeah. I could teach you a lot about fishing.

Travis Bader: [00:17:55] Hmm. Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:18:00] And left it at that.

Travis Bader: [00:18:01] Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:18:03] It’s up to him to ask.

Travis Bader: [00:18:05] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:18:06] Right. They, they don’t, a generality, but there’s no boasting or bragging.

Travis Bader: [00:18:14] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:18:14] And the thing is, you got to remember coming in as an instructor or teacher, you don’t know you.

Travis Bader: [00:18:22] That’s a really good point.

Marshall Lowen: [00:18:23] So they’ve got to assess you. So are you coming across as a superior being, or are you coming across as, Hey, I grew up in a community, I went to residential school. Then there’s a bridge. There’s that nexus there. And the thing is, again, they don’t speak in a loud voice. That’s why I’m wearing hearing aids now. It’s a case of, you know, but again, going to ask you some questions, I need you to show me how you handle a firearm.

Travis Bader: [00:19:03] So we had a course that we’re doing for a government organization that was dealing with an indigenous group. And our instructor went over, taught the course, came back, I talked with the instructor and he says it was a great course. Everyone loved it. What a great group. It was fantastic.

[00:19:24] Good to hear. And then we hear back from the government organization. There’s been a request. Some of the elders in the group were so incensed that they wanted to walk out of the course. But they didn’t. The request is that that instructor never come back again.

[00:19:43] And so we pushed a government organization like, that’s terrible. What happened? What could we do better? Right? It comes back, says the elders said, it’s done. It’s over. We just never want to see that person again. And what you’re mentioning here about loud talking, high energy. That’s this instructor. So I’m wondering perhaps.

Marshall Lowen: [00:20:09] Well, there’s one other thing that when I go on to a nation’s traditional territory, the first thing I do is I acknowledge. I’m proud to be here on traditional territory, or I want to acknowledge that we are me, having this meeting on the traditional territory of, you know, such and such nation.

Travis Bader: [00:20:39] It’s just that simple sign of respect.

Marshall Lowen: [00:20:42] Yeah. And the thing is, it would, if there are elders there, it would be, I would take the effort to acknowledge the elders, and probably if I was on what I call sensitive area, a little bit of history. If you are up in the Gitxsan, you could start off acknowledging Domingo, you know, acknowledging something that they’ve accomplished. You know?

Travis Bader: [00:21:15] That’s a good point.

Marshall Lowen: [00:21:16] You know, I’m, you know, very happy to be on Haida territory and, the homeowner, you know, if you don’t know, you can say the home of Bill Reed, famous artists and please, and it’s, it’s a respect. It’s not, I mean, what you’re saying is true. You know, there are great people that have done great things.

[00:21:43] You look at even down at Musqueam, you know, we have the Sparrow decision, the Guerin decision, you know, and these people all have family links, you know?

Travis Bader: [00:21:55] So what about on the other side with the indigenous teachings within the course to non-indigenous people, there’s going to be a gap of understanding. And I’ll give you an example, I was out in the Cranbrook area and was well past last light, and we see a truck driving up the road with a light, and these people were hunting with a spotlight. And I take down the information and obviously my first thought goes to you can’t do that and you can’t pit lamp.

[00:22:35] You can’t hunt after one hour after sunset. But find out that it was an indigenous group and there is a different set of rules t, that seemed to apply, which non-indigenous groups will have a difficult time understanding. What, what sort of rules, what sort of differences are there and what’s, what’s one way that an non-indigenous group can better appreciate why these are in place?

Marshall Lowen: [00:23:02] The call it pit lamping or you know, there were several court cases and the,  the communities that were asking for this had to prove that the, basically, it was a tradition. I know of one group on the Island that, traditionally they hunted deer at night with torches. A deer will be attracted to light, so they would have to prove that it was a tradition that they were into.

[00:23:40] Now, other groups could prove this too. I was aware that up in the Chilcotin area, they used to fish with a torch at night because the fish and they would spear the fish. So this is something that they’ve done. Now, when you look at it, why, you have to look at the rationale of why would people be upset at this, right?

Travis Bader: [00:24:11] I think it basically comes down to you. If that was a, a non rhetorical question, the feeling of a different set of rules and why can they do when I can’t. Sort of a, an idea.

Marshall Lowen: [00:24:25] So what you have to look at is lot of the game rules that we have today were put in place because of market hunting,

Travis Bader: [00:24:37] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:24:38] That’s why the largest gauge you can use as a 10 gauge, because people had punt guns and they’d knock out hundreds of ducks.

Travis Bader: [00:24:47] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:24:48] This is why there’s a rule you can only have two shotgun shells in a magazine right? And there was, let’s face it, they almost wiped out. The Buffalo, it wasn’t the natives that wiped out the Buffalo.

