Summer 2016


The residents who arrive at Waseskun have chosen to face the challenges in their lives.  In order for them to succeed in reaching their goals, they will have to become personally involved in their own healing activities.  They must be persistent in their quest even if it means re-evaluating and adjusting their strategies in the face of setbacks and negativity from others.  Throughout their journey, Waseskun will walk by their side.


One of the greatest experiences we can be gifted with is accepting this word we keep hearing called HEALING.  Growth, Prosperity and Peace come along with it, not to mention forgiving one’s self and being set free from all past hurts and pains we harbor if we so choose;  after all, we are spirits experiencing this human journey in all its teachings.


On the occasion of Glenda’s retirement, we would like to thank her and to highlight the consistent support and commitment she has shown to our organization and to the many men who have crossed our doors on their healing journeys.  As a helper, her cheerful and helpful nature de ella has guided many of them on their quest for a better future.  We wish her all the best of her and congratulate her on her retirement of her.  She will be missed.


National Aboriginal Day is an occasion for all Canadians to celebrate the rich contributions Aboriginal people have made to Canada.  Celebrate this day with family and friends on your own or plan your own event.

 Interview with a Resident

Michael arrived at Waseskun in February 2015. He grew up in the Ottawa region but moved a lot throughout Canada and Europe and struggled with many issues as a child.  He started using drugs at a very young age and eventually became a heavy user.  Because of the high cost of this habit, people usually do one of two things;  either they become thieves or they become dealers.  He chose the latter and found that he was very good at it.

 In 2005, he was involved in a car chase and ended up under house arrest but got out shortly after and went back to dealing.  In 2006, he got into an altercation with a group of college kids and he stabbed two people before he ended up in another car chase.  This resulted in a two-year sentence.  Sent to Collins Bay Institution, his first time in jail was a horrible experience.  He felt so out of place as though he did not belong there and when he got out, he vowed to never go back.  

He changed everything around him, moved away, went back to his studies, changed his friends and was doing extremely well.  Three years after getting out and making that vow, he shot someone.  Another car chase ensued and a motorcycle accident sent him to hospital to treat his numerous injuries.  He was sentenced to ten years in prison.  He had always thought that a disconnection mainly caused his problems with his family from him, always blaming everything on things outside of himself: substances, friends, circumstances etc.  In jail, the only thing he knew was that he had to stay in school.  This was a priority for him if he wanted to do something with his life from him.  He sought the assistance of his family and the institution staff to help him continue his education.  This in itself was not an easy task but they stood by him and he did not give up.  At Waseskun, I have also received a lot of help and assistance to realize his goals from him.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Ryerson University with honors, one of the highest in his class from him.  He was even able to get his first UTA to attend his graduation with his whole family present.  … He has currently been accepted in the Masters of Science in Management Program.  Aiming for his PHD in applied mathematics, the focus of his thesis of him will be the study of how emotions affect the decision-making process.  He had always refused to accept himself as a violent person.  The day he accepted that was the day that his true healing started.  Congratulations Michael!  Stick with it!


On July 9th, 2016, six residents accompanied by three escorts attended the Pow Wow in Kahnawake.  It was a rainy day however, it did not dampen anyone’s spirit.  The day was spent browsing around the craft area and food kiosques, watching some dance competitions and listening to the drums.  It was plain to see that the residents enjoyed their day in this traditional setting.  They were able to see and get ideas of different crafts, eat different food items, all the while feeling a part of society again.  Agood day was had by all.


“I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.” 

 -Chief Joseph, NEZ PERCE

We are as sick as our secrets.  Our ego takes over control of our lives and when that happens our minds get very sick.  Then we hurt people and our minds will always justify our actions.  Our minds will give us rationalization and excuses that we are justified in doing what we are doing.

 My Creator, Let me live today with an open heart.  Let me realize to be vulnerable is a strength, not a weakness.  Let me realize the power of an open heart.  Let me be available to truth.  If I get into trouble, let me hear the whisper of your guidance.  Let me make heart decisions and allow my head to catch up to that decision.


