A Journey of Discovery and Reconnection

Having celebrated National Indigenous Day yesterday, I wanted to share where my indigenous roots come from. Reflecting on my personal journey to reconnect with my Indigenous heritage has been profound and transformative. This journey, spanning over two decades, has been marked by significant milestones, deep learnings, and moments of introspection.

Truth and Reconciliation

Back many years ago, I had my first Truth and Reconciliation training. This was back in 2001 or 2002. This was the first time that I heard about The Hidden Holocaust in Canada. I was mortified to learn that Canadians would ever treat other humans this way. The realization that such atrocities had occurred in my country was both shocking and heartbreaking. I continued to learn about the true Canadian history, understanding the depth of suffering and resilience of Indigenous communities.

The Bear Clan

In 2007, I was privileged to be in training again. During this session, an Aunty and Uncle did their presentation, and a Grandmother from Ottawa was present. She said to me, without knowing me, that I was of the Bear Clan and needed to connect with my ancestors. Me being me, I was overwhelmed with emotions. I told her about my great-grandfather, who would often say that we were not “Indians”. She said my ancestors would guide me. I was dumbfounded. What was this lady talking about?

Uncovering Ancestral Roots

In the meantime, I was learning about my own indigenous roots. In my search, I discovered a grandmother in the 1800s whose marriage certificate had been renamed with her civil name, listed as “sauvage” beside her name. Her French name was Angelique, and to this day, I continue to want to know what her original name translates to in English. Her name was Masan-akaniek-pkive.

Immersing in Indigenous Culture

My next significant experience was in 2008, when I began working in an organization that “housed” Indigenous children. There were many inappropriate practices in that organization, which drew the attention of an investigative reporter. During this time, I learned about my humble beginnings and attended my first Pow Wow under the supervision of the children. I loved those children dearly. The oldest girl and I bonded over our shared heritage and indigenous roots, and she holds a special place in my heart to this day.

Learning and Growing with Timiskaming Native Women’s Support Group

I continued to seize opportunities to learn from the teachers at Timiskaming Native Women’s Support Group. I met a healer, Jake Agoneh, who often mentioned that I was always full of questions during teachings. It was through this group that I was gifted my Spirit Name, Geegado Megwan Kwe.

Initially, I was embarrassed and insulted that Spirit thought I talked too much because my name means Talking Feather Woman. As I thanked Jake and left the room, he called me back to give me something. With my name, I was gifted a feather. I knew this was a great honour. Unsure of what to do with it and not wanting to dishonour it, I tucked it safely away in my filing cabinet.

Embracing the Honour of Talking Feather Woman

In 2018, I pulled out my feather, and it became part of my identity. I started to embrace the honour of Talking Feather Woman and the significance of the feather. My name didn’t mean that I talked too much but that I shared my experiences and the things I’ve learned through my journey or by helping others.

I continue to embrace my name and my culture as I learn more. My spirituality is an important part of my life, and I am constantly learning, listening, and watching. The teachings vary from one teacher to another, each offering unique insights. One such teaching is that of the strawberry.

Rollie Allaire, Holistic Life & Wellness Coach, holding her Sacred Feather

The Heart Berry: A Symbol of Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Strawberry teachings hold a significant place in Anishinaabe culture, symbolizing more than just a fruit. The strawberry, or ode’imin (heart berry), represents forgiveness and reconciliation, essential values for healing and community bonding.

Strawberries are often called the “heart berry” because of their shape and the deep emotional connections they inspire. They remind us to lead with our hearts, emphasizing compassion and understanding. When we embrace the teachings of the strawberry, we open ourselves to the transformative power of forgiveness.

One of the core lessons from the strawberry is the importance of forgiveness. This act of letting go is not about excusing past wrongs but about freeing ourselves from the burden of resentment. By forgiving, we make space for new growth and possibilities. The strawberry teaches us that true reconciliation starts within our hearts and radiates outward, healing relationships and communities. The sweet taste of the strawberry is a reminder of the joys that come with mutual respect and love.

A New Perspective on Vulnerability

Recently, I learned an interesting aspect of the strawberry teaching. Unlike other fruits that hold their seeds inside to protect them, the strawberry exposes her seeds to the outside world, displaying her vulnerability outwardly. This teaching resonated deeply with me, highlighting the strength and courage it takes to be vulnerable and open.

Passing Down Teachings

One of the most fulfilling aspects of this journey is sharing the teachings with my children. I hope my boys will embrace our culture and have a desire to learn. I am thankful for this opportunity to reconnect with my indigenous roots and pass on this knowledge to the next generation.

A Continuing Journey

My journey to reconnect with my Indigenous roots has been a deeply personal and ongoing process. From the initial shock of learning about Canada’s hidden history to embracing my Spirit Name and sharing teachings with my children, each step has brought me closer to my roots. As I continue to learn and grow, I am grateful for the guidance of my ancestors and the community that has supported me along the way.

Not all my extended family members believe this is their heritage. Each of us are on our own journey and embracing the culture as my way of life is for me. They will experience their own path. 

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Talk Soon,

Geegado Megwan Kwe

aka Rollie xoxo

Rollie Allaire
Holistic Life and Wellness Coach
Geegado Megwan Kwe
(Spirit Name - Talking Feather Woman)

Email: info@rollieallaire.ca
Telegram Chat: @Rollie_Coach
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