Travis Bader: [00:25:03] It was a market hunting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:25:04] It was a market hunting. So when you look at, and it was the Metis in Canada that put in the first regulations on the Buffalo hunt.

Travis Bader: [00:25:15] I didn’t know that.

Marshall Lowen: [00:25:16] Yea, that was Custer Grant.

Travis Bader: [00:25:19] Hmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:25:20] In Alberta, and they put in, they, they were concerned about, you know, the diminishing herds of Buffalo, and they wanted to put in a limit of what people could take because of the tremendous waste that was going on.

Travis Bader: [00:25:36] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:25:36] So these rules were imposed not because of the native people and their traditions. It was because of market hunting and what the colonists were doing. I’ve always looked at the idea that, I’ve been up in the Kootenays and looking for a lost hubcap.

Travis Bader: [00:25:55] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:25:56] I went into the ditch and there was an animal skeleton on that highway, probably every 20 feet.

Travis Bader: [00:26:05] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:26:06] I’ve pulled out on the morning, coming back to Vancouver, driving from Cranbrook up to Golden, and I’ve counted a one, probably 20 Elk killed on the highway.

Travis Bader: [00:26:20] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:26:21] This would be in one day and too many Deer splattered all over the place. The trucks come down there, they don’t even stop when they hit a herd of Elk.

Travis Bader: [00:26:28] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:26:29] So you total that up over the year and you wonder how many animals are killed and never utilized. Some people go out with lights and get a couple of animals. Is that going to affect the overall population? Not really. This has been proven in courts. They’d say they’d want this poaching effects.

[00:26:52] No, it’d be different if it was Mountain Caribou and then it was only a small population, but you know, it’s the way it’s set up. Yeah, they’re our cultural thing. For example, you know, spearing fish.

Travis Bader: [00:27:08] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:27:08] Okay, traditionally, you know, you spear one, one fish or a hundred salmon out of a stream, how is that going to affect the overall population of it? Or is it what I call the jealousy of how come you can do it and I can’t?

Travis Bader: [00:27:23] I think that’s where a big part is. There’s a big us against them and there’s also optics, so we’ve all seen nets that go right across the river and which is different from spearing a fish, but we’ve also seen, let’s see, back of the pickup truck twice the limit of what a non indigenous person would be able to take is in an indigenous pickup truck.

[00:27:47] Now I think that ties into individual and community rights as well. I think.

Marshall Lowen: [00:27:53] When you look at what people are allowed to do, there’s always people that, who will abuse it.

Travis Bader: [00:27:59] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:28:00] So I think what you have to look at is poaching Elk, poaching Elk on the Island. In a few cases, they’re the worst cases where people had just gone up there and slaughtered the Elk. And left them. Now why did they leave them? Were they close to getting caught and they escaped or were they taking them? Now, yes, there are native people who break the laws.

Travis Bader: [00:28:25] Sure. Just like any group.

Marshall Lowen: [00:28:27] Like any group. Other similar thing I see in the native communities, you know, upcountry is people who abuse the food banks. They go up to the food banks and they get food, and then they sell it.

Travis Bader: [00:28:42] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:28:42] Right. It’s wrong, but this is an interesting thing. Their neighbours don’t turn them in.

Travis Bader: [00:28:50] Hmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:28:50] Go back to my non interference policy.

Travis Bader: [00:28:54] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:28:54] They know they’re doing it. They don’t condone it. Down the hill here, we have a fish bearing stream.

Travis Bader: [00:29:00] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:29:01] Half the community is trying to rehab it. The other half of the community is throwing empty grocery carts and garbage in it.

Travis Bader: [00:29:08] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:29:09] Which side’s gonna win?

Travis Bader: [00:29:12] All time will play out on that one. 

Marshall Lowen: [00:29:13] What’s gonna lose? And then a homeowner up here releases a chlorine filled pool into the stream and kills off all the fish, right? There’s always going to be people doing things according to the rules and they’re not. I mean, you know, why do they turn around and you know, the guys are out pit lamping.

[00:29:36] What are they gonna do with those? They’re going to eat them? Okay. You got a whole bunch of trophy hunters. I was on the Island several years ago. There were a bunch of Outfitters.

Travis Bader: [00:29:49] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:29:49] And I, I had a tag for Bull Elk. At daybreak, opening day, it sounded like the first day of world war one.

Travis Bader: [00:29:57] Hmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:29:57] Boom boom boom boom boom, boom boom. I came across a guy gutting a six point Elk. He was a Guide Outfitter.  It’s broken down into regions and areas, and they had tags for 2 Elk in each one of the areas. They’d taken 6 Elk down in one area.

Travis Bader: [00:30:21] Ohh, great.

Marshall Lowen: [00:30:23] He’s gutting this magnificent six point Elk. I said, got talking to him, I said, where’s the Hunter? Oh, he’s back at the hotel, he’ll be, he’ll be here shortly, right?

Travis Bader: [00:30:37] Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:30:38] So we got talking and he said, he said, he said, yeah, he needs, he wants to get his picture taken with it. And then, I said, what’s he taken back with him? Oh, just the rack.

Travis Bader: [00:30:51] Jeez.

Marshall Lowen: [00:30:51] Should he, well, what happens to the meat? Oh, we’ll take it. That’s the system. Three years ago I was up in the area we hunt in the Kootenays, which I can always go in and I know basically every fad, every deer family there, and taking up for our hunt.

[00:31:11] We go in there and I know every little band, everything there. Last time I was there, I was coming along this little trail where I drive with the Jeep. Ah, there’s a Grouse. So I’ve got break action shotgun in the back of the Jeep and I got a couple of shells there and I’ll just pop out and pop that Grouse when all of a sudden is a huge 4×4 crew cab in front of me was six people.

Travis Bader: [00:31:42] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:31:44] Never seen one there. This is a road I could have got a flat tire, I could be there for weeks. Right. And as I can’t shoot the Grouse, I have to pull up on the side so he can get by me and he stops and what are you guys hunting? White Tail. Oh, interesting. All these people in the truck, so, okay, fine.

[00:32:08] So I go down to where the Lake is, and as I get down to where the Lake, which is a no go area, because I’ve got this disab, this disabled permanent, I’m allowed to go on roads that you can’t hunt on.

[00:32:22] There’s two white trucks and I would say 15 deer hanging in the trees and these guys are skinning them. And they’ve got containers there and they’re loading all the meat in the container. So I back up, go another way. I run into another white truck, but this guy’s talkative and I’ve got some questions to ask.

[00:32:46] Hi, you know, I noticed there’s flagging tape of different colours all over the place. So I said, Oh, you guys have 2 White Tail. Oh yeah he said, Elk season finished. And he said, the deal here he said we’ve got all these people coming in from out of the country and, it’s a sure deal. It’s a one antler-less, one antlered. So they get a sure kill. They’ve driving.

Travis Bader: [00:33:19] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:33:20] And basically they must have in two days, they just wiped out the entire population of deer.

Travis Bader: [00:33:28] Yeah, and that’s frustrating. Extremely frustrating.

Marshall Lowen: [00:33:31] And the conservation people won’t do anything about it because they’re Outfitters.

Travis Bader: [00:33:37] So in, you talked earlier about an indigenous group will go out and they’ll hunt and they will provide for those who can’t hunt, who can’t be there. Does that play into bag limits? Does that play into like if you see one Hunter and he’s got several deer in the back of the truck, is that because that.

Marshall Lowen: [00:33:59] It’s possible. I share. Basically, the, the animals that I get, we’ve got a freezer. I’m not a huge carnivore that I eat meat three times a day. So, you know, 300 pounds of Elk is gonna have last a long time.

Travis Bader: [00:34:20] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:34:20] So I have people that are grateful to have it, and cant, for one reason or another hunt. They are either elderly, but again, it could be, but again, there could be people abusing the system and this happens on both sides.

Travis Bader: [00:34:40] Sure, sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:34:41] So you have to be aware of, if you don’t know the circumstance, yeah, you could get upset, but what’s the action? You know, as I say, you know, if you don’t know the full circumstances of what’s going on and if you really want to know, you can ask.

[00:35:04] You know, you can become acquainted. You see, I think a lot of people don’t understand and I, you know, if you would spend some time with these communities and with these people, you’d get a better understanding of what a lot of these people who are dealing with, you know, up in the Chilcotin the kids go to school to grade seven.

Travis Bader: [00:35:27] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:35:28] Then the high school is in Williams Lake, so they have to go to Williams Lake.

Travis Bader: [00:35:34] Hmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:35:36] A lot of them fall in with gangs, fall in with new, and let’s say the kids a success and he goes to university and gets a degree. Where’s he going to get a job back home?

Travis Bader: [00:35:54] It’s a good point.

Marshall Lowen: [00:35:55] Yeah.

Travis Bader: [00:35:55] So he’d have to leave the community.

Marshall Lowen: [00:35:58] Yeah. [00:36:00] So some of the chiefs that I know, they’re working hard to start logging companies like with the Wet’suwet’en. You know, this pipeline is an employment opportunity that people will be able to have jobs and stay in the community in which they were born.

Travis Bader: [00:36:16] Hmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:36:17] Do you know, I was growing up in Winnipeg, it’s an interesting province. When I was growing up, there were a million people in the province, half of them lived in Winnipeg.

Travis Bader: [00:36:29] Yep.

Marshall Lowen: [00:36:30] Give you an idea, when my dad had a stroke and he was in the hospital at the same time, a chief from up North had had a heart attack and he was flown down to the Winnipeg general, and the whole waiting room was full of people from his reserve.