Sunrise Ceremony- The change of season ceremony started with the usual Sunrise Ceremony.  As some residents later stated, it was not easy getting up for this but it was well worth the effort.  The sounds you hear and the things you see at that early hour can lighten the soul and inspire the heart of the hardest man.  The Creator’s presence can be felt and the soothing words of our Elder cannot help buttouch us and connect us to our roots and to who we are as human beings.

Welcoming Ceremony-Guests, residents and staff gathered around the newly built fire pit, an impressive testimonial of the great power of will and determination.  The importance of the social protocol of giving thanks was explained to us.  Our ancestors knew how to conduct themselves for the benefit of the community, themselves and humanity.  When someone makes an effort to come and visit, we must treat them special, take care of them and watch over them.  Thank them for being here, pay attention to them pass the feather around and listen to what they have to say.  They may have traveled for many miles or had to overcome difficulties to get here.  It is easy to be kind, make humanity and kindness a guiding principal in your lives.  Our ancestors want us to know this. 

Fire pit-Fire– represents our passions, compulsions, creativity and motivation.  It needs boundaries and needs to be fed just as we do.  As it brightens the darkest skies it calls out “Come dance with me, bring your drum, listen to your heart beat and sing out your feelings!” The fire is on sacred ground.  In the past, every family used to have a fire pit.  Where your fire is, your family is.  For some time, we did not have a fire pit at Waseskun.  Thank you to everyone who has made its return possible.  The community is stronger, as is the motivation.  We need to keep our fire alive and our circle strong. 

Lacrosse game- Residents and staff played a game of lacrosse.  The weather could not have been more perfect. 

Feast – A traditional feast was served which included homemade bannock, made by the residents, wild meat and an assortment of salads and desserts.  Many thanks go to the cook and her helpers from her. 

Other activities like drumming, singing, games, sharing circles and a Sweat were also part of the day’s Solstice celebrations.


Throughout the centuries, fasting has been a way to cleanse the body, open the mind and free the spirit.  Its therapeutic values ​​are some of the oldest known to mankind.  Because of its many benefits, Native American Indians often incorporate fasting into many sacred ceremonies as an offering to the Great Spirit.  For many tribes, fasting is a vital part of marriage rituals, rites of puberty or Vision Quests.  By cleansing the mind and the body, an individual is free to experience powerful dreams or visions that are interpreted as omens or messages from the Great Spirit.  Considered a powerful medicine with healing properties, the fast can bring a sense of personal power and strength to individuals by allowing the participant to connect with their “humanness”, identifying their own potentials and life meanings. 


M.H.  Although I did only two days of the fast, I stayed as the night fire keeper.  My main reason for doing the fast was to humble myself and I was indeed humbled.  On the third night, just before the thunderstorm, the sky was clear and I was able to see the stars for the first time in 25 years.  This in itself was a humbling experience that made me realize how much I had taken things (such as this) for granted.  I was and still remain grateful for my experience.  Never take things for granted because you never know what you miss until it’s gone.  

M.M.  My Spirit guide visited me once again during this year’s fast.  I had been blind to his presence in the past when my mind was interfering with the process of Mother Nature.  I experienced something totally different from what I was expecting.  My Spirit guide had been there at all significant events in my life but I had been blind to his presence.  I wrote my life story and offered it to the fire and I understood the influence of spirituality in a different way.

M.C.  I was lucky to make the deadline to attend the fast.  The Creator was there for all who went.  I wanted direction and insight on a number of issues.  Fasting is not new to me but being sent out to a tent without human contact so we could focus on ourselves was.  At times, I felt like I had been sent to my room without dinner, LOL.  The mind and the emotions play tricks on you after a few days without food or water.  I got many answers as to what I was seeking.  The Spirit visited me four times with profound dreams that spoke clearly to my needs.  I am elated that I went.  It was both a spiritual growth and a learning experience.  As challenging as it was, I would encourage everyone to take part in it and let the Great Spirit speak to your heart and your own spirit.  It was highly rewarding!


