Good Day All,
I hope everyone is having a good day.
This power outage in Lake Manitoba First Nation, aka Animozeebeeng, Dog Creek Reserve has surely been intense at times. We’ve been so busy maintaining everything with the upkeep: keeping us warm and wearing layers of warm clothing and having water and wood in the house at all times.
About thirty years ago, I listened to Elder’s and Knowledge holders speak about a time of a change coming. I shared what I heard to many: I don’t think they believed me or maybe they thought I was crazy. The Elders said, get ready and prepare for what is coming. The winds and the fires are going to increase. There is going to be flooding. I experienced a flood in our community in 2011. I hear of all the catastrophic events happening around the world and around us. I guess it was a matter of time again before something else hits in our area.
Most recently I heard an Elder share that a dream came to his fellow Elder, which was shared to him, that he believed a time was near where something was going to happen.
I’m now experiencing a power outage that forced me off the grid (well somewhat) and off some of the dependencies and conveniences of my comforts. However, my thought is that it may be just a taste and a test of what else could come and will come our way to be better prepared for next time, if that’s even possible. I might sound selfish to others but I’m thankful that I’ve been given this time of endurance and perseverance.
I also heard my late dad as he shared with me that he was told by his grandmother that the future was going to be difficult and he had to be cautious, that it was going to be very difficult to raise children completely into their maturity of adulthood. Angomisin (be cautious) is what she said to him. My dad shared this with me several times who has now passed on.
I have to say, it’s been nice to be at home and to be by the fire by my wood cookstove and cook from it and have my candles lit every evening until bedtime. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s also a feeling of gratefulness. I grew up in a home with no running water and a wood cookstove. My parents always had an indoor stove. To this day, my mother still maintains a wood stove and she is 75 years old. My late Kokoom had a wood stove inside her small home and one for outdoors. She woke up with the sun every morning and she was outside at the break of dawn saying her prayers and greeting the new day. She utilized her stove for cooking, bathing, washing, and laundry. I also watched my grandmother wash her laundry in a washtub with a washboard and hang her laundry outdoors on her clothesline.
My Kokoom was not rich but she was rich with her kindness and warmth and lots of love in her home. This power outage has reminded me of the beautiful and treasured memories that I grew up in as a child when I stayed with her. As well with my parents.
I’ve been reminded and shown that the colonial system can at any time come to a halt and stop us in an instant. The ferocious and the power of the winds and the heavy snow rip the hydro lines down and laid the wire and poles. The power of nature has the power to force us into total submission. As well as to determine the continuance of life.
Humanity has become so comfortable and so dependent on the system of greed, power, jealousy, hate, addiction, drugs and selfishness. But let us be reminded that the things I’ve mentioned are not what’s going to help us to survive and to a life of good health and well-being. I have sat in many events, gatherings, language camps and meetings with Knowledge holders, Elders and grandmother’s from across the country at the Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng, Manitoba on the topic of climate change and survival skills. The outcome from these events has always led us to teach our children about the sacredness of life and to respect the earth and all of its life. The animals, medicines, plants, fire, and water. If we respect and acknowledge their sacredness then the Earth Mother would continue to take care of us.
At the end of each day, I’m exhausted from the physical labour of maintaining our home. My husband and I prepare the day before for the next day. Bring our water in, keep it on the stove to warm and for use. He makes sure that our wood is chopped for the next morning for washing up and cooking and of course to have a fresh cup of coffee. The house is rather cool in the mornings as it’s not as warm when we get up, although we stoke our fire during the night and put a few logs in to keep it going. But usually, it’s a solid sleep as we’re so tired from the day.
Our people of long ago were healthy, free of diabetes, cancer and heart disease because they worked hard. They worked from dawn to dusk. They knew how to survive. They ate the natural foods that were known to their area.
Our youth are so disconnected from their natural environment; it is sad, because they are not being taught about a way of life on the values of survival and sustainability. My ancestors were very self-sufficient people. They led a good life of good health and happiness. They were strong and vibrant people.
These are things that I have thought about these last several days while without electricity and all the luxuries that come with it that I get to enjoy daily. This power outage is humbling. The only sad part about it is that not everyone has experienced what I have for people to understand. Life is so fragile. Don’t ever take things for granted.
Kinanakominim (the translation in Anishinaabe is I thank you all) ❤️🙏
Zoongi Gabawa Ozawa Kinew Ikwe, Strong Standing Golden Eagle Woman,
Mary Maytwayashing, Anishinaabe Nation, Crane Clan, Lake Manitoba First Nation.
Mary Maytwayashing, (Zoongi Gabawi Ozawa Kinew Ikwe, Strong Standing Golden Eagle Woman) is from the Lake Manitoba First Nation aka, Animozibeeng, Dog Creek. Mary is an Anishinaabe Grandmother who leads Traditional Ceremonies. Mary’s Western educational background is Social Work. Mary’s professional career has been in the areas of Addictions/Substance Abuse, Corrections, Child Welfare and Education. Mary’s greatest learning has come from the Traditional Knowledge and Wisdom Holders with whom, she has the privilege of working with. Mary has had the fortune of working with people from all walks of life. Mary’s passion continues to be in assisting and educating people about the Original and Ancient ways of the First People to these lands. Mary has facilitated along side Grandmothers and Elders teaching young girls and women on the Grandmothers Teachings “Coming of Age” Rites of Passage teachings. Mary’s inspiration comes from experiencing and seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they learn the Teachings of their people.
Mary believes that we are all born and gifted with a purpose. As humans we need to find what our purpose is. This can be done through our ceremonies and teachings. Mary continues to live her purpose by honoring and facilitating the teachings and sharing with the people.
Mary Maytwayashing, BSW