The Burden Basket: Medicine of Self Reliance

I personally love the Sacred Path medicine of The Burden Basket.  The message is to pull from your own inner-strength and to become self-reliant. By trusting in yourself to find your own answers and letting go of your burdens, you can conquer the world.  Our problems stop being burdens when solutions are found.

The Burden Basket teaches us not to leave our troubles at the door of another. If we rely on ourselves and our connection to the Great Spirit we learn to stretch into our own unique potential.  If we become confused and we seek counsel, we should always use the advice given.  We should not waste the time of others if we do not intend to respect and honor the wisdom given to us.  We should also know that it is not our job to solve the problems of others. In doing so, we rob them of their right to self-reliance.

While we walk through our lifetime, we only carry the burdens we wish to carry. If we find pleasure or a feeling of importance because we have so much to handle, then we need to look seriously at our ideas of self-importance.  The lesson of the Burden Basket is that we are all self-reliant and should use our own talents to find our own solutions.

Before the First People were forced onto reservations, Burden Baskets were used to gather wood by the women of the tribes. This wood would be used for cooking fires and Grandmother Fires to heat the inside of the lodges.  The heating fires were so named because the wood was small enough that even a Grandmother could carry it. The wood was placed in the Burden Basket to free the hands to gather and collect items for cooking.

Native women were not asked to bear a burden heavier than their Burden Basket could handle.  When not in use, the Burden Basket was hung outside of the home to serve another purpose.  Native American etiquette differs from other cultures and the Burden Basket played a role in a custom honored by all Tribal members.

Before entering the home, all burdens were to be placed in the Burden Basket outside. Leave your complaints and problems outside, please.  It is not polite to bring those troubles into the Sacred Space of the family you are visiting. The Burden Basket becomes a symbol of the internal strength of knowing how to keep your own counsel and not to inflict our burdens onto the shoulders of others.

It takes a strong heart to feel compassion for the burdens of others and not to take the burdens on as our own.

Burden Baskets were used for utilitarian means but also as a Guardian of the homes. Giving balance to the tribe as a whole and a reminder of respecting the happiness and privacy of those around us.

The wonderful photo of a Native American Woman with her Burden Basket was used with permission from First People.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related.