Yearly Archives 2016

They Come From the Mountains

Why The Michif Love Horses

“Jeremy grew very fond of the old man and the horse and learned so much from both of them. He quickly learned that a horse is a very curious and social being. He learned that if approached with haste and anger, Horse would mirror these emotions and respond in the same way.
“Horse always knew if Jeremy was in a bad mood. But, if approached with patience and kindness, Horse did his best to show respect, although cautiously at first, with a flick of his tail and a shake of his head.
“And, he learned that the old man had led a very full and interesting life and was generous and caring in sharing his teachings. Now he had something the other kids at school did not.

Michif Translations by Norman Fleury. Story concept by Lynn Nicholson and Carole Leclair. Paintings by Jocelyn Antone.

With appreciation for funding from the Government of Canada Aboriginal Languages Initiative Program

This book is currently available.

To read flip book online, CLICK HERE!

2016 Past Events

Series: Coyote and the Laughing Butterflies

Seminars in Creativity & Well-Being for SeniorsCoyote and the Laughing Butterlies

Indigenous storytelling offers us different ways to look at the world around us. Coyote, an ancient mythological being, is a cunning trickster who can be helpful or harmful, but always very creative! Butterflies are not only admired for their beauty but for their power of metamorphosis and flight. In this story, humans are reminded to laugh at our weaknesses and find the humour in our lives. Hopefully, these workshops will help you to achieve just that!

“Spirit of Creativity”
Bus Trip to Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory

Demonstration of The Butterfly Dance by Native dancer Jessa Laight. Lunch in the Café followed by tour of Butterfly Conservatory. Jessa can be contacted at 905 719 3479.

“Even today butterflies remember the trick that was played on Coyote. They flutter high and low, to and fro, laughing too hard to fly straight…”

“Spirit of Interpretive Art”
Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington

Presentation of the Ojibwe Butterfly Story by artist Rene Meshake with artistic creation & lunch in the Café Annex. Rene Meshake led an animated workshop in self-expression after his Anishinaabe story of the stones that turned to butterflies.

“Spirit of Meditation”
Afternoon Workshop November 18

Afternoon workshop with aromatherapy and reiki for seniors.
Leader – Peggy Logan from Six Nations
Tea & Refreshments

“Spirit of Meditation”
Afternoon Workshop December 9

Afternoon workshop with aromatherapy and reiki for seniors.
Leader – Peggy Logan from Six Nations
Tea & Refreshments

2014 Past Events

Moon Ceremony

On Saturday, July 12th, 2014, the Métis Women’s Circle hosted a Moon Ceremony at the Jerseyville Stables in Ancaster, ON.

We considered this “super moon”, the seventh moon in creation, as a special gift for our celebration of the full moon ceremony. Approximately fifteen women and their daughters joined in the sharing circle. Despite a cloudy beginning, Grandmother Moon showed with bright, shining light.

Against a rustic, rural background the women were led by Lana General and Val King in this important ritual for rejuvenation. Val shared her Anishinaabe teachings about the 13 moons and their representation on Turtle’s back and women’s medicine. Prayers and tobacco were offered to Creator for those near and dear who were incapacitated or in need of support.
moon ceremony imageThe water each woman brought was instilled with the power of the moonlight to be used for healing over the coming month. The women shared berries, songs, tears, and uplifted each other.

For some, this was their first time experiencing the ritual. Horses gathered in the surrounding field to watch the women circle the bonfire in song. These were the same horses who guided our youth in the Horse Spirit programs.

Women, Horses and Art

Horse Spirit Logo2014 welcomed a new program – Women, Horses & Art with support from Heritage Canada – Aboriginal women and their daughters will experience Equine Assisted Learning in personal development with this experience expressed through the creation of an original artistic art form by each participant.

