The Turtle Lodge is responsible for initiating Igniting the Fire – The Sacred Gathering, an annual gathering of Elders, Youth, Adults, Parents, Students, Educators and Researchers, led by indigenous people and open to people of all cultures and backgrounds.
Igniting the Fire – The Sacred Gathering has been held annually in the sacred site of Manitou Api in the Whiteshell Provincial Park, Manitoba, Canada. At this gathering, nations gather the way our ancestors did since time immemorial on our sacred sites, to share knowledge, medicines, ceremonies and prophecies. It is a gathering where our Elders transfer their knowledge to youth and adults, following the protocol of our old ways. The 1st Annual Igniting the Fire gathering was held in 2006, with 350 people attending. In 2007, numbers rose to over 1000. Several documentaries and films have been produced based on the gathering, including The 8th Fire (see www.the8thfire.org).
Some of the discussions that Elders might address at Igniting the Fire – The Sacred Gathering include:
- The environmental crisis for which indigenous knowledge can lay the foundation for greater awareness of our connection to the sacredness of the land.
- The growing crisis of the health and well-being of our nations, particularly as it concerns the elderly and the young people. Our communities are faced with the rising incidence of suicide, addictions, mental health problems and diseases such as diabetes.
- How do we deal with these symptoms of colonization, dislocation, and economic disparity?
- A main issue is reclaiming a way of life that our ancestors lived, which could help restore our identity and well-being. Discussing Cultural Reclamation – How do we give our children a cultural education?
- How can we protect the children from further loss from drugs and technologies that reflect violence?
- What is the importance of Women’s Teachings and Rites of Passage? Men’s Teachings and Rites of Passage?
- What is our Traditional Relationship to the Earth, Our Mother, and what are our Roles and Responsibilities as Caretakers?
- How do we achieve Health and Wellness in our Communities ~ From a Traditional Perspective, looking at Balance, a Holistic Approach, Traditional Healing, and Natural Medicines.
- How do we strengthen our link and connection to Spirit?
- How do we engage in pandemic preparation, preparing the way our Ancestors would have?
- How do we rebuild Our Nations and form a New Foundation for the Future?
People of all cultures are welcome to attend Igniting the Fire – The Sacred Gathering, to hear Elder’s teachings, traditional drums, share in traditional feasts, and participate in ceremony at the sacred site. Admission is by donation. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation. Food vendors are available on site.