Celebration of Giving

What is the Celebration of Giving?

The Turtle Lodge has initiated an annual event that celebrates the important act of giving to the community. This event is called A Celebration of Giving.

Every year, on the day before American Thanksgiving, people are encouraged to experience fasting for one day, and to Give themselves in Service to others or the Earth in some way. By fasting, we are celebrating the value of giving, and appreciation for what the land has provided, by not taking from the Earth for one day. Those fasting are being encouraged to get sponsored to fast for the valued amount of food not being eaten that day, with all proceeds or food being donated to an initiative of their choice.

We encourage people to give to the Cultural Restoration Foundation Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge, managed by Turtle Lodge. The Elders say that restoring the culture will restore the spirit and health of the people. This year funds donated will go towards supporting the Makoose Ka Win and Vision Quest coming of age initiatives for young women and men, taking place June 15-21, 2011.

We are supporting youth aged 12 and over to go on a 24-hour fast, refraining from food, in support of the Celebration of Giving. Those who are fasting may take a limited amount of water during this time. Younger children may show their support by Giving themselves in Service in other ways.

For thousands of years, many cultures around the world fasted for purification, to give of themselves for the greater good, and for spiritual reasons. More and more people today are again realizing the benefits of fasting. (Download BENEFITS OF FASTING.)

We will be celebrating the Celebration of Giving at the Turtle Lodge on November 21, 2010 with a Potluck Feast and Fundraiser for Makoose Ka Win & Vision Quest.


History of the Celebration of Giving

The first Celebration of Giving was held on October 10, 2009. The Turtle Lodge launched the program with Winnipeg Harvest, the local food bank in Manitoba. Subsequent Celebrations of Giving have been held in partnership with the Muslim Community of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the Muslim Scouts Association of Canada, the Baha’i Community of Connecticut, USA, and the Aboriginal Music Tour with Aboriginal singer-songwriter Shy-Anne Hovorka.


Why is it Important?

We need to come together as a community to work for child health and child empowerment. The initiatives created and supported by the Turtle Lodge are all about putting the child back into the center of our lives and helping us all reconnect to Mother Earth. The Cultural Restoration Foundation Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge is about restoring a way of life

We need to become more Giving as a Community. We need to teach our children how to Give. There is truth in the old saying: the more we give the more we receive. This has already been a decade of Giving for Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba. We have seen volunteers come out to sandbag when the rivers threatened to overflow. Let the city and province located in the Heart of America show themselves to be the City and Province with a Heart!

“The Earth also needs our help and Respect. By not taking from the Earth for one day, we are Giving her our Respect and gratitude, by allowing her that time to rest.
As much as we need to give to each other in the human family, we must extend that giving to the Earth who provides the food, the water, the medicine and the teachings that are given to all of us unconditionally from the love of the Earth. We must find a way to understand our relationship to all Life. What we are proposing in celebrating life is participating in the act of Giving. If we achieve that level of understanding – that the more we give the more we receive – we can eradicate poverty and child hunger.”
Dave Courchene (Neeghani Aki Innini), 2009

How Can I Become Involved?

Young people aged 12 and over at Schools, Universities, Youth groups & organizations, Spiritual, Religious and Cultural communities, Child & Family Services, etc. are encouraged to experience fasting for up to 24 hours at their school, community hall, place of worship, etc. in support of the Celebration of Giving.

It is suggested that youth seek sponsorship or pledges to fast, e.g. for the valued amount of food not eaten during that day, or pledges per hour fasted, or matched contributions from corporations approached, etc.; and that all proceeds be donated to the Turtle Lodge’s Cultural Restoration Foundation Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge, or an initiative of their choosing.

Special activities could take place on the day of fasting, such as coming together to hear guest speakers, watch films on the importance of taking care of the Earth and caring for each other such as:

  • The 11th Hour (2008)
  • The 8th Fire – www.the8thfire.org (Reflects the Aboriginal 8th Fire prophecy of a choice we will be given – the Path of Peace, Harmony & a New Earth, or if we refuse, a Path of Materialism & Destruction for almost all living things)
  • Manitou Api – A Return to the Centre (2010) – http://www.the8thfire.org/manitou_api.htm (Reflects the Seven Teachings of Aboriginal People, and the significance of Manitoba as the spiritual and physical centre of America)
  • Pay it Forward (2000)
  • Those who are not fasting may show their support by Giving themselves in Service in other ways, such as:

  • Spending a day with Elders
  • Volunteering
  • Planting a tree
  • Projects and initiatives designed by youth to Give in any way possible – using the students’ own ideas is encouraged!
  • Teaching curriculum incorporating elements of Giving are encouraged, such as ongoing student projects and emphasizing the importance of Giving to each other and the Earth

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