Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Haudenosaunee Clan System

There are various clan systems in Haudenosaunee matrilineal society where groups of people come together as families linked by a common female ancestor. The number of clans varies amongst the nations which are further divided into the three elements- air, water and land- and represented by birds and animals. Certain animals are also divided into the elements; the bear, wolf and deer represent the land element, the turtle, eel and beaver represent the water element and the snipe, hawk and heron represents the air element. The clans are considered relatives despite the nations they may belong to. An example of this would be that someone in a wolf clan of the Cayuga and Mohawk nation would still be considered relatives despite location and biological distances.

The term family also extends to everyone else belonging to the same clan. This system was useful as clans travelled around and required shelter and food from fellow clan members in other locations. Due to families extending to the same clan, it is forbidden to marry within the same clan.

As the Haudenosaunee people belong to matrilineal societies, the family names and clans are passed down from mother to child. Most nations are also matrilocal meaning when a man marries a woman he has to move to her village and longhouse and she has claim to everything including the children.  It is the tradition of her family that are passed down. Each clan also has a clan mother who is chosen for her cultural wisdom and dedication of the culture to head the clan. She is often the oldest woman of the clan. Some of the responsibilities of clan mother are to make major decisions that affect the clan, assign names to people in her clan, nominate the male leader of the clan, and ensure all members of the clan are fed.

The male leader of the clan is called the hoyaneh meaning “caretaker of the peace” who represents his clan in the Haudenosaunee government. Traditionally, the clan mothers would watch the boys as they grew and after many years of observation, they were chosen for the lifetime position. However, the clan mothers have the authority to remove him from power.

Each nation in the Haudenosaunee alliance has their own identity despite cultural similarities they are unique with distinct languages.

Mohawk/ Kanien’kehaka: “People of the Flint”/ “Keepers of the Eastern Door”
They were responsible for defending and protecting the easternmost boundary of the Haudenosaunee territory. 
Clans within the Mohawk nation are the bear, turtle and wolf.

Oneida/ Onayotekaono: “People of the Standing Stone”
The turtle clan, the Keepers of the knowledge, represent the shifting of the earth and the cycles of the moon. Their responsibility covers everything to do with the environment. Bear clan, the keepers of medicine were given the gift of medicine from an elder woman who had the knowledge of all the medicinal plants on earth. The wolf clan, the pathfinders, have the responsibility to guide people in living their lives in the way the Creator intended.
Clans within the Oneida nation are the turtle, bear and wolf. 

Onondaga/ Onundagaono: “People of the Hills”/ “Keepers of the Central Fire”
Known as the capital of the Confederacy where the Haudenosaunee council fire burns. There are nine clans of the Onondaga people; wolf, turtle, beaver, snipe, heron, deer, eel, bear and hawk.

Cayuga/ Guyohkohnyoh: “People of the Great Swamp”
The Cayuga nation is made up of five different clans; bear, heron, snipe, turtle and wolf.

Seneca/ Onondowahgah: “People of the Great Hill”
They are also known as “Keepers of the Western Door” and responsible for defending and protecting the westernmost border in the Confederacy. 
The Seneca clans are split into two categories, birds and animals. The four bird clans include deer, hawk, heron, and snipe. The four animal clans include turtle, beaver, wolf, and bear.

Tuscarora/ Skaruhreh: “The Shirt Wearing People”
The Tuscarora are comprised of seven clans; the deer, bear, wolf, turtle, snipe, beaver and eel.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

13 Grandmother Moons

Grandmother Moon is a powerful teaching about Aboriginal women’s special connection to our Grandmothers who have passed into the Spirit world. Grandmother Moon provides us direction, strength, knowledge and wisdom in taking our sacred place in our families, communities and beyond. She teaches us about our sacred role as the life-givers and the heart of our nation - for without women our nations cannot go on. We need Grandmother Moon’s presence in our lives now more than ever, especially for our 
Grandmother Moon 
You know all women from birth to death
We seek your knowledge
We seek your strength 
Some are STARS up there with youyoung women who live in the dark and struggle to live in the light. 

