THUNDER BAY, ONT. — What better way to be honoured than to be joined by big brother.
The Blue Sky Community Healing Centre hosted an Honouring Nibi (Water) Beings event on Wednesday as the skies opened up over Lake Superior later in the afternoon to add to the festivities for the 15 in attendance.
Prior to the noon start, Blue Sky lodgekeeper/executive director Cindy Crowe explained what the participants would be experiencing.
“We’re going to be focusing on the water teachings, the Indigenous water teachings,” said Crowe, who is the owner of Niibing Tribal Tours where the event started off before they headed to the Little Trout Bay Conservation Area. “I’m going to be sharing some experiences I’ve had with water beings. We’re going to be blessing the Nibi (water), we’re all going to have a bit of blessed water using it whatever way you want. We’re going to be preparing an offering that we’re going to give to the water.
“Anytime we’re doing these kinds of gatherings, it’s very organic. It’s not planned ahead of time. It happens as it needs to happen.”
Leading the interpretive guided watershed tour was Lakehead Superior Watershed Conservancy executive director Joanie McGuffin, who brought a wealth of watershed conservation knowledge to the event.
Based out of Sault Ste. Marie on both the Ontario and Michigan sides of the border, McGuffin was excited to see first-hand the beauty of Little Trout Bay.
“One of the pieces is getting to know this beautiful land here,” said McGuffin, who founded the Lakehead Superior Watershed Conservancy organization and has also been a board member over the past 17 years.
“It’s part of the watershed of Lake Superior where the Cloud River flows down into the lake.
“It’s really important that we get to know the waters that flow into the big lake. There’s also a provincially significant wetland (at Little Trout Bay), which is a super significant way to keep waters healthy.
“On Lake Superior, we have so few wetlands. We’re going to get to know the waters up here and not just the waters that we see, but also the fact that we’re three-quarters water.”
The Nibi Beings event is the third of five gatherings the Blue Sky group is taking part in.
In May, the healing centre had a Make Your Own Dreamcatcher assembly and followed it up with a forest bathing and medicine garden event in June.
Blue Sky will also attend the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority event next month and take part in Neebing’s Birding Festival in September.
John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal