INDIGENizeUS is professional development training that strives to educate and raise the cultural awareness of YPT staff members to the live and vibrant culture of different local Indigenous Artists, Elders, Facilitators and Educators. INDIGENizeUS is a seven-workshop series based on the Seven Grandfather Teachings (Respect, Bravery, Humility, Love, Honesty, Wisdom, Truth). Each workshop encompasses a different theme, all focused towards providing a safe learning environment to ask questions, and foster education and reconciliation.
Introductory Reflection by Lindy Kinoshameg
YPT staff experienced a smudging circle with Elder Pauline Shirt, where she shared her stories from a lifetime of learning, attending ceremonies, and teaching her culture and traditions. Elder Shirt gave us a brief introduction to the sacred medicines and items used in smudging. Pauline’s own teachings and stories related to Respect – honouring all of creation – as each person we meet, every plant we see, and all the rocks we touch have a purpose and a spirit.
Reflection on “Respect” by Lindy Kinoshameg
The power of the drum was shared by Veronica Johnny. Veronica reached out to all of us in the workshop, and to the ancestors of our past. She encouraged us to reach within ourselves for that bravery, allowing each one of us to use and hold the drums, to explore different songs together and share our voices as a group.
Reflection on “Bravery” by Lindy Kinoshameg
YPT staff created a handmade medicine pouch with the guidance and teaching of Rosary Spence, which focused on Humility. Making a pouch for our medicines is like creating a physical object to remind ourselves of the knowledge we have gained, how to use it, and how to protect it.
Reflection on “Humility” by Lindy Kinoshameg
J’net Ayayqwayaksheelth helped us, the YPT staff, to understand ourselves a little more deeply and what it means to say we are ‘Canadian’. The roots of where we stand are deep in the history of the land, the first peoples, and our collective past. How do we embrace ourselves and the history of our ancestors, and move forward together in peace? With Love.
Leslie McCue shared the stories behind the Women’s Traditional Dance, and Lindy Kinoshameg shared the Men’s Prairie Chicken Dance. Each piece of hand-made regalia and every movement used in the dance has a rich history, story, and meaning. Leslie showed us how we can be honest by accepting and sharing our gifts with those around us.
Reflection on “Honesty” by Lindy Kinoshameg
Dr. Duke Redbird taught YPT staff about pre-colonial Indigenous intellect, intuition, and respect for our relationship with the world around us. He showed us how the seven canopies of the food forest exemplify the seven grandfather teachings. From this workshop, we learned that when dealing with any given situation it is important to ask ourselves “is it wise?”
This was the final session of INDIGENizeUS, presented by two special guests. The first presenter was Nimkii Osawamick, who shared his dance style called the Hoop dance with YPT staff. He also shared his stories and experiences, and how the trust in his teachings has brought him to where he is today. The second presenter was Leslie McCue, who conducted a brainstorming session, focusing on how to Indigenize oneself on a personal level, and as a company.
To learn more about the INDIGENizeUS program at YPT, click here.