Thursday, May 5, 2011

Circle of Life Gathering. Update

Circle of Life Gathering: Life after Addictions and Suicide
May 10th & 11th 2011
Thunderbird House
715 Main Street, Winnipeg, MB


Aaniin – Booshoo

Circle of Life Gathering: Life after Addictions and Suicide
Welcome to our Gathering.  This is a personal journey for us all. It is not the vision of one person. This journey is not meant to be a sad journey.  We are here to help, to guide, to walk with, and share a journey that we are not alone. 
The Circle of Life Gathering is about sharing. It is through the volunteers and generous spirit of others that we can join you today in this setting. This year we, our friends, our families and our community have grown. We have many people that are helping to create a healthy safe journey. We come together because of a sad occurrence, that thing being grief. We are positive that our journey can be helpful to others. We all endured a great period of grief. That Grief is due to many things; like addictions, loss of a loved one and or a suicide.  The grief of addictions, of loss and of suicide knows no boundary.  We have people from all walks of life that are here to meet, to offer advice, to share resources, to pray, and to visit with you. These people come willingly to meet and share with you.
Life after addictions and suicide can seem like the end of life for us. We end up walking in a fog. We go through the motions of living. We carry the burden of hurt, of anger, of sadness, the bitterness, the not knowing where to turn. We know what life is like with that grief. Grief comes from a lot of areas. It can come from the aftermath of addictions. The loss that addictions brings; whether that loss is material things, loss of home, loss of family, loss of self-worth and loss of life. We know what the loss of a loved one is like. That crushing feeling in your chest and the hurt so harsh that we never know if we can get passed that pain. Well there is life after addictions and loss.  That life can be a good life. 
A person once asked if speaking engagements work. “Do people benefit from the talks of others?” It is a very difficult question to answer. We believe that there is benefit from others. It can come in two ways: inspiration and awareness. Perhaps a person can gather inspiration from the life story shared with us. Better yet, you become aware of how your life is and aware of how you can start to live again. Through the sharing of your life experience, you begin to feel how there can be answers for you. That is what we are trying to share with people. We are here to share how we made a new life. It is not a life that we forget about our grief. It is sharing how we endure. It is how we found that bridge to new life.  Whether that new life is finding a cause or whether that life is becoming a better, kinder person. It is a life that only you can define.
We are pleased that you are joining us. We are very thankful for the volunteers. This is a true ‘grassroots’ initiative. It is through friendship, community connections that the Gathering is taking place. Please make sure to thank the people who have given their own time and expense to come and share with you. It is through their generosity that we are here today. We do not receive any (or expect) pay for this event.

Kizhaay Anishinaabek giinawind. (We are kind people)
Circle of Life Gathering: Life after Addictions and Suicide.

Day One:

8:00 am           Pipe Ceremony – Margaret Lavallee & Jules Lavallee
                        Open Prayer

Welcome guests.
                        Welcome Song – Roger Greene and Ernie Daniels Jr.
                        Opening remarks – MC – Brian McleodDon Courchene

9:00                 Tabosonakwut (Peter Kinew) -  A life after Addictions – The Spiritual route

10:30               Break

10:45               Brian Mcleod – Comprehensive Community Initiatives (CCI)

11:15               Jeff Brightnose – Cross Lake – The Spirit Within the Tongue

12:00               Lunch Bannock and Cold Cuts.

1:00 pm           Mr. George Chuvalo – Fight Against Drugs

2:30                 Break

2:45                 Chickadee Richard – The consequences of Addictions: From the Front Lines

3:15                 Life Circles- Sharing – Sally & Ron McDonald, Betty Laschuk, TBA

4:15                 Days Recap

6:00                 Madoodiswan  - Sweat Lodge Ceremony  -4 Sweats – Lodge Holders Ron & Sally McDonald, Ernest & Charlotte Daniels, Perry Fontaine, Chickadee Richards.

Circle of Life Gathering: Life after Addictions and Suicide.

Day Two:

8:00 am           Pipe Ceremony – Sheryl & David Blacksmith
Welcome Guests
                        Welcome Song – Little Ernest Daniels. Roger Greene
                        Opening Remarks – MC

9:00                 Betty Laschuk -  Marcheta Tanner - Working with Compassionate Friends.

