OUR STRENGTH

Fall 2016

EDITORIAL

The wisdom of Our Elders and Medicine people guides us along our personal journeys. The echo of our Elders’ words has had a profound effect on many of us over the years and it is a pleasure to remember and share some of these words with you today for they are truly a gift!   

– When you step on a blade of grass, have you noticed how it is standing up again the next day? What do you do when you get stepped on?

– Everyone is born a king (or a Queen). When a child is born, many are in attendance to see to his every need. Whatever happens after that, never forget that you were born a King or a Queen.

– We believe in what we believe because it pleases us to, not because we have to.

– If you take the time to heal your little problems, big problems will heal themselves.

– I feel, therefore I think, I think therefore I do, I do, therefore I am!

– Trust is to let someone take care of you, passion is to take care of someone.

– Never be angry, be disappointed. It is easier to deal with disappointment. – Do not put sadness in the heart of someone who is already sad!

ELDER’S CORNER

Once we silence our mind, only then can we enjoy how our inner medicine works it’s healing

Remembering Aboriginal-Canadian Veterans

National Aboriginal Day is celebrated each year on June 21, while Aboriginal Veterans Day is commemorated on November 8. Canadian Aboriginal Veterans have reason to be proud of their wartime contributions. More than 7,000 Aboriginal peoples served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, and an unknown number of Inuit, Métis and non-status Indians also participated. One Aboriginal Veterans group estimates that 12,000 First Nations peoples served in the three wars.

… from Veterans affairs Canada

Waseya Program Focus / Fall 2016 – Spring 2017

The Waseya Holistic Healing Program has the overall goal to eliminate each resident’s dysfunctional behaviours and help them
acquire new abilities. Waseya’s comprehensive approach produces positive behavioural changes and helps residents acquire
socially acceptable values. By focusing on Native cultural teachings and values, Waseya helps residents replace criminal values
with cultural values, thus transforming the perception of themselves as having a criminal identity to the recognition of and feeling
connected to their cultural identity instead.

The Waseya Program has many components that address dynamic and related factors using culturally appropriate approaches relative to Aboriginal people. The theme for the 2016/2017 session is: Building Values, Identity and Community. This is being achieved by involving the whole community in working together to build a Traditional Medicine Lodge which will serve as a focus for all the other activities. This building project involves using the medicines and a process of how to appreciate, share and understand the context for the process. Traditional teachings come first, followed by planning and preparations and after, the actual building, which facilitates the men in the community applying their skills while learning to ever better work together. This process pulls everything in and constitutes the building of a healthy community.

THE SHAPATUAN

The shapatuan is the place where the family cooks, eats, and comes together to talk or sing and dance. The gathering of the family is important to all people and this can be observed in every culture throughout the world. The gatherings help us to learn and appreciate both the similarities and the differences between others and ourselves. For the Aboriginal families the shapatuan is where everyone can learn and share their traditions, stories and legends. The family — that special group of adults and children who care for, love, protect, and help each other — is both explored and celebrated in this welcoming abode.

Interview with a Resident

William Kechego is Ojibwa from the Chippewas of the Thames. Born in London, Ontario, he is 35 years of age and the proud father of two teenagers, one boy 18 and one girl 15. His spirit name is Waabooz meaning rabbit. It was given to him by his great-grandfather who often babysat him as a child. It seems that William’s running about reminded him of a rabbit. His great- grandfather, Frederick Kechego, was also a war veteran and has only recently received his medals and been recognised as such.

His upbringing which was very dysfunctional, was caused mostly by his father’s alcohol addictions. When William found himself in jail because of drug, alcohol, anger issues and the many other repercussions that they caused, he started to understand that all the unresolved issues of the past were the main cause of his problems. As a child, his grandmother’s home was a safe place from all the issues at his own home. He recently received a letter sent to him by his father who he had not seen or spoken to for 18 years. William read the letter of apology from his father over and over again. He decided to write back to him in the hope of reuniting with him. They are now speaking on the telephone. Understanding the past family issues and understanding the impact of drug and alcohol abuse is a key factor for his healing journey. He and his father are working on building a new and fresh relationship and William is eager to introduce him to his grandchildren.

William reflects on the benefits of the good counselling he received since he has been institutionalised. He had excellent
counselling from his ALO and his Helpers. He remembers well everyone who has helped him, naming Glenda, Travis and Dennis.
They gave him many answers to his questioning. The programs, especially the Pathways program, has been very helpful. The
cultural teachings he received at Waseskun have had a huge impact on him being able to let go of the past. He speaks about his
first Sweat and about writing his life story and giving it to the fire. He is proud to say that he is now a pipe carrier and speaks about
all the spiritual benefits that first pipe ceremony brought him. The feeling of peace and the release that this cultural medicine gave
him was overwhelming. It was such an emotional experience.

William’s addictions had changed him and made him change for the worst. Going to jail had to happen. He was so scared believing that he would come out worse than he was when he went in. At Joyceville Institution he was told about Waseskun by the Elder. It was a light at the end of a tunnel for him and, both his ALO and PO encouraged him to apply. He did so with great hope in his heart. The very first morning he came here he went out on the land. He had never seen a rabbit before and there, hiding in the grass, a rabbit sat perfectly still. It was for him a very good omen and a confirmation that he made the right choice.

After all, his spirit name is Waabooz!