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Foxcroft Stables
RBG Art Class
RBG Finished Art

2013 Past Events

Frances Cordero de Bolanos

This piece was completed by Frances Cordero de Bolanos, as a component of a combined Arts and Art History Degree at University of Toronto and Sheridan College.
“Metis filmmaker Christine Welsh’s film, Finding Dawn (NFB) explores the fate of one of many indigenous women who have been murdered somewhere along the infamous Highway of Tears, in northern British Columbia. De Bolanos’s sculpture explores the universal reality of the oppression of women, the missing and murdered mothers, daughters, sisters and neices of the world. De Bolanos’s sculpture evokes this deliberate erasure as physical, emotional and spiritual. Women’s bodies and spirits have been abandoned, dismembered, cut off from the saving grace of family, community and existence. Some bodies are hidden, left to return to the earth, to ‘melt’ silently as de Bolanos illustrates in her work. Other murdered women’s bodies are overtly displayed. De Bolanos shows them as devoid of the colors of life, as pale imitations of their humanity. De Bolanos’s sculpture is a forceful and deeply disturbing reminder of the fate of the vulnerable and a caution to those of us who would minimize or marginalize this truth. It is a plea for compassion, and a call for an inner resolve to protect and honor the ‘heartbeat of our nations,’our women and girls,” by Carole Leclair in response to the artist’s work.

FRANCES CORDERO DE BOLANOS SCULPTURES 2013
These pieces were completed by Frances Cordero de Bolanos, as a component of a combined Arts and Art History Degree at University of Toronto and Sheridan College. The sculptures reflect on missing and murdered women.

Blankets on the Floor

On Friday, October 25th, 2013, the Métis Women’s Circle presented ‘Blankets on the Floor’ with Norman Fleury, Métis Elder from Manitoba. “For many days and nights the people sang songs, had feasts, told stories…”  Norman Fleury related Metis stories from his youth interspersed with the Michif language. Approximately 100 persons attended this event, many of whom had never heard the Michif language spoken. Anne Lederman complemented Norman’s stories with traditional Metis music. Presented with funding from New Horizons for Seniors.

Norman Fleury related Métis stories from his youth interspersed with the Michif language. Approximately 100 persons attended this event, many of whom had never heard the Michif language spoken. Anne Lederman complemented Norman’s stories with traditional Métis music.

Horse Spirit Halton

Horse Spirit Logo 2013Students in the Halton Horses program worked with both Percherons and miniature horses in their equine assisted learning classes. The program was sponsored by Halton Region Police Service in Milton and coordinated by the Métis Women’s Circle.

racing for literacy logoRacing for Literacy

Racing for Literacy was a program designed specifically for students in the Transportation Course at Sir John A MacDonald Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario. Students were provided with auto racing literature, met race car drivers, race track owners and learned about the various racing genres, including dirt track racing divisions and Nascar racing.

Bear Spirit Parfleche Communication Bag

Presentation of Bear Spirit parfleche communication bags for information sharing at Sir John A. MacDonald Secondary School. With Metis Elder Rene Meshake speaking. Plus Elder Elize Hartley, Carol LeClair and traditional Métis singing and drumming.

2012 Past Events

sub_past_photo3_beadingsub_past_photo2_beadingsub_past_photo1_beadingBeading Workshops with Nathalie Bertin

Several of the Women’s Circle and their friends joined together on a summer afternoon to enjoy beading creations with Nathalie Bertin. Nathalie is an accomplished Métis artist. She shared her life stories with us as she taught our women about the history and art of traditional Métis beading. Please view Nathalie’s original works at: www.nathaliebertin.com

 

 

 

Horse Spirit & Young Men 2012

During the 2012/13 winter/spring semester at Sir John A Macdonald High School, the Métis Women’s Circle offered young Aboriginal men the opportunity to earn high school credits through experiencing equine assisted learning.

Students were made familiar with the historical relationship between Aboriginals and horses. The spirit of the horse was experienced in a country setting under the supervision of a certified equine assisted learning instructor. Students worked with horses both individually and in small group work where they learned acceptance and respect, teamwork, and handling skills.

Exercises were designed to teach students those skills to apply in personal situations addressing self-esteem, counter bullying techniques, peer pressure, and dealing with anger. Aboriginal culture carriers augmented the program by introducing land teachings and their personal working experiences centred on horse culture.

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Sister to Sister II posterSister to Sister Young Women Gathering II

Keynote Speakers: Dr. Pamela Palmater, Dr. Robin Bourgeois

The Métis Women’s Circle again hosted this special assembly to address contemporary issues faced by high school female students. This project was funded by Canadian Heritage, Aboriginal Women’s Programming.

