THUNDER BAY – Empowering Our Nation, was the theme for this year’s Biidaaban Healing Lodge’s 2018 Annual Wellness Conference held at Victoria Inn, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The conference tackled the issues of Murdered and Missing Women, Violence against Indigenous Women, Domestic Violence, Intergenerational/Residential School, Water, Earth that Indigenous people and communities are facing.
The Conference/Community Outreach Worker Melissa Desmoulin stated, “All workshops were filled to capacity and had useful information.”
After attending educative workshops for Lateral Violence with kindness, Seven Sacred Grandfather/Generational teachings, the Human Trafficking Workshop and the Murdered and Missing Women and Girls workshop were needing more in depth information and support to the people. The truth is girls as young as 11-years-old are standing on the streets working as sex trade workers. They are trying to help put food on the table and there is not enough support to offer other ways.
There was the feeling of frustration in the room as the truth on these issues were brought forward. One of the solutions raised was utilizing more of our own cultural teachings.
A Gang Prevention Workshop was presented by Thunder Bay Police, it was very informative. It was particularly interesting when the officer said he was thrown a distance by a smaller individual whom was under the influence of the known drug called Flakka- a mind controlled man-made zombie like drug that was primarily manufactured in China and entered our Nation only a few years ago and then into our city.
The officer told the audience about his experience with an addict who had shown possession-like behaviour including other cases of usage overdose drugs and gang awareness like why Hell’s Angels sign on Simpson Street is allowed to advertise the Clubhouse.
Sacredness of Water Talk was presented by Ojibwa Grandmother, Josephine Mandamin, from Wikwemikong, Ont who is known as Sacred Earth Water Walker. Josephine had walked around Lake Superior and the Great Lakes into the United States carrying a copper pail of water and a staff, praying for the healing of our sick waters.
The importance of the younger generations learning, and teaching this to generations to come about the sacredness of our water and land. “As women, we are the carriers of the water, we carry life for the people, so when we carry water, we are telling people that we will go to any lengths for the water, even die for the water,” said Elder Josephine Mandamin.
After Josephine finished her talk, I got a chance to talk to Josephine, asking her what does she believe is needed for our people to help bring healing to our beautiful balanced culture? Without delay she looked at me stating, ”The change is in our Leadership and they will bring the people forward”. Then she asked me who is going to do the water walk this summer and of course, I jokingly volunteered an old friend from High School who was in attendance, Cindy Paypompee from Beendigen Native Women’s Crisis Home to do a Water Walk around Boulevard Lake this summer
There was a lot more to learn, like the Truth and Reconciliation workshop, Trauma Recovery, Beads and Chat, SAFE certification attend and should attend next year because to me, it sounds like it’s going to get better. They promised to keep us informed and we will also continue keep you informed.
Biidaaban Healing Lodge is a holistic healing lodge who assists people with the underlying issues of their past.
To date, Biidaaban delivers a 10-day treatment programs in Grief and Abandonment, Sexual Abuse and Anger Management on a rotational basis. We also have 5 day programs which are listed on the program dates page and will add descriptions shortly. We also have programs developed that can be facilitated in the areas of Adult Children of Alcoholics, Compulsive Overeating and Self-Parenting that can be ran on a need be basis.
They are located in the Ojibways of Pic River First Nation on the shores of Lake Superior approximately a three-hour drive.
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