Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sundance in Manitoba

Sundance 2012, Starts Thursday, Highway # 5 South up to Epinette Creek. Posted signs for the Sundance. South of Carberry Manitoba. Spruce Woods Park.

Spruce Woods Sundance Itinerary
Wednesday, June 08/11 to Sunday, June 12/11
Out of respect for the many new dancers and visitors we have to our Sundance, we have opted to distribute this document to better prepare everyone. Although some Traditional people and groups may not agree with what we do at our Lodge, our Elders and the Grandfathers support our embracing of technology to get the word out to the People. We respect the opinions and views of those who disagree and we only ask that they respect ours.

Very Important: There will no longer be a communal kitchen. Each camp/person is responsible for feeding themselves except for sponsored feasts. Each person is also expected to bring a feast kit with their own plate, bowls, cup and utensils. This is in accordance with our Sundance teacher’s desire to be kinder to the Earth.

Wednesday, June 8th – Camp Day

On this day, people begin arriving and setting up their camps. No open fires are permitted; you must obtain a portable fire pit from the park office. Your camp is responsible for returning it. Everyone is expected to help build the giant tipi late afternoon.

Thursday, June 9th – Last Sundance Meeting

People will continue to arrive and set up their camps. Those who have completed their camps are expected to help complete the giant tipi before sundown.

Everyone at camp is expected to come into the giant tipi at sundown for the last Sundance Meeting. For those dancers who have not made any of the 3 previous meetings, you MUST be present at this meeting. Every camp/family is expected to make a food contribution to the potluck feast.

Friday, June 10th – Tree and Lodge Day

Sunrise (approx 6 a.m.) – Sunrise and Nest Ceremony
• 7 Men who have lost a parent will gather the Thunderbird Nest. All dancers are expected to be present to greet the nest.

7:00 a.m. Tree Ceremony
• Everyone expected to participate
• Women will dig hole and make a bed for the tree (bed made up of blankets)
• Men will locate the tree and bring him to the lodge from the south
• Women will dress David in the Sundance Tree’s cloth so that he can greet the tree (assign 2 men to stand between him and the hole)
• The tree will be placed on the bed
• Excess limbs removed and stump painted.
• Men will carve the lightning and Thunderbird on each side of tree (bring sharp knives)
• Women will paint the lightning and Thunderbird blue
• Tree measured for height
• Men make Thunderbird nest and attach to tree
• Women will dress up the tree in the cloth
• Offerings (ribbon, tobacco, food, sweetgrass) placed in hole
• Men raise and straighten tree (long sturdy ropes needed)
• Main tobacco offering – everyone attends and makes their offering of pouch/tin of tobacco (someone collects wrappers, containers)
• Main tobacco offering wrapped in white cloth and a virgin male is assigned to be the climber. He will scale the tree and attach the main tobacco offering.
• The tree is feasted with fruit, rice and raisins and tea.

11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Building of the Lodge
• George Muswagon will lead the men in constructing lodge. Men will need axes, shovels, and fencepost diggers.
• A Woman will be announced as to who will lead the women in collecting the strapping needed to construct the lodge. Each woman will require a sharp knife.
• Patrick Scott will take some men and get firewood.

4:00 p.m. Sweating the Dancers
• Each dancer will attend and partake in at least two rounds of a sweat. The sweats will be conducted by whom the Sundance chief chooses.

6:00 p.m. Dancers last Meal/Lighting of Sacred Fire
• Feast will be catered. Potluck is still recommended for those who want “Special” Dishes such as wild meat.

7:00 p.m. – Sundance starts
• Dancers will place their bedding, etc at the edge of the boundary line
• Dancers must have red wrap (men), skirt or dress (women), sage crown in red cloth, eagle whistle, at least two flags (1-2 meters of colored cloth – no black – with tobacco tied to a stick).
• Dancers must be dressed/prepared for the weather (gets cold at night)
• Everyone to turn pipe over to pipe men (yet to be named). They will remain in the lodge for blessing all weekend.
• Dancers will be lined up by seniority (4th years first, 1st years last).
• Dancers will be placed in their stalls and will remain in the lodge for the remainder of the weekend.
• Women dancers on their time or who start their time will be placed in their own area near the boundary line where they are also to remain for the duration of the ceremony.

Midnight – Dancers go to Bed
• Everyone expected to return to and remain in their camps. Keep quiet so dancers can rest.
• Parents/chaperones must keep kids/teens at their own camps.
• Volunteers needed to tend to Sacred Fire all night and assist dancers as necessary.

Saturday, June 11th – Sundance

5:00 a.m. - Sunrise and Pipe Ceremony
• Dancers and workers are expected to be in lodge to help Grandpa Joe and David greet the sun.

5:30 a.m. - Pledges make their intentions known:
• Males report to Ken Courchene if you are hanging, dragging or piercing.
• Females report to Sherryl Blacksmith if you are piercing or flesh-offering.
• Important: If you are pledging - It is proper protocol to present tobacco and a gift to your cutter.

