Adventures with Macneill and Barker (Cartwheel & Smudge)

So I have brought my medicines to every classroom and assembly that I have spoken to since arriving in the Parkland Region on this MVSD Speaking Tour. In many presentations I referenced how learning about these medicines and my culture was so important to me being comfortable with who I am, and giving me the confidence to continue to do the work we do in our community. Unfortunately, for the first day and a half, I didn’t have an opportunity to actually share a smudge with the students. Today that changed 🙂


I started my day today by seeing on the news a story about the Boston Explosion, seeing a first hand account of one of the runners, who was a pediatric doctor, who instead of running from the explosion, ran towards it. She risked her own life because there were people in need, in a moment of confusion and chaos. It is emotional for me even to type this, thinking of how grateful I am for this woman’s example, and how many acts of kindness, generosity, support have been displayed since this tragedy. The sadness, its overwhelming.  I knew first thing this morning, I needed a smudge. But at every opportunity, time ran out, or some reason presented itself that stopped me from being able to smudge.


So, on Tuesday Afternoon, I visited Barker Elementary in Dauphin to speak to the grades 1-6 there, and we were joined by some French Immersion students from Ecole Macneill. I was so impressed with how respectful and inquisitive and positive and confident these young people were. They were a fantastic audience with pointed questions, including asking me to do a cartwheel (which I did). I also found out, that many of the students had never smudged before, and many of them had not been exposed to the Medicine Wheel.  I felt so good sharing the info and hearing their Qs and ideas, but something was nagging. At that moment, the darkness and the sadness from my news experience in the morning were very far from my memory, but I still felt this heaviness…in my spirit.


So I finished the presentation with these bright young people and announced to them I would be smudging in the front of the school at 3:30 and they were welcome to join me. Wasn’t I surprised when about 20-25 students swarmed around me at 3:30 asking if they could learn about smudging too? My friend Pete was able to snap a few pictures….but this one makes me so happy:

20130416_143729I feel so honoured to be able to share some of the knowledge that has been shared with me in these communities. It was great to have kids come up to me and say they were proud of being Cree, or they loved talking dancing and cartwheeling just like me. I even had a 10 year old student summarize our anti-violence rallies as “peace”. She said its more simple and understandable to little kids if I were to say PEACE instead of ANTI VIOLENCE… So simple, but makes so much sense. I know what I am gonna be asking at the bell tower this friday, that’s for sure.


So we smudged, and said our prayers and I walked away feeling amazed. In our children and young people there is such hope. It is our responsibility to nurture, protect, encourage and support these young people as they dream, learn and ask questions. We have to show them that we are there as their ‘helpers’ today, so they can live their life as helper – and know through their positive words, creativity and their example they can save lives. It may not be the same situation as the lady who went running towards the explosion because she was a doctor, but these young people (and even you, the person reading this) has the power to save lives too.

I got 1 more day of adventures in MVSD remaining, and I look towards those experiences what other amazing things these children will teach me.




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