9:30                 Brenda Watt – Working through the pain

10:15               Break

10:30               Theo Fleury – Don’t Quit Before The Miracle Happens

12:00               Lunch Coleen Rajotte’s film “Back to Pikangjikum”
                        Hot Lunch supplied by Volunteers and donations.

1:00                 Ron Linklater – Addictions Foundation of Manitoba

2:30                 David Blacksmith – Dealing with Suicide

3: 15                Find your Passion– examples from Sally & Ron, Tabosonakwut, Fleury, Wab, Chickadee, Jessica Burton,

4:00                 Where to From Here?

4:30                 Prayer – Margaret & Jules Lavallee

6:00                 Sweat Lodge Ceremonies.
Madoodiswan  - Sweat Lodge Ceremony  -4 Sweats – Lodge Holders

Tobasonakwut Peter Kinew: Tobasonakwut is considered to be "a teacher extraordinare" by students and faculty at universities where he has taught and at reservations and conferences where he has spoken. A fluent speaker of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway) and English, Tobasonakwut is an imaginative thinker and orator. Tobasonakwut is a pipe carrier, a member of the Mite'iwin, and a Sundancer for many years in the Anishinaabe and Lakota traditions. Tobasonakwut is a well respected leader and elder in Anishinaabe society and across Canada and the United States. He has spearheaded action to strengthen treaty rights, language and culture, and to improve the socio-economic situation of First Nations people and communities. Education:
University of Manitoba, Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics & Native Studies), 1987
Consultant to Tribes, First Nations and organizations 1970s-ongoing including Great lakes Indian Fish & Wild life Commission 1997-ongoing
Mino Aya Win Health Services, Fond du Lac, Minnesota 1992- ongoing
Walks Tall program facilitator, Duluth and Leech Lk, MN 1996-ongoingLecturer in Anishinaabemowin and Anishinaabe Philosophy, Native American Studies,
University of Minnesota 2001Instructor & Elder, Native Health & Wellness Diploma program, University of Manitoba 2001Instructor, University of Winnipeg, Western & Indigenous Philosophy Seminar 2001Elder & Advisor at Brandon University; member of advisory committee to design the Indigenous
Counseling degree program (a First in North America, based on traditional knowledge) 1998-2000University of Minnesota Scholar in Residence, Native American Studies 1998Faculty Member, Banff Institute of Management, Aboriginal Government Relations 1992, 1996, 1998

Political offices:
Grand Chief Treaty #3 1972-5; 1991-5
Executive member of the National Indian Brotherhood and the Assembly of First Nations
Regional Chief Representing 118 First Nations in Ontario 1982-3Chief & Councillor of the Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation 1970-76; 86-88

