A collection of Pine Arbor Sayings.


SOME PEOPLE SAY stars are the campfires of the departed, and the Milky Way is their path to the heavens. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY the Moon is the younger sister of the Sun, and the Morning Star and Evening Star are twins who are special to Makers of Medicine. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY the Sacred Fire is the physical presence of Ohfvnkv in our midst. One should never walk between the Sun and the Fire—carelessly allow your shadow to pass over the Fire. To do so would be very disrespectful, and bad would come of it. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a person must be careful what one says or thinks in the presence of the Fire. The Fire will surely tell on you to the Sun. If the Sun sees you do bad things or hears of them, Sun will tell One Above Who will be displeased. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY the right to make a Flute is hereditary, The right to play it is hereditary too. Flutes should be played to greet important strangers and to attract the attention of a young woman. Flutes have magic and speak a language known only to the birds, the wind, and Ohfvnkv. Flute music is Silence made solid. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY when one first hears a bird during morning, one must say “Fuswv yvhiketomes,” “A bird is singing.” This is an act of praise. Birds were the first creatures to receive the gift of a voice from Creator at Creation. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY the Fire on the Square is our voice when we approach the great One Above, Ohfvnkv.  Prayers travel upwards on the Smoke Road, the trail of white smoke cause from a gift of Tobacco to the Fire.

SOME PEOPLE SAY the Sacred Fire must never be put out with water on the Square Ground or in the camps. This is done only to announce an important death. When a person who keeps a Fire, such as the head of a family, dies, their Fire is put out with water. The Spirit representative of One Above residing in the Fire and the Fire-tender's spirit will travel together to the Upper World after four days. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY nothing sacred comes without fasting and meditation. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a Fire made of Cedar is a great purifier. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY Tobacco is the greatest medicine of all. One Above requested its use and showed us how to use it. Tobacco may be given as a gift, but should never be given casually or for unimportant reasons. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY to bring the kind of rain your garden needs, turn a Turtle upside down. She will call the rain. But don’t leave the turtle too long. That's an old time understanding. We don't do that anymore--its harmful to Turtle. And, we’re supposed to protect our smaller relatives. Nowadays, we catch a Turtle, feed it well and ask her to call rain for us Some people find an abandoned Turtle shell and leave it in the garden upside down..

SOME PEOPLE SAY winter stories must be told only in the summer, and summer stories must be told only in the winter. Bad will come of disregarding this practice. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if you mention Rabbit’s name in your garden or near your fields, Rabbit will eat it all up for you. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if you do not share your fresh corn with the Fire, you next crop will be pretty bad. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY that beans, corn, and squashes (that includes pumpkin) are brothers and sisters. They must be planted together or they will not do well or die from loneliness. They are all one family. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if a young person digs a grave, that one might lose strength and may get powerfully sick. Don’t laugh or giggle near a grave if it is new—the spirit may not be gone yet and it might want to come back and live with you. Only the older, mature, and respected ones should dig graves. The family must give the gravedigger a meal four days later and a gift of Tobacco.  All the dirt of a grave has got to be used.  If any is left over, things could get mighty bad—especially for your bones. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if you cut your hair outside, you must pick up every strand, or a bird will put it in its nest. Then you’ll have headaches that won’t get better until the nest is empty. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY women should save all hair they cut and put it in a bag or pouch. In death, it is their pillow. Early white hair means that the person dreams of One Above and may even hear the wisdom of Ohfvnkv. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY Willow, Cedar, and Cypress are a family. Leave a small gift if you gather and use any of the, as they are all strong medicine. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY the smell of Cedar is special—it is the Breath of One Above. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if women carry Willow in a dance, it makes their thoughts and words to be living thoughts and living words. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY Willow Tea cures headaches. Cedar Tea refreshes the soul, but must be made only by a Maker of Medicine—otherwise it will only make you very sick. Mint is used for problems caused by ghosts and the dead. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY some animals can be talked about by name but must never be called by name. Wolf is one such and Woodpecker is another. In the old days, wolves were very special—they let the Maker of Medicine know if an enemy was near. Never hurt a wolf; bad would come of it. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY after an Owl Ceremony at night, the Square must be very quiet till sunrise, or the Owl Medicine will not work. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY you must dance counter-clockwise on the Square, that is, into the Sun. Never turn you back on One Above. The last dance of the year can go the other direction, clockwise. It winds down the Old Year at Green Corn. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY when a couple is married at the Square, they must be taken separately around the Fire in the backward (clockwise) direction. When the couple comes together on the Square after that, they go around together in the right way (counter-clock wise) for they have closed the old life and are starting over as “new people” in a new life. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if a woman gives a gift to her women friends without her husband’s help, she may be is announcing a divorce. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY that if a big wind or tornado tears up your house, you had something that was supposed to be given to One Above and you didn’t do it. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY women must always wash downstream from where the men wash; by this, women protect men from accidental power abuse. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a child’s umbilical cord must be kept and buried on the East side of the Square. The father or mother’s brother must make weapons for a boy, or a keco and kecvpē for a girl.  These are small toys and should be placed in the Fire with a gift of Willow and Tobacco, and the Fire will guide the child in the right way. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a baldheaded man is either real good or Creator took his hair to protect him (from being scalped) or he’s real bad and Ohfvnkv took his hair to embarrass him. Either way, you’ll know by his behavior. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if a stranger calls, you should feed his dog first—this will please the person and they will respect you for it. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY one must always give food to a Maker of Medicine after each Busk, and Tobacco or some other gift after receiving their services. The Makers of Medicine aren’t allowed to name a fee; Creator didn’t charge them and they can’t charge you. They give a gift of self and good to the One Above—you must give too. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if your animal doesn’t like a person, trust the animal, not the person. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a bared fanny pointed into the wind will make the wind go away, but it’ll come again. Drive an axe into the ground and it’ll split the wind in two.

