“All living creatures and all plants derive their life from the sun. If it were not for the sun, there would be darkness and nothing would grow – the earth would be without life.” – Okute, Teton Sioux
Summer is upon us, bringing with it the promise of warmer weather, longer days and a season of abundance—a time of reflection, of gratitude and celebration.
Around this time eight years ago, the grandmothers and grandfathers helped reveal my traditional spirit name during a Sundance ceremony. As I laid my hands and head on the tree of life and an Elder placed her hand on my back, I prayed to the creator while my heart pounded to the beat of the drums. I was gifted the name Turtle Woman.
On this same day, I watched as my husband dragged four buffalo skulls from his back in honour of our family. Only months after the birth of my first child, this proved to be a very emotional experience for me, and one that I will never forget.
The name Turtle Woman is fitting given my life experiences thus far. The turtle is symbolic of Turtle Island, Mother Earth and represents one of the seven teachings, Truth. It is known that the turtle carries all our relations on her back and keeps the world in balance. I am honoured and grateful for this name and pleased to share it with SAY readers so that you may understand the image that now holds space on this page.
It is said that the sun is our true source of light and life, and that the “Summer Solstice is a time to honour the manifestation of our dreams and wishes” (Molly Larkin, Podcaster). In the spirit of all good things to come, may this issue be an inspiration and a reminder to celebrate your uniqueness and strengths, and to appreciate the fullness of life and all that it has to offer.
June is National Indigenous History Month, bringing the diverse cultures and strengths of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples to the forefront in Canada, and June 21st is recognized as National Indigenous Peoples Day (and the same day we welcome Summer Solstice for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere).
In this issue we are happy to share the success of the 23rd annual Vision Quest Conference and one-on-one with interviews with various influential individuals, including Canadian actor Lorne Cardinal, former NHL superstar Jordin Tootoo and young entrepreneur Emilie McKinney of Swan Lake First Nation.
Among various celebrations, including the incredible power of powwow across Canada and the USA this summer, you can also take in APTN’s Indigenous Day Live (IDL) celebrations on June 22, in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Calgary, Alberta; and Whitehorse, Yukon. Be sure to check out all the details in our cover story, starting on page 14. And if you like to travel and try new foods, we hope you appreciate the suggestions on page 26.
Danielle Vienneau, Editor-in-Chief