Strawberry festivals are celebrated every year by many native cultures.  Usually held in June when the first wild strawberries appear, the festivals are meant to rejoice for this enjoyable fruit after long winter months of eating dried ones.  The women and children headed off to the fields to collect the berries in special baskets made of bark.  The entire communities would gather for the festival where there would be dancing, drumming and singing.  A traditional drink made with strawberries, water and a little maple syrup is enjoyed.  In many native communities, the festival would start with a ceremony.  Two children would carry the drink and serve it to each member of the tribe who would give thanks.  Feasting followed where the strawberries would be served cooked or raw in many different types of recipes.  Revered as a medicinal plant, the strawberry was celebrated and honored by the people. 

The Origin of Strawberries Native American Lore (Cherokee legend)

When the first man was created and a mate was given to him, they lived together very happily for a time, but they began to quarrel, until at last the woman left her husband and started off toward the Sun land in the east. 

The man followed alone and grieving, but the woman kept on steadily ahead and never looked behind, until the Creator, took pity on him and asked him if he was still angry with his wife de ella.  He said he was not de ella, and Creator then asked him if he would like to have her back again, to which he eagerly answered yes. 

So Creator caused a patch of the finest ripe huckleberries to spring up along the path in front of the woman, but she passed by without paying any attention to them.  Farther on he put a clump of blackberries, but these also she refused to notice.  Other fruits, and then sorne trees covered with beautiful red berries, were placed beside the path to tempt her, but she went on until suddenly she saw in front of her a patch of large ripe strawberries, the first ever known of her. 

She stooped to gather a few to eat, and as she picked them she chanced to turn her face to the west, and at once the memory of her husband came back to her and she found herself unable to go on.  She sat down, but the longer she waited the stronger became her desire for her for her husband, and at last she gathered a bunch of the finest berries and started back along the path to give them to him.  He met her kindly and they went home together.


…By Lorraine hughes

The most wonderful thing to me about keeping a garden is watching the energy of the  plants as a unified whole pulsing toward growth and fruition.  We observe the vegetation in a state of either flowering or producing a small green fruit growing on a vine or stem.  This is when our garden needs us most to weed, train those crawling vines onto a framework to grow or pull the soil up around these still baby plants, shaken from the soil by rain or wind. 

The garden needs us to tend to her in order to bear fruit, bring it to ripeness and for the plants to grow strong.  Sometimes I’m not in the mood to weed!  “Pah!”  I say, I have other things to do.  But I go out with my weeding bucket and tools and get lost in the process.  I ‘feel’ the plants thank me intuitively.  It seems I am directed to what they need.  Then watch, like magic, afterwards the vegetation seems to double in size within a week and wow, I have a few mini tomatoes ready and some collard greens ready to eat!  The garden says, Thank you! ”

I often compare tending a garden to my own spiritual process. I have to do garden weeding every so often. Let go

The Coyote 

The coyote is a teacher of hidden wisdom with a sense of humor, so the messages of the coyote could appear as a joke or he, as a trickster.  The spirit of the coyote is there to remind you not to take things too seriously and to find more balance between wisdom and playfulness.  It is also associated with the deeper magic of life and creation. 

If coyote appears to you, it is important to reflect on your adaptability, on your ability to seek truth through illusion, on a personality difficult to categorize, and on using your playfulness as a resource to beware of the dark side of things.  His appearance of him is an encouragement for you not to take things too seriously.  You need to lighten up, to keep things simple and open the doorto a variety of opportunities. 

The coyote teachings never appear in a straightforward manner;  his messages from him often appear through subterfuge and ickery but keep in mind that appearances can be deceiving and that he always hides wisdom for your benefit.  Pay attention for you may find wisdom in the most unexpected places.  That is the way of the coyote spirit.


The preservation of our planet is an important issue for mankind.  Here are some tips to help us preserve and protect.  Mother Earth.

  • Conserve energy-remember to turn off lights, computers, and electric appliances when not in use.
  • Buy organic food that is produced without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers.


 There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His Father de él gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. 

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger from him, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. 

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all.  He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper of him.  The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. 

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.  He said, ‘You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.  But It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will still be there.  A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one. 

Remember that friends are very rare jewels indeed.  They make you smile and encourage you to succeed3B they lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us.

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The Waseskun Circle
1 Waseskun street
PO Box1159
Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez (Qc), J0K 1W0
Tél. : 450 883-2034 Fax : 450 883-3631

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