Some are STARS on Mother Earth
Grandmother, lighten up our path in the dark
Creator, keep our sisters safe from harm.

January - Spirit Moon
First moon of Creation, and is manifested through the Northern lights. It is a time to honour the silence and realize our place within all of Great Mysteries Creatures. 

February - Bear Moon
The 2nd moon is when we honour the vision quest that began in the fall. During this time we discover how to see beyond reality and to communicate through energy rather than sound. 

March - Sugar Moon
As the maple syrup begins to run, we learn of one of the main medicines given to the Anishnabe. During this time we are encouraged to balance our lives. 

April - Sucker Moon 
Is when the sucker fish goes to this Spirit World in order to receive cleansing techniques for this world. When it returns to this realm, it purifies a path for the Spirits and cleanses all our water beings. During this time we can learn to become healed healers. 

May - Flower Moon 
Is where all plants display their Spirit sides for all the world to see. This life giving energy is one of the most powerful healing medicines on Mother Earth. During this moon, we are encouraged to explore our Spiritual essences. 

June - Strawberry Moon 
The medicine of the strawberry is reconciliation. It was during this moon cycle that communities usually held their annual feasts, welcoming everyone home, regardless of their differences over the past year, letting go of judgement and/or self-righteousness. 

July - Rasberry Moon 
7th moon is when great changes begin. By learning gentleness and kindness, we may pass through the thorns of its bush and harvest its fruit, knowledge that will help in raising our families. 

August - Thimbleberry 
When we honour the thimbleberry which produces an abundance of fruit once every 3 years. One of the 1st plants put on Mother Earth, its purpose is to protect the Sacred Circle of Life by allowing us to recognize and understand the teachings that come from the Spirit World. 

September - Corn Moon
During this time we learn about the cycle of life. Each cob has 13 rows of multicoloured seeds which represent all the spirits waiting to begin their Earth Walk. These will be the future generations for whom we must prepare. 

October - Falling Leaves Moon 
Is the time when Mother Earth is honoured with the grandest of colours. As all Creation makes their offerings to her, we become aware of all the miracles of Creation before us and our Spiritual energies are once again awakened. 

November - Freezing Moon 
Is a time when the Star Nation is closest to us. As every creature being prepares for the coming fasting grounds, we are reminded to prepare ourselves for our spiritual path by learning the sacred teachings and songs that will sustain us. 

December - Little Spirit Moon 
Is a time of healing. By receiving both vision of the spirits and good health, we may walk the Red Road with purest intentions and we can share this most positive energy with our families and friends for the good of all. 

Blue Moon - Big Spirit Moon 
The 13th moon purpose is to purify us, and to heal all of Creation, a process which may take a three month long spiritual journey. During this time, we receive instructions on the healing powers of the universe and transform into our own vision of the truth. 


Monday, May 25, 2020

Indigenous Food Education at Anishnabeg Outreach

June is Strawberry Moon. The medicine of the strawberry is reconciliation. It was during this moon cycle that communities usually held their annual feasts, welcoming everyone home, regardless of their differences over the past year, letting go of judgement and/or self-righteousness

