3 people in front of Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre sign

August 20th to 25th, four Indigenous and four non-Indigenous youth took part in Neechi Camp at Sandy Saulteaux Spiritual Centre (SSSC).  At the same time, SSSC was hosting an all ages family camp called “Mamawe Ota Askihk – Sharing Life Together Here on Earth.”  The Neechi campers were fortunate to be included in all the activities that Mamawe Ota Askihk offered, while sleeping in their own little tent village and building friendships amongst themselves and with the whole community of children, youth and adults who were gathered for the week at SSSC.

People gathered around a turtle shaped fire circle

Gathering for morning circle around the fire

4 youth singing and drumming on the big drum

Learning Ceremonial Drum Songs

3 women braiding sweetgrass

Braiding Sweetgrass after going Medicine Picking and Receiving a Teaching about Sweet Grass and Braiding

3 people working around a table covered with a hide

Scraping Hair off Deer Hides with Bone tools and Modern Tools (many found the bones worked best!) A hard, stinky, but satisfying job!

youth working with a hammer and punch to make holes in hide for tying drum

Using a punch and hammer to make holes in hide for tying it to the drum frame

Boy holding hand drum

Showing off his completed drum

Girl working with deer hide

Determining whether she has scraped enough of the hide to cut an 18 foot strip of hide to tie the drum head (also cut out of hide) to her drum frame

Boy pinning ribbon to fabric

Pinning Ribbon to fabric for a skirt for his Grandma

Girl at sewing machine sewing ribbon on fabric

Sewing her ribbon skirt

Girl at sewing machine with fabric and ribbons

Sewing her Ribbon Skirt

Girl wearing Ribbon Skirt standing by sewing machine

Finally completed and it turned out beautifully!

3 youth cutting meat from a side of beef

Cutting meat from a side of Beef, Learning from where different cuts come and for what they would be used

People around a table cutting chickens

Learning how to cut up a whole chickens

2 people with baskets in waist-high grasses near a river

Harvesting Wild Rice from the Brokenhead River right at SSSC

Youth at tables mixing cookie dough, surrounded by ingredients

Mixing Cookie Dough. Will let chill. Then bake later to share with everyone!

Girl and man holding a horse on halter

Learning horsemanship

Youth on horse, being led by someone holding halter.

Being led around by the horse’s care-giver. For some youth, being on a horse was a new experience!

The photos included here, show a lot of what we did, but there were even more things that didn’t make it into pictures, like scavenger hunt, screen printing on t-shirts, cooking walleye over a fire, bun making, dehydrating apples, making drum sticks for our drums, a teaching by an elder finding comparisons in the Bible to the Seven Sacred Teachings, chopping and stripping young trees to build a smoker from branches and tarps, smoking beef and salmon, tending the fire by the smoker and adding hot coals to the smoker as needed, medicine picking (tobacco, sage, cedar, and sweet grass), washing and hanging tobacco leaves to dry, participating in a sweat lodge ceremony, creating a frisbee golf course for the Centre, playing outdoor games including learning Indian baseball from Elder Stan McKay, along with a teaching about the benefits of active community games that can be played with things you have on hand like a ball made from a pair of socks and a shoelace, a stick from the woods as a bat, and jackets put down as bases.  The youth found time to connect and build friendships while doing planned activities and creating their own fun. We hope the friendships made, teachings learned, and new activities tried will make a difference in their lives, and in our journey as a community towards reconciliation!Youth sitting around supper table3 youth sitting on a blanket

3 youth sitting in a grassy field, playing a gameGroup of youth running around in a grassy field playing a gameYouth gathered around a table, playing cardsPeople gathered around a large drum, drumming and singing