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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Education
December 20, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence


Homecoming 2010 with Rene Meshake

Bozho Faculty of Education Friends!



The Faculty of Education held its inaugural Homecoming event on October 3, 2010, which drew an audience of alums, current students, and teachers and principals from our partnering school boards, as well as members of the general public. We hope that this is the first of a series of annual Homecoming events. 

The Faculty of Education’s student-governed Education Society, EdSoc, sponsored the  Homecoming event that connected to our Aboriginal communities. We hosted the Mino Odae Kwewuk N’gamawuk or the “Good-hearted Women Singers,” a group of women from Waterloo Region as well as students from WLU’s Faculty of Social Work who perform across southern Ontario to promote understanding and create community among Native and non-Native communities.

Members of the singing group led us in a smudging ceremony to purify our minds, bodies and spirits using burned sage and a ceremonial Eagle feather. The purification ceremony prepared us to listen the women perform Native songs from across North America, including traditional and ceremonial songs from the musical traditions of the Mohawk, Ojibwe, MicMac and Cherokee people, as well as songs that were “just for fun.”


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The Mino Odae Kwewuk N’gamawuk provided the prelude to our keynote speaker, Rene Andre Meshake, an Ojibwe author/illustrator, storyteller, visual artist, spoken-word performer, musician and new media artist.

Rene Andre Meshake was born in the railway town of Nakina in Northwestern Ontario and was raised by his Okomissan grandmother. He has been influenced by Anishinaabe oral tradition, language, arts and culture and his studies in Graphic Design at Sheridan College and Creative Writing at the Humber School for Writers. Through a fusion of Ojibwe and English, Rene Andre Meshake related his messages about Aboriginal community, language, and identity in poetry, storytelling, and prose.

Mr. Meshake related to the audience stories about his life and how he made sense of his experiences through the Native teachings of the Medicine Wheel. He taught, inspired and entertained the as he communicated his Ojibwe spiritual heritage to the contemporary world.

The Grand Entry

The Spirits asked, “Who are you?”
I replied
“I’m an Aboriginal.”
They said, “Who?”
I answered again,
“I’m a First Nation.”
They said, “Who?”
I retorted,
I’m a Native Canadian.”
They said, “Who?”
Finally, it dawned on me
And I proclaimed, “I’m Anishinabe,
Mz aye, indoodem
Dyoosh indanishabe-bimaadiz.”
One of the spirits acknowledged,
“Biindigen, gichi Anishinabe.”
Truly, any Anishinabe who still speaks the language
Make a grand entry in the prayer world.”

Meshake, R. A. (2006). The grand entry. In K. Blaeser (Ed.), Traces in blood, bone, & stone: Contemporary Ojibwe poetry (pp. 137). Bemidji, MN: Loonfeather Press.