Travis Bader: [00:36:51] Really?

Marshall Lowen: [00:36:52] Yeah. They were camped out there.

Travis Bader: [00:36:54] Huh.

Marshall Lowen: [00:36:55] That’s the bond that they have.

Travis Bader: [00:36:58] That’s fantastic.

Marshall Lowen: [00:36:59] You know? Well, it was, except they’d emptied the drink machine and everything else.

Travis Bader: [00:37:06] I guess that goes with it.

Marshall Lowen: [00:37:08] Yeah. But you know, the thing is you’ve got to look at a group. That, yes, they were given a lot of stuff, but in a way were they given the right stuff?

Travis Bader: [00:37:20] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:37:21] There’s a book called dancing with dependence.

Travis Bader: [00:37:24] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:37:25] It’s interesting of what happens when basically a, a people are given a whole bunch of things and what they become dependent on.

Travis Bader: [00:37:35] Mhmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:37:37] And again, you know, what, what, what have they got? You know, she’s cheap gas, cheap cigarettes.

Travis Bader: [00:37:47] So in the case of this instructor who’s otherwise well-received, when he’s training these courses to non-indigenous groups, what are some tips that I could come back for, for this person?

Marshall Lowen: [00:38:02] Be humble. Don’t come off as a end all be all, know it at all. You know, come in a little bit humble, and if you can find the nexus, a bridge that they can relate to you because you, you’re coming in as a stranger, it doesn’t hurt. You go to somebody’s house, you compliment them.

Travis Bader: [00:38:28] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:38:29] Nice house you got here.

Travis Bader: [00:38:30] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:38:30] I like your garden.

Travis Bader: [00:38:31] Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:38:32] Right? It’s the same thing.

Travis Bader: [00:38:34] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:38:35] You go in and you know you’ve got a nice territory. You know, I love, you know, the water, you know, the things that you have.

Travis Bader: [00:38:45] Mhmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:38:45] Do a little bit of background and find out a little bit about them. You know, this helps, you learn about your enemies and you learn about your friends.

Travis Bader: [00:38:55] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:38:56] That helps you both ways. The more you know the, the more, the more you’re armed. There’s a bit of native humour, but you have to sort of know a little bit about it. The best humour that you can do in those is, humour of yourself.

Travis Bader: [00:39:15] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:39:15] Right. In other words, take yourself down a peg. You know them when I was doing, show you know that you’re not perfect and people will accept you. As I say, they, they are accepting. What I like to learn is a little bit of their language.

Travis Bader: [00:39:31] That’s a good point. Shows you care, so as you put some time.

Marshall Lowen: [00:39:36] Yeah, a lot of the native languages look like tongue twisters and they can be. The Chilcotin language is kind of funny because it has tongue, tongue, and it takes a little while.

[00:39:49] Last one I saw like that was in Africa, but again, if you can just do something, even a greeting, just like hello. And the healer when I was up in the Chilcotin there’s a, there’s a place of it, I got to watch my pronunciation, but there’s a place called Redcliffe.

Travis Bader: [00:40:09] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:40:10] Tsi Deldel, but if you don’t say it right, it can come out in their language as Red fart instead of Redcliffe. So you know.

Travis Bader: [00:40:21] So they’re either impressed with you or they’re having a good laugh at you.

Marshall Lowen: [00:40:24] Well this was it, they were having a laugh. This was an RCMP officer who came in and tried to say some things. I mean, they, they laughed at him, but in a way they were laughing with him, not really at him.

[00:40:36] Then saying do you realize what you just said? But you know, I found this when I was in the army dealing with different languages. You know, you look at, for example, I give people the example of the word Gatto.

Travis Bader: [00:40:53] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:40:53] Gatto in French means cake.

Travis Bader: [00:40:56] Mhmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:40:57] Okay. Gatto in Spanish means cat.

Travis Bader: [00:41:00] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:41:00] So watch what you ask for dessert.

Travis Bader: [00:41:04] Yeah. Good point.

Marshall Lowen: [00:41:06] You know, I was in France, in France with a Spanish couple, and she got the giggles every time somebody asked her café au lait. So language can be kind of difficult, but dealing with native people can be very illuminating at times. For example, you’ll see a lot of names that you would think like, I have a friend Randy Billyboy.

Travis Bader: [00:41:32] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:41:32] Last name’s Billyboy. Well that’s kind of derogatory, isn’t it? You know, kind of belittling.

Travis Bader: [00:41:38] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:41:39] Cause there’s a Charlie boy, Billy boy.

Travis Bader: [00:41:43] Right, yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:41:43] You know, Johnny boy. Right, so you look at that, doing the alternative certifications. One of the last names is Sam.

