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Evening of indigenous storytelling
stimulates cultural appreciation

July 5th, 2019

Points West Living Lac La Biche observed National Indigenous Peoples Day recently with an evening of meaningful cultural sharing. Elder Dave Janvier travelled from his home base in Cold Lake to join residents for supper and to share stories about indigenous traditions and beliefs.

All the Mooshums and Kookums

Dave Janvier arrived at PWL Lac La Biche just before suppertime on Friday June 21. He was greeted by General Manager Iona Wolstenholme, and taken on a tour of the community. They stopped in each ‘cottage’ where Iona introduced Dave, and he offered a prayer in Cree, blessing the meal. He explained to residents that he was thanking the Creator for all of the Mooshums (Grandpas) and Kookums (Grandmas), wishing them health and happiness. He then lit some sage and ‘smudged’, circulating the aromatic smoke, and blessed all of the food they were about to eat.

Following a relaxing supper of hamburger soup and bannock with independent residents, Dave began his main presentation in the multipurpose room. About 25 residents and employee care partners gathered in a large circle to take in Dave’s talk, which he illustrated with objects he laid out in the centre of the room.

Eagle feathers, sweet grass, a peace pipe and a rattle

The items on display were eagle feathers, sweet grass, a peace pipe, a rawhide rattle, and bear root. Dave described each item in depth and explained its significance to native culture and beliefs.

Recreation coordinator Theresa Cardinal says Dave made the rawhide rattle he brought for display. “He explained how it was made and then he used it and sang a song in Cree,” says Theresa. “I looked around and saw many residents moving to the beat of the rattle, and when the presentations were over, resident George Cardinal asked to use Dave’s rattle and he delighted us with a wonderful traditional song as well.”

"Now I know"

“I was standing beside resident, Hazel Kumpula enjoying the presentation with her,” says Theresa, “and she whispered to me, ‘Thank you for bringing me to this, I really like it. I knew nothing of this before and now I know’.”

“It was wonderful to have Dave visit Points West Living for National Indigenous Peoples Day and I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see him.”

Photo: As resident Mary McCormick looks on, Elder Dave Janvier offers a pre-supper talk and blessing in one of the cottage kitchens at PWL Lac La Biche, on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day.

More photos at Flickr: Evening of indigenous storytelling stimulates cultural appreciation

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