Zhowshkawabunokwe miinwaa Kyla ndizhnikaaz, Waabzheshii ndoodem, Shawanaga ndoonjeba, Anishinabekwe ndaaw.
My Anishinabe name translates to Blue Dawn, my given name is Kyla. I am a member of the Marten clan, Shawanaga is my home, and I am an Anishinabekwe.
I have been working with the Biosphere for a little over a year now… there’s so much to share!
Earlier this March, GBBR hosted a mikizinke, moccasin making workshop, with Oshki Shkode (New Fire), Anishinaabeg youth from PSHS, for 5 days. We made pucker-toe moccasins with Sage Petahtegoose. Sage is a young Anishinaabekwe working for Manitobah Mukluks! Sage has roots in Wasauksing First Nation. Over the 5 days with Sage, 32 youth participated! Some finished their moccassins on their lunches and spare time, and others I will be working with to complete next fall. The pair I completed, I wore at the PSHS Pow Wow in May!
Near the end of March, the Shawanaga First Nation Healing Centre hosted GBBR and PSHS Oshki Shkode at the Ishkigamizigan, Sugar Bush. We all hauled pails of Ziinzibaakwad, maple sap, from the inininaatigak, maple trees. The Ishkigamizigan has always remained strong in continuing in an old style way, there are no lines or machines. After hauling Ziinzibaakwad from the 156+ inininaatigak, Elder Josh Pawis, and Zach Potts, sugar bush workers, showed us how to tap the tree using a negwakwaan, cedar spile, into a biskitenaagan, sap bucket made from folded birch bark. To end the day off, the Healing Centre shared a pancake lunch with us!
April signifies the beginning of pow wow mode, Oshki Shkode are finalizing pow wow preparations. Several youth of Oshki Shkode worked diligently with myself and other community members, to apply for small grants through #RisingYouth – TakingItGlobal to support the continutity of various projects such as Building Our Bridge, taking care of the big drum and making new drum sticks, and supporting Hiawatha’s Catering to mentor and provide the feast for the Pow wow.
May, was busy and rewarding! Myself and Chance King were asked by Oshki Shkode to be the head dancers for the Pow wow on May 17th. The day was a little cloudly, and the ground was wet, but it was an overall great day – espeically with Hiawatha’s catering. The elk meat balls seem to be a major hit!
June was a busy month, Oshki Shkode were wrapping up grant reporting, preparing for exams, and some were preparing for graduation. In the midst of all this, we spent a day at the Shawanaga Healing Centre to visit with Isaac Murdoch. Visitng with Isaac seems to be an annual thing for us!
I have been very fortunate and grateful, to ground my role at GBBR in Anishinaabek aadziwin, way of being/learning. For this part of cycical and seasonal learning, being it is officially summer, I have been learning more on the land with the Shawanaga Healing Centre and Lands Department offering my help for the teaching lodge. It is made out of cedar bark, iron wood, maple saplings, basswood lashings, and more!
I will have more to share next month, stay tuned!
Mno niibin, happy summer,
Miigwechwendam, I am grateful