My Anishinaabe heritage has brought me to this amazing physical and cultural space to share these fundamental understandings with you. I believe that we are all part of this beautiful circle. Each person brings gifts to the circle, no matter your ethnic background or race. Everyone brings value to the circle. Everyone in the circle is equal. I am offering this path to you to consider your identity and purpose.
Please let me introduce myself to you and inform the Creator who is sharing these opportunities with you. My Spirit name is Standing Strong. My clan is Caribou. I am from Lake Helen First Nation. In my tribal language, I would say: Memashkegaabowek ndizhinikaaz. Adik ndoodem. Opwaaganisiniing Ndoonjii.
My ethnic background on my father’s side is Ojibwe from north of Lake Superior and Cree/French from northern Manitoba. On my mom’s side, it is from England through my maternal great-grandmother. Having an Anishnaabe Spirit while being carried in a white body presented me with many opportunities to learn as I was growing up and it also provided me with some unique gifts as I am learning now in my senior years.
My understanding of Anishnaabe means beings lowered down from the sky or human beings. My parents raised me as a Roman Catholic and somehow, I was always separated from my Indigenous brothers and sisters which I believe was my father’s choice. I always knew I was missing something in my life. My Spirit has always been Anishnaabe, however I was missing the Spiritual guidance that I required to feel complete or balanced.
Missing a traditional Indigenous upbringing can be a common experience for many Indigenous people. In some cases, the first time they are introduced to their culture is when they come to an urban setting while receiving medical services or attending at post-secondary institutions.
Until my Spiritual awakening, I lived with chemical imbalances which included physical challenges such as hormonal and nutrient deficiencies. In addition, I was living a life without listening to my true essence. This left me with a life of a foggy brain, anxieties, phobias, heart palpitations, lack of confidence in myself, a debilitating depression and many emotional and violent episodes which was mostly directed at my loved ones.
I had been diagnosed with a mental illness when my children were still young and the depressive episodes lasted days, weeks, months and even years. Sometimes I was not able to come out of my bedroom for three or four days at a time, not even being able to make myself a cup of coffee. This was not a good way to raise nor care for my children. I remember opening mail, as an example, was very frightening.
I remember in 1981 when my first child was born, the drumming began in my heart and the yearning to ‘come home again’ began. Home to me is the Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada area. On our land here, we have the mighty Anamikiewakchu meaning Thunder Mountain, also known as Mount McKay, which is one of the world’s oldest topographical features, dating back 500 million years. It is the nesting place of the Thunderbirds. The 1600-foot plateau of Mount McKay provides a striking view of Ktichigaming meaning big lake for Lake Superior and faces Nanabijou signifying the Sleeping Giant which is another sacred area. This is where I have come back to remember who I am. And somehow from the time that my first born arrived, I was yearning to come home, which I did finally in 1994.
The period of time between my breakthrough (or breakdown) and my first years of learning to be a Lodgekeeper and more is documented in my first book entitled ‘Walking With Grey Wolf’. This book was written to honour the vision that I received in 2006 and describes my personal Spiritual journey and the metaphysical or Spiritual experiences along the way. You can learn more about purchasing my book in the Products section.
I have been working one-on-one with clients to assist with their identity and purpose since 2007 (when I learned I am a Lodgekeeper). I have done this work freely through our charity the Blue Sky Community Healing Centre. Then in early in 2021, Spirit provided guidance that I now need to do this work on a professional basis. I do not always understand the guidance, but I trust in it implicitly and began to follow Spirit’s guidance. I am grateful to honour my gifts, be my true authentic self and provide similar experiences for clients.