SOME PEOPLE SAY you shouldn’t ever point at a rainbow—that’s rude! If you must, use the finger with no name (called the “ring finger” in English) or point with the tilt of the head or the lip. The Square is sometimes called the Rainbow House. If you walk under a rainbow, your children will have beautiful hair. If you are lucky enough to be able to stand under a rainbow, you can call a dead person’s name and say goodbye to them. The rainbow is the door to heaven and it’s always open. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY in the first times, Creator smiled and that smile became the Sun. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a person who eats chicken innards can never handle “Medicine” properly. They misuse the chants and make the medicines poorly or in effective.

SOME PEOPLE SAY turpentine will cure tuberculosis. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY Turtle Clan is chief of all water-things. The blessings of Turtle Clan people protect you from all water-caused harm. Turtle Clan never eats fish. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if you spank your child with your hand, something might grasp the child and eat its soul such as a lohke. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a new house must have Willow laid on the top for a day, if life within is to be good. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if you parch a handful of bees and give one a day to a baby, it will cure the hives. Never give more than nine, or the child will buzz around all its life. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY that if you soak your potatoes in water for a night or in a running stream, you won’t get as fat. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY never tear down a spider web or kill a spider.  Doing so will bring rain, but not the kind of rain you want. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if children eat chicken backs, they might become deformed or suffer bone diseases. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if you eat much after dark, never sit down.  Departed ones will eat with you and make you sick. Worse yet, they might not want to leave. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if there are spirits hanging around your house, your children will never marry and will drive you crazy. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY when it thunders you should say “Ohfvnkv ci!” for the Creator’s Heart is beating nearby. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if a snake milks your cow, the calves will be deformed. If you believe snakes milk cows, you’re also crazy. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY that if you sweep after dark you’re liable to get pregnant--so get your brother to do it! 

SOME PEOPLE SAY drop a broom and someone you don’t like will surely come. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if a woman dances beside a man in a Stomp, she should give him a small stick or a coin. The stick or coin can later be traded for a meal (with the mother's permission). 

SOME PEOPLE SAY if you don’t or can't stay awake all night on the Square, you must pay someone to do it for you. Everyone must be awake until halfway between midnight and first light unless you're very old, sick or very young.  

SOME PEOPLE SAY whatever you grow you must divide and give some away, or others will never share with you what they grow. Not everyone can grow everything—you must share to have the right foods. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY only a special person or Beloved One can grow Tobacco for use on the Square. Don’t abuse it. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY that at a ceremony the Fire is the true host. You must protect it from harm. When you first visit a Square Ground, you must go to the Fire if the Square is not closed and speak to it and thank it. All newcomers must be introduced to the Fire before a ceremony. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY part of the first squirrel killed must be buried beside its tree, or the squirrels will go away. Squirrel skin is used for stickballs. The squirrel must be caught before it hits the ground or the ball will be not good and your team will lose. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY put four fleas in the game ball to make it jump about a lot and confuse the other team.

