Anishinabe Week

After a weekend apart during Thanksgiving, our site regrouped and dove into a week spent in Rosseau River Reservation – am Anishinabe people’s community. Different individuals including our hospitable host, a local pastor, the Reservations Chief, and many more taught us everyday. A few topics covered that were particularly impactful involved what it means to have the Creator live inside of each person and all that is around us and what it looks like to respect Earth, Mother Nature, animals, humans, and most of all our Creator.
Though much was encouraging and uplifting, our eyes were also opened to the oppression certain people groups have faced and continue to experience today. In the midst of all its beauty, brokenness still lies there. Many unfair stereotypes come along with oppression which need to be cleared. There are many realities that general society often turns a blind eye to. However, recovery is happening and as God’s hands and feet we can all work towards a future of defying these tragedies. IMG_2161
The community at Rosseau was eager to share with us about their culture, hopes, and dreams for the reservation and how the Creator is presently working in their lives. The power of humans and the authority Jesus gave us was stressed. We were reminded to strive to learn from others stories  and be wise in our actions and words.
During the week opportunities such as experiencing a traditional sweat lodge and skinning a deer were offered for those who wanted to participate. Prayer for family, friends, and loved noes, as well as thankfulness to our Creator is a deep focus in the religious part of Anishinabe culture. Sweat lodges are places of worship and prayer in community. During time in the lodge, many heard God’s voice, felt a strong presence and were tested by having strength, trust and patience. It was an intense, invigorating time where we grew more into one with God and his creation. Hunting is also a major part of the culture at Rosseau River, and quite likely most First Nations communities. Since respect for animals

Sweat Lodge frame

Sweat Lodge frame

is also important, the hunter never wastes and part of – in this case – the deer. One form of showing respect might be hanging the animals bones near where it was found and offering medicines to that particular are of Earth as a thank you to the animal. Students who participated in skinning the deer explained it as a wonderful, hands on experience which treated the animal with dignity. (Akech, Matthew, Mitchell)

We were taken to visit special grounds in the reservation which held warrior rocks, roaring IMG_20141101_153221rapids and sun dance lodges. On our last day in Rosseau, we visited a local gaming center where we were taught about how businesses in the area give back to the community through funding childrens education. Last year alone the gaming center sent eight people to university. To end off our time, members of the community were gracious enough to present us with traditional pow wow demonstrations which included a variety of dances performed by children, teens, and adults.
Although we only spent one week in Rosseau River Reservation, we were deeply enriched and enlightened by the beautiful community that willingly took us in. Our site went into the week open minded and ready to learn and came out with more than expected. Throughout the week and as we left, we got a taste of an overwhelming sense of peace and love. It is clear our Creator is working through the brokenness and present through the beauty in Rosseau River community.

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