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 Since 1994

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.


2006 Past Events

Traditional Bush Medicines

Some medicine plants indigenous to this area – Joe Pye Weed, Boneset, Blue Gentian, Sweet Flag, Wild Blue Flag, Swamp Milkweed, Swamp Aster, Angelica, Marsh Marigold, Scouring Rush, Path Rush, Black Ash, Red-Osier Dogwood, Purple Avens, Cows Parsnip, Touch-Me-Not species, Mad-Dog Skullcap, Meadowsweet

Medicine Plants – Ononhkwasonha – in Mohawk: Maple Sap – Owahtaker, Tobacco – Oien’ kwa’ tónwe, Milkweed – kanon’ tinekens, Burdock – ohrhohtehktó: wa, Strawberries – ken’ niiohontésha, Sweetgrass – kahenttékon, Cedar – onen’ takwenhtèn:tshera Medicine Plants – Meshkikiiwangin – in Ojibwe: Pine – wingwaak, sumac – pakwaamesh, Wild cherry – bgoji zasiwemesh, Plantain – omakeebag, Elderberry – paashkiseganaak, Willow – seskobimesh, Seneca root – shkeegjeebkans


Turtle Teachings: Aboriginal Women’s Storytelling

Turtle Teachings Info ImageIn 2006, the Métis Women’s Circle organized a weekend event for all students, teachers, and social service organizations to participate in traditional storytelling. We were very proud to present authors, Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, Lee Maracle, and traditional Longhouse speaker, Christina Skye to present in their areas of expertise.

Over 120 persons attended this two day event at the Royal Botanical Gardens. A very special Remembrance Day ceremony was held to honour our WWII Metis war veteran, Joseph Clement who passed away in 2009. An honour song was sung to him at the event.




2002 Past Events

Indigenous Medicine Plants

The Métis Women’s Circle greeted 100 visitors at the medicine planting in Westfield Heritage Centre to identify and deescribe traditional uses of indigenous plants. Ken Parker, Six Nations, presented a slide galleries of photos on indigenous species.


Strong Women Caring, Fanny Packs for Homeless

The Métis Women’s Circle fund-raised and assembled emergency kits for Hamilton’s homeless women. Kits included useful items for hygiene, insulating blankets and emergency telephone calling card and were distributed through emergency social services in the inner city.


From The Stories Women Tell

What sets us apart from any other women’s group? We are Aboriginal women who have to create positive meanings around the terms of identity that we have inherited from both our parent groups. Métis oral tradition teaches us that we are never entirely “other,” that our social and spiritual identities have always overlapped with those of our tribal relatives, other entities and our European relations in shifting patterns of creative necessity. Métis who remember bush ways remain connected with our first teacher, the land. In this way, we enact an Aboriginal ecology which adapts to, rather than assimilates, the larger common culture.
Excerpt from “From the Stories that Women Tell: The Métis Women’s Circle” Carole Leclair, Lynn Nicholson and Elize Hartley, in Anderson, Kim and Bonita Lawrence, eds. Strong Women Stories: Native Vision and Community Survival. Sumach Press, Toronto, 2003.


2001 Past Events

Alliance of the Four Directions Elders Project

Resulted in a book, Awn Rond, Métis Elders Stories. See our Métis Market for more information.


A Place of Heart: Building Strong Homes

A Place of Heart LogoSponsored by the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention

The gathering is based on the philosophies of the four directions of the Ojibwe medicine wheel. We have chosen the gifts of the southern door as a guide for our program. Our women and their children will learn about respectful living. Zhaawnong – the southern door – is the place of the heart. It teaches us generosity, sensitivity, loyalty and love. Zhaawnong teaches us to express our feelings openly and freely in ways that do not hurt others.


Traditional Bush Medicines

Following is a sample of a series of teaching cards designed for public school on traditional medicine plants. Pussy Willow: Most Iroquois children know the legend of how the pussy willow came to be from an adventurous rabbit who climbed too high in a tree. The pussy willow branches contain natural aspirin and are a headache remedy and used to treat sore throats. The leaves are used in poultices for sores, cuts, wounds, and bruises. Ojibwe used the inner bark of willow to make baskets and small net twine to snare rabbits and squirrels. Deer prefer the leaves as forage.



2000 Past Events

Métis Midwife Medicine Planting

The Métis Women’s Circle constructed a traditional medicine planting at Westfield Heritage Centre with 43 indigenous species of plants used as food and medicine.


The Winter Healing Blanket Gathering

Elders shared storytelling and cultural teachings for winter activities.


The Culture of Birth Workship

Jan Longboat shared women’s stories around child-rearing.



1999 Past Events

The Song of Métis Women Gathering

Reflections on our Gathering: wood smoke, bannock and blueberries, red tobacco ties, orange sparks from a night fire, sage smudge, women’s drum songs, remembering our Grandmothers, the feel of dew on the grass, horn rattles, prayers on tobacco smoke, Gzhe manidoo nga-noonaa, fry bread, prayers to Creator, a critical eye to history, a Cree song, ceremony, powerful women, silent women, horn rattles, the starblanket, white birch and maples, deerskin, taking the lessons in a story.

Earth, Culture, Wellness

The Métis Women’s Circle presented at McMaster University the concept for traditional medicine planting at Westfield Heritage Village.


Earth, Culture, Wellness

The Metis Women’s Circle presented at McMaster University the concept for traditional medicine planting at Westfield Heritage Village.


Baskets & Berries

Aboriginal Contributions to Aldershot’s Agricultural History

Betty’s Story…
“June this year had been an exceptionally hot one“ good for growing local strawberries. At every opportunity, Betty was glad to escape the back-breaking work in the field to take a walk up the winding road towards the escarpment not too far from the farm.
“The trail had long been paved over, but she was mindful that this was the route travelled by her ancestors for centuries. Her father told her that it was the way to reach the villages and encampments at Lake Medad and Tinawatawa. Betty pondered this history…”

All ‘Betty’ Drawings by Jocelyn Antone.

With appreciation for funding from New Horizon’s for Seniors.

This book is currently available.

baskets & berries book cover


plus shipping & handling

Baskets & Berries

2015 welcomes a new program – Baskets and Berries, honouring the contribution of Aboriginal Agricultural Workers.

TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2015
BASKETS & BERRIES: Aboriginal Contributions to Aldershot Farm Economy

This is the story of a 1947 era Aldershot farm woman as told by professional storyteller Pauline Grondin, as she reminisces about life on the farm with an emphasis on the Native farm workers of the day.

The stories of these workers are seldom told and not generally recorded in the pages of history, yet their roles were vital to Canadian farms including those in Aldershot.

baskets & berries logoThe lives of Native farm workers, their families and their contributions will be brought to light in these reminiscences.
The Métis Women’s Circle invites you to join us for this evening of information, refreshments and sharing with Storyteller PAULINE GRONDIN Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm in The Holland Room (Main Level) of BURLINGTON CENTRAL LIBRARY, 2331 New Street, Burlington. This event is Open to Pubic and No Charge. For more information contact:

Our storyteller Pauline Grondin is an award winning storyteller, musician, and an 1812 reenactor who has been telling stories and making music all her life. Audiences of all ages in Canada and Great Britain have enjoyed her presentations. A selection of Pauline’s stories are featured on Route 1812 created for the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  Look for more of her work at

Basket & Berries Aldershot Image