 

 

Trout Lilies & Spring Peepers

Trout Lilies and Spring PeepersCapturing Elders’ Eco Stories – Whatever happened to the natural fields and river streams where you played as a child? Ever wonder about those old-fashioned flowers and herbs your grandmother grew? Will your grandchildren get to enjoy the same wonderment of wide open spaces and all the species hiding there?

The Métis Women’s Circle compiled memories of the landscape in story form, poetry, photography, painting and drawing in order to share our “eco” stories, those cherished memories of youth. A number of Aboriginal older persons joined us in this endeavour through small workshops, gathering walks, visits to botanical centres and story sharing. Project funded by New Horizons For Seniors. The finished booklet is available through our Métis Market (donations gratefully accepted).

2011 Past Events

Gookum’s Purse

How mGookum's Purse Imageuch do you know about Canada’s residential schools – the government’s forceful removal of Aboriginal children from their families? The Métis Women’s Circle commissioned an original script be written to raise awareness of these unspoken histories. The result was Gookum’s Purse.
In the stage production, Native Arts students worked with Elders to blend traditional storytelling with contemporary urban teen life. New Horizons for Seniors and the Trillium Foundation funded the performance depicting the story of one Anishinaabe girl’s life journey suffering abuse and hardships in these church run facilities.

The audience was enveloped in the sounds of aboriginal drums, rattles, and voices from nature, as the lead character is taken from her family and sent to a prairie residential school. Later, with her own small children in tow, she makes her home in Hamilton where she grows into an old “Gookum”, a grandmother who reclaims her traditional culture and shares her wisdom and teachings with local teenagers in Gage Park.

Along witGookum Poster Thumbnailh offering an authentic historical perspective, the play served as a showcase for students’ talents and skills. Youth worked tirelessly to rehearse new drum songs. They not only gained acting experience, but more importantly learned to build community in learning and working together.

Audience members found the play moving and visually beautiful in soundscape and lighting. They expressed gratitude for this insight into Aboriginal history, language and culture. One recurring comment was, “I never learned about this in history classes. I didn’t know about this part of Canadian history.” In the traditional way, performances were followed by all staff, crew and their families sharing in a feast to celebrate their new theatrical experience.

2010 Past Events

Urban Thunderbirds Pilot Project

Urban Thunderbirds was a year long mentoring project at Parkview Secondary High School which included a variety of activities aimed at enhancing Aboriginal students’ graduation rates.

Equine Assisted Learning
“In Western Cree and other First Nations cultures, the horse is revered as part of the circle of creation… It possesses an intrinsic spiritual value.” Our newest venture is the introduction of equine assisted learning to the Aboriginal students. Through a certified Aboriginal trainer in EAL, students worked with horses toward achievement in: Self Reflection, Goal Setting and Maintaining, Boundary Setting and Maintaining, Communication and Relationships. This learning style allowed students to acquire land-based teachings. A program of this nature is very important to young Aboriginal men. Elders worked with the youth to demonstrate “rites of passage” and explain traditional and contemporary roles and responsibilities of men.

Our Horse Social – Finale of The Equine Assisted Learning Program
To cap off the Equine Assisted Learning Program, we offered an an evening of fun and information for Nyaweh students and their family & friends, included showing the results of Equine Assisted Learning workshops presented by Aboriginal students, “The Unity Ride”, a spiritual journey for Aboriginal youth presented by Bonnie Freeman, EAL instructor, Aboriginal Social Work, McMaster University, a traditional giveaway and a thank you to the horses.

Literacy
The Métis Women’s Circle provided reading resources in the Nyaweh room at Parkview to encourage students to read and investigate books. A list of preferred reading materials was submitted by the youth worker and reviewed by the Métis Women’s Circle organizers. Reading resources were aimed at teenage readership with a variety of titles to choose from – novels, comics, legends, and noted Aboriginal authors like Joseph Bruchac. Bruchac has written award winning titles which were purchased for students and as resources for the Nyawen room: “Keepers of the Earth”, “Tell Me a Tale”, “When the Chenoo Howls”, “The Heart of a Chief”, “Pushing Up The Sky”.

