Two weeks ago my Grandfather, Andre "Greywolf" Forest passed away. He was the spearhead of the spiritual movement within my family. As a child growing up, it was forbidden for him to talk about his Native roots. When his son, my uncle, Don "Standing Bear" Forest was in his 20's he had a deep calling within himself that led him down a spiritual path of digging and uncovering who we really were. Years of genealogy work traced our roots and history to the Northwestern tribes of the Sou'West Nova Metis, Abenaki, MicMaq, and Huron tribes. With this new information and deep calling within our family, Standing Bear and Greywolf turned to Native practice and spirituality and I was brought up steeped in this tradition. My grandfather was a great man. I spent many, many weekends dancing and drumming with him at powwows and listening intently to his stories about the earlier days. My grandmother, Ester "Night dancer" and Greywolf were 2 of the most compassionate people I have ever met. Throughout their life, they raised 4 children and had over 50 foster children along with a sled dog team. At his service the other week, hundreds of people showed up to pay their respects and sing the MicMaq honor song. As the line of people went by, the room was filled with hand drums and people exchanging prayer ties and offering tobacco to his alter. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life, I have tears in my eyes now thinking about it. It was a huge honor to be a part of this ceremony and to stand by my uncle, Standing Bear's side as we sent his spirit up to the Creator.
Pepe, Grandfather, Greywolf, may the Creator hold you in his hands, may your spirit talk to us through the wind, and the trees, and the four-legged, may we feel your heartbeat within the sacred drum and may our prayers be brought to you through the tobacco smoke within the sacred pipe.
There's a word in the Micmaq language, Aquini (pronounced aqua-knee), meaning until we meet again.
Aquini Greywolf, your spirit lives on in every song, every beat of the drum, every red tail hawk in the sky, and every cool mountain breeze.