Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge
To say All My Relations, Misiwe Ni Wakoomahgunuk in Cree, recognizes our interconnection to each other, and is a prayer of oneness and harmony with all forms of life.
Thus, to truly support well-being we need to approach healing in a holistic way. We do this best as a community, through relationships and recognizing our need for each other.
"I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am at that place within me, we shall be one." Crazy Horse
I am the visionary and owner of Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge. My name is Jenny (Sawanohk) Sutherland, Mihko-Asiniy-Kinepik-Iskwew, Red Stone Snake Woman, and I come from the Muskegowuk territory of the Moose Cree First Nation, the Mosoniw-ililiwak. I live in the unceded territory of the Alonquins, in Manotick, and it is an honour to serve here.
Most importantly, like all of you, I am a star seed of this Universe and I'm here to be of service. The idea for this lodge came from this place of offering, and was created with love, prayer and intention to support healing and wellbeing. Thus, Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge offers sacred space for us to do so.
Rooms are available for healers to rent, artisans to showcase their creations, or the lodge can be rented in its entirety for wellness retreats. It is in this way that I believe I can give a needed platform to those who can bring healing and reconciliation to this Nation. It is a place that in itself holds medicine, which you will feel as soon as you step into its front doors.
I decided to name my Healing Lodge with the beautiful expression of All My Relations because I wanted a place where everyone on the medicine wheel felt that they could come together in Unity, regardless of ethnicity and religious differences, but for the purpose of wellness and healing. This expression also recognizes that we are interconnected and need each other on this journey. We must reach out to one another and help raise each other up.
The name I chose to write in both Cree and English to pay tribute to the fork in the road, the possibility of choice, the decisions that we are all called to make. We must recognize and decide that we are worthy of healing, and work together to create a future that supports this journey. I honour the 8th fire prophecy and believe we need to come together now to do what is in the best interest of our children and the generations to come - and that is, to heal ourselves and our Earth Mother whose lands and waters are in need of protection, and raise our children with this awareness and understanding.
I respect the two races that make me who I am, and pay homage to my heritage and how deeply my roots grow. My heart is Indigenous and the Lodge is a place to teach of this Spirituality, and may it welcome the teachings of other cultures. All which brings us together as Rainbow Warriors rising to the task of Unity by forging new relationships based on understanding, respect and compassion.
I am honoured to create space for the visions of many different healers. I encourage you all to allow your imagination to take flight and your purpose to unfold. Spirit is there to guide you, you only need to take the pause to listen. I believe this Lodge is a good place to allow one to do so.
Made of pine logs and surrounded by trees such as cedar, birch, oak and spruce, you are reminded to truly connect to the land and root to the Earth energies, and like branches reach upwards and rise.
Capacity 11 yoga mats
This room is to help you Remember your Sacred Connection to Mother Earth. It is rustic, simply beautiful and the pine logs make you feel like you are being embraced by the Trees. There is a beautiful river stone fireplace for Sacred Fires, and many enjoy this space to host meetings and workshops where participants can enjoy the view of the Healing Forest, Heart Garden and Pond.
Capacity 12 yoga mats
To be in this space is exactly what the name implies. We want you to Remember that you are a significant part of a Wondrous Universe. The wall mural makes you feel like you are in the center of the Universe, One with the Star Nations. The floor offers comfort and grip for movement. We also have a selection of mats and cushions for additional seating options and folding chairs for those who require extra support.
I believe the writing by Ojibwe author Richard Wagamese (October 14, 1955 – March 10, 2017), from the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, beautifully describes what the expression All My Relations means.
From our deck the world reveals itself slowly detail by detail these summer mornings when morning becomes the ultimate painter. There's a sublime elegance to the way things come together. Light chases shadow into recess and what emerges stands stock still in the slow spill of sunlight as though surprised at its properties and definition.
To be here as morning breaks is to feel unity. It's to feel connected to everything around you and to absorb it, bring it into the very fiber your being, like learning to breathe all over again. It's to come to understand that you are alive because everything else is. It is to comprehend what your people mean when they say "All my relations."
It means everything. It's not uttered in a casual way nor is it meant to be. In its solemnity it is meant as a benediction, a blessing and a call to this unity you feel all around you in the depth of morning. This phrase, this articulation of spirit, is a clarion call to consciousness.
It means that you recognize everything as alive and elemental to your being. There is nothing that matters less than anything else. By virtue of its being, all things are vital, necessary and a part of the grand whole, because unity cannot exist where exclusion is allowed to happen. This is the great teaching of this statement.
"All my relations," means all. When a speaker makes this statement it's meant as recognition of the principles of harmony, unity and equality. It's a way of saying that you recognize your place in the universe and that you recognize the place of others and of other things in the realm of the real and the living. In that it is a powerful evocation of truth.
Because when you say those words you mean everything that you are kin to. Not just those people who look like you, talk like you, act like you, sing, dance, celebrate, worship or pray like you. Everyone. You also mean everything that relies on air, water, sunlight and the power of the Earth and the universe itself for sustenance and perpetuation. It's recognition of the fact that we are all one body moving through time and space together.
To say these words is to offer a doorway to that understanding to those who hear you. It's to proclaim in one sentence that this experience of living is a process of coming together and that it was always meant to be.
When you offer that doorway, you offer the most sublime truth. You offer the essential teaching.
Your people say these words as an act of ceremony and here in this majestic light of morning you feel that ritual glow within you like an ember from a fire. All things connected. All things related. All things grown equally out of the one single act of Creation that spawned us. This is what you feel and this is what you mean.
You come to realize too, that if we could all glean the power of this one short statement, we could change the world. We could evoke brotherhood and sisterhood. We could remind ourselves and each other that we need each other, that there is not a single life that is not important to the whole or a single thing that is not worth protecting and honoring.