Travis Bader: [00:41:53] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:41:53] So this fellow came in and he must’ve been in his nineties and he said doing the alternative certification. So he said filling, he said, do you want to see my papers? Well, this guy had brought documents going back like a hundred years.

Travis Bader: [00:42:10] Oh jeez.

Marshall Lowen: [00:42:11] Right? Yes, I’m interested. I mean I could insult him by saying, no, I don’t need to see your papers.

Travis Bader: [00:42:17] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:42:18] So I accommodate him. Yeah, I’d like to see your papers. You know what I learned?

Travis Bader: [00:42:22] Tell me.

Marshall Lowen: [00:42:24] Well on his dad’s birth certificate. His dad’s name was Big Sam.

Travis Bader: [00:42:31] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:42:32] So the guy who filled it out, his Christian name was Big. His surname was Sam.

Travis Bader: [00:42:39] That’s funny.

Marshall Lowen: [00:42:40] And that’s how the name came down.

Travis Bader: [00:42:43] Huh.

Marshall Lowen: [00:42:44] So the surname for all the children was Sam.

Travis Bader: [00:42:47] Interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:42:48] I had the most delightful one where I went up to hanikuahteen where, you know, the wild horses are, and, I had this little old lady come in doing  questions on alternative saying. 

[00:43:05] Do you own a firearm? Oh, yeah. Well, what kind of firearm? . 22 Okay, do you hunt? Yeah. What do you hunt? Moose. You hunt Moose with a .22? And she looks at me incredulously. Well, yeah. Okay.  Isn’t that hard? Oh, hard parts getting a Moose back to the cabin. Okay.

[00:43:32] So, I said, so do you shoot just Moose? No. I sometimes shoot Bears. Oh yeah, bears get into my garden and I shoot the Bears.

Travis Bader: [00:43:46] With a .22?

Marshall Lowen: [00:43:47] With a .22. Where do you keep the .22? Under the bed. Okay. So, okay, Susie, where were you born? In a wagon. Okay. Whereabouts were you born? Up the Valley. Okay. You’re born up the Valley in a wagon. Okay. What’s your birthday? Don’t know.

[00:44:17] What does it say on your birth certificate? Don’t have one.

Travis Bader: [00:44:21] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:44:21] Any idea how old you are? I think maybe 80. Some people say more. Okay. Don’t worry. I’ll check the band records.  Okay. Do you have a, like any other like, were you baptize? Oh yeah. Do you have a baptism certificate? Uh, no.

Travis Bader: [00:44:40] Hmm.

Marshall Lowen: [00:44:41] When were you baptized? Uh, same time my parents got married. And so what happened there? Oh well the priest came into town, came, came to the village and, uh, my parents got married and the six kids got baptized. Okay.

[00:45:00] You know, this is what you’re dealing with. Then I go back to  you know Ottawa and they say, can’t give this lady her papers because you didn’t put her birthday down. She doesn’t have one. Well, you didn’t put a phone number down for them.

Travis Bader: [00:45:14] Didn’t have a phone number.

Marshall Lowen: [00:45:16] Exactly. They would say, we need an address. Well, it’s general delivery. Hanceville. No, no, we, we have to, we have to have the actual address. Where did they pick up their mail? General delivery Hanceville. Somebody goes into Hanceville and they bring back the mail for everybody. No, we need a location. Well, I can give you the hydro pole. Hydro poles have all the locations on them.

Travis Bader: [00:45:43] That’s right. And they’re probably happy to take that.

Marshall Lowen: [00:45:46] No.

Travis Bader: [00:45:46] No?

Marshall Lowen: [00:45:46] Not at all. No, we need an address. So I go back to the village and I get the chief. And said, okay, I’m going to put your address down as number 1 Beaver Street. Oh, okay. I said I was going to use number 10 Downing Street, but I thought they might question it.

Travis Bader: [00:46:09] Oh that’s funny.

Marshall Lowen: [00:46:11] So his permit, you know, firearms license comes back with his address, his mailing address is general delivery Hanceville His address is number 1 Beaver Street. Next time I go into the reserve I noticed that all the houses have numbers on them now. One to ten, so they do it, but it satisfied Ottawa.

Travis Bader: [00:46:36] Ahh sheesh.

Marshall Lowen: [00:46:37] You know, and they can’t, they kept saying to me, well, what happens if somebody needs an ambulance, I should probably call an ambulance. Somebody goes out to the highway, drives out to the highway to the payphone and they phoned an ambulance.

[00:46:52] Well if they don’t have an address, how would they find the person? I said, the person gets in the ambulance with the ambulance drivers and takes them back. Oh, well, I said, don’t worry, the ambulance drivers are native too.

Travis Bader: [00:47:07] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:47:08] Well, how do you find them? I said, I drive in, there’s a guy walking on the road. Can you tell me where Jerry Smith lives? And the, yeah, down by the lake, he’s the host with the red roof.

