Painting by Henry Guimond, Turtle Lodge
March 13, 2017, Somba K’e, Denendeh — A Sacred Pipe will be arriving in Dettah, Northwest Territories this
weekend to bring spiritual, emotional, physical and mental wellbeing to the people of the
North as part of a cultural revitalization movement being led by a Circle of Elders from
across Turtle Island.
Over the past 500 years, colonization has claimed most of the sacred pipes that were central
to Indigenous health, culture, spirituality and nationhood. As part of the ongoing cultural
revitalization movement, a new pipe was commissioned and unveiled last month at Turtle
Lodge in Manitoba as a first step in the journey to represent the return of the many pipes that
were taken or destroyed throughout the centuries.
The Circle of Elders is now carrying this Sacred Pipe in the four directions, beginning in the
North with a ceremony at the Chief Drygeese Centre in Dettah, beginning at 9 a.m. on
Saturday, March 18.
“Sharing the Pipe is about taking back our power and creating a narrative about the
importance and need to value Indigenous spirituality and ways of knowing,” says Elder
Stephen Kakfwi. “This Sacred Pipe is a spiritual gift from our ancestors to help us live in
peace in our homeland.”
Hosted by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and with support from Dene Nahjo, the
ceremony and feast will bring together Northern leaders, Elders and youth to share stories of
positive cultural revitalization initiatives from across the North with the intention of reviving
the spirit within Indigenous nations, communities and each individual.
“The Sacred Pipe will help address critical health needs, particularly the crisis of depression
and suicide among Indigenous young people,” adds Elder David Courchene, founder of the
Turtle Lodge on the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba and the person whom the Elders
have selected to be the holder and caretaker of the Pipe. “We wish to position and value our
Indigenous Grandmothers and Elders to provide a way forward that is filled with traditional
Communities are invited to make a special appeal to the Sacred Pipe on behalf of initiatives
from their regions.
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