This workshop introduced me to just how diverse the Minwaashin Lodge community can be. There was a wide variety in ages again at the workshop, but only one of the participants was Indigenous, an Ojibwe elder woman. The others were made up of women and children who were drawn to the community centre for what it stands for, for the traditional way of life and values it represents. The conversation which occurred while the participants were all working on their tiles was very interesting. One of the women grew up right next to a reserve in northern Ontario where her and her family had always respected and learned from the traditional practices of the First Peoples living in the area. And the other woman, invited by her friend to come along, was of European descent, strong in her own traditions.
The woman from northern Ontario spoke of a number of Indigenous traditional teas and medicines which she still uses from her childhood, and the Ojibwe woman spoke of her past and upbringing too. She had attended a residential school and was never taught the ways nor language of her people. She is now in the process of learning her Native language, Ojibwe. As an adult she had worked as a teacher and has always been very proud of her heritage. Her tile, seen above, represents this for her. Aanii !