Jenny Sutherland, MSW, RSW
Red Stone Snake Woman
Truth and Reconciliation Specialist, Advocate. Educator. Artisan, Healer, Visionary and Caretaker of Misiwe Ni Relations Healing Lodge
I am a proud Indigenous woman and Rainbow Warrior. How glad I am for ceremonies that I participate in today, that allow me to more fully explore who I am on a conscious level. I have learned that this journey is about pulling back the layers of what makes us human, and remembering our purpose as light beings and why we are here. We hold on to so much that does not serve us. The mind creates an illusionary mess of the way that we think about ourselves, that we need to unravel.
What makes you…you? Like truly you.
Most comfortable in your skin, you.
Most at home, you.
Most connected to who you are meant to be, you.
When you feel this, there is light in your eyes.
At your heart, and core, where the spark of who you are is waiting to be found and ignited into a flame is your Soul purpose. It is the reason why you are here. Finding this part of us, is the journey and path we should all be striving to be on.
Since I was a child, I have always wanted to be a healer. I did not know at the time how that would play out. I just knew I wanted to be helpful. I studied psychology through Western institutions, and later found more answers about human behaviour and suffering through ceremony with medicine people. The world truly opens up when one can learn more about energy and consciousness. I've always known there was more to what these human eyes could see as I felt it in the plant and mineral world. When one can learn to listen to the calls of the wild you will discover a wisdom with teachings that are so incredibly beautiful.
I look to our Wise Ones, the elders and traditional medicine people, for guidance. Over the past few years, I have been studying under the Algonquin Medicine Man, Pete Bernard, from Pikwàkanagàn First Nation in Golden Lake. He is an extraordinary healer, mentor, teacher and friend. I have learned so much about healing on a deeper level. The last few centuries have caused havoc on the world of healers. The domination and forced assimiliation of European colonizers banned traditional ceremonies of Indigenous cultures.
This genocide has devastated many communities and many people have been left in crisis. There are a lot of weary souls walking aimlessly and struggling to leave this lifetime without the necessary wings to ascend, as they are heavy with wounds left unhealed. We need to bring our traditional medicine back.
This is a call, a plea, for you to rise to your own calling. We need each and every one of you to help us heal. You all have medicine to share.
This world needs us to heal, evolve to a new consciousness and do the work we are meant to do. I am answering this call by offering my own healing services, and a space to allow others to do the same.
This is also my response to the calls to action of truth and reconciliation. As an advocate and educator on Indigenous issues, I ask that all of us seek truth and understanding, and work towards forging new relationships based on compassion.
Our Earth Mother and the future generations need us. We must come together and do what is in the best interest of humanity.
“Sometimes the pain ignites in us a fire for a torch that is worth its weight in carrying."
On June 21, 2016, the Algonquin Medicine Man led a healing circle in Ottawa to raise funds for a special project to bring awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW), and to help bring the needed solutions. In Canada, there is an estimated 1,200+ Indigenous women that have gone missing or have been murdered in the last 30 years. Many have vanished without a trace with little to no concern paid by the media, the general public or politicians. These women are our mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters…This is a travesty of justice.
Those of us that are grassroots warriors can only do one thing: ask for you to do your research (www.trc.ca) and acknowledge what has happened in this country, the racism and violence that continues to exist, and to not turn a blind eye or think that you are merely a bystander. In order for change to happen, we have to all get involved. We all have a role to play in reconciliation and making this Nation, this world, a better place for our children and the seven generations ahead.
I, Jenny Sutherland, Mihko Asiniy Kinepik Iskwew (Red Stone Snake Woman), was asked to lead this project and to speak at this circle. We decided to raise money to create and sell prints of this sketch to raise awareness of Missing and Murdered Women, Girls and Two Spirited, and donate all proceeds to the wonderful organizations and initiatives out there supporting MMIWG2S and their loved ones.
This drawing was a part of my soul wound healing process when a thought came to me: sometimes the pain ignites in us a fire for a torch that is worth its weight in carrying. A torch for equality, justice and compassion in a country that continues to turn a blind eye at its horrific history with its First People, and continues to feed systemic racism, discrimination and injustice.
The drawing was created with pencil, with pencil crayons adding color to highlight the soul wound and the sacred flame in which it is creating. A medicine fan is the torch, and becomes one with the arm. This drawing is representative of all Indigenous women and I have tried to depict the beauty, heartache, grace, strength and resilience that we all are.
Let us recognize our deepest wounds and let them ignite in us the work that needs to be done to heal ourselves, our relationships with each other and our connection to our sacred Earth mother who without we would have no medicine or fire.
Gitchi-Meegwetch to Pete Bernard, the Algonquin Medicine Man, my healer, teacher, mentor and Neechee.
Stay tuned - prints will soon be available.