Summer Solstice is a Special Time


Summer Solstice marks the longest day and the shortest night of the year when the Sun is at the highest point in the sky. For as long as humans have existed, cultures worldwide mark this significant yearly event with ceremonies and festivals. It is an opportunity for us to stop and recognize our connection with Nature.

June 21st, the date upon which Summer Solstice commonly occurs, is declared a national day to celebrate and recognize the cultures and contributions of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. It is called National Indigenous Peoples Day.

We join in celebration on this day and endeavour to go further in our learning journey. We recognize the value and wisdom of Indigenous teachings, and are humbled by the many teachers who have carried forward to share with everyone in these challenging times. For me, this is a personal journey to reconnect with my Potawatomi ancestor’s teachings that I had been disconnected from as a younger person. For our organization, Forêt Capitale Forest, I feel very fortunate to be part of a curious and capable team who want to go deeper than acknowledgement of the traditional unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin People at the sites where we are planting trees.

We learn from resources such as the Waasegiizhig Nanaandaweiyewigamig Traditional Food Guide, a beautiful resource that helps guide our stewardship of the community food forest at our base of operations. We lend our hands and our shovels to assisting with the Birch Path Healing Forest, part of the National Healing Forest initiative. We are learning the Anishinaabemowin names of the trees we are planting, giizhik (eastern white cedar), wiigwaas (paper birch), mitigomizh (burr oak), aninaatig (sugar maple) and so many more. We listen to the stories of these trees and their importance as food, as Medicine and as teachers.

How grateful I am to hear these beautiful stories of our plant kin. To honour those stories, and knowledge keepers, we are making a space for story tellers at a stop on the Walking Path we are building at the Forêt Capitale Forest base of operations at the Just Food Community Farm in Blackburn Hamlet. At the Cedar Song stop along the path (inspired by the songs and stories carried forward by Mary Siisip Geniusz), we will soon have benches and a place to hear stories told in the oral tradition. We understand and feel the lessons differently through hearing stories told aloud, animated, and in community.

We invite everyone to learn from the wisdom and contributions of Indigenous peoples, to connect with Nature, to embrace opportunities to actively express gratitude and give back to all of the beings on Turtle Island.

mikinaak (snapping turtle)

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