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Article: Spiritualism

The spiritual connection between the life force of man and animal was very essential.

The men thought this spiritual connection lead them to the animals and the animals reciprocated by allowing themselves to be approached by the hunters and give their lives. The Dene people practiced the right way of living on the land, because there is a strong belief; if the rules are broken, the animals would be upset and they would take themselves away from the Denesuøine and they would starve. There were many gifted and powerful medicine people in Dene society, but two brave men stand out more than others. It is not appropriate to tell stories about these spiritual men unless a person is in the position to do so with all the accurate details of their life, certainly a woman is not allowed to speak of them however, the literal translation of their Dene names can be provided. These two men were ¿enekwi ¿edeøkal and setsié ¿egor, the meaning of these names in English are ¿enekwi ¿edeøkal, meaning, " one who flies as the Eagle" and Setsié ¿egor, meaning "grandfather, caribou hip joint". These Indian names were given according to reputation, personality, trait or appearance, the children were closely observed during childhood and then an elder relative would give the person his or her name. The Denesuøine believed in the importance of a name. They believed that a name gave a person character and that that person must live up to the meaning of the name chosen for them in their culture. Power was acquired at the metaphysical level. A medicine man or women was chosen through a repetition of dreams and in dreams they were honoured to represent their people as shamans.

The person was given the choice to follow or to say no, it was rare for a person to decline such an offer unless he/she was advised otherwise, because it was believed that in refusing you could offend the spirit sent to you as a guide to help you. Medicine "fighting" was rare among the Dene people, but was certainly known. There are different kinds of medicine people, there is the jester for instance; one who would walk around only in the summer and cure people with different herbs and plants. He/she would dress up in caribou hides and dance around the camp and look for people to cure. The gifted person could perform at a tea dance or at a hand game gathering. A young woman at their time of puberty was not allowed to look at the jester, her power could weaken the medicine and cause sickness in the community. The prophet was another medicine specialist; who could see into the future and warn the people of coming events. The people depended on him in harsh times because he led the hunters to the caribou. Even when game was scarce, he warned the people about what he saw in his dreams of harsh winters, and enemies. These prophets could even call the lost soul of a person so he/she could find their way back to the people. The medicine men and women acquired special gifts through dreams and with the aid of an animal helper, called "Ük'qzé" meaning the" next dimension or a shadow". It has been told that the chosen people had to overcome many obstacles once he/she has decided to take on the gift followed by isolation of fasting and chant prayer to locate the animal aid. This was to purify the soul and body in preparation for vision quests spiritual travel and to become acquainted with the other side.