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Aside from Naomi, only Saul can perceive the spiritual significance of Gods Lake. The other family members are willing to follow Naomi to the lake, and they listen to the stories she tells as she tries to prepare them for their experience at Gods Lake, but only Saul embraces the knowledge in the stories, and connects with the spirits of their ancestors through vision. Naomi warns her family that Gods Lake has a “powerful presence” (18). She tells them of a “Long Ago time before the Zhaunagush” ‘white man,’ when Ojibway “people relied on intuition – the great spirit of thought,” and could hear “the rocks…sing” (18). Saul carries Naomi’s stories in his heart, and when he is alone he develops a personal ritual based on these stories. He “close[s his] eyes,” listens to the “breeze,” and lets his intuition guide his “breath” (22). Saul accesses his gift of sight, and sees his ancestors. He learns that the lake “belongs to” the Indian Horse “family” because a branch of the Indian Horse “family” once “died there” in a rockslide, and their spirits remain at the lake (22-25). Saul is “comfort[ed]”
100 by this vision, and the ritual he develops from Naomi’s stories becomes an important component in the development of his gift of sight, his survival, and his eventual healing process (25). Naomi continues Saul’s cultural education when they are forced to make their way to “Minoose,” where her “brother’s son…lives,” because winter arrives and Saul’s parents have not returned (35). She tells Saul stories of their people through the night. One story is about “the Star People” who arrived “Long Ago,” and “brought teachings, secrets of the cosmos and the basis of [Ojibway] spiritual[ity]” (40). Naomi’s stories provide Saul with a rich history of his people. She witnesses the effects of residential school upon her children’s generation, and knows Saul needs to establish a healthy relationship with his Ojibway identity before he too is sent to the schools. Murdena Marshall states: “children need to know their ancestral teachings before jumping without a parachute into another culture,” and that “[s]tories are the main vehicle of instruction and guidance and thus a vital tool at all stages of life development, but especially during the early years of childhood and adolescence where such guidance affects life choices” (21). Naomi stops along a riverbank to help Saul develop his gift of sight. She claims she is lost, and asks Saul to find a “trail” Shaboogeesick once “cut” so they can continue forward (40). Saul sees nothing at first, but he uses the ritual he is developing. He “close[s his] eyes,” listens to “the hiss of the river coursing past the rocks,” breathes in “deep[ly],” lifts his face upwards, and hears a voice “from the trees” call his name (40). Saul “open[s] his eyes” and notices “a…bellying in the snow…so slight” it is “nearly invisible” (40). Saul is only eight years old, yet with Naomi’s guidance he develops a spiritual ritual that enables him to connect with the natural environment, and this enables him to sense the spirits of his