Travis Bader: [00:47:19] Perfect.

Marshall Lowen: [00:47:21] And I said, sometimes they’ll jump in and ride along with me. And I said, you know, but the bureaucracy in Ottawa, we need a birth certificate. We need, you know, what does it say on your passport and you know, what have you got for ID?

[00:47:39] They do, you know, a lot of them and because of what we discussed earlier, because of the lack of alternative certification and the unavailability to have a firearms course up there, the fellow up there who brought up as an instructor, he does his best.

Travis Bader: [00:47:58] Sure. 

Marshall Lowen: [00:47:59] But again, they could sure use an  alternative to certify him.

Travis Bader: [00:48:04] Oh they definitely could. Now, when you’re talking about understanding and being humble, I remember, jeez, what is it about 20 years ago? I was teaching up North native band. I was used to having very strict timings with my courses.

[00:48:24] So I fly in, I’m there, I’m up early and I’m waiting for everyone to show up and there I am twiddling my thumbs, wondering, am I in the right area? What’s going on? Finally, one person shows up and I said, where’s everybody else? They’re not here was the answer I got. They’re not here. Oh, okay, when are they coming?

[00:48:43] I don’t know, probably when they get up. Right. Okay. So a couple of hours go by and pretty much everyone comes on in and it was, it was an eyeopener for me, just to be more understanding to different cultures in so much as, you know, these people, they had the experience and it was a firearm related course.

[00:49:07] They had experience at firearms, the laws and some of the technicalities and some of the safety practices, would be new to them. But by the time we finished the course, I ended up just going later, I caught a different flight on a couple of days later. I just basically parked all my pre conceptions at the, at the door and figured, let’s just have some fun with this.

[00:49:31] We’ll go through, we’ll do the course on their time. And, and they loved it. They had, they had a great time. One thing that stuck out was on testing cause you mentioned, as opposed to having a test to say, look, I got some questions for you. See, I didn’t have that knowledge and I’m going through testing and the responses.

[00:49:52] I was getting back one-on-one doing testing and part of this one, they had to cross an obstacle and you know that whole drill.

Marshall Lowen: [00:50:00] Yeah.

Travis Bader: [00:50:01] Okay. We’ve got, we’ve got a fence here, we’ve got across it. Why? Well, just show me how you’d see if we do that with this firearm. Well is there an animal on the other side ? Am I hunting? No, you’re crossing an obstacle. Well, if there’s no animal, I’m not going to cross.

Marshall Lowen: [00:50:18] I had, I had a similar one. I had a fellow, he said, okay, now you come to the fence. Yeah. What are you going to do? Look for a gate.

Travis Bader: [00:50:32] That’s a good one.

Marshall Lowen: [00:50:34] So I said, well, okay, so there is no gate. Then I won’t cross the fence. Why not? Well I got a bad knee?

Travis Bader: [00:50:45] And you can’t argue with that logic.

Marshall Lowen: [00:50:46] No, but you see that they’re looking at it. When I was at one of the other sites, I had to adapt because you know, what are the firing positions.

Travis Bader: [00:50:57] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:50:57] I said to one young fellow, I said, okay, it’s own, name me two firing positions. Leaning and resting. I said, can you describe those?

Travis Bader: [00:51:06] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:51:07] Well, that’s like where I have to lean against the tree to shoot.

Travis Bader: [00:51:11] Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:51:12] Or sometimes there’s a stump and I have to rest my rifle and stuff. Okay.

Travis Bader: [00:51:16] Valid.

Marshall Lowen: [00:51:17] So there’s different ones. I was up in the Arctic doing the one that, okay, you’re going to cross a fence, and I got this blank stare, and my interpreters said there’s no word in our language for fence.

Travis Bader: [00:51:31] Oh, interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:51:32] I said, come off it. You gotta write word in your language for Kentucky fried chicken.  And then of course they all, they all laugh, you know? So, okay. So again, they’ve, they’ve altered the exam so you can do other things. But the accommodation, some of the stories I hear. You know where they failed exams.

Travis Bader: [00:51:54] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:51:54] And what happens is people don’t go like this one fellow, I had, had to redo him when I went up in and I said, so what happened? He said, well, I failed on ammunition.

Travis Bader: [00:52:06] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:52:07] I said, what do you mean? He said, well, the instructor handed me this cartridge, and he said, can you tell me what this cartridges? And he said, no.

Travis Bader: [00:52:17] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:52:17] Okay. So he hadn’t made other cartridge. He said, can you identify this? No. He put it down and failed him. So I said, I did the next question. I said, why couldn’t you identify them? He said, well, that ammunition was so beat up, you couldn’t read the numbers on it.

Travis Bader: [00:52:41] Yeah.

Marshall Lowen: [00:52:41] Again, if somebody doesn’t know the answer. You need to maybe go the extra step and say why?

