Summer programming is in full swing at the Boreal Discovery Centre with different activities every Wednesday to Friday. One of the many activities the program does is the building of a teepee.
Chris Sawatzky, an aboriginal healer, teacher and a member of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN), guided the campers through the built, along with her son John.
Each camper had a pole for the teepee, and had the chance to add their pole, to create the finished product. Tristyn Samoila from Regina, Saskatchewan, who was visiting her grandmother in Thompson, placed the sharing pole. “We’re doing teepees right now. They’re telling us how we were built by the Creator, and we have different parts to us, just like a teepee does.”
When the poles were placed, Sawatzky spoke about each pole and how these acts can be used in everyday life. Samoila says she shares by sharing kindness, as well as material things when people ask to share an object.
There are many different poles to a teepee, and with different sized teepees different teachings are placed on different enclosures. Some of the poles include obedience, respect, humility, happiness, love, faith, kinship, cleanliness, thankfulness, sharing, strength, good child rearing, hope and ultimate protection.
Campers were outside in the field while the teepee poles were strung together with a rope. The rope is a sacred bond, which binds all the teachings together creating a structure of protection and safety.
Samoila was only supposed to visit the camp for one day, but because the teepee day was fun for her, she decided to go another day.
Penny Byer, with the Boreal Discovery Centre, says they had Sawatzky teach the teepee-building because the centre respects the traditional NCN land they have built on. “We feel honoured having [Chris Sawatzky] do this for us,” Byer noted.
For the rest of the summer they will continue the programming and focus on different plants in the boreal forest, as well as animals like rabbits and sturgeon.