Her Moccasins Talk: Matriarch Circle on Nurturing Wisdom
Sunday 12 September 11am // Virtual livestream
Gail Whitlow is Mohawk, born into the Bear Clan of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). Since she was 25 years old, her life has been dedicated to fostering traditional ceremonies that allow connection to Spirit. Gail is the 13th Grandmother on the Turtle Island Council. She is a strong presence in the Grandmothers movement worldwide, and has been instrumental in creating the Grandmothers Circle the Earth Foundation. As medicine person working with visualization tools and traditional healing methods, Gail is led by guidance from the spirit world to connect with ancestors and animal totems. She owns the Ancestral Voices Healing Centre in Ohsweken, Ontario on the Six Nations Reserve.
Marie Jones is a Mohawk traditional woman born on the Six Nations Territory, Turtle Clan and raised in the fruit belt of Niagara. She comes from a long line of traditional women on both sides of her parents, is considered a knowledge keeper. Marie comes from a large blended family of 14 children, is a Tota not only to her immediate family, but also to the Indigenous community of Niagara. She walks in the footsteps of her mother, serving her community.
Kanate’hson Elder Renee Thomas-Hill Grandmother Renee
Grandmother Renee was born into the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of the Grand River Territory, Ontario, Canada
She honours her lineage:
Mother- Cayuga Bear & that of her Father Mohawk Turtle
As a Haudenosaunee woman, her role in life is a Carrier of our Heritage
- Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother & auntie to many
- Educator, Historian, Lecturer/Teacher, Wisdom Keeper
- Co-Founder Grandmother’s Voice
- Cultural Consultant
- Elder at
- McMaster University – Indigenous Student Program – ISP, Indigenous Students Health Science ISHS
- Six Nations Polytech/Brantford Campus
- IDHC- Indigenous Diabetes Healing Circle
- De dwa da dehs nye s – Aboriginal Health Centre of Brantford & Hamilton
- Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres-OFIFC
- Dodem Kanonhsa- Toronto Indigenous Cultural Facility
- Traditional Wellness Councillor (Addictions)
- Story Teller
“Our people were instructed in the “Great Law” from which gave us “Peace Power & Righteousness, (the sacredness of being and Original Being”. This is our original instructions to the pathway of “Skennen-Peace”.
Grandmother Renee’s Words
Every morning I take thirty to forty-five minutes to pray for the people. I pray that their spirits will be lifted. I pray for my community that we get better. I pray for the people stuck with unresolved grief that their spirits be restored. I pray for our youth to find their voices. Most of all, I give thanks to the Earth and all its creation.
One of the most beautiful things I see is the changes in me. Everyday I am blessed. Inside I feel like a young girl but on the outside, I see a woman: a woman who has been through a lot. But looking into my eyes I no longer see the grief and sadness I once carried. What I see now is the growth and changes that have made me strong.
Each year I become a different person. I am grateful to have all the abilities I have. The ability to sing, dance, play and love. I don’t think we as individuals tend to appreciate the gifts we have. When people see me Smoke Dance, they comment that I dance like I’m 25. I tell them I still feel like twenty-five because I dance for the Creator. For all the struggles I have, the Creator has given me the tools I need to continue on a good path. I take what I learn, and I share it with others so they can use the tools in their lives.
Our Creator has given us the gift of our bodies: every organ, every cell is always changing and healing. We need to acknowledge that our bodies and minds are always recording what we see and hear. We need to remember that our bodies were made by the Creator. He breathed life into us and gave us our goodness through his breath. We are always taking in the world around us. When we learn good works, our spirit acknowledges this just as when we take in negative things. When we fill our bodies with negative things, our bodies get sick and destroys our spirits.
Lateral violence, gossip, anger and negative thoughts are all things continue to make our communities sick. Our people believed in good and bad medicine. The Elders say that the bad medicine individuals carry with them is their grief energy. In the olden days we would do ceremonies at the wood’s edge to welcome people n the community. We would give them comforting words and ensure that the grievances and traumas were not brought into the community.
With drastic change comes issues of trauma, especially when we refer to changes such as residential schools and their effect on generations of our people. When people come into the healing program where I work, the first thing I do to unburden them is to re-introduce them to the role of the fire. Its’ role is to take all the negative energy.
Long ago, our ways of dealing with grief and anger were linked to physical activities. Today many of the man need re-connection with a healthier way of releasing their negative energy. They need something physical to bring about change, something that reminds them of their duties. This can be something as simple as cutting wood. They need meaningful work that will contribute to their personal wellbeing and others.
Today’s society is making it so convenient to turn on the heat, lights and stove and this has taken away the duties and responsibilities. For example, when I was young each of my family members would contribute in the day to day chores. We worked together and we bought changes together. It was called our “We Fitness Program”.
The Creator has given all of us the tools to prepare for change. Every day I am grateful to know that I am going to be blessed with meeting and sharing time with various people. From them, I continue to learn about myself and the world around me. I know in some way I will have my questions answered if I take the time to listen careful to the people that come and go in my life.
One thing I want to see in our people and communities is the return of a well and strong spirit. We, as a community and nation, need to relearn our roles and responsibilities of being well. It is time for self are to restore our spirit, hearts, mind, and body so that there is peace, power and righteousness (sacredness) ~Tanato~
Audra is She Who Sees Far Like the Eagle or Eagle Vision Woman and is a Traditional Healer, or Puoin (Boo In) from the Mi’kmaw First Nation. Eagle Vision Woman comes from a lineage of Puoin in her family in addition to having been trained from Master Shamans in Peru, Ecuador, Spain and Canada. She was the Indigenous Healer at the World Indigenous Forum in New Zealand in 2018 and again in 2021. Eagle Vision Woman was also the healer to facilitate healing circles at the Indigenous Health Conference held through the University of Toronto in 2020 and had the honour of bringing Indigenous Healers from across Canada and Turtle Island together on multiple occasions. She offers healing sessions, workshops and coaching through the Indigenous Diabetes Health Centre, Ancestral Voices on Six Nations Reserve and her home practice for the community. Eagle Vision Woman’s sessions include working with the client on a holistic level to address balance in our Medicine Wheels, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Audra was the recipient of the Peace Medal from the YMCA 2020 for the work that she has done in the community.
Audra Sewell Malone, Gail Whitlow, Grandmother Marie Jones, Grandmother Renee