Sacred Fire Ceremony at Manitou Api sacred site held for Canada Games Torch Lighting (CTV NEWS – Click link)
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Published Wednesday, June 21, 2017 1:38PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, June 21, 2017 6:20PM CSTThe flame which will be carried around the province and into northwestern Ontario as part of the Canada Summer Games torch relay is now burning. A sacred fire ceremony was held Wednesday morning at the Manitou Api site – a place where Indigenous people gather each year to hold a sacred ceremony – located near the petroforms in Whiteshell Provincial Park. Elders allowed cameras to roll as the sacred fire was lit followed by a water ceremony and the lighting of four torches. The event was held as part of National Aboriginal Day celebrations. Sagkeeng First Nation Elder Dave Courchene said it’s a special day. “It’s our contribution we’re making towards the Canada Summer Games by bringing out the significance of the sacred fire that has always been central to our way of life,” said Courchene. “It was very important for us to bring forward that understanding because the flame certainly is a part of the Canada Games.” Canada Summer Games Indigenous Relations Consultant Barry Mathers said the Host Society wanted to celebrate Indigenous culture. “They have taken the position that the inclusion of Indigenous culture is a priority in response to a lot of things including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action,” said Mathers. “Inclusion of the original peoples of Canada was important in this age especially with the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games and acknowledging the 150th anniversary of Canada.” The sacred fire was carried in lanterns to Winnipeg where it will light the Centennial Torch on Memorial Blvd. after it is merged with the Roly McLenahan torch which was lit on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 6. “That way that flame carries the sacred fire with it throughout the torch run in Manitoba,” said Mathers.