(Bio from
George Chuvalo was born in Toronto in 1937 and became Canadian amateur heavyweight champion in 1956 at age 19. He retired from boxing in 1979, but during his 23-year career he fought some of the best boxers in the world including Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Floyd Patterson, Ernie Terrell, Joe Frazier, and Jerry Quarry. In total, Chuvalo won 79 fights recording 68 wins by knockout. Known as a brutal puncher as well as one who could withstand tremendous punishment, Chuvalo was never knocked off his feet in either amateur or professional careers. He reigned as Canadian heavyweight champion for 21 years and is Canada’s most celebrated boxer in history. He had two memorable fights against Muhammad Ali: The first bout was in 1966 last fifteen rounds. The decision went to Ali but the respect of everyone who saw or heard the fight went to Chuvalo. The  second bout was in 1972 and went twelve rounds with, again, the decision going to Ali. These fights (along with Ali’s fight with Chuck Wepner), provided inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky. Chuvalo was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1997. He faced the best boxers of his time and was ranked in the top ten longer than any other heavyweight.
His performance in the ring, however, is only part of the general esteem Canadians have for this extraordinary man. As he refused to be knocked out in a fight, so he persists in standing up in life against personal devastation: He lost one son and his wife to suicide and two sons to drug overdose.Choosing life over losing, Chuvalo currently gives lectures against drug use and actively promotes his own charity, Fight Against Drugs. In 2006, an Honorary WBC Heavyweight Championship belt was presented to him in continued recognition of his fighting spirit and unwavering dedication to the prevention of drug abuse.
He was appointed Member, Order of Canada in 1998 and awarded a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2005. (Bio from Canadian Sports Hall of Fame)
Theoren Fleury: Theoren Fleury is a former NHL All-Star, Stanley Cup winner and Olympic Gold Medallist. Recently, Theo fascinated readers with his #1 bestseller, “Playing With Fire”. Now he is one of the country’s most in-demand keynote speakers. He shares funny stories behind the scenes with the game’s biggest stars. Theo tells jaw-dropping anecdotes of living hard at the top of the NHL, the crash that followed, and finally his comeback and redemption. Theo knows what it takes to become a champion, build a strong team and overcome incredible odds. His presentations entertain, motivate and inspire. (From Theo Fleury Official Website)
With the help of Kirstie McLellan Day, Fleury wrote his autobiography, Playing with Fire, which was released on October 16, 2009. In it, he alleged that he was sexually abused by Graham James over a period of two years. While he stated he "doesn't want to become the poster boy for abuse by James", Fleury hoped that speaking out might make it easier for other childhood sexual abuse victims to come forward.[131] He blamed the abuse for turning him into a "raging, alcoholic lunatic",[132] and claimed to have placed a loaded gun in his mouth and contemplated suicide in 2004.[133] He revealed that he had spent most of his income on alcohol, drugs, gambling and women.[134] Fleury also claimed that he failed 13 consecutive drug tests while playing for the Rangers, but that the league did not want to suspend him because he was a leading scorer. The league disputed this, and stated that its substance abuse program functioned appropriately.[135]
He has also begun a career as a public speaker with the hope that sharing his story will encourage others to seek help for their problems. [143]   (From Theoren Fleury Wikipedia)

