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Apprenticing - I am not accepting new apprentices at this time.

Apprenticing in Bear Spirit Medicine Lodge Traditional Blackfoot Medicine Ways
In the early 1990's I was taken by my Blackfoot teachers and initiated as a healer. At that time I was instructed and blessed to teach these sacred Blackfoot ways to those Creator would bring to me.  If you feel called to walk the healer's path, I offer traditional American Indian apprenticeship with its extended, indeterminate, commitment of time. In apprenticing you agree to sit with me on a regular basis, participate in a monthly peer group training, and in other training and ceremonial/ritual experiences. I do not readily accept apprentices. When I do, I set preparatory tasks (such as attending the ManKind Project or the Woman Within weekends which I perceive as initiatory) for them to accomplish during a beginning, pre-apprentice time.
I am available to apprentice individuals who have a strong sense of call to the work of a tradition medicine ways healer and who are willing to change how they perceive and walk in this world. I look for individuals with maturity in self knowledge and understanding. The ability to make a dedicated commitment to the work and its’ required availability in time and personal presence is vital. I do require initiation into womanhood/manhood (See above- talk to me before seeking such an initiation). I require the ability and willingness to change, especially in your world view. I expect each apprentice to do the work given them. If you are called to this work and the personal healing it brings or are curious about apprenticing and want to talk with me, you may set up an appointment to sit with me, Chuck Skelton, by email at info@bearspiritmedicinelodge.org or by telephone at 847 869-2873.
What is Apprenticing: Traditionally, apprentices in native healing ways align themselves with a healer whom they trust to supervise their overall growth. The bond between healer and apprentice is profound and not to be taken lightly. Traditional healers do not readily accept students. There may be an extensive time of testing the apprentice's intention and commitment before the dynamic stage of learning begins. This preparation period is considered essential, a time in which the prospective apprentice learns patience, respect, and perhaps most importantly, how to receive traditional knowledge


American Indian healers are traditionally trained as apprentices over an indeterminate, extended period of time. Traditional native apprenticing in medicine ways is not a class room situation. Apprenticing is not participating in a skills program. It is neither competency nor time limited. It is a walking together in life of apprentice, healer and Spirit. 
Although American Indians have adopted written language, native medicine continues to be an oral tradition. The wisdom of the elders is shared through sitting with a healer who offers story, ritual, ceremony and experience. The sacred knowledge, which has survived the last 35,000 years or more, is never separated from its natural context. Proficiencies such as ceremonial/ritual healing, hands-on healing or soul retrieval require finely tuned senses and the ability to commune with spirits and with nature. Only through experience can apprentices learn the intuition adeptness and spiritual awareness that are necessary for successful healing in the system of medicine ways. The chosen healer judges the readiness of an apprentice to begin the path and practice of native medicine.
Current Schedule Information: The Chicago apprentices currently meet one Sunday day of each month from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM (see calendar). The North Carolina apprentices currently  meet one Saturday and Sunday of each month from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM daily. These apprentice circle meetings are for the building of community, for learning experiences and for developing healing skills. Each individual apprentice is expected to sit with me privately for healing, instruction and guidance on a regular basis.
Apprentices are expected to attend and participate in scheduled public ceremony and rituals for their training and growth, as they are able. Apprentices are expected to eventually take on the leadership of ceremony and other healing rituals as they acquire the experience and understanding to do so.

Requesting Apprenticeship:
I do not solicit nor do I ask individuals to apprentice. As a person feels called they approach me and request apprenticeship. Requesting apprenticeship in a respectful way. It is traditional to offer a small gift of tobacco wrapped in red cloth upon requesting apprenticeship. Offering tobacco is a native way of expressing sincerity, humility and respect. Tobacco is a sacred herb often used in prayer. And red cloth symbolizes the sacredness of the action taken. Any type of tobacco is acceptable. It is not about the expense of the tobacco, but in the way it is offered.
Bear Spirit Medicine Lodge email: info@bearspiritmedicinelodge.org