Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Circle of Life Gathering: Healing Our Grief

March 27, 2012

Re: Circle of Life Gathering: Healing Our Grief After Suicide Loss

Hello Folks;

This is the third year of our four year journey. We are hosting a Gathering for Survivors of Suicide this May 29 and 30th, 2012. The journey is a personal journey for many of us. We are Survivors. A loved One of ours has passed on by way of taking their life. We started this journey with the intent to let people know that they are not alone. There are others that are trying to cope with the loss due to suicide. It is a difficult journey but one that is filled with hope. It is a hope that others will come out and share, while lending us a helping hand and helping others as well.

The theme of this years’ Gathering is Healing our Grief. Elder Kinew has pointed us in that direction. There will be more open and sharing forums for the people at the Gathering. We will have Traditional Elder Ron McDonald and his wife Sally to share how they are walking through their grief. Donald Courchene hass begun the information sharing with the public. A few entities have come forth with donations to help with the Gathering. The success of the Gathering has been through the generousity and kindness of others. This year Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation will be donating one thousand towards the costs. CTV had donated a four hour hot air balloon ride. Manitoba Hydro has donated 2 backpacks. Sally McDonald has promised two Star Blankets. David and Sheryl Blacksmith have donated a number of art prints. Edwin Twoheart has made two Single Eagle fans. Stephanie Eyolfson at Thunderbird House has again donated the use of their building for the Gathering. Jackie Traverse is donating art work for Give-Away. Susan Courchene, with her friends continue to support the Gathering with the preparation of food and labour. We have commitments to help the Gathering from Chickadee Richards, Mitch Bourbonnier, Cheryl James, Billie Schibler and David Blacksmith. The Gathering is always looking for more help.

We spoke with Gerald Folster from Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. Gerald has a Ceremony called the Medicine Tree Ceremony for people who have lost someone to suicide. He is willing to participate in the Gathering and do the Ceremony. Corinne Kennedy of CMK Design is working on a poster. Donald has been corresponding with Wendy Hill of Ontario to participate in the Gathering. In the past we have brought in many guest speakers from various places, but this year we are focusing on local people to lead the Gathering. Been also speaking with Bertha Fontaine of Native Addiction Council of Manitoba and they are interesting in taking part at the Gathering.

We will keep you updated as to the Gathering’s progress. Feel free to contact us at We would like to hear from you about the Gathering.



“They keep telling us that we have no control to stop this demon of suicide, and they’re lying to our faces. They gotta be stopped. HE’S gotta be stopped. He needs to understand that he causes the very problem that he writes about–the type of person who convinces us that we cannot help us. That we cannot find the answers within.”
–TRAUMA– by Gyasi Ross

We have been very fortunate to have lots of people supporting this Gathering. We of course go hat in hand looking for help. Individuals and some organizations have been very supportive. We  send out lots of requests for help. The response is very good.  

One of our letters looking for donations. :)

April 18, 2012
(Business identified)


Re:      Circle of Life Gathering – Life After Addictions and Suicide Sponsorship

This is a letter of introduction and request for a financial or in-kind contribution.  The Circle of Life Gathering is in its third year of occurrence.  The gathering was first started in 2010 as a result of the numerous deaths of young people attributed to suicide.  Suicide has no boundaries and can be contagious in some communities.  The initial Survivors of Suicide Gathering was a gathering of people who had lost loved ones to suicide and for people who wanted to share their efforts for bringing awareness to suicide and comfort for those that had lost loved ones.

The gathering is strictly a volunteer effort; the coordinators of the gathering receive or seek no compensation for their hard work in bringing this gathering to its happening.  Steve  is the main organizer of the event, with the assistance from Don Courchene and the spiritual guidance and assistance from Elder Peter Kiniew. Together they coordinate the event and seek donations for the event.  The gathering is not affiliated with any organization, political or service delivery agency, but attempts to be inclusive of some groups that offer services and support to individuals seeking emotional and spiritual guidance and assistance.  The Thunderbird House has generously donated the use of its facility for the event.  We have received personal donations from individuals and agencies that support such an endeavor to bring attention and focus on the issue of addictions and suicide.  TBH (a registered Charitable organization) administers donations on behalf of the Circle of Life Gathering.

The past event witnessed personal accounts of the devastation suicide and addictions have on the people left behind.  We were fortunate to have a funding agent fund the cost of bringing in two dynamic speakers last year, George Chuvalo and Theo Fleury.  Mr Chuvalo is a long time speaker on suicide and Fleury was a professional hockey player who had is career end as a result of his addictions.  Both delivered emotional speeches that enlightened the people at the gathering.  The gathering also made available sweat lodges for those wishing to seek healing through the sweat lodge.  Some of the First Nation high schools sent their students to the gathering to hear firsthand of the devastation of suicide and addictions.

The gathering is free to attend for any individual but we have limited space because of the facility in which we are fortunate enough to be able to use.  The gathering is evolving and has received attention from various service delivery agencies but we are not practitioners and attempt to offer no “how to” advice in suicide prevention.  We believe by bringing people to the gathering they can share their experiences with others and they can be spokespeople in trying to address suicide and addictions in their communities.

One of the groups we include in the gathering is Compassionate Friends, a volunteer group that helps people who have lost loved ones through different unfortunate circumstances.  We this year have accepted the volunteer services of Mr. David Blacksmith to act as the emcee of the gathering, Mr. Blacksmith is a well-known spiritual healer.  Some First Nations would like to bus their students to the event, some from as far away as Cross Lake.  Suicide has devastated some of the remote First Nations in northern Manitoba and we simply want to be able to demonstrate to the students that people care and are willing to share experiences. 

The gathering is scheduled for May 29th and 30th, 2012.  (Amount of type of donation looking for inserted here)   Should you wish to discuss this matter in person with our council, we would be pleased to meet with you at your earliest convenience and can be reached at (204) 470-5207.

Yours truly,


  1. Will write this event down and send prayers for you and this event. Blessings

  2. Thank you for the support.