Last night as we shared stories around the campfire we spotted a glow of light in the dark, cloudy sky. Knowing that we were still far from any town we lay back to watch the display of northern lights. As the clouds parted we were awed by ever shifting curtains, and stabbing rays of light in the otherwise black night.
Eventually the curtains transitioned into flowing swirls of light originating overhead and sweeping across the sky towards the horizon.
How strange and mystical it is to see bright moving lights in the usually dark and static night sky.
Jacob Ostaman, Director of KI Lands and Environment, explained before we left that there are two teachings about the northern lights. One is positive, and the other negative, a common polarity in KI teachings.
The first teaching is that the northern lights happen when the spirits of the ancestors come to visit. The lights are their campfire as they sit directly above us.
The second teaching is that you can bring the northern lights closer by whistling, but you must not do that because if you are not careful you may get taken away. Many northerners report hearing a faint whistling sound accompanying the northern lights, but scientists have yet to measure any phenomenon that can explain this.
Before we left KI, Elders explained to Allan that they used to predict the weather by watching the northern lights. They say that in recent years the weather patterns are changing and that this method no longer works like it used to. KI Homeland is located at a relatively high latitude which means that it is likely to experience the impacts of global climate change early, and more severely than most other places. The close connection of KI people to the land and climate means that the disrupted weather patterns and increased volatility will hit particularly hard on KI people. An unexpected storm on the Big Trout Lake can be deadly.