My father was a Sixties Scoop kid and my mother was adopted under other circumstances, so I grew up being very disconnected from my culture. When the opportunity to take a course that involved spending four days at the maskêkosihk cultural camp presented itself, I jumped at it. I thought it would be a cultural experience or a reawakening, but it ended up being so much more.
Everyone in our class has had their own deeply personal reasons for being at the camp. We were all women, and we had a lot of conversations about women's roles in community. Trying to understand where we stood in this modern-day cultural camp was something that we all struggled with. But as the Elders shared their teachings about moon time and motherhood, and as we took part in a sweat lodge and swing therapy, it became clearer. The teaching was that women are powerful.
I got a lot out of each of the planned experiences we had, but some of the most meaningful things I took away were from time spent just sitting with Elders at feasts, chatting about the stars, hearing their stories and talking about ways of knowing. They were all so willing to share and I am so grateful for their presence.
Each of those experiences really spoke to me, and embedded into that entire week were the very personal friendships I developed with the other women in my class.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the camp a day early and missed the opportunity to go into one of the ceremonies and ask for my spirit name. I was disappointed, but I spoke to Roxanne Tootoosis, MacEwan’s Knowledge Keeper, who told me there would be other opportunities to do that. She offered protocol to one of the Elders on my behalf and asked them to pray for me to get my name at another ceremony. And I feel like this camp gave me a bit more confidence to go into those ceremonies in the future.
I left feeling very much like there was a door open for me to continue on my own journey.
– Kelsey Sorensen, 2nd year student, Bachelor of Arts, English and Anthropology
Kelsey participated in COSL 300, a community service learning course, in Spring 2019 that included spending four days and nights at the maskêkosihk cultural camp. Read more about the camp.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.