I thoroughly enjoyed the pipe ceremony on Tuesday. It was my first pipe ceremony I have attended. I was glad there was a discussion on etiquette before the pipe ceremony as I felt prepared and ready for the ceremony. I attended a feast last year in Moose jaw and I had no idea there was certain etiquette, which it made me very uncomfortable and embarrassed for not knowing what I should do and for messing up. The pipe ceremony felt very relaxed had an open atmosphere and felt spiritual. It was welcoming of everybody and did not discriminate.
I did not experience too much discomfort during the ceremony. Although sitting on the hard gym floor did test me a bit. I did try and tune out that physical discomfort and get absorbed in the ceremony so that was a bit of a challenge. I also was uncertain about smudging as I had never done it before. After watching a few people smudge, I gained the general motion of it. I feel like these moments of discomfort are just learning curves. We may not know exactly what we are doing but that is alright and it is an open and accepting environment. I feel if you are open to the experience and are respectful, with time the discomfort will ease away.
The ceremony was just the beginning of my learning experience with treaty education. I have taken native studies and have learned about First Nations in school but it is so much more to experience it. I feel it will be important to inform students of the culture and history but it will equally important for them to experience it to really make a connection. I feel there is so much to learn from First Nations perspectives, history and stories that will open up mine and the student’s world views. I feel the more that the students are exposed to the knowledge of First Nations and get a chance to experience in ceremonies or other events, the better their overall knowledge and understanding will be. They will hopefully become more rounded citizens. I feel like middle years students would be very open to experience any type of ceremony, especially after learning about it.