National Bawaajigewin “Sharing our Dreams” Gathering of Elders and Youth, Turtle Lodge – July 9-12, 2019

  Registration is now open.  Limited seating – first come, first serve! Please email to register.  Cost: Registration is by donation.

National Biiwaajigewin (Sharing our Dreams) Gathering of Youth and Elders

Invited Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers will gather at the Turtle Lodge for 4 days of knowledge sharing at the National Bawaajigewin (Sharing our Dreams) Gathering of Elders and Youth, following traditional protocols.


July 9-12, 2019


Turtle Lodge Central House of Knowledge

The gathering will take place at the Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba.  We will be traveling to Black River First Nation on July 11, to support the Treaty 5 Gathering.

Built in 2002 based on a vision received, the Turtle Lodge seeks to promote Indigenous knowledge, connection to the Earth, positive identity, self-esteem, and self-sufficiency through traditional teachings and ceremonies.  In 2008, Traditional Elders and Knowledge Keepers from across Turtle Island (North and Central America) and Abya Yala (South America) named Turtle Lodge as their Central House of Knowledge.

Click here for directions and accommodation information.  Participants are welcome to camp onsite (outside) at the Turtle Lodge.  Portable toilets are available.

All are responsible for their own travel and accommodation.

Origin of the National Biiwajigewin Gathering

Anishinabe Elder Allan White received ceremonial direction at last summer’s Zuguswediwin (Lifting the Sacred Pipe) National Elders’ Gathering, for the Elders to return in one year – and to share the dreams that they have been having with the People.  These dreams would provide a way forward.

Focus of the National Biwaajigewin Gathering

The focus of the National Bawaajigewin Gathering will be to bring forward the power of dreams.
Historically our People always relied on dreams and visions for guidance and direction.  Dreams are considered the highest level of language, which connect us to a higher power of influence in the spiritual realm.   The spiritual realm has always been the source of where we have received our gifts, knowledge and teachings. Today what we need more than anything is hope that comes from our dreams and visions.
Children who passed away in Residential Schools

We have had a request from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), which has  created a National Student Death Registry containing names and information on the children that died during residential schools.  There are 2500 named and 1400 unnamed children on this registry that have been documented during the process undertaken by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Elders are being asked to offer direction, blessings and prayers for the children who died at the hand of the residential schools, their families and communities.  These children will be honoured at a special ceremony on July 10, as guided by the Elders.

Children lost in Child Welfare System

There are many of our children across the country today who are in foster care, or wards of the child welfare system.  It is our duty and responsibility as a People to put our children at the centre of our lives.  Discussion will be held on the questions:

How do we ensure our children are not removed from our families?

How do we prepare for the return of the children who have been apprehended, including the healing of the parents?

Understanding our Responsibilities in the Treaty Relationship

Understanding the real spirit and intent of the Treaty relationship is important in fulfilling our part of the Treaty and living our identity, nationhood, and duties and responsibilities as a People.  Those attending the National Bawaajigewin Gathering will be going to offer support at the Treaty 5 Gathering in Black River First Nation on July 11.  A bus will be provided for the Elders to travel to Black River.

Invited Traditional Elders and Knowledge Keepers (Speakers and Ceremonial Leaders)

26 Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers from across the country have been invited to offer their knowledge, ceremonies and guidance at the National Bawaajigewin Gathering.  Most of these Elders are fluent in their original languages.  They are respected within their communities for their knowledge of the ceremonies and traditional teachings.

