Florence Foy Prayer; on Boarding School; and on Breaking the Cycle

This notion of cleansing as part of the journey through the seven directions is expressed powerfully by Florence Foy, an elder from the Couchiching First Nation, explaining how to break the cycle of abuse that continued beyond the boarding school era. Captain Richard Henry Pratt established the first Indian boarding school in 1879 with the stated goal: "to kill the Indian in order to save the man. " Florence Foy, talks here with heartbreaking honesty and courage about the abuse that she suffered in boarding schools and, tragically, how the abuse was passed down to the next generation.

As Florence Foy teaches, to move forward on the path to recover it is crucial to confront the atrocities that have been committed against the Anishinaabe people. Taken together with the spirit of West, which offers the gift of sorrow, Florence Foy explains the necessity of confronting the historical trauma of the past in order to attain purification and cleansing.

These videos were originally recorded for the Sunrise Center Against Sexual Abuse, a non-profit organization based in International Falls. The original video "Wiidookodaadiyin / Talking Circle" was intended for use in high schools: "Elder Florence Foy leads a talking circle about finding the strength to forgive, being responsible parents, showing children how to be safe, honoring traditions, and speaking from the heart"

giiwedinong | north

Kiiwedinong means ‘to the North’ (spelled phonetically). The Nichols & Nyholm dictionary gives the spelling of North as Giiwedin. The spirit of the North, as Larry Aitken explains, brings the harshness of cold and snow as a sign of cleansing and purification. It is embodied by large birds such migiziwag (‘bald eagles’), giniwag (‘golden eagles’), and gakekwag (‘hawks’).

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