Women are medicine pickers in Ojibwe culture, and they are taught never to pick the cedar hearts. Therefore, Du Vernet makes an accurate observation when he writes about cedar “tips.” Cedar is used to ward away bad spirits and as a refreshing, deodorizing agent, due to its fragrant scent. During winter months cedar tips are used to refresh the home.
Du Vernet describes seeing cedar tips in one of the log houses in Long Sault. He found the house together with Jeremiah, when escaping the mosquitos in the woods. Inside the house he saw a large drum, and Du Vernet speculated that the log house was used as a medicine tent or a long tent. He noticed in particular that the floor was covered with cedar matting, and surmised the cedar marked the spot where people would sit and dance during the ceremony.
With the help of Jeremiah and Mary, as well as the Ojibwe men and women he met, Du Vernet developed a limited ability to read the material culture of the Ojibwe for clues to their ceremonial lives.