Literacy Initiatives & Hockey Fun
Through initiation by the Métis Women’s Circle, the Bulldogs suggested further ideas for literacy incentives for students including signed memorabilia, motivational speakers, and tickets for Bulldogs games in the future. At a home game on January 15, 2010, Aboriginal students met with Bulldogs President, Glenn Stanford, a former high school teacher from the east coast of Canada who recognizes well the problems and barriers at Parkview. He was very helpful in suggesting strategies to improve literacy, attendance, and other motivational incentives for Aboriginal students. After the game, students and their families met with Rochester American owner, Ted Nolan, Aboriginal entrepreneur. Parents expressed their appreciation for a wholesome family activity which, they stated, would not have been within their reach without the assistance of the program.

Parkview Talent Show
Parkview’s Principal, Paul Beattie, requested a specific Aboriginal component to their 2009 talent show and sought our assistance in this regard. The Métis Women’s Circle hired a professional Anishnaabe drama coach to instruct students on dance and choreography as well as prop making techniques. The drama coach taught female students the “Butterfly Dance” along with the storytelling and history of this dance to present at the Talent Show. Students were provided with materials and embellishments to make their own dance shawls which they personalized with Aboriginal designs and animal totems. Students were allowed to keep their shawls as a remembrance of their work on the talent show.

Feasts & Fun
Students and their families celebrated students’ achievements at feasts to mark special times of the year and the progress of our projects. Members of local Aboriginal agencies and school personnel joined in the celebrations. Students requested more of these events to share their school life with their families.

 

girl drawingSister to Sister Young Women Gathering

The Métis Women’s Circle was pleased to host this special assembly to address contemporary issues faced by high school female students. The assembly took place in November 2010 with facilitation by social workers from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

2009 Past Events

The Dance of Wiindigo and Nanaboozhou Book CoverThe Dance of Wiindigo and Nanaboozhou

The Dance of Wiindigo and Nanaboozhou was an Ontario Government Ministry of the Attorney General funded proposal to gather elders’ insites in response to hate crimes. A workshop was held at Sir John A MacDonald High School addressing ‘two-spirit’ youth (LGBTQQ, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning) and the keynote speaker Jessica Yee. A book was compiled as a result.

 

Indigo Know flyer

“Indige Know” Series

The “Indige Know” series at Parkview Secondary School was designed for Nyaweh student literacy level. IndigeKnow information sheets were distributed throughout the year to students and teachers at their request. These handouts covered a variety of subjects and were designed for Aboriginal cultural specific content – language, medicine plants, self esteem, history and general themes. Wherever possible, information sheets were designed to complement or amplify course content. GIKINAWAABI = learning by observation.

 

crawford lake imageMother Earth Water Walk at Crawford Lake

Water is precious and sacred… it is one of the basic elements needed for all life to exist. The Métis Women’s Circle, the Hamilton Native Women’s Centre and Crawford Lake Conservation Area are working together to support the annual Mother Earth Water Walk. We invite you to join us in a local Waterwalk taking place at: Crawford Lake Conservation Area. The purpose of the Water Walk is to educate and to raise the wareness of an indigenous perspective on Women as the water keepers and their knowledge on how we can connect to and respect the waters of the earth. We welcome you to come and experience our perspective on living in harmony with our water and how to sustain our precious and vital life source.

 

 

 

Mentoring Our Youth

Mentoring Our Youth was a two year mentoring project at Sir John A. Macdonald High School which included a variety of activities.

Cree Culture Carrier at Sir John A. Macdonald High School
The Metis Women’s Circle was very proud to host Delvin Kanewiyakiho Kennedy from Oskayak School, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to share one week with students at the high schools. Delvin holds a Masters of Education degree and is a traditional Cree teacher. From his thesis work, Delvin describes his understanding of Cree learning processes:

“I have learned that when Indigenous scholars discuss epistemology, they are talking about nêhiyaw [Cree] cosmology or world view. The sources both academic… and grassroots (knowledge keepers) indicate that within the nêhiyaw world view, all the knowledge points ultimately to the care and love and teaching of the nêhiyaw child… as that entity begins his earthly journey through life. After all, it is the life cycle and ways of knowing that continue in the child as that child grows spiritually and experientially… youth today need the mentorship and guidance that is given by compassionate and caring knowledge keepers who are kikêhtêyiminawak – our old people. It is the words and the teachings of knowledge keepers that show us the vision for a bright future for nêhiyaw youth.