CAT Committee Elections, September 21, 2016

On September 21, 2016, the Waseskun community elected 6 reps and one alternate for the CAT Committee (Community Action Team). The elected reps (and alternate) are now the residents’ members of the CAT Committee along with the Waseskun staff members who also serve on the same committee. With Waseskun’s focus on a holistic, culturally appropriate program/community, the CAT Committee is now poised to become more active in promoting the same.

The CAT Committee is not meant to be an inmate committee nor a complaint committee. It is a committee that looks at community issues and then follow-ups on them, working with staff to suggest and develop new projects/opportunities for the residents. This committee also looks at things that need to be changed and what changes or adjustments can be done. The CAT Committee meets once a month, followed two weeks later by a Community Circle where the solutions/issues/suggestions discussions can then be addressed with the rest of the community. The process is that things discussed at CAT Committees are then brought back to Healing Council for consideration/decisions and then the information is brought back to the whole Community through a Community Circle.

Autumnal Equinox

This year, Waseskun celebrated the Fall Equinox on September 21st. The day started with a Sunrise ceremony followed by a Pipe ceremony. A copious breakfast warming up the fervent souls who had been up so early followed.

It proved to be an excellent day with exceptional weather for the inauguration of the new Inukshuk. Visitors, guests, staff and residents enjoyed hearing about the purpose and the cultural importance of the Inukshuk for the people of the North. The ceremony included Inuit drumming and songs. After a delicious traditional feast, indoor and outdoor sports tournaments were held and others enjoyed the sweat lodge.

Inuksuk Inauguration

The Inukshuk is a man-made landmark built by the ancestors of the People of the North. It was used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. They are found from Alaska to Greenland.

It was a marker for travelers, used for navigation and as a point of reference indicating travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds or to indicate food caches inaccessible to predators.

THE RED ROAD

Made available to us by the Creator are all the laws, principles and values which we need to know to live in harmony. Each human being was designed to learn and grow through trial and error. We were given tools to help us live the right way. We have prayers, visions, nature, teachers and Elders and we have the Great Spirit to talk to when we have problems. We also have choice. Walking the Red Road requires courage and a lot of prayer. It is your road and yours alone. It is important for you to search for who you are and search alone and to not allow others to make your path for you. Others may walk it with you but no one can walk it for you.   

Walking the Red Road (Code of Ethics)

  • Treat the guests in your home with much consideration. Serve them the best food, give them the best bed and treat them with respect and honour.
  • Do not take what is not yours; whether from a person, a community, the wilderness or from a culture. It was not earned nor given. It is not yours. You cannot enjoy what it not yours.
  • Respect all things that are placed upon this Earth.
  • Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen, if only you speak.
  • Honour other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or mimic them. Allow each person the right to a freedom of opinion. Respect that opinion.
  • Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will multiply when it returns to you.
  • All persons make mistakes. No matter how small or how large the mistake is, it can still be forgiven.
  • Bad thoughts cause illness of the spirit, the mind and the body. Keep bad thoughts at bay. Practice optimism.
  • Nature is not FOR us, it is a PART of us. Treat all natural beings as a member of your family.
  • Children are the seeds of our future. Plant love in their hearts and water them with wisdom and life’s lessons. When they are grown, allow them to find their own place.
  • Keep yourself balanced and healthy. Your mental self, spiritual self, emotional self and physical self all need to be strong, pure and healthy. Work out the body, to strengthen the mind. Grow rich in spirit to cure emotional ails.
  • Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.
  • Treat the Elders as special gems – their wisdom will shine.
  • Be true to yourself first.

Great Spirit, give me the courage to walk the Red Road!

THE GOOSE

The goose helps in communication especially with the written word. It echoes the excitement of childhood pleasures such as the belief in stories and legends. Think about how the stories you heard as a child imprinted on your life’s quests. Their honking calls speak about the great fulfillment that great quests can bring. The Goose also represents fertility and fidelity in marriage. Devoted spouses, Goose people have a strong belief that there is only one special person for each of us.

If you have the goose totem, you are kind, loyal and brave so family and friends hold high priority in your life. You are an excellent communicator and you are known for your great compassion in your community. You make your decisions based on what is best for your family and your community even if it calls for self-sacrifice. You are able to identify the destiny and direction of individuals and you know how to communicate it to them with the kindest of stories that trigger their imagination. However, make sure that you remember to focus on your own ambitions in your life.

MEDITATION

“We create that which is bad among ourselves. We create it; then we try to call it devil, satan, or evil. But man.

Wallace Black Elk, Lakota

Inside every human being are the laws and codes by which we should live. These laws and codes are communicated to us through a little voice. When we are still, this voice guides us. If we choose to live out of harmony, our lives become filled with anger, hatred, selfishness, dishonesty, etc…When these things appear in our lives, we give up accountability and blame it on something or someone else. If we want to live in harmony, we need to pray our way back to living the principles the Creator gave us.

Grandfather, today let me walk with the principals.

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.

  • If you’re a home gardener, make sure fertilizer is worked deep into the soil — don’t hose it off into the water system. Phosphates (a key ingredient) cause lake and river algae to proliferate wildly.
  • Don’t use coloured facial tissues, paper towels or toilet paper. The paper dissolves properly in water, but the dye lingers on.

If you are interested in receiving our newsletter or in collaborating please contact us. If you wish to submit articles, stories, photos or other information, we will do our best to include your contributions in our next publication.
The Waseskun Circle
1 Waseskun street
PO Box1159
Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez (Qc), J0K 1W0
Tél. : 450 883-2034 Fax : 450 883-3631
www.waseskun.net

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *