Sacred Pipe Ceremony Promotes Healing through Cultural Revitalization

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Pipe Painting 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 teachings.” Communities are invited to make a special appeal to the Sacred Pipe on behalf of initiatives from their regions. For more information, please contact: Stephen Kakfwi 867-765-8353 Sabina Ijaz Turtle Lodge 204-451-0833

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