Youth will also be invited to speak, sharing their questions and dreams with the Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
  • Elder Chair – Dave Courchene, Sagkeeng First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Allan White, Whitefish Bay First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Inka Antaurko, Inka Spiritual Leader from Peru
  • Peter Atkinson, Roseau River First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Byron Beardy, Island Lake First Nation (Oji-Cree)
  • Darrell Bob, Xaxli’p First Nation (St’at’imc Nation)
  • Harry Bone, Keeseekoowenin First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Burma Bushie, Hollow Water First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Bonnie Goodchild, Pic River First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • AJ Felix, Sturgeon Lake First Nation (Cree Nation)
  • Patricia Felix, Sturgeon Lake First Nation (Cree Nation)
  • Martina Fisher, Bloodvein First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Mark Hall, Sioux Valley Dakota Nation
  • Chris Harper, Island Lake First Nation (Oji-Cree)
  • Hazel Harper, Island Lake First Nation (Oji-Cree)
  • Stephen Kakfwi, Dene Nation
  • Morris Little Wolf, Blackfoot (Piikani) Nation
  • Betty Ann Little Wolf, Blackfoot (Piikani Nation)
  • Mary Maytwayashing, Lake Manitoba First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Robert Maytwayashing, Lake Manitoba First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Esther Michano, Biigtigong First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Tony Michano, Biigtigong First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Florence Paynter, Sandy Bay First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Philip Paynter, Norway House Cree Nation
  • Veronica Waboose, Chief of Long Lac First Nation (Anishinabe Nation)
  • Barney Williams,  Tlaoquiaht First Nation


Click here:  Bawaajigewin Agenda

Planning Your Trip

The Turtle Lodge is located a 1 ½ hour drive north of Winnipeg airport.  We encourage attendees to rent a car or share a ride with others attending.  We have held rooms at the Papertown Motor Inn, located a 15 minute drive from the Turtle Lodge.  Please quote the “Turtle Lodge Block” when making your reservation.

Travel, directions and accommodation information is here.

There will be a coach reserved for the Elders, departing for Black River from Turtle Lodge on July 11.  Space is limited.


By Donation.

Limited seating is available. Please email to register.  We will be accepting people on a first come first serve basis.  We ask everyone to remain seated, being quiet and respectful of all the speakers during the gathering, as the Knowledge Keepers have come a long ways to be able to share with us.

In lieu of a registration fee, we are asking each attendee to make a monetary donation of your choice, to help support your meals and our costs of hosting and bringing in the Elders. You can either bring your donation to the gathering or donate online by making an etransfer to (password: turtle).

What else do I bring?

Please bring tobacco.  There will be daily healing ceremonies at 4 pm. Please bring sweat lodge gear in case there is a sweat lodge (nightgown or long skirt and T-shirt for women, shorts for men, towel and tobacco). In addition to your donation to attend the gathering, we are asking each participant to bring a gift that will be given to another participant in the Traditional Giveaway, also taking place on the last day.  Gifts need not be new; in a Traditional Giveaway, gifts that you own and value are considered special. We are making a call for someone to offer a sweat lodge, and to take full responsibility for preparing and running it, on one of the evenings (July 9, 10 or 11).

Ceremonial Protocols

Ceremonial protocols will be followed.  For more information, please click here. A Sacred Fire will be lit.  Youth and other participants are welcome to join at the Sacred Fire Arbour at Turtle Lodge on July 9 to witness and learn how to light the Sacred Fire. We will begin each morning with the Lifting of the Sacred Pipe and Water Ceremony.  The Sacred Drum will be present. On July 9, a special big Pipe will be lifted, that was commissioned by a national group of Elders that met in Ottawa in 2016, as a result of a discussion on rising rates of youth depression and suicide in the country. More information will be shared about this Pipe, which has been invited to a number of communities across the country, having traveled north to the Yellowknives community of Detta, NWT and east to Eskasoni Mi’kmaq Nation on Cape Breton Island. All Pipe and Bundle carriers are invited to share their Pipes and Sacred Bundles . All women and girls are invited to join the Grandmothers to help sing the Water Song during the Water Ceremony daily.

Seeking Volunteers

To sign up to be one of our gathering volunteers, please email our volunteer coordinator, Sabina Ijaz, at We have a number of volunteer positions available:  Elder helpers, firekeepers, water, refreshments, sales, registration table, drivers, note-takers, photographers.


This gathering is being funded in part by the National Indian Brotherhood and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.  Miigwech for the support!
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