Our journey begins at the Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge in Manotick, Ontario, Canada, a sacred space owned and operated by Indigenous Healer and Truth and Reconciliation Specialist Jenny Sâwanohk, Mihko-Asiniy-Kinepik-Iskwew. And it ends on The Flathead Indian Reservation located in northwest Montana, USA, and homelands of her love Isaiah Alexander, Sxʷeyn ʔečswiš i l̓ es moq̓ʷ, of i.Alexander Art and the technological brain behind their company Red Stone Snake Woman. Joining them is Jenny’s dear friend and fellow healer Beth Sturdevant, founder of Warriors of the Light. Jenny has recently joined Beth’s Warrior Spirit podcast and it is their shared vision to shine light on the many different Warriors of today, who deserve our recognition and support. In their different roles, Beth and Jenny also assist Warriors in their healing, such as our soldiers, our veterans and our children-in-care.
And the chosen voyage comes from immense love for adventure, passion for healing and a deep respect and gratitude for our Indigenous brothers and sisters across South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. As Indigenous people, it is important for Jenny and Isaiah to connect with the traditional ceremonies and sacred teachings across Turtle Island. For Beth, her Settler Ancestors have occupied these lands, and she wants to reconnect to these roots, and do her part for healing and reconciliation. And as a woman who embraces Indigenous Spirituality, it is an honor for her to also learn with us, from the communities that we will visit.
We will spend time in the traditional territories of the Lakota, Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho, and Salish-Kootenai*** people, and notable cultural and sacred sites where we would like to pay our respects, and make our prayers and offerings.
In South Dakota, we visit The Standing Rock Monument, The Crazy Horse Memorial, The Wounded Knee Memorial, and spend a night camping under the stars in the mystical Badlands.
From the Badlands we set out to behold the Devils Tower National Monument, and The Big Horn Medicine Wheel where we plan to spend a considerable amount of time in Ceremony.
In between these two destinations, we stop to pay our respects to ‘Big Sky Country’, at The Little Bighorn National Monument where the historic Last Stand took place, to honor the “last victory” of our Indigenous Warriors before the US Army devastatingly overpowered their communities, robbing them of their lands and freedom, and traditional ways of life. Displacing everyone onto reservations, and into signing deceitful treaties full of broken promises. And where they would eventually steal their children and place them into the prisons of residential schools to “kill the Indian, save the Man.”
Thus, this trip is both for mourning and for honoring. As we interview the Indigenous Warriors of today, who despite these hardships have shown incredible resilience and strength, who have held onto our sacred ways, and are ensuring that they get passed onto our future Warriors.
We spend the next couple of days relaxing into land-based healing offered in the beautiful Yellowstone National Park. Then we set our compass for the Flathead Indian Reservation where our journey culminates with a cleansing swim in the refreshing and rejuvenating waters of the Flathead Lake.