Jeff Brightnose was born in Norway House', in 1962 he lived in Cross Lake till the residential school burned down he came from a broken home where he grew up in many foster homes; there came a time when he was taken away with his other siblings by an Indian agent and was taken down to the united states(the 60's scoop) he spent 16.5 years there, in and out of many Institutions this is where he was first introduced to his culture, all though he lost his language, Jeff Now lives in Cross Lake Mb as a spiritual care giver he believes that the people of the land's first languages & culture are a crucial component in their transformative learning and healing process as told to him by his grandfather. If only you could see what my spirit sees, what my body sees, not just the physical sight with your eyes, for it is then that one will understand the true meaning of healing oneself he has come to the understanding that we all have a duty, and responsibility to better our people's understanding of the language which is the key tool; understanding the parables within the mother tongue, it is through the spiritual stories and teachings that Jeff carries and wishes to share to his people Ekosani
Betty Laschuk is a long standing volunteer at the Compassionate Friends group. She is dedicated to helping others with copying with the loss of a child.
Marcheta Tanner is co-Chapter leader of Compassionate Friends of Winnipeg. Marcheta brings a warm heart to the Gathering.
Brain Mcleod – Director of the Strong Hearts Youth group. Brian is also board member of the Comprehensive Community Initiative for Addictions program. A Traditional Teacher who is always willing to help out in the community.
Ron Linklater – Ron has been involved in the Addictions field for most of his adult life. A representative of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Ron brings a wealth of knowledge regarding addictions.
Chickadee Richards – A Front line Cultural worker in a very tough field. Chickadee faces the consequences of hardship and poor choices daily. As a Cultural liaison, Chickadee is the support person for people incarcerated. She has come face to face with suicide of young people. Her compassion is vital for her work and her life.
Brenda Watt – Brenda is a strong Aboriginal woman that shares her experience with people and is always willing to assist those in need.
Sally McDonald – A Teacher and a student of Aboriginal Teachings. Sally willing shares her knowledge and personal journey with those that she encounters. She reaches out in the community to help people. Sally continues to work in the community and volunteers for the betterment of people. Sally has a strong Traditional knowledge of Teachings.
Ron McDonald – A Traditional Teacher and a Traditional Dancer. Ron is a very knowledgeable and generous individual. He is willing to help out when the need arises. Ron is a very humble Teacher with a vast amount of knowledge. He continues to Teach others by doing. Ron is married to Sally.
David Blacksmith – A Traditional Teacher and well respected Aboriginal representative. David has traveled extensively working with many Aboriginal communities throughout Canada. David brings a forthright view of the world. He is sought out for the Teachings he carries and for his work with Healing.
Margaret Lavallee – An Elder, originally from Sagkeeng Ojibway Nation. Margaret continues to work in the community and openingly shares her knowledge with others.
Jules Lavallee - Jules Lavallee was born in St. Laurent Manitoba in 1941. He was raised in a Métis lifestyle of fishing, hunting and trapping and was taught by his family a rich and beautiful way of Métis life and everything that has to do with the culture (language, foods and customs). 
Jules remembers the small houses usually filed with many children as large families were the norm in St. Laurent. At no time was there ever a sense of needing or wanting anything. Sadly, Jules moved away from St. Laurent in 1952 at the age of 11 to River Camp, Manitoba, a military base. Given English was the only language spoken, Jules had to learn English so he could attend school.  After high school in 1959, Jules moved to Winnipeg Manitoba where he began a life on his own as a young 18 year old adult. Jules is a pipe carrier and sweatlodge conductor and was appointed in 2004 as a Elder-in-Residence at Red River College where he still works today.  (from Red River Community College)
Ernest Daniels – Ernest is from Sagkeeng Ojibway Nation. He is an Elder with humble beginnings. Ernest is always open to sharing and helping out whenever he can.  Ernest continues to work in the social arena, Teaching and listening with all those around him.
Charlotte Daniels – An Elder originally from Swan Lake First Nation. Charlotte is the daughter of a well respected and knowledgeable Elder Joe Esquash. Charlotte is an Elder that works with people struggling with their mistakes and consequences. A
Don Courchene – An educated and experience manager. Don comes with an open agenda to help others. His knowledge of organizations and human resources is fundamental in working with groups and individuals. Don is vital to organization and helping with logistics of the Gathering.
Wab Kinew (pron: WOB ka-NOO) is a one-of-a-kind musical talent, becoming one of the artists to watch for from the Western Provinces. He is a hip-hop artist and CBC radio producer/host based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Wab exemplifies what it means to be multicultural in Canada today, holding both a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and training in the traditional Medicine ways of his Anishinaabe people. (
Sherryl Daniels – A Spiritual Advisor who works with Corrections. Sherryl has a long history of working and helping out in Ceremony. Sherryl has the knowledge of Old Teachings passed on from her Grandfather. Sherryl is a mother, grandmother and a Traditional Teacher.
Without the volunteers the Gathering could not happen. We need to say thank you to those that are here but may not be visible at this moment. Kitchi Meegwech. A Big Thank You. 
Without the kindness and generousity of individuals, we cannot go forward with this Gathering. We need to say thank to those individuals, those individuals behind agencies, those that took the time to consider our Gathering. Kitchi Meegwech. A Big Thank You. There are many of you and we are sorry we missed a few of you:
Sagkeeng Health Centre – Ken Courchene
Sagkeeng Community – Chief & Council
Kirk Guimond
Thunderbird House – Stephanie Eyolfson, Chrissy Gauthier, Rose Thomas
Comprehensive Community Initiative – Brian Mcleod – Board
SPEAK – Jessica Burton
ARBOC – Larry Solider
Larry Morrissette
Melanie Daniels
Edwin Twoheart
Barry Anaquod
Perry Fontaine
Sean Vanwalleghem
CMMK Design – Corrine
Paul Daniels
Sal Infantino – Xcues Cafe

Ceremony Protocol:
Please conduct yourself with compassion.
Be kind and considerate to your fellow attendees.
Keep your area clean and help out when you can.
Be respectful of those around you and to the facility.

Silence your Cell phones.

Remove your shoes


  1. Mr. Ernest Danials, you remember me I took park in many ceremonies and with your teaching gave it up to the creator. My name is Michael Cullinan, and wish for my fellow first nations, to rally for my wrongful conviction, were even Louis Riel went through the same thing initailly that I did, but when the next rebellion when cought again chose death instead. While in custudy there many wrongs where done agianst many of us Natives, with whatever you can do like pray, help make a stand against abuse against us natives past or present. The Lawyer involved is Hersh Walsh of Calgary and I believe he is the indivdual that will make a great difference. Thank you.

  2. Sorry for the news but Mr Ernest Daniels passed away last year. He was a good person.