Here in the splendid light of morning you come to this truth again and seek to breathe it into you, to become it even for a fraction of a second. Truth requires only an instant from which to grow.
Richard Wagamese, Ojibwe Author
Healing Forest for Residential School Survivors and their Loved Ones
150,000 Indigenous children and youth were stolen from their families and forced to grow up in federally operated residential schools aimed to "break the bond between mother and child" and "kill the Indian, save the man". These schools were developed as a part of Canada's aggressive assimilation tactics to convert the First Peoples into Christians.
These schools aimed to destroy Indigenous identity and culture, and thousands of children were abused. An infantryman in World War II had a better chance of survival than did a child in an Indian Residential School in Canada in the early 20th century.
This legacy inspired Peter Croals, a geologist and development consultant, and Patricia Stirbys, an Indigenous lawyer, to envision a place where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can come to heal.
According to Croals and Stirbys, the National Healing Forest will be a community-based “necklace” of forests across Canada, contributing to reconciliation for all peoples. As Stirbys put it, “there are a lot of healing properties in forests; in trees.”
We are honoured to offer our forest as a space to heal from the intergenerational effects of this trauma.
We have created a Heart Garden as part of our contribution to Project of Heart. 150 stone people have been put together to form a heart. This number is in honour of the 150,000 children that were forced to attend Canada's residential schools.
Children and their families are invited to join us by donating flowers and helping us in tending to the flowers and plant medicine that serves in memory of the families of residential school victims and those who have been intergenerationally impacted by this horrific part of our collective story.
May we come together and help each other heal.
What is Project Heart?
Misiwe visionary and caretaker is the granddaughter of residential school survivors and is a Truth and Reconciliation Specialist. She has studied the residential school system extensively over the last 15 years and is passionate about healing the legacy of this horrific part of our collective story.
We aim to share knowledge (Truth), mend the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples (Reconciliation), to help us come together and do what is in the best interest of our children, ALL children, and the future generations. It's all about HeArt!
Therefore, Project of Heart Garden is our response to: http://projectofheart.ca/what-is-project-of-heart/
If you are a Canadian Project of Heart is for you. Even if you are not Canadian, but you want to know the true history of the Indigenous Residential School system in Canada you can use Project of Heart.
These are some of the people and groups that have told us that Project of Heart is for them:
teachers who want to know the truth and to inspire their own students to seek truth and take positive action in our society
college and university classes
families who want to become more aware, respectful and engaged neighbors and community members
faith and church groups that want to acknowledge the wrongs of the past and build a better future
intergenerational survivors who want to learn more about the history that has brought them, their families and communities to the legacy that they are dealing with today
court workers, corrections workers and law enforcement personnel who want to better understand and support the people that they serve
ANYONE who wants to know the TRUTH behind the reality that Aboriginal people are faced with today and to work together to MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE
The Guardians of Our Healing Forest
“The Guardians of our Healing Forest” have been generously donated by Jenny's loving parents George and Lynn Sutherland. Words by Jenny:
"For those who don’t know me very well, I am the Lodge’s visionary and caretaker. I have decided the term Owner assumes an entitlement to something that cannot be owned, and I feel this way about the Land and the Sacred Space which I know the Lodge to be.
And I would like to share about Why we are creating the Healing Forest.
When I left my Homelands many Moons ago, I learned that if I wanted to feel the presence of my parents (whom I missed immensely) that I needed to spend time on the Land, connecting to its Medicine and that feeling of Home that it gave me. I felt comforted knowing no matter where I was on this planet, we All look up at the same Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon, Star Nations and planetary system.
I soon discovered I also felt my “Mother” when barefoot on the Earth, and my “Father’s” presence looking down at me from the Sky. And this always made me feel connected to the wonderful parents who raised me from afar.
And something More...
The Natural World became a place I could allow my grief to pour out of me and into the Soil, a place to find rest against a Sacred Tree, a place to feel my energy be restored by the Mineral Kingdom, and a place to marvel at the Teachings of the Animals, with my favourites being the Fliers, the Winged Ones.
These Feathered Friends seemed to carry prayers up to Creator, and bring messages back from the Spirit World. I now spend most of my time in Ceremony learning from birds. Treasuring Feathers as gifts, and dedicating my life to honouring Fallen birds - with the Owl seemingly being the One to come forward most often. So much Wisdom in this Bird Medicine. So it makes sense that it is the Owls that have become the Guardians.
The Forest thus became a Sacred Space for me to spend my time. And I created programming where Medicine Walks were an important part of the Work that I do with others. There is no lack of healing when we become sympathetic to the Touch, Energy and Love we Earth Walkers can have to this Planet.
We all feel alone and lost at times, and seek loving guidance. And therefore we all deserve a Healing Forest. A place to disconnect from the chaos of life and reconnect to the Earth, the Universe, and find our way Home to Ourselves.
You are All Welcome here.
And, the Misiwe Forest is idesignated as a place for those who have been impacted by the genocide of Residential schools. A response to the Call from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. For survivors, and those who have inherited the legacy of this trauma, to find solace and comfort. This bench offers them a place to rest their weary Souls, feel held in sacred space and allow Healing to take place.
As someone who is Indigenous, and who’s father is the son of residential school survivors, it is important for Me. In understanding that we are all interconnected, it is important for Us.
All My Relations.
Misiwe Ni Wakamooganuk.
Gitchi-Meegwetch George and Lynn Sutherland.
And Gitchi-Meegwetch to Garrett Nadhee from the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation for carving this incredible bench."
On the beautiful unceded territory of my Algonquin friends.