6:00 a.m. – Men Piercing Lead by Ken Courchene in following order
• Hangers – suspension from piercing (You MUST talk to and obtain blessing from David to hang).
• Draggers – dragging 4 buffalo skulls around the outside of the lodge.

9:00 a.m. – Break/Dancers rest

9:30 a.m. - Complete piercing of the Men
• Piercers – piercing on the traps or chest and attached to the tree.

10:30 a.m. – Women Piercing Lead by Brenda Watt in following order
• Piercers – piercing on the traps/shoulders and attached to the tree.
• Flesh Offering – an offering of flesh is cut from the arm and offered.

1:00 p.m. – Break/Dancers Rest

1:30 p.m. – Pipe Giveaway
• David and Sherryl will bestow pipes upon certain individuals.

3:00 p.m. – Preparation for Buffalo Dance
• Bring cloth offering to line the ground of the lodge (any color but black)
• Bring ribbon offering (any color but black) for blessing from the buffalo.
• Bring blue or white ribbon for blessing of lost souls.

3:30 p.m. – The Return of the Buffalo Dance
• The Buffalo Dance has returned to our people to assist in our time of need, in our case they have returned to help those lost to suicide (lost souls).
• A Woman will lead Buffalo Dancers into the lodge.

6:00 p.m. – Break/Dancers Rest

7:00 p.m. – Home Fire Ceremony
• All camps are asked to bring a log of wood from their home community.
• 7 Men will be asked to share a Fire Teaching and to dance with this wood.
• A fire will be built within the lodge from the wood from our combined home fires.

9:00 p.m. – Doctorings (Healers names to be announced)
• Those suffering from sickness can come forward and ask for healing from the lodge.
• Important: If you are asking for healing - It is proper protocol to present tobacco, cloth and a gift to your healer.

Midnight – Dancers go to bed

Sunday, June 12th - Sundance

4:30 a.m. – Preparation of the Lodge and Dancers
• Lodge branches bent in half
• Each dancer Must be painted with blue facepaint

5:00 a.m. - Sunrise and Pipe Ceremony
• Dancers and workers are expected to be in lodge to help Grandpa Joe and David greet the sun.

6:00 a.m. – Men Piercing Lead by Ken Courchene in following order
• Hangers – suspension from piercing (You MUST talk to and obtain blessing from David to hang).
• Draggers – dragging 4 buffalo skulls around the outside of the lodge.

9:00 a.m. – Break/Dancers rest

9:30 a.m. - Complete piercing of the Men
• Piercers – piercing on the traps or chest and attached to the tree.

10:30 a.m. – Women Piercing Lead by Brenda Watt in following order
• Piercers – piercing on the traps/shoulders and attached to the tree.
• Flesh Offering – an offering of flesh is cut from the arm and offered.
1 p.m. – Break/Dancers Rest

2:00 p.m. – Children’s Ceremony
• All children are to attend to be dressed up in red wraps/skirts, headbands and will run the lodge for an hour under the guidance of Tristen Daniels.

3:00 p.m. – Giveaway Ceremony
• Lead by (To be announced)
• All 4th year dancers must have a giveaway.

4:00 p.m. – Horse Ceremony
• Anyone who has dreamed of a horse will accompany Sherryl Blacksmith to the Horse ceremony.
• Needed: Blankets, cloth, water, rice and raisins, sweetgrass, ribbon and the horse cloth (white with polka dot).

5:30 p.m. - Windigo Ceremony

• Parents: Ensure the children do not follow the Windigos out.

7:00 p.m. – Sundance Closing Ceremony
• Dancers brought out
• Given first drink of water
• Final dance around David/Sherryl and the Drum
• Feast will be catered. Potluck is still recommended.
• Families: Bring your dancers favourite for them, they earned it!
• Do not forget your pipe.
Also, Dancers and visitors can bring extra metres of colourful cloth to hang on the rafters and beautify our lodge.

Monday, June 13th – Cleanup Day

David and Sherryl request that anyone who can stay behind and help cleanup (we must pickup everything, including cigarette butts, garbage, etc.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AM radio a part of Indian Nostaliga

I remember as a kid we  used to listen to the radio coming out of Portage la Prairie. That is a station that has been around for a long time, CFRY, 920 on the AM dial. For those that don't know, there was AM radio before FM. The radio would come in good at nights. Portage is quite aways from Sagkeeng so, we were lucky to get it in the evenings. On this station they had dedication lines, where people would phone in and request songs. We could tell from some Reserves where the callers were from, especially Peguis Reserve. That radio station still has a request show. It is on Sunday mornings from 11:00am to 1:00pm. People are not live on the air anymore, but the DJ will read who and where the requests for songs come from. Many of the requests, are from the Indian community. Even people from our Reserve still send requests for certain songs.  I am amazed at the old songs.
The type of songs are mostly old gospel country. It is a good pass time listening to the station on Sundays. My wife and I make it a habit to listen. We will remember Sues' brothers Gord and Brian, my brother Poncho and our Moms. The songs are good and the AM radio still works. Nostalgic. Sometimes we use the television radio stations to listen to CFRY.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An Apology

Hey Folks,

Just a quick apology for the content. Indians are known for their humour, but that is not reflected in a lot of this blog. Hope that it gets better with some stories. Got to slap that guy who posts stuff. 

