Year-one outdoor adventure naturalist students with Circle of Turtle Lodge members Photo credit: Jodi Bucholtz

A community charity organization that works to teach people about Indigenous traditions held its third annual Talking Stick and Talking Circle workshop to a full house in the gym of Algonquin’s Pembroke campus on Jan. 14.

The First Moon, First People Indigenous celebration event, which ran between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., taught students and staff how to create their own Talking Stick and use it in a Talking Circle.

“A Talking Stick is something that is at every event, it is always used,” said Aimee Bailey, 62, the spokesperson for the Circle of Turtle Lodge, the organization that hosted the event. “We introduced the importance of the Talking Stick and spoke about the elements that go into the Talking Stick.”

When a Talking Circle is in progress, a Talking Stick is passed along from person to person. The person holding the stick at the time is the only one allowed to speak. “We all sit in a circle and we are all equal from the center of the circle because we are all equals and it is important to teach that everyone is equal,” Bailey said.

“The Pembroke Campus is committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada Calls to Action by continuing to build meaningful relationships with our Indigenous community,” said Keltie Jones, 53, dean of the Pembroke Campus. “The First Moon, First People Indigenous Culture Celebration is one example of our commitment, but it is only the beginning of our Indigenization journey.”

On Jan. 22 the group will host a blanket activity that “educates the loss of our land,” Bailey said. “We hope to have 40 people at least, we need a lot of people to be able to successfully do the exercise.”

The First Moon, First People culture celebration is having their last workshop on Jan. 28 at 11 a.m. It is a song lesson and drumming circle where a universal water song will be taught, and the participants will also be drumming along to the song.

The Circle of Turtle Lodge plans on coming back to the Pembroke campus next year to host workshops that get the students involved and informed about indigenous culture and look forward to seeing everyone next year for the fourth year in a row.