Travis Bader: [00:52:49] It’s a good point.

Marshall Lowen: [00:52:50] Why can’t you? Because you, you have to remember that these are people that are linked to the land. They’re not academics. They’re not Greek philosophers. They’re people who, it reminds me of a university professor that I met. Him and his wife were both university professors and they went, decided to take a sabbatical and fly into Northern BC to a remote area and live there for a year with their teenage children to show them what it was like.

Travis Bader: [00:53:31] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:53:31] Bought a whole bunch of firearms and one thing and another. So he said they just flown in and in, Oh, I guess August and in the cabin for a few days and an Indian family shows up, mother, father, bunch of kids, and he invites them to stay. In a matter of a couple of weeks, they don’t go away. They stay and they basically eat all the food that they can.

Travis Bader: [00:53:59] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:54:00] And then they said, we got to go. So he’s a little bit horrified that these people have eaten most of the, you know, a good portion of their supplies. And he said, Oh, but they, maybe you could look after my daughter. She’s about six.

Travis Bader: [00:54:20] They’re going to leave the daughter with him?

Marshall Lowen: [00:54:22] Yeah. And he said, what do you mean? He said, you people know how to read and write. Can you teach my daughter to read and write?

Travis Bader: [00:54:31] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:54:32] So he said, okay, can we think about it? Oh yeah. So the next morning they’re gone and the little kids left.

Travis Bader: [00:54:42] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:54:43] They have the little kid with them and the little kid is showing them how to hunt Grouse.

Travis Bader: [00:54:48] I love it.

Marshall Lowen: [00:54:50] Takes them out, they don’t even see it. The kid knows all sorts of, so they’re teaching a seasoned, young girl how to read and write and you know, basic homeschooling stuff. Big you know. Anyways, about a month later, the family shows up with a Moose. Here.

Travis Bader: [00:55:10] Wow.

Marshall Lowen: [00:55:11] And then they disappear again and they’re never seen.

Travis Bader: [00:55:13] Jeez.

Marshall Lowen: [00:55:15] And so you look at that and during reserve times, they had a big problem because the Indians at the time of treaty times were very communal.

Travis Bader: [00:55:31] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:55:32] The band looked after the band, and so what happened was they gave each member in the band so many cattle and it was flour, sugar, and tea, whatnot, and some of them just slaughtered  the animals.

Travis Bader: [00:55:49] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:55:50] And then they had no animals, so they’d ask the other ones that had ABA, can I have your animals? Yeah. Okay. And before long, there were no animals.

Travis Bader: [00:56:02] Right.

Marshall Lowen: [00:56:02] Right. What happened to them? Gave them away. And that’s another part of the culture that, that’s very interesting.

Travis Bader: [00:56:09] No kidding.

Marshall Lowen: [00:56:09] So who steps in but the church. Don’t give your stuff to them, give your money to the church, and the church will look after it.

Travis Bader: [00:56:19] Sure.

Marshall Lowen: [00:56:20] In, in my culture where I grew up, if somebody admired something, you had to give it to them.

Travis Bader: [00:56:28] Interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:56:29] In the Lakota culture, there’s a couple of, well, it’s sort of call them weird things. One of the things that’s traditional. In our hunt is a Hunter who gets their first animal, has to give it away.

Travis Bader: [00:56:47] That’s an interesting tradition.

Marshall Lowen: [00:56:49] Well, can you imagine? We’ve got young children who get their first deer and they give it away, but I’ve never seen any of the kids regret it.

Travis Bader: [00:57:00] No. It teaches to be a part of the community to give back. It teaches a lot of really good things to work hard for something and realize that someone else could probably use it more than you.

Marshall Lowen: [00:57:11] Yeah, and it shows a type of generosity, and again, it’s usually given to an elder or somebody who’s helped them right? And the thing is that, Oh, there’s another thing that I had that, you can’t give a gift away.

Travis Bader: [00:57:33] Once you receive a gift, you can’t give it away.

Marshall Lowen: [00:57:35] Yeah.

Travis Bader: [00:57:36] No re-gifting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:57:37] Yeah.

Travis Bader: [00:57:37] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:57:38] In other words, the gift is yours, but it’s not like you can re-gift it.

Travis Bader: [00:57:44] What if somebody shows admiration of that gift , thats, rules don’t apply?

Marshall Lowen: [00:57:50] No.

Travis Bader: [00:57:50] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:57:50] I guess there’s exemptions.

Travis Bader: [00:57:52] I guess so.

Marshall Lowen: [00:57:55] I was there, there are exemptions, and I was given a Polar Bear claw.

Travis Bader: [00:58:03] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:58:04] The fellow who gave it to me was one of my students.

