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Writing on Stone: The Mystery of the Rocks

Writing on Stone Provincial Park holds the secrets of the past with the largest concentration of native rock art in the North American Plains. As hoodoos and cliffs hover over the Milk River the Blackfoot have a special name  Aisinai’pi – “it has been written.”

This is a sacred place where  The Blackfoot would visit for vision quests in which was the ultimate test of self-sacrifice for their creator.  It is on the cliffs and rocks young men would sit without food, water, or shelter, waiting  to be granted a vision of their destiny.

writing on stone

As you climb the rocks and admire the views from the cliffs catching a glimpse of a swooping hawk pouncing on its prey. You can feel a sense of mystery of what was, what is, and what will be in the beautiful setting over the Milk River. The stories that unfold from the pictographs of great battles and symbols of change represent a history that was long before us.

horses a symbol for change

These carvings will be here long after us as time moves forward the mysteries hidden from within the sacred rocks.

milk river 2

Many of the Blackfoot of high stature were buried within the cliffs watching over the river and it is believed the spirits are the creators of the carvings of the rock.  They leave small whispers and traces of the past that never will be forgotten. As time moves forward and we make that turn around the bend who knows what whispers will be left as our own mark to future generations.

If you had one symbol that told the story of your life – what would it be?

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Darcie Cameron is a RYT 200 who believes Yoga is a gift that is accessible to everyone with proper modifications, a patient smile and just taking the time to breathe. One of the greatest presents you will ever unwrap is when you connect your mind, body and spirit in perfect sync with your own breath. Connect with Darcie on Facebook

21 replies

  1. “Writing on stones” would be a good symbol. But the better one would be to be remembered as “Nitsiitapi” or that is to be ‘a real human being.’

    To be specific: to be open to the mysteries of the natural world and it’s manifestations, to be sensitive, aware of the manifold possibilities of seeing the world, to be free and unhampered in one’s thinking, to be generous and kind in regard to others, to let everything have it’s own voice

      1. Blackfoot elder Agnes Wells (from Badger Creek) told me about writing on stones from oral history many years ago. Her English was limited and my Blackfoot was never that good but this is what I understand from her:

        There were gifted people with an ability of sight, used a special location there to gaze into the distance, to look for people or see what was happening elsewhere. Actually they looked at a particular portion of the cliffside which revealed the story. This was accomplished with ceremony. After, the history was recorded as you say ‘it has been written.’ That this is credited to the spirit is no accident, the people did not see themselves in any modern egoic way.

        Lost families (vanished people) and events of every nature important to know were recorded here. The ceremony and gift of knowledge attending this phenomena is no longer with anyone we know of in modern times but the ‘spirit’ (an all encompassing intelligence governing all of life) lives in those places which remain undisturbed. This ‘spirit’ manifests to those sensitive to life as related to the word ‘nitsiitapi’ and what it meant to be a real human being, to let everything have its voice inclusive of every life form accorded a sacred respect no different to our modern view of human life is (or should be) sacred.

        A person who lives the philosophy of nitsiitapi should be gifted with an awareness of the ‘na’aks’ which is something similar ‘elementals’ in European folklore, i.e. the life spirit of the grasses, trees, stones and moving waters, all inter-related and a part of every ancient Blackfoot life

        Yes, the only way we should all live…

      2. I would have loved to have listened to someone who knew so much about the history and culture. Did you study the Blackfoot language growing up?

        If we all embraced life this way perhaps more people would be apt to cherish nature instead of allowing it to exploited.

  2. I have never read about this park before. It sounds like somewhere that I’d love to visit. I’m always drawn to places with good energy + interesting history. As for what might be my symbol, I don’t know. Great question, but I don’t have an answer at the moment. Will think on it.

    1. It is a very neat park and interesting to visit for the weekend. The warmer days of summer I guess the river is perfect for tubing. A great way to cool off after a wandering about in the morning.

  3. This was history made beautiful, The fate of the America’s indigenous people is a horror story almost without parallel. Much of it perpetrated in the name of Christ, which always gives me pause for thought.

  4. Beautiful! As for a symbol, I think I would have to go with the beach… but then again maybe a question mark is more fitting!

  5. I only a month or so ago learned the word “hoodoo” and read about the various formations in New Mexico. I didn’t realize that they stretched so far north, although it makes perfect sense.

    For some years I used to go to a place in the country where there was a cabin, a spring-fed creek and a whole lot of trees and wildlife. We’d kept it simple – no electricity, running water, etc. People native to the area obviously had camped there next to the water source, as there were cooking mounds and lots of evidence of flint tools, arrowheads and such being made.

    There were times when the presence of those people was unbelievably strong. It was as though, at death, they’d simply sunk into the earth and permeated it with their spirit. Your place reminds me of that.

  6. “It is on the cliffs and rocks young men would sit without food, water, or shelter, waiting to be granted a vision of their destiny.” Belle, I have never heard it said like that before. Sent chills up my spine.

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