Why Elders stories/teachings are important:
Aboriginal people in Canada (Turtle Island/North America to the Indigenous people of this area), was once populated with more than 50 million people millenia ago. Much of our sacred teachings and Indigenous knowledge has been passed down through the oral tradition. At one time this knowledge was threatened by colonization and a new order. Today we recognize there is no greater bounty of Indigenous Knowledge than our living Elders. This portion of the Reconciliation Pavilion honours and recognizes that cross cultural sharing and storytelling expressed from the Aboriginal worldview is just as important an artform as all our others. We hope you enjoy what our Sacred Knowledge Keepers share with you today.
Theland and Elaine Kicknosway
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re rarely taught. Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples – which recommended education on Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in a 45 minute participatory workshop. Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance.
Anishinaabe kwe Elder Dorothy Taylor is the Founder of the Sacred Water Circle. Elder Dorothy will share the creation story about water. She will talk about the various projects related to the protection of water in her local community and region she has initiated, and how each and everyone of us can do the work for the Water she refers to as Giin gdi banim.
Alma Low is Turtle Clan from the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. As a young girl she was drawn to the scent of sweetgrass which she didn’t care for, but then her little dolls reminded her of a vanilla scent, vanilla grass, and she started to make a connection. Over 20 years ago, she and a couple of close friends created an intertribal committee on how to identify sweetgrass. Now every year Gramma Allma takes people to harvest sweetgrass just outside Ottawa. Allma will share the sacred teachings of sweetgrass along with our other 4 sacred medicines: cedar, tobacco and sage.
Traditional Inuit Knowledge Keeper, Sytukie Joamie, will talk about how keeping our Inuktitut language is the cultural link between our forefathers and to future generations.
Through the Aboriginal worldview, Christian will share the sustainable ways harvesting and hunting were utilized by Indigenous peoples for millenia. Discover how Indigenous peoples always cared for the land, knew when to harvest and hunt and were masters of their eco system and leaders in the preservation of the environment so that there would always be plenty for future generations.
Elder Tony Belcourt will share stories about the Métis, their history and culture through songs and storytelling. He will tell about the “Iron Alliance” between the Cree, Lakota, Dakota, Chippewa, Assiniboine and Métis at Buffalo Lodge Lake in about 1820. He’ll perform “The Michif Song” which he was gifted to bring to the drum in a nation to nation ceremony with the Anishinabek Nation in 2006