Strawberry Teachings
  • The strawberry is known to be the heart berry due to the fruit’s shape.
  • It is an important food and medicine for Indigenous cultures in North America
  • Strawberries could treat digestive disorders, skin problems, and strengthens the uterus during and after pregnancy. The plant provides vitamin C.
  • “Just as the O-day’-min (heart berry) is connected to the strawberry plant by  vast system of leaves, runners, and roots, so is the heart connected to all the organs and parts of the human body. The heart is at the centre of the human.” - Elders.
  • The berry is used to help people understand the connection between the mind,body, spirit, and emotions.
  • The heart berry reminds people of reconciliation and teaches people how to maintain heartfelt relationships in our families and communities. It teaches forgiveness and peace. Finding peace doesn’t always come from the head/mind but comes from the heart.
  • It is known to be a woman’s medicine and teaches young women about creation, community and love.
  • Ojibwe Elder Liza Mosher teaches young women to fast on strawberries as well as other berries for a full year when their first menstrual cycle begins.
  • During the same year, they would be surrounded by grandmothers who teach them about womanhood and how to bring life into the world. At the end of the fast, berries collected throughout the year are presented to the community. This represents how the female learned to care for and sustain her people.
  • Mohawk Elder Jan Longboat says that the strawberry represents konnonronhkwa which translates to “I show you I care” or commonly translated as “I love you”.  
How to Plant Strawberries from Seeds
  1. Sow indoors in the winter. Start any time between December and beginning of February. Transplant out at least 3 weeks after last frost
  2. Tuck the strawberry seed packet inside a sealed plastic bag or container and place in the freezer for 3-4 weeks
  3. When removing the bag or container, do not break the seal until it is room temperature 
  4. If opening the package too soon it may result in water condensing on cold seeds, reducing the success chances
  5. At room temperature, seeds are ready to be planted 
  6. Sow the seeds on the surface of pre-moistened, sterilized seed starting mix in trays or small containers
  7. Place these on a piece of felt or thick cloth with its end sitting in water.
  8. This is for wicking water from below so that the seedling medium stays constant and evenly damp until germination
  9. Keep the tray of seeds under bright fluorescent lights at a constant temperature of 18 to 24 degrees germination may take 7 days to 6 weeks. Once germination occurs, increase ventilation around your plants to prevent damping 
  10. Once there are 3 leaves, they can be transplanted into their own pots or garden. 
  11. Space transplants 60cm apart in rows 90-120cm apart
  12. Maintain moist environment. Water regularly

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Ready, Set, Move

Ready, Set, Move
Chalk Paint Activity

The weather is getting nicer, we hope this outdoor activity will keep everyone entertained and enjoying the fresh air. Utilize your gross and fine motor skills while exploring alternative canvases.
Items needed:
Sidewalk Chalk (large), water, tablespoon, cups, bowl, paintbrush, hammer, ziplock baggies.
Turn chalk into fine powder using a hammer and baggies.
Pour powdered chalk into separate cups.
Stir in 3 tablespoons of water (amount of water varies with chalk, aim for a smooth paste texture).
Use paintbrush to create vibrant artwork.

Ready, Set, Move - Taekwondo Tuesday

Taekwondo Tuesday
In this weeks episode with Master Sean, we will be learning Jumping Roundhouse Kick.

Step 1: Bring knee to chest.
Step 2: Switch legs in the air.
Step 3: Extend your leg.

Taekwondo Tuesday
In this weeks episode with Master Sean, we will be learning back leg roundhouse kick.
1. Bring knee to your chest.
2. Bring knee parallel to shoulder.
3. Kick and return to starting position.
Practice step 2 with a chair or ladder to be comfortable with balance.

Taekwondo Tuesday
In this weeks episode with Master Sean, we will be learning the Jump Front Kick.
1. Bring your knee up to your chest.
2. Jump up and bring up your second knee to your chest.
3. Jump up and extend your second leg.
Practice step 2 until comfortable moving into step 3.

Taekwondo Tuesday
In this weeks episode with Master Sean, we will be learning the Lower Front Snap Kick.
1. Raise your knee up towards your chest.
2. Extend your leg towards the target.
3. Recoil you’re leg back using your hamstrings.
4. Return to your starting position.
Use your kihap on the moment of impact.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Explore With Us

Explore with Us (Birth to 6 years)

View our online how to videos instructed by our EarlyON facilitators in exploring literacy, numeracy and science activities. We will create, problem solve, and gain a stronger understanding of our world through play. ​

Mountain Lights Activity

Mountain Lights is a colourful landscape activity.
Items needed:
  • Water, food colouring, scissors, paper towels, glue, containers (ice cube trays or cups).
  • Pre cut landscape.
  • Mix food colouring into water.
  • Dab colour onto folded paper towel.
  • Let dry.
  • Glue landscape onto paper towel.

Sticker Name Activity

Looking for an activity to do with your children today? Try our sticker name art, this activity encourages the use of fine motor skills and creativity as well as letter and name recognition.
Items