By Taylor Galvin
On the morning of May 23rd I woke up excited, ready to pack up and head to the Nibi Gathering at Bannock Point, Whiteshell Provincial Park. Since I had never been before, I knew that I was going to learn so much about the lands and water as well as hearing stories and teachings shared by Elders and scholars. We were not disappointed.
The gathering began with everyone walking together in a line towards the east door of the Midewin lodge. Before entering the lodge you offered your tobacco to the grandmothers and grandfathers the surrounded the sacred fire, gave your name and found a comfortable place to sit inside the lodge.
Every morning of the Nibi gathering started with a water ceremony. Songs were offered for blessing the water that filled the lodge. The Little Boy Water Drums sang in rhythm as the people accepted the gift of water and strawberries. What followed were water stories, water and mercury testing tests and in the evenings there were different activities such as clay making, rattling making. My favorite was participating in the sweat.
Needless to say I felt completely at home surrounded by people who are fighting for our water rights and doing their best to help protect our waters. I wish I could share with you the teachings that we were blessed with, however, it is with the utmost respect I have for the lodge and ancestors that those teachings stay within the lodge and ceremony.
I learned much more than I could have ever anticipated and would like to thank Wa Ni Ska Tan for this opportunity to participate and be a part of the Nibi Gathering. We cannot wait for the next gathering which is taking place May 21-24, 2020. Save the dates!