I lost my glasses the other day because I got kind of distracted. My daughter in law called in a panic. Jack had two woodticks in his ear. She phoned, her dad, my friend Earl, my boy Ed, and the doctor. I told her I would be right there. There were two ticks all right, in the top part of the ear lobe. I could have pulled them out. So  I carried boy outside to the car, to get a better look. In all the mayhem, I lost my glasses. I felt I was in a cool calm manner. We ended up at the emergency room and Brandi and two nurses took the wood ticks out. My wife grew up on a farm in the middle of the bush, and I grew up in the Rez, so wonder why mayhem ruled the day?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The rule of an Addict

"Are you going to go up the river and get lucky?" "Its not luck, its a sure bet."  Fabian (Burnell) talking about going out with a girl in the Reserve. The thing with addicts is that you can bet money on them. The rule is that they will always find a way to screw up. That is the rule. No matter how nice a girl or a guy they are, the rule is that an addict will screw it up. Any Addict, gambler, drug user, pill popper, or a drunk. It may not be today, but it is a sure bet, they will screw up.

You can bet against the odds. Maybe he won't get drunk this time. Maybe she won't spend all the grocery money on the slot machines.  She will be able to make her work shift. Bet money and you will lose. Bet your marriage on it and you will lose.  Bet your friendship on it, and well, it will be tested. Will there be lies? If there are no lies, that is something, I have yet to see.

Get your hopes up and have them crushed. Can it change?

There are of course the people who are constantly working on beating the Addiction. Those people I will wager on and maybe, I will get lucky. But that's the thing, we go all in anyways.
I certainly hope for a win.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Life and death in the Reserve

It has been a busy two months in our Reserve. We have had about 11 funerals in in that time. This week it is a son of a man that killed him self last year. This time the son decide to hang himself as well. A month ago one lady from the Reserve was in a bar having a couple of drinks. She went out for a cigarette and was stabbed by young girls. For a damn cigarette! Now that is some sad stuff there for sure.
A friend of mine buried his Dad about two or three weeks ago. An older gentlemen so no surprise. Trouble is he and his brothers are in a real war against each other. With one of the brothers being a real bad guy. Another brother was brought to the Service for one hour in chains. He is a gang member and is in remand custody, so he was not eligible for Funeral pass.

We had a pretty successful Gathering. By success, I mean people came and we were able to feed them all and provide some very good information.  I was glad about that.

Our computer is in for repairs, so I am borrowing this one for now. I hope to come back and share some stories with you. So take care, exercise your compassion and do at least one kind deed a day.

Monday, May 9, 2011

News Release: Circle of Life Gathering: life after addictions & suicide

For Immediate Release

Circle of Life Gathering: life after addictions and suicide Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Former Canadian Heavyweight Champion Mr. George Chuvalo and former NHL hockey star Theo Fleury are taking the fight against drugs. May 10 and 11th the Thunderbird House at 715 Main St, will host a Gathering. The Gathering is a volunteer event aimed at people who have suffered the loss of a loved one through suicide and addictions. Chuvalo and Fleury are here because tragedy can happen to anyone and they want to share their experience. Chuvalo has lost family to addictions and suicide. Fleury has come close to suicide because of addictions. Aboriginal Elder Peter Kinew and his brother Elder Fred Kelly share more than just being siblings, they both share the loss of a son through suicide. They are participating in the event to inspire and offer hope to those still grieving.  Betty Laschuk and Marcheta Tanner, co-chairs of the Compassionate Friends of Winnipeg, want survivors of loss to know that there are people in the community that understand what they are going through.  Speakers Chuvalo, Fleury, Kinew, Kelly, Laschuk and Tanner are a few of the people sharing their life stories at the Circle of Life Gathering in Winnipeg. Loss of life through addictions is very difficult to deal with, especially suicide. The amount of grief and suffering left behind by addictions and suicide can be unbearable. The Gathering is utilizing a Ceremonial approach to help with the Healing process. Elder Kinew has invited Catholic Archbishop of Winnipeg James Weisgerbrer to Bless people at the Gathering. Kinew and the Archbishop had traveled together to Rome to hear the Pope’s apology for Indian Residential School. Elder Kinew is going to be conducting a Ceremony of “Wiping Away the Tears” for those that are grieving. Healing Sweat lodge Ceremonies will be held on the grounds daily at 6:00 p.m.             Contact Steve Courchene 204-470-5207.

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

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...