Traditional Anishinaabe Grieving and Healing Process

Long time ago there was no burial grounds they say our ancestors are part of this earth we live in. Only the spirit travels back to spirit world when we die. We are given only one year to grief during that time we are required to do tobacco and food offering while our loved one is on spiritual journey. On anniversary date we are required to do a final feast and let our loved one go to let them live an eternal life. As years go by sometimes our loved ones will visit us in our dreams when we struggle or sick they will come to help us. When we experience that we are required to put tobacco and food in a bush to show our appreciation for their visit. I know people get scared when they dream of dead people…. nothing to be scared of…..  A’how!

Intergenerational Impact of Indian Residential School

Intergenerational impact of Indian Residential School exist, some youth I work with share stories how they were treated at home the beating and abuse they get when they were young. Alcohol and drug abuse they saw while growing up..the family violence… I’m not saying I was better, my children must have had a hard life too. The biblical teaching “whipping the rod” to discipline a child is not Anishinaabe way. Our ancestors remind us to never hit a child for they are sacred, they say use “LOVE” to discipline your children.

Sacred Teaching- “Do Not Disturb The Dead”

This is Sioux Lookout hostel where patients from northern communities stay during their medical appointment. Beautiful building with a big drum sitting on top. Look at the name of the hostel second photo..why do we keep following European’s way..naming our schools and buildings after people who moved on to Spirit World. Long time ago our people were taught to never disturb the dead. “Da’he’gun Kabayshewekamik” would have been a beautiful name referring to Mother Earth’s heart beat.

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Being Anishinaabe is our Identity

Many of us were brought up through Christianity I was too. Our people had no choice but to accept Christianity because it was against the law for Anishinaabe to practise their own traditional belief. Missionaries were sent to enforce the law even Hudson Bay Co. worked for the government. The Elders today who might be in their 80′s -90′s were never exposed to Anishinaabe spirituality or ceremonies. It was outlaw already when they were born. Some families did keep the teachings underground. But some of the traditional teachings like the spiritual responsibility of taking care of animals we kill for food were passed on. I learnt a lot when I was hunting and trapping with elders.. Anishinaabe spirituality is unique it’s based on God’s creation the land, animals, earth and universe…we don’t pray to a human being like Europeans do or to anything created by human being faith… many times you hear people say “those people who practise Anishinaabe spirituality pray to a bear or eagle”…it’s not true. We pray to Creator for he gave us life and gave us a reason to come live in his garden. I was scared of Anishinaabe spirituality too because I didn’t understand it and nobody ever taught me traditional teachings when I was young..so don’t be afraid to learn your culture. Creator made us Anishinaabe it was the Europeans who converted our people to Christianity.. It was part of colonization process so they can take our land and resources. That’s why we are living so poor in Indian Reserves government and missionaries put our people there. We need to empower our people to being Anishinaabe again living the traditional way of life which gave us our identity and purpose in life. Too many youth are killing themselves because they are not proud of themselves of being Anishinaabe.