When you came to Waseskun, you chose to take the steps to improve your life and that of your loved ones. You decided to ask for help to let go of your suffering and unhappiness to go meet and to work with your higher power. This edition is an example of what you can do if that is your sincere desire. Our residents work hard eve many tools as possible to reach their objectives. day to learn new skills and to acquire as
“Listen to the wind, it talks, Listen to the silence, it speaks, Listen to your heart, it knows.”
“If you share happiness it grows!”
PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION
On July 29th, 2015, six representatives of the Montcalm Memorial Branch 198 of the Royal Canadian Legion arrived at Waseskun. They were greeted in a welcoming circle opened with a prayer said in the Mohawk language and followed with a welcoming song and drumming. The purpose of their visit was to present Waseskun with a donation in appreciation for their partnership with volunteer workers and to promote the sawmill program, all of which teaches new skills and improves social re integration. Certificates of appreciation were given out to the volunteers who will not be able to attend a ceremony that will be held later in the year for that purpose. The Legion considers the Waseskun volunteers an important element in the success of the activities of their branch. Many of them expressed their appreciation for being treated so well by the Legion members and for being treated with respect and being made to feel like important members of the community. A win-win situation or affectionately called Good Medicine!
Interview with a Resident
Marcel arrived at Waseskun from Drummondville institution nearly a year ago. His objective de él at the time was to better himself as a person and to continue his healing journey until he felt ready to return to society. A bad choice he had made in 2009 landed him with a 12 year sentence, He could have asked for a conditional sentence a while back but he did not feel ready yet to handle the daily challenges of life. Now he does.
Marcel had not received very strong recommendations in regards to Waseskun from other inmates at Drummondville but he decided to make the choice to come here and to take full responsibility for those choices. At the time of his arrival, a few incidents between some of the residents made his first month very difficult and he only wanted to leave. He felt that he has reached a higher level of healing and he did not want violent or aggressive behavior to be part of his daily life. With the support of his helper and other residents, he stayed. Their good values and good counsel encouraged him to continue.
What he particularly liked was the opportunity to put his hard work, creative skills and strong work ethics to good use. This helps him to keep his concentration on him. He is working on many projects at this time and he loves to keep himself busy. He had set objectives for himself before his release from him and he has full intentions of reaching them. Referring to himself as an impatient, impulsive person with very little control on his emotions, he now describes himself as a person with emotional filters and controls. He has a job in the construction industry waiting for him when he gets out and he is looking forward to it.
His advice from him to other residents is to not get involved in other people’s journeys but to focus on their own, People need to listen to their own emotions and to pay attention to their own feelings. In the past, he did not know what it was to love someone. He is very proud of no longer being afraid to cry or to feel love, real love. Today, he knows what it means to feel real love but he has also understood that before a person can feel that, they must learn to love themselves. It has taken him a long time to forgive himself for the errors of his past from him and to be able to concentrate on his future from him but he has finally done so.
ABOUT THE MEDICINES
Waseskun is above all a Healing Lodge. We work with the Federal and Provincial Correctional Services at the minimum security level. The Medicines we talk about here are about a person’s personal journey. It is about what makes us whole, better and improved human beings. It’s about Spirits touching each other. Waseskun is a place where Spirits touch each other, and where we feel the connection, Some of us hit the wall when the mind takes over the Spirit and causes us to be confused. When we hit the wall, some of us end up incarcerated and some of us don’t, we just get over it.
A very important part of our ceremonies is the smudge. One of the medicines our Elder often uses to help people heal is sage. He uses the energy that this Medicine gives out. Over time, he has understood that everyone carries a story and when he meets a person, he not only uses the energy of sage but the energy of the moment as well.
When we were born, we cried out and that very first cry was the energy of our new found life and how we chose to tell those around us that we will need help. We chose to enter life and we chose to cry out that we need help. There is a line over our eyebrows and what is over that line is fantasy land. The rest of us is life.
When the guys arrive here, they are ready to let go of the fantasy land and to open the door to healing. That is when the sage and its energy enters and everyone is ready to receive help and to give help. That precise moment is a very powerful one and a powerful time to share. Not only are there people around to hear this but the Ancestors are there as well. Now is the time to cry as hard as you have ever cried before. The others who are present are ready to help at that moment. They are scared and fearful when all that pent up hurt comes out and they open the doorto healing.
It can take time for a person to reach that point of healing but they will be encouraged along the way. We have now begun to understand what the Medicines are all about and while they are here, they will build a fire and start to write their life story. They will give to the fire the things they have done in exchange for healing. This is the only thing that penetrates deeply enough to heal us.
With the acceptance and understanding of the Medicines, we gain the ability to share and transmit the Medicines to help others. I am so happy to be here, sitting in this circle of winners, because there are so many people out there who will die with their pain.
OUTING TO KAHNAWAKE POW WOW
On Sunday, July 12, a group of six S-81 residents went to the Pow Wow in Kahnawake with three Waseskun Staff volunteers and another volunteer escort from the Rawdon Legion. Everyone had a great day, in spite of an adventure on the return home to Waseskun, due to a problem with one of the vehicles while on the highway.
