Sharing Indigenous Knowledge on Survival in Times of Climate Change: Turtle Lodge, November 18, 2016

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This week at Turtle Lodge, Manitoba Elders and Knowledge Holders gathered to share Indigenous knowledge on survival in times of climate change.

At the invitation of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Elders and Knowledge Keepers conducted this important and historic event Friday November 18, 2016 at Turtle Lodge, with many senior level politicians, academics, judges, environmentalists, leaders, members of the public and media (including CNN) in attendance.

Manitoba Elders and Knowledge Holders Included: Oshoshko Bineshiikwe – Blue Thunderbird Woman, Osawa Aki Ikwe (Florence Paynter); Zoongi Gabowi Ozawa Kinew Ikwe – Strong Standing Golden Eagle Woman (Mary Maytwayashing); Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Leading Earth Man (Dave Courchene); Giizih-Inini – (Dr. Harry Bone); Zhonga-giizhing – Strong Day (Wally Swain); Naawakomigowiinin (Dennis White Bird); Kamintowe Pemohtet – Spirit Walker (D’Arcy Linklater); Mah Pe Ya Mini (Henry Skywater), and Katherine Whitecloud. Presided over by Knowledge Holder Katherine Whitecloud as Chair, the day began with a Pipe and Water Ceremony, and explanations from the Elders and Knowledge Holders about the vision of the Turtle Lodge and an explanation of the gifts and natural laws that have helped Indigenous people survive. Knowledge Holder Harry Bone explained the significance of the sacred pipe and its relationship to Indigenous sovereignty.  Knowledge Holder Florence Paynter explained the significance of the water and the role of the women in speaking on its behalf, as Knowledge Holder Mary Maytwayashing rendered a water song she had received in a dream.  Knowledge Holder Wally Swain conducted a tree ceremony, with a live tree that had been brought into the Turtle Lodge to bear witness to the ceremony and words of the people.  Youth representative Zara Contin delivered the Onjisay Aki (“The Earth is Changing”) Youth Statement.  Youths Terrance Thomas and Chelsea Spence from Nisiachawayasihk Cree Nation shared an experience with and teachings on medicines. The Elders and Knowledge Holders presented the Great Binding Law of Ogichi Tibakonegaywin, which they had written.  Following the Spirit Song rendered by Knowledge Holder Henry Skywater, Knowledge Holder Dave Courchene made a Statement on implementing the Great Binding Law today, with a focus on the role and leadership of the Elders and Knowledge Holders as peacemakers of their motherland. Statements of support were offered by Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and Minister of Indigenous and Municipal Relations for Manitoba, Eileen Clarke.  Participants each received a scroll copy of the Great Binding Law. Click here for more details on the event.
  • The Elders share the Great Binding Law.
  • Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak introduces the Elders as the “true leaders”.
  • Knowledge Holder Henry Skywater shares the meaning of the headdress.
  • Knowledge Holder Wally Swain conducts a tree ceremony.
  • Knowledge Holder D’Arcy Linklater offers teachings and comic relief.
  • Youth from Nisiachawayasihk Cree Nation: Terrance T’omas and Chelsea Spence.
  • Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Knowledge Holder Dave Courchene – delivers a message about Elders as Peacemakers.
  • Zara Contin presents the Onjisay Aki Youth Statement.
  • Knowledge Holder Dave Courchene, Founder of Turtle Lodge.
  • Minister Eileen Clarke, Indigenous and Municipal Affairs Manitoba.
  • CNN correspondent Jessica Ravitz’s story to air November 28, 2016.
  The 180+ Guest List Included: Minister Eileen Clarke, Manitoba Indigenous and Municipal Affairs – MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette – MLA Judy Klassen – MLA Rob Altemeyer – Jonathan Black-Branch, Dean of Robson Hall (Law School), University of Manitoba – Bridgette DePape, Council of Canadians – Monica Dominguez, Manitoba Hydro –  Dennis Fenske, Mayor of Thompson – EJ Fontaine, Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle – Tracy Hucul, Green Action Centre – Cathy Johnston, Secretary, Clean Environment Commission – Anna Johnston, West Coast-Environmental Law – Alex Paterson, Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition – Christopher Piercey, Team Lead, National Energy Board Modernization Secretariat, Natural Resources Canada – Serge Scarfield, Chair, Clean Environment Commission – Mary Scott, Institute for International Women’s Rights Manitoba – Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Winnipeg – Peter Watson, Chair and CEO, National Energy Board – John Young, CEO, Canadian Museum for Human Rights – Diana Kwan, INAC – Cathy Hainsworth, Transport Canada – Cathy Gee, Department of Fisheries and Oceans – Jay Ritchlin and Alaya Boisvert, David Suzuki Foundation – Jacinthe Morin, Canadian Environment Assessment Agency – Fraser Thomson, Ecojustice – Tiffany Monkman, MMF Natural Resource – Ken Champagne, Chief Provincial Judge, Manitoba – Justice Deborah McCawley, Chair of the Board, Winnipeg Foundation – Karen Peters, Manitoba Eco-Network – Tom Garrett, Law Society of Manitoba – David Newman, Pitblado – Strini Reddy, Rotary Club – Shaunna Morgan Siegers, Indigenous Leadership Initiative – Grace Eidse, Altered Minds – Clayton Thomas-Mueller, – Guy Freedman, First Peoples Group – Jody Whitney, Enbridge – CNN Correspondent Jessica Ravitz – Dr. Ian Mauro, Prairie Climate Centre   img_0646 Listen to Great Binding Law Here (Delivered by Knowledge Holder Dave Courchene, on behalf of Knowledge Holders and Co-Authors Florence Paynter, Wally Swain, Harry Bone, Henry Skywater, Mary Maytwayashing, D’Arcy Linklater and Dennis White Bird) Click Here to view written Great Binding Law document.
Statement of the Elders

Statement of the Elders

  img_0644 Listen to Spirit of Life Song (Rendered by Knowledge Holder Henry Skywater)   img_0648 Listen to Elders and Knowledge Holders as Peacemakers (Delivered by Knowledge Holder Dave Courchene) Click here to view text of presentation.   img_0647 Listen to Zara Contin deliver the Onjisay Aki (The Earth is Changing) Youth Statement Click here to view text of Onjisay Aki (The Earth is Changing) Youth Statement.  

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