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Minwaashin Lodge – The Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre
The Annual Women’s Gathering – Our Songs Are Our Prayers
Every summer for the last seven years Minwaashin Lodge has hosted a Gathering for all women. Women spend the weekend camping, eating, laughing, and experiencing various teachings from different cultures. Over the years the Gathering has achieved such an excellent reputation that registration is capped at 150. Women start anticipating the Gathering in the winter months and often begin asking when registration will open while the snow is still on the ground.
All women are welcome to attend the Gathering and take part in workshops from different traditions and cultures such as how to make quill earrings, learn how to meditate, perform playback theatre, participate in a Sweat Lodge Ceremony, or create their own self-care package. “All walks of women come to the Gathering and this reflects the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. We practice unity, inclusivity by honouring all women,” says Mary Daoust, Manager of Minwaashin’s Counselling Team.
The Gathering provides a unique opportunity for all participants, regardless of ancestry, to take part in traditional ceremonies such as Sweat Lodge, Medicine Walks, Talking Circles, Sunrise Ceremony, Two-Spirit Circles and Drumming Circles. For many women this can be a very powerful experience as they make that connection to their spirit. “It is awesome to witness that spiritual door being opened. There is such a fear of the unknown. It takes a lot of courage for women to take that first step and attend the Gathering.” Mary explains, “The Gathering is the perfect place to be, surrounded by 150 empathetic women.” The Gathering is truly a space where women are in complete control to participate as much or as little as they like.
Food is another feature of the Gathering that all women enjoy. From the delicious ‘Indian’ tacos to the decadent bannock with strawberries and ice cream, women enjoy nutritious and tasty food lovingly prepared by Minwaashin staff and Gathering volunteers.
Asked for her final thoughts about the Gathering Mary says, “the heart is so light, no worries for that 48 hours, women are simply free to be.”
For more information on the Women’s Gathering please visit our website, www.minlodge.com and visit our Annual Women’s Gathering page.