CONSTANCE LAKE – A Canadian Ranger from Northern Ontario was a highlight of the observance of International Women’s Day at Canadian Forces Base Borden.
Master Corporal Florrie Sutherland, from Constance Lake First Nation, near Hearst, spoke to two groups during the military base’s observance. She spoke to the staff and students at the Canadian Forces Military Police Academy and to a second group which was open to anyone living or working at the base.
She spoke about the importance of being an indigenous woman who cares about her people’s culture, traditional beliefs, and the importance of native languages. A past member of the Constance Lake band council, she teaches Cree at the school in Constance Lake and at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
‘I enjoyed talking to them all about this very much,” she said. “I like teaching what I have learned about the good way of life and about being a woman in my community.”
She explained the importance of the eagle feather in indigenous culture and the spiritual uses of the four principle medicines, sweetgrass, cedar, sage, and tobacco. She described the spiritual importance of smudging with the medicines and allowed any of her listeners who wanted to to smudge.
A Canadian Ranger for 19 years, Master Corporal Sutherland works with the Junior Canadian Ranger program in Constance Lake. The program is run by Canadian Army for boys and girls aged 12 to 18 living in remote and isolated communities.
(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden.)