Delvin lectured in several classes, drummed and sang, and imparted traditional knowledge to students. Teachers were very appreciative of his offerings in history, geography, Native arts, and philosophy classes (please see their responses attached). Students and teachers requested Delvin’s return to the school for further instruction in Aboriginal history, hoop dancing, and the importance of oral traditions and retention of indigenous languages.

elder presentation pic 1Presentations by Elders and Knowledge Keepers
Anishaabe author and artist, Rene Meshake, visited both schools to present his latest work both in the Native Art classes and in English classes. Rene is a residential school elder presentation 2survivor, a traditional storyteller, and a language teacher.

Pat Hess, Wolf Clan, Cayuga Nation, presented to Sir John A MacDonald and Parkview students on the photography of medicine plants, their uses, and traditional meanings. Pat’s training in mounting professional photo exhibits was shared with students in the Native Arts classes.

 

PowerPaths for Youth

Powerpaths was a year long mentoring project at Parkview High School which included a variety of activities.

powerpaths imageBig Drum at Parkview High School
Materials and instruction were provided to instruct young male students in constructing a Big Drum for Parkview. Previous to this, students were forced to borrow a drum from Sir John A MacDonald High School. With their own drum, students will gain experience and reassurance in practicing their drumming and singing as a group. This activity was provided by culture carriers in a traditional manner. It served to raise self esteem of the young men in the Nyaweh program.

 

Custom Graduation StolesGraduation Stoles
The Métis Women’s Circle commissioned a seamstress to custom design graduation stoles for Aboriginal students to wear upon completion of their education at both schools. Stoles are fabricated in the school colours and bear a variety of Aboriginal symbols like eagle feathers and animal totems.

2008 Past Events

train photoPhotography From An Aboriginal Perspective

Photo contests were sponsored for students at both Sr John A MacDonald and Parkview High Schools, themed “Urban Aboriginal Styles” and “Aboriginality in the City”. Contest winners were presented with a camera, gift cards, and an honour song.

Yonaktiyo – Aboriginal Homeless

yonaktiyo logoYonaktiyo translates to “A good place to build a lodge”. The Métis Women’s Circle addressed issues of Aboriginal Homelessness in Halton Region, providing resources to social service agencies in Halton for Aboriginal clients to raise awareness about their own aboriginal population in Halton.

Out of this came the significance of the contribution to Halton’s economy historically by Aboriginal Farm Workers.
For Aboriginal As a part of the Aboriginal Homeless Project, the Métis Women’s Circle offered the following:

March is Aboriginal Language Month in Canada

In developing language curriculum, Cree scholars explain concepts contained in indigenous languages which relate directly to the land and are not as easily apparent in English definitions.

March signifies a new beginning and a time when Indigenous people celebrate survival and prepare for new beginnings. April Moon, is a time when women have prominent roles in ceremony, it signifies the thawing of Mother Earth, of birth and new life. Each moon cycle is significant to Indigenous life. (Mary Sasakamoose and Irvin Waskewitch from 2008 Indigenous Perspectives on Language Teaching and Learning, A Summary Document to Support Indigenous Language Instruction and Cultural Programming in Saskatchewan).

Full Moon Ceremony For Youth

The Métis Women’s Circle organized several full moon ceremonies for inner city women to receive a traditional teaching from knowledgeable elders.

Grant Writing Workshop

As a benefit for members of our circle, the Métis women organized a one day workshop with government agencies to demonstrate proposal writing strategies.

2007 Past Events

My Wellness Journal For Aboriginal Youth

Based on the teachings of the 4 directions – Medicine Wheel teachings are among the oldest teachings of First Nations people. The teachings found on the Medicine Wheel create a holistic foundation for human behaviour and interaction; the teachings are about walking the earth in a peaceful and good way; they assist in helping to seek: healthy minds (East); strong inner spirits (South); inner peace (West); strong, healthy bodies (North).

A Medicine Wheel can best be described as a mirror within which everything about the human condition is reflected back. It requires courage to look into the mirror and really see what is being reflected back about an individual’s life.

The term “medicine” is used within the context of inner spiritual energy and healing. The Medicine Wheel and its sacred teachings assist individuals along the path towards mental, spiritual, emotional and physical enlightenment.

 

Young Voices ImageYoung Voices They Tell Us

The Métis Women’s Circle worked with inner city Aboriginal High School students to (re-)introduce cultural and spiritual teachings.