Smagnis says: Words of wisdom from a strong warrior woman and an intersting initiative taking place between indigenous knowledge keepers and scientists.

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The strongest women I know, hold themselves in a way that demands respect. This strength comes from knowing who we are, from our ways, our prayers, and by focusing on the good of our families and the people over personal gratification, while taking care of ourselves. As First Nations women, we hold in high regard those who are industrious, generous, wise, courageous, humble, yet know their own power. Such a variety of amazing women from the four directions: some who are heard coming down the road fists in the air, some who cause those in the wrong to have fear in their hearts, women who heal with touch, songs, prayers, some whose quiet presence is all the medicine needed. These women I love and respect have no need to front – their actions speak for themselves. Spirits so amazing, they share their knowledge, pain, and joy.  I can call on them to help me navigate this sometimes chaotic world. They have been there for me, held me, words and prayers giving me strength, love, and support. I am still learning and am grateful for these women who are teaching me true sisterhood in this movement and in this life.

DR Sara Juanita Jumping Eagle


Indigenous knowledge keepers and scientists to build alliances at Turtle Lodge

Anishinabe Elder Dave Courchene (left) and David Suzuki met in the spring of 2017 in Winnipeg to plan a September gathering of Indigenous knowledge keepers and scientists.
Indigenous knowledge keepers and scientists to build alliances at Turtle Lodge 
MEDIA RELEASE September 8, 2017
Sagkeeng First Nation, MB – Between September 9 and 12, Indigenous knowledge keepers, led by Turtle Lodge founder Dave Courchene, and top North American scientists, led by David Suzuki, will be meeting and forming alliances as they gather for four days of knowledge exchange following traditional protocols.
The gathering will take place at the Turtle Lodge, an international centre for Indigenous education and wellness, located in Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba, 100 km north of Winnipeg.  Over the past 15 years, Turtle Lodge has been a centre for sharing Indigenous knowledge through events, ceremonies, conferences, and summits that include people from around the world.

This will be a gathering unlike what many scientists may be used to, as they are challenged to open not only their minds but also their hearts.    According to the agenda, the foundation of ceremony will include the lifting of the Sacred Pipe, a water ceremony, bear dance and condor dance ceremonies, and the sharing of a special adoption ceremony for the scientists, along with teachings shared by Indigenous knowledge keepers from across the nation.
Panelists will speak in a series of roundtable discussions to share diverse ways of knowing and knowledge on cultural and environmental issues.   “Traditional knowledge represents the accumulation of observations, trial and error, successes and failures over thousands of years,” said Suzuki, who is recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology.

“Survival of people is time-tested evidence of its worth and should provide a framework within which scientific observations can be applied,” Suzuki added.   Along with Courchene and Suzuki, the gathering will be co-facilitated by Miles Richardson of the Haida Nation, who is leading a team to organize a spring conference in Vancouver called Scientia: A Conference on the Intersection of Traditional Knowledge and Science.  Richardson is coming to this gathering to receive guidance and understanding of how to set a ceremonial context for his 2018 initiative.   “Indigenous Peoples have lived in their places for untold millennia:  Is this a coincidence?  What is the importance of ceremony?  Let’s listen … and explore … together,” said Richardson.   Indigenous knowledge keepers insist that the solutions to effectively adapting to our changing earth lie in embracing values and teachings found through the observation of the earth itself, values they refer to as “spiritual laws” and “natural laws”.    The gathering will help offer answers to a public challenge made by Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, who stated at the COP21 Paris climate talks in 2015: “Indigenous peoples have known for thousands of years how to care for our planet. The rest of us have a lot to learn and no time to waste.”   “This gathering of traditional knowledge keepers and scientists has provided us with an opportunity to share who we are as a People, leaving a legacy around Indigenous leadership and teachings to set an example moving forward,” said Courchene.   Courchene recently convened the Onjisay Aki International Climate Summit, a gathering of Indigenous knowledge keepers and international climate leaders, in June.

This gathering builds upon the Onjisay Aki Climate Calls to Action created at that summit.  In particular, Call to Action #10 highlights the importance of building alliances between keepers of both Indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge, in a way that equally values their respective contributions to understanding the challenges and opportunities of our time.   “Climate change is really about human change – a change of the heart,” said Courchene.
He added, “We can create a new economy and new opportunities for the nation based on stewardship.  We have an opportunity to set a completely new narrative based on our ancient values and principles.”
“We come forward as elders and knowledge keepers to continue to give and share our knowledge to provide a direction that can help us move forward to a much more sustainable earth,” he said quietly.




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