Celebration of Giigewigamig (KEE-GAY-GAH-MIK) – Traditional Healing Centre at Pine Falls, June 22, 2015

Posted in: Elder Messages, News
  • L to R – Councillor Furlon Barker (Hollow Water), Councillor Rhonda Abraham (Black River), Chief Frank Abraham (Black River), Mayor Bev Dube (Pine Falls), Elder Ernest McPherson (Black River), Ron Van Denakker (CEO, IERHA), Minister of Health Sharon Blady (Manitoba), Chief Derrick Henderson (Sagkeeng), Kookum Aldeen Mason (Sagkeeng), Elder Dave Courchene (Sagkeeng)
Sagkeeng Traditional Territory – Earlier today Community Members, Elders and Elected Leadership gathered at the Sunova Arena in Pine Falls to celebrate the new Traditional Healing Centre being constructed at the Pine Falls Hospital. Community, RHA Board Members, Deputy Minister of Health Avis Gray, and Media witnessed a Pipe ceremony and sacred songs sung on by the Red Shadow Singers (Sagkeeng) on the traditional Drum, and presentations by Elder Ernest McPherson (Black River), Elder Dave Courchene (Sagkeeng), Chief Derrick Henderson (Sagkeeng), who was flanked by Chief Frank Abraham (Black River) and Councillor Furlon Barker (Hollow Water), Minister of Health Sharon Blady (Manitoba), Mayor Bev Dube (Pine Falls), and CEO Ron Van Denakker (Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority). Elder Ernest McPherson announced the name that the communities have given the Traditional Healing Centre – Giigewigamig (KEE-GAY-GAH-MIK) – meaning “Place to heal”.   A CBC RADIO NOON interview with CBC News Anchor Janet Stewart and Elder Dave Courchene can be heard here.
CBC RADIO NOON interview with CBC News Anchor Janet Stewart and Elder Dave Courchene, June 22, 2015
  The Turtle Lodge is pleased to share the audio of the Red Shadow Singers singing on the traditional Drum at the celebration, and the transcripts of some of these presentations with you here:
 Red Shadow Singers Drum Group (Turtle Lodge), Singing at Celebration of Giigewigamig (Traditional Healing Centre)
  Statement by Dave Courchene (Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Leading Earth Man), Leader of Turtle Lodge, Original Visionary of Giigewigamig June 22, 2015 Celebration of Giigewigamig (Traditional Healing Centre at Pine Falls Hospital) Boozhoo, Dinaymakinitook. Many years ago, we brought this vision of Giigewigamig (Kee-gay-Gah-Mik) – this Healing Lodge – to the Pine Falls Hospital. The vision was received through our traditional ceremonies – a blessing to be shared for all people.  Our visions come from our Great Creator – the Highest Power of Spirit.  The Traditional Healing Centre would be a place that would reflect our identity and traditions as a People. Years after proposing the initial healing center component to the Pine Falls hospital, we have finally reached that reality. Our spirit and intent in bringing our vision was to ensure our People would have greater opportunities to find healing within the traditions of our culture and understanding of life. In our culture when people are very sick or in the final stages of their journey, we believe they need a place to visit with as many family members as possible, who can come to offer support and love. We needed a place with a kitchen, connected to the sacred fire and the sacred lodges, sacred ceremonies, sacred teachings of our people. There is no doubt about the overwhelming challenges that we continue to face, and the need for bringing greater support for the well-being of all.  We all have a sacred duty and responsibility that will require courage and a strong committed leadership. Can we join in a unified spirit, for the common good of all, where we put our children as the motivation to make real changes? The traditional center, Giigewigamig, is a symbol of recognizing that we have a right to do things from our perspective that defines our way of life.  This to us is empowering, taking us beyond the attitudes of continued colonization.  We have a right to be heard, to express our solutions that can help to begin the healing process that is so urgently needed. No one will heal us.  We must take that responsibility to heal ourselves.  But it is also recognized that our Partners share this responsibility of working together, taking this beyond political solution and more towards spiritual and moral resolve. This can be the beginning, which will offer guidance and direction to living Minopimatiziwin - a good life.  That's the challenge.  Can we all make that commitment – beginning by recognizing and acknowledging our leadership that comes with duties and responsibilities that begin with ourselves? We cannot continue to find ourselves marginalized, while we see others receiving maximum from the resources that belong to us all.  To be expected to live and survive on less than 1% of our homeland is an unrealistic expectation. The healing center can act as a vehicle, a foundation to establish a new paradigm never seen in this country.  Are we up to this very admirable challenge? Let the Elders take the lead in this whole process.  They are the best to offer guidance and direction.  Let the political leaders ensure and support the wishes of our esteemed Elders. In our hearts we hope for a win-win situation for all parties.  Let us move on without confrontation, conflict, anger, or the continued environment of imposition. Our world has become sick simply because of the way we've treated each other and the way we have mistreated the earth. We have a common purpose beginning with making peace with the earth and creating a foundation filled with values that nurture the spirit in each of us, that help us to find balance and greater health and well-being. The Elders have the support of our leaders to ensure that autonomy of our people is respected in order to bring fulfilment of our Vision. Our Elders have always been inclusive to all people, to look out for the best interests of all people, not only our own, and always seek to bring peace to our world.   Joint Statement by the Chiefs of Sagkeeng, Black River and Hollow Water First Nations Presented on behalf of the Chiefs by Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson June 22, 2015 Celebration of Giigewigamig (KEE-GAY-GAH-MIK) (Traditional Healing Centre at Pine Falls Hospital) Welcome to the unceded territory of Sagkeeng First Nation, signatory to Treaty 1, with our traditional territory also included within Treaties 3 and 5. We are the Original free and independent People of this land and have lived in our homeland for thousands of years. As leadership of Sagkeeng, Black River and Hollow Water, we make this presentation on behalf of our People. This health facility is undergoing a major structural change, and this time our people will be in the forefront of that change. We look forward to taking the lead in managing all aspects of Giigewigamig (KEE-GAY-GAH-MIK), the name we have given the Traditional Healing Centre. As leaders, we position our Elders from our three communities to have full control and a shared responsibility in managing Giigewigamig (KEE-GAY-GAH-MIK), to provide the best possible care and top quality support for our People. The Elders bring wisdom, guidance and compassion, which creates the spirit of peace and unity to remind us of Minopimatiziwin – a good and peaceful way of life.   Statement by Minister of Health, Sharon Blady Transcript pending.   Statement by CEO of Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority, Ron Van Denakker It is a privilege to welcome everybody to the Town of Powerview-Pine Falls and next to the Pine Falls Health Complex the future home of a new Primary Health Care and Traditional Healing Centre. We are honoured to be side by side with all our community partners in sharing in this announcement. In part, this is a special and wonderful day as we take yet another innovative step forward with our First Peoples partners serving in and on their traditional territory.  
Joint Community Press Release: Click Here.

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