In August, 2018, I attended Dene Nahjo's Recognition of Being: A Woman's Sacred Journey on Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation Territory.
Very early on a cold August morning, Mandee and I gassed up and drove out to Kakisa, where we were to spend the next week camping with a group of women from across the north. 5 hours, 1 bison burger and a bag of spitz later, we pulled into a long stretch of dirt road that led to a beautiful, peaceful space with 5 adorable wood cabins.
We unloaded our supplies, put up two canvas tents with wood stoves and layered the ground with spruce boughs. I set up my own little tent next to the river with two big, cozy sleeping bags (thanks dad).
Over the next 5 days we woke up every morning to eat breakfast with each other while sitting around the fire (Shout out to our cooks Martha and Brian for feeding us so well). Our sessions were led by Elders Ethel Lamothe and Rebecca Martell, two women that I feel so fortunate to know and learn from. Throughout the week, I got to spend time with all of the wonderful women who joined us, and all of whom added something special to the gathering. I got to sew my first ribbon skirt that I can now wear to ceremonies with pride. I got to walk with Ethel as she pointed out medicines on the path and told me stories about my grandmother, Florence Erasmus. It is always so special to hear from people who new my grandmother and I am always so grateful to hear stories about her.
I can clearly see how receiving these teachings has strengthened my self-respect and self-confidence. I feel more connected to my spirit and the land, and more love for myself. I have built a network of wonderful women and girls from across the north and I got to truly feel what it means to be held up by my people.
Mahsi cho to everyone who put so much effort into making this happen, to our funders, and to all of the amazing women and girls who joined us. It was such a beautiful gathering to witness and to be a part of.