Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 3: Soil Ingestion Research Project ~ Cold Lake First Nations (English Bay)

Day 3:

Oil floating in a stream by a Beaver Dam & creek
Today was a great day.  We went to about four different locations to gather.  I tried to do a mental map in my head of how to get back to those locations again but also as back up I made notes and even drew a map of how to return to these places.  We went West & North of our camp.  We hit Hilda Lake, Ethel Lake, & Marie Lake.  All are beautiful lakes but you could see how industry is already affecting the water & vegetation.  We saw floating oil on some streams and plants near those polluted streams are dying or sickly looking.  Also people are leaving a lot of garbage out there in the bushes etc..  It was quite frustrating & sad to see  garbage, beer cans, bottles, & trash in good berry & medicine areas.  The sad thing about beer cans etc.. is small animals like squirrels etc.. will put there paws in there & end up cutting them off.  Garbage is so damaging to the animals.  I so wish people would be more conscious of their actions.  This land is so beautiful and there are places so rich in color & beauty, then you see garbage & that just doesn’t belong in such tranquility.  If anything after you read my journal entries, you walk away with more appreciation & respect for the land and environment because we are part of the environment too.  We don’t respect our environment, we don’t respect ourselves.  I ask you know, would you throw oil or garbage on your precious children?  If not, then why are we leaving that behind for our children to inherit.
We ALL need to pay attention to the foot prints
we are leaving behind for our children.

I felt so grateful today because there is a medicine I have been trying to find that could help my uncle with his cancer & it’s hard to find now because it’s habitat is being threatened.  When we were taken to the sight,  we all did our tobacco offerings.  All five of us worked together to help me find this medicine for my uncle.  We walked in the muskeg so far in water & I felt so grateful for all the support, we worked together for one cause ~ to help my uncle!  As we walked, we looked and looked for about 30 minutes.  I showed them all a picture of the plant because most of us never saw this medicine, & we couldn’t find it right away.  So as I was walking, I started to pray for my uncle & asked the spirit medicine to show it’s self, within 5 minutes I saw it.  It was so amazing, I felt my heart warm & a tear drop, I felt kin├ónaskomotinan (so grateful with much humility & respect).  Once we all saw the medicine, it was like it was jumping out at us.  We made sure to leave some there.  For instance, if we saw four, we left one so they can still grow, repopulate, we never take more than we need.

Yes, was a great day of a lot of medicines and we gathered more berries than the day before by Hilda Lake.

When we got back to camp, I called my uncle & told him what we found, he was so happy.  I felt so happy to be able to tell him we found what could help him, hopefully I will see him tomorrow.  He might come out here to pick up the medicine & maybe then my new found friends can meet my nohtwayis (my little father) I love so much.

Well we ended our day sharing stories around the camp fire with brief periods of rain.  I hung my medicines to dry & laid the others out to dry.

Later I took our Elder out to Cold Lake to get rubber boots & I picked up a propane heater because it’s getting cold at nights now & my Half Inuit Oven (Ken hee, hee) is warm at home gathering medicines in the Kehewin area.

Today was a good day to be “Indigenous”!

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