| Jun 27, 2018

The Shabot Obaadjiwan Frist Nation welcomed the community to Oso Beach last week for Aboriginal Day Celebrations. The theme was The Eighth Fire, Truth and Reconciliation.

“It’s a totally interactive afternoon,” said organizer Marcie Asselstine, who read interactive children’s stories where the kids acted out the parts with puppets and stuffed animals. The day also included interactive bucket drummers, interactive women’s drumming, crafting and beading and an Algonquin Strawberry Teaching Ceremony shared by Kokum Makwa (Danka Brewer).

Shabot Obaadjiwan Chief Doreen Davis said Asselstine was instrumental in pulling the event together after “an original plan was somehow dropped.

“Building bridges towards reconciliation is what we’re doing here.”

“I’d like people to know about our culture and if there’s something they’d like to know, don’t be afraid to ask,” said Asselstine. “This is for everyone and I’d like them to feel comfortable enough to ask.

“If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find out.”

The most important teaching of the day was the Strawberry Teaching Ceremony, where participants were arranged in circles (children in the inner circle, women next and men, the protectors, in the outer circle).

Brewer told the story of how the strawberry is the the first berry of the summer and represents women. The berry carries her children (seeds) on the outside.

“Each stage of the strawberry plant tells the story of womanhood,” she said.

The teaching concludes with a huge bowl of strawberries being passed around, which must be emptied. The berries are eaten with the green leaves included.

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