SOME PEOPLE SAY the first ceremony each year must have wild onion stew, so everyone will remain healthy and have good children. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY that a pregnant woman must not see someone bleed, nor should she see the masks used in the winter dances. She might lose the child or the child might be born deformed. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY the Eagle Dance can be done only after first frost and must never be rehearsed. It is the most powerful of men’s dances and is done only for the greatest community need or in the most trying times. If any town masks are brought out before first frost, the weather will become very bad—much ice usually follows that winter! Eagle Dance must be done once each generation or the Town loses the rights to its power.

SOME PEOPLE SAY Makers of Medicine can change form and do so to help someone. Bad makers of medicine will change form to harm someone. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY Buzzard Medicine helps gunshot wounds. Buzzards eat death and are seemingly immune from it.  

SOME PEOPLE SAY the first portion of any feast must be given to the Fire so that One Above may taste and enjoy, too. Pregnant women, young children and honored visitors are feed when hungry at a ceremonial. No male participating in a Busk should eat anything until it is first offered to One Above. Menses women are feed when the food is first prepared because One Above is already with them.

SOME PEOPLE SAY never to put rotten wood in the Sacred Fire or you and your Town will have a rotten life. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY sound is the voice of creation, silence is the voice of Creator. You must hear in silence and speak in silence to know holy ways. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY music is the voice of the One Above, too—this is why many songs need no words. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY menstruating women should take care not to approach sacred objects or men. Women are very powerful at this time and might do unintentional harm to some man or object not capable, prepared or properly protected to handle such Power. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY that if twins live and are boys they will first be lucky and happy, then both will be unhappy and do poorly and finally, one will be good and prosper and one will become bad. If one dies, the other will usually become a Maker of Medicine. Such Makers of Medicine can be very powerful for good or very powerful for bad. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY whoever makes and sends out the sticks for Nettv-Kvckv, the  Broken Days, should be given a special cut of meat at the ceremony. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a Medicine Bundle should contain daytime objects and nighttime objects. The daytime objects should be brought out only in sunlight at the Square. A Medicine Bundle must be packed only at night if it is to be moved during the day. It is best to move a Medicine Bundle at night. Nighttime objects must be well wrapped and not be exposed to sunlight accidentally. If a person’s bundle is out, never stare at it; staring will weaken your own. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a new groom or a new father must supply meat to the town for a feast. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a feathered cane pole from the Feather Dance must never be dropped or laid on the ground. Money or a small gift must be given to whoever makes the pole you use. If you dropped something on the Square it must be taken to the Mekko, who will sell it back to you. The money helps for food for widows and orphans. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY only a person of good heart should call for rain. A bad-hearted person would only bring disaster—such as floods! 

SOME PEOPLE SAY a half-cup of strong black coffee, followed by hot mint tea, cures a headache in about twenty minutes.  If that fails, call the Maker of Medicine to probe your forehead with sharp pointed shard of red glass.

SOME PEOPLE SAY to know the future is one thing, but to speak it without specific authority is to invite trouble. 

SOME PEOPLE SAY hang a white feather over the door of your house that you go into and out of the most. It will remind you of what is right.  (Such feathers come the Feather Dance after the Harvest Busk)

THERE ARE MANY, MANY MORE of these “some people say” things. This collection is but a few of the more common one for you to think about. Isn’t it interesting what one can tell from them!



Rosemary M. Maxey wrote:

Aelah! Tvktopv takpvlpakis vpēlecvt, mv "Some People Say" makē hotcē as vntotētcvt.  You people! (Eng: Oh my! I was justa rolling on the floor with laughter & hilarity because of that "Some People Say" which you sent mother Sarah and me---oh you people!) Actually, I knew many of these sayings. A few I know differently.

One I was told children should eat chicken backs to keep soldiers or warriors from eating them, lest they be shot in the back.  Soldiers or men are to eat the thighs and drumsticks so that can run fast.  Old women are to eat the wings--lactating women get chicken breast.

Heles-Hayv, it seems to me, in this scenario, that there's a ploy to keep the kids and old people from getting big pieces of meat! Of course if you get the last piece, you'll be the last one of your family left.  If you stared at someone while they were eating, you got WARTS. Hell, it wasn't until I got out of Oklahoma and into the Anglo world that I put on weight!  Of course now I'm back to eating "buffalo wings." (They more they change, they more they remain the Heles-Hayv?)

[From a wonderful letter sent by Rosemary McCombs Maxey, Creek minister (UCC) and college professor at Westminster, Maryland. She and her family enjoy the Pine Arbor writings available on the internet and her son, who is studying Medicine, visits the Busks here often.]

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