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An Ojibwe Traditional Planting

This week the GARDENS project collaborated with Humber Indigenous Education and Engagement to share content and knowledge surrounding traditional planting ceremonies using sage and pearly everlasting, which are both native to South Etobicoke. Lynn Short facilitated the ceremonies at our Humber and Daily Bread locations with the support of our Operations Coordinator Gabi and a film crew of Matthew Cole, Simran Nijjar and Nick Burton.

According to the Ojibwe tradition, an offering of tobacco and water is placed within the hole dug for the plant. Men typically offer the tobacco, which is one of the four sacred medicines. It expresses wishes for the plant to be accepted by Mother Nature. Women are responsible for adding the water. Water is considered the lifeblood of Mother Earth and this is tied to women who are the water carriers.

All stages of the planting are full of intention and wishes of acceptance and nourishment. An interesting element to indigenous planting is the importance of the interconnectedness of all things. They emphasize the natural balance that exists within the world, and how all animals strive for harmony. Lynn mentioned that often people can forget the importance of this harmony and as a result can throw things off balance. Indigenous planting is a way to connect with the Earth and remind ourselves of the importance of recognizing natures natural balance.

Pearly everlasting (pictured left), is also known as the forever plant. It grows white flowers that when cut and dried can be preserved for decoration. They can be hung in the room of a young woman and are believed to help with their moon time.

Sage (pictured right) is different from the sage we are used to cooking with. This sage is not for eating, but instead is used for smudging. The smoke is considered to be cleansing and purifying. It is useful for a meeting, to clear your mind or to make you receptive to other discussions and opinions.

We are very thankful to Humber Indigenous Education and Engagement for teaching us about traditional Ojibwe planting. As Lynn expressed, taking time to reflect on our actions and the reactions that follow is a way to be mindful of how we treat Mother Earth, which is now more important than ever.

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Humber College and LAMP CHC

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