Travis Bader: [00:58:07] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:58:08] And it was kind of interesting as a funny story goes with it. It was admired by a young fellow who was about eight years old, and when he gifted me his Deer.

Travis Bader: [00:58:22] The eight year old?

Marshall Lowen: [00:58:25] Yeah, I gave him the claw, but I’d forgot to do something.

Travis Bader: [00:58:32] What’s that?

Marshall Lowen: [00:58:33] Oh, this is interesting. So I gave him the claw, and that was back in 2007 I went in for a heart procedure.

Travis Bader: [00:58:42] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:58:43] And while I was undergoing the heart procedure over in Victoria, he went running to his father. And he said, there’s something wrong with that claw.

Travis Bader: [00:58:57] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:58:59] What do you mean? He said it’s, it’s, you know, basically, you know, moving.

Travis Bader: [00:59:07] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:59:08] And he’s, and his dad looked at it and he said, yeah, I know why. He said, Marshall will look after that when he gets back. So when I got back, what I had to do was, we believe that when you have something that’s personal, it becomes part of you in, it’s called ton.

Travis Bader: [00:59:31] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:59:31] It’s spelled like ton, ton. It has your ton.

Travis Bader: [00:59:34] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [00:59:35] And what you have to do is because it belongs to you, it basically, if you give it to another person, you have to release the ton and tell the item that it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the other person

Travis Bader: [00:59:55] Interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [00:59:56] So we had to go through a ceremony whereby we did sponging and basically there’s a small ritual you go through where you explain to the spirit, because we figure in the culture that even inanimate objects have a spirit.

Travis Bader: [01:00:17] Interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [01:00:19] So in a way, everything has a spirit. And as I say, you know, young fellow was saying, you know what, my chest, you know when I wear it, my chest hurts.

Travis Bader: [01:00:31] Ah.

Marshall Lowen: [01:00:32] So anyways, we went through the releasing the ton. The same things are done with the scalping ceremony.

Travis Bader: [01:00:39] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [01:00:39] Taking a scalp is a personal part of a person, and if you want, you know, basically with Plains Indian, there’s a releasing of the spirit and that’s what we do with our prayer. In the hunt, we release the animal spirit to return to when, wherever it came from.

Travis Bader: [01:00:58] Thank the animal. You thank the animals community.

Marshall Lowen: [01:01:01] Yeah. And also we go through cleansing so that the place is a place of life and not a place of death.

Travis Bader: [01:01:12] So how does that cleansing work?

Marshall Lowen: [01:01:14] Usually tobacco and, you working on the premise of circle of life.

Travis Bader: [01:01:23] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [01:01:24] That, you know the blood, you know, the remnants of the guts are nourishment for other things. So in a fact, you know, the stuff that you leave behind, which we jokingly call the bits.

Travis Bader: [01:01:42] Okay.

Marshall Lowen: [01:01:43] The bits, you leave the bits, you know, they’re consumed and we know now there’s bacteria, there’s insects. And of course we have, you know, the interesting fact that the other animals basically prosper. On one of our hunts, my son, years ago was drove a white, you know, pickup which was kind of unique years ago because there weren’t that many white pickups.

[01:02:10] And my son and my friend were in that truck anyways, they went out, got a, got a Deer. There were two Ravens gone on the gut pile. The funny part was we drove out the next morning to the same area and there were two Ravens waiting and they follow John’s truck, when they got out of the truck, they were circling. And they went over to where they were and there was a herd of Deer.

Travis Bader: [01:02:40] Interesting.

Marshall Lowen: [01:02:41] So they got the next Deer and third day, drove in, the Ravens are waiting and it was like, Oh, there they are, and they would follow the truck.

Travis Bader: [01:02:54] Oh, that’s pretty cool.

Marshall Lowen: [01:02:55] Yeah. So you have to sort of look at it and you think, is there, you know, basically, you know, a messenger we go through in the native rituals about calling spirit animals or spirit guides, and you know, and everybody who goes through the rituals will have some sort of guide.

[01:03:18] Lots of interesting stories on down at wounded knee. I’m trying to think of the fellow’s name, but, anyways, he went through a spirit quest, got into a dream, and all he saw was worms. And he thought creator, like am I going to end up with worms as my spirit.

Travis Bader: [01:03:39] What about a Wolf or something. 

Marshall Lowen: [01:03:40] Anyways, he’d delve into a little more, which is basically central deprivation, lack of sleep and hunger or thirst and whatnot. Anyways, finally, it was a reveal with a Buffalo. So he said, thank goodness, you know, my spirit animal, he said, I didn’t want to go through life with worms as my spirit.

Travis Bader: [01:04:06] Oh man, I love it. Well, thank you very much for giving me your time. Thank you very much for being here on this podcast. I really appreciate that. And having me in your home.

Marshall Lowen: [01:04:18] Well, it’s good to talk to somebody who has like feelings.

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