With COVID-19 lockdown in place, ceremonies are still possible

With the COVID-19 pandemic still keeping people locked in their homes, ceremonies like Sundances may still be postponed or cancelled altogether.

However, amongst the uncertainty, other things can be done.

People can still connect spiritually on their own and participate in these important spiritual ceremonies on their own says Mashkode Bizhiki Kapitaatoong, who is called Buffalo Calling in English.

Mashkode Bizhiki Kapitaatoong organizes sweats in Winnipeg and gives a few examples of how this can be achieved.

“We can go out on the land by ourselves, we can take our pipes or our drums or whatever sacred object you have and you can fast yourself for four days or two days or one day.

“Just being out on the land by yourself and getting in touch with that great spirit, that’s the most important thing.”

These are unprecedented times, everyone has to adapt to pandemics, whether it’s the Spanish flu that killed tens of millions of people, COVID-19.

“We’ve managed to survive and thrive despite all these adversities that we’ve been faced with over the generations,” stated Dr. Annelind Wakegijig, an Indigenous doctor practicing medicine in Ontario.

She believes togetherness is an important factor in the spiritual lives of Indigenous peoples, and some gatherings can still happen if safe protocols are followed.

“Our tendency is to gather, like our instinct is to gather because we support each other,” said Wakegijig. “So, we’re once again having to adapt to contemporary times and I think those types of social supports mean that we can still gather but because we have the technology available to most of us, I think virtually is a necessary substitute in these times.”

Mashkode says practicing Indigenous spirituality is important, perhaps now more than ever.

“There’s a lot of need for spirituality to reach inward to ourselves and find out who we really are. We have to do that while we’re all trapped inside anyway,” said Wakegijig.

“It’s good for, we need spirituality in times like this, we really do. That’s what gives us hope.”

Darrell is a proud member of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. He is a graduate of the television program from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. He is returning to APTN after having completed an internship with us in 2018 and a brief stop as a reporter in B.C. in 2019.