Treaty 2 Territory – My current role with Treaty 2 Territory as a Health and Wellbeing Helper and Intergovernmental Helper can be very busy, stressful and steady. As such, it was appreciated to be allowed to take 2 weeks for land-based healing from September 5-16th.
As fall approaches it is a good time to reflect on the land, appreciate its beauty and healing properties while participating in various healing activities before the snow comes. These activities provided me with much needed rejuvenation for my spirit, the body, the mind and the emotions so that I could come back motivated and energized. As a mother, as an employee, and as an Ikwe – I forget to stop and take a moment to reflect and gift myself the time for myself.
It is important to remember we need to optimize and maintain a balance of our personal health and wellbeing and these 2 weeks provided that time to do so. Finding and taking advantage of time to care for ourselves will help to destress, foster our gifts, grieve, heal, meditate, laugh, play, dance, sing, walk, paint, imagine and create. This was a time to visit family and friends I have not seen since the last 2 years being in isolation from the pandemic. I find we are like the bear coming out of hibernation as we go back to our normal pace of life since the pandemic.
I am also a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and 2SL+ (MMIWG2S) family member who tragically lost my sister Jennifer in 2013 and aunt Jennifer in 1980. Since that time, I continue to heal and grieve on a personal level in many ways from their loss and the terrible trauma it resulted in.
I attended a “Painting in the Park” through Ka Ni Kanichihk’s Medicine Bear Counselling program on September 13th in Kildonan Park. The day was a cool beautiful and sunny summer day. The fresh air was refreshing as I got to see other families I have not met before or have not seen in a long time. We were provided wonderful nourishment as we ate outdoors. The painting instructor Kisa was wonderful and encouraged us to use our imagination and creativity to paint a beautiful moon and background. Whatever we wanted. She reminded us that Art is Medicine which to me it is as I love to do crafts and design during my personal time. The wind began to pick up towards the end blowing items around but to me it felt like spirits were playing with us.
When I came home I hung my painting on the wall to remind me of the healing time I had, to breathe, to enjoy the grandmother full moon every time I look at it.
Another beautiful land-based activity that I participated in was on September 18th. My sister and I attended the MMIWG Liaison Unit’s healing gathering for families and survivors called “Looking after our Mother Earth in a Goodway”. It was held at a First Nation camp outside the city on our ancestor’s land and territory. It had rained the two days before and on this day the sun was out and the ground slightly wet, the fresh air and scent of the wet ground was wonderful warming my sprit with each breath. I could smell the surrounding smudge of medicines and herbs encircling in the camp and was welcomed by many helpers and support staff. One of the first things we saw entering the camp was three tipis and a Sweat lodge. I felt like I was at home.
Fred Stevens prepared Thunderbird Smudge for all of us providing us with ancient teachings of all the medicines and herbs that went into it which were harvested from the land. After, we were provided each some Thunderbird Smudge to take home to use for prayer and strength during times of pain and hardship. Medicines and herbs to me are important to have in my spiritual bundle that has carried me in hard times and to stay in spiritual balance.
We then had a sharing circle where I had the chance to detox my body by crying and releasing emotional and spiritual pain through my tears. I prayed over the sacred fire afterwards and laid my tissue I used for my tears into the fire so that my pain in the tears would be released into the spiritual realm. It was a beautiful moment to release this to help me stay in balance and pray for my loved ones.
We then prepared a moccasin kit with the grandmother who is in an expert in making moccasins. I love how the grandmother passed along her knowledg, gifts and talents to us so that we can carry on this skill, and we get to make our own moccasins. The smell of the leather was smokey and I was left to remind myself and give thanks to the animal that gave up themselves so that we could protect our feet. I have not finished making them but plan to in the near future.
Throughout the day we were nourished with healthy snacks and lunch and supported by the MMIWG Liaison Unit Staff, Grandmothers and Elders. It was a good day to be outside and be provided with spiritual, mental, emotional and physical healing activities. Most of all, it is healing being with other families I never met before, while it is a tragedy on what brought us together, there is comfort in being around those who understand pain and we can help each other through it. It gives me strength to continue to do my work in a good way, to carry on with advocacy, and be strong for my family.
I took the rest of the time I had off to rest and reflect on my life. I also went for walks outside and honored to have attended one of my best friend’s wedding that was held outdoors to see them united in love.
At the end of the two weeks, I would like to encourage and recommend that everyone take some time for land-based activities to reconnect with Mother Earth, the air, the wind, and the sun. It is healing, refreshing and will provide one with energy and balance. It is also a reminder to appreciate the land and all it comes with and to also protect it so that we will be able to harvest and above all, balance our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being – in our effort to reach Mino-bimaadiziiwn. It is critical to integrate this element into the law development that I have the chance to work on.
Intergovernmental/Health and Wellbeing Helper
Last modified: October 7, 2022