We were all so fortunate for being at the Pow Wow on the nicest day of this summer so far! We very much enjoyed watching the dancing and sampling the food at the numerous food stalls. The ice cold strawberry juice hit the spot on this hot summer day. We also spent a lot of time visiting the different kiosks of arts and crafts, tee-shirts, and so much more. The residents enjoyed shopping and many bought items from the vendors. We were joined for much of the time by a S-84 resident, who attended the Pow-Wow, unescorted on an outing of his own. We also met a former resident who is doing very well and a CSC Elder. Everyone had a wonderful time and allwere very pleased with the trip!
THE MEANING OF THE TOTEM
Totem poles are large sculptures with symbols or figures carved on poles. They are usually made on large trees, red cedar or pine and originally carved by large of North America. The word totem is derived from the Algonquian word “odoodem”, meaning “his kinship group”. Totem poles communicate important aspects of native culture. Carvings of animals and other characters may represent events in a story, may symbolize or commemorate cultural beliefs, or familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. The poles may also serve welcome signs for visitors. No two totem poles are the same. Each one is unique as is the story of every person’s life journey.
The Waseskun Totem
The Eagle: The Eagle’s head represents the Eagle den (administration building) where all major decisions are taken, It also represents in the Native culture, the closest thing to the Creator. The Bear: The bear represents the Bear den where the residents stay when they start their healing journey, It also represents courage and the strength of the men in their community and the strength of their culture. The Wolf: The wolf represents the Wolf den where the residents live when they start their healing journey. It also represents the determination and perseverance of the hunters who provide for their families and their community. The Turtle: The Turtle represents Waseskun as a whole. Its legs represent the Four Directions. The head represents our arrival, when we enter our healing journey; the tail represents our departure, when we leave with new found knowledge and wisdom that was earned during our stay. With that knowledge and wisdom, we will hopefully continue when we are free. The Turtle also represents Mother Earth and the women in our lives: our grandmothers, mothers, wives and sisters. It is the symbol of life and the most important partin the native culture, The Inukshuk: The Inukshuk represents our Inuit brothers who come here on a healing path and they are as much a part of us as we are part of them. The four symbols: shamrock, flowers, sun, are the personal symbols of the carvers.
* The Waseskun Totem was started in June of 2014 and was finished in May of 2015. It took nearly a year for our residents to complete this beautiful landmark working on it a few hours at a time. They put their hearts and soul into this project and for that we are all extremely grateful. Special mention to the men who worked on it: Johnny Saunders, Jonathan Robinson, Allan Trimble, Richard Woodland, Eric G., George Nagolak, Roger Vilon.
OPENING OF THE MIZHEEKAY BOUTIQUE
In 2015, Mizheekay opened a boutique at the entrance of Waseskun to enable residents to sell their woodworking products to the public and to take special orders at their request. The Mizheekay Boutique provides residents with the opportunity to gain experience in running and managing a small business, while earning money from results of their skills, artistry and hard work.
“We are nothing compared to His power, and we feel it and know it.”
– -Black Hawk, SAUK
Inside of every man and woman is a place of knowing. In this place is the knowing that there is a Great One, the Great Mystery, the Holy One, and the Great Spirit. We can deny this all we want but we know what we know. This place of knowing is at the very center of our being. It is gratifying to know that God cannot leave us. It is said we are spiritual beings trying to be human. With this power in our lives, we can accomplish much. We can do many good things for our people.
Oh Great Spirit, I know of Your power. I love the days when I can feel Your presence. Let today be one of those days. Let me walk today in Your beauty!
The porcupine is a marvelous guide in times of grief. Their energy is wonder-filled and childlike. This can be a sparkle of hope for those who are in extreme pain or depression. Tapping into the spirit of the porcupine can predict a sense of joy, playfulness – and even curiosity that can pull us out of grief.
Each one of porcupine’s 30,000 quills is buoyant. These are filled with air and this makes the porcupine float. This buoyancy is symbolic of the ability to stay “above water” … emotional waters. In other words, when life casts you upon into turbulent waters of unpleasant emotions, engage the porcupine’s energy. Invoke his assistance from her to keep you afloat upon troubled waters.
Some native tribes valued the porcupine for their quills. They thought of him as a warrior. Their legends also suggest porcupine meaning deals with communication with the spirit realms. With its fearlessness and great defense system, the porcupine could intervene on behalf of the tribes in matters that needed communication with the spirit world. This illustrates how bright, capable people were intimately connected with Nature. It also shows how Nature can help, guide and communicate higher knowledge.
In many cultural myths, the porcupine is considered a solar animal and is associated with fire. The porcupine meaning deals with: Energy, Vitality, Growth, Spirituality, Joy, Hope and Power. Overwhelmingly, the animal symbolism of the porcupine deals with friendship. Whether you need a guardian through grief, a warrior-ally in your battles through life, or you just need a reminder that true partnership does exist.
PROTECTING MOTHER EARTH
The preservation of our planet is an important issue for mankind. Here are some tips to help us preserve and protect Mother Earth.
• Buy your things in bulk to save money and use less packaging.
• Keep cool water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap for one glass of water.
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1 Waseskun street
PO Box 1159
Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez (Qc), J0K 1W0
Tél. : 450 883-2034 Fax : 450 883-3631