The camera has given me the opportunity to meet so many great people. Over the the last year I worked with the Indigenous Tourism Association PEI and experienced the Mi’kmaq culture up close. I have always had an interest in Indigenous cultures and am grateful for any opportunity to learn and connect.
Here are some of the wonderful events and celebrations I photographed.
- Quill Art and Basket Making
- Panmure Island Pow Wow
- Lennox Island Pow Wow
- Cavendish Beach A’tuken
- Indigenous Christmas Artisan Market
- Watles, a 5000+ year old Indigenous game that can get really competitive!
- Making Bannock on a Stick over an open fire
- Traditional Medicine and Smudging
I went to a demonstration of Traditional Medicine and Smudging Ceremony with Mi’kmaq Elder and Heritage Interpreter Junior Peter-Paul. We sat in a teepee and while one man performed the Smudging ceremony with each of us Junior Peter-Paul said a prayer. The calm and quiet of being in the teepee was palpable to everyone. It was an incredible feeling of peace.
All Canadians are called to learn about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples and how we can move forward in reconciliation and restitution.
This year I decided to embark on an Indigenous Learning Journey. There are more opportunities than ever to learn about our Indigenous brothers and sisters and ways that we can all participate in reconciliation.
I believe that people innately want to know each other, they just don’t know how.
The challenge with connection is not a lack of desire for it, but people don’t know how to go about it. So we need to start trying to find ways to connect.
It is not the responsibility of Indigenous Peoples to educate me. It is my responsibility to educate myself.
Here are 5 ways to start your learning journey.
1. Start with books
Here are some of the books that got me started.
2. Check out Indigenous Arts & Entertainment
Movies, tv shows, documentaries, music, paintings, sculpture, stage and more. The list is endless. My original post had a list of so many things I have enjoyed since the 80s, but it got to be so long I edited it out. Here are two gorgeous paintings by Mi’kmaq Artist Loretta Gould that you can see hanging at the new Charlottetown Learning Library.
3. Go to a Pow Wow
I absolutely love these celebrations.
“The Pow Wow, or Mawio’mi is an important celebration which allows us to express who we are as Mi’kmaq people.”– Benoit First Nation Lnu’k – Mi’kmaq history and people: The Pow wow or Mawio’mi
4. Take a course
Here are a few great courses available to everyone:
Indigenous Canada, University of Alberta, Natives Studies
This course was life changing for me. It really opened my eyes to a history that has been hidden from me. Indigenous Canada is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. Indigenous Canada is offered as both a for-credit online course as NS 201, and to the general public as a non-credit course. I hope you will consider taking it. HIGHLY RECOMMEND :)
Namwayut: An Evening with Chief Robert Joseph
Herditary Chief Robert Joseph will talk about his new book Namwayut – We Are All One: A Pathway to Reconciliation, online April 12, 2023. This book is excellent and I am looking forward to hearing Chief Robert Joseph speak.
Indigenous Cultural Awareness, UPEI
I’m signed up for this one-day course at UPEI on June 19, 2023. It is also available online in October.
In the Indigenous Cultural Awareness course, facilitator Julie Pellissier-Lush will highlight and explain in-depth the traditional knowledge of the Mi’kmaq (the Indigenous peoples of Mi’kma’ki, and specifically Epetwitk), their life before contact with Europeans, the role of colonization on the Mi’kmaq, and how all Canadians move forward positively with Indigenous peoples.
5. Experience an Experience
Here are some amazing opportunities to experience Indigenous culture.
Experience Lennox Island
Experience Lennox Island offers a variety of Authentic Experiences. Each experience is an opportunity for us to learn about the Mi’kmaq people, their history and traditions. Check out Experience Lennox Island: https://experiencelennoxisland.com/
So this is my journey so far and I’m looking forward to learning more. I hope you start your own journey and you inspire others to do the same. Have more ideas? Please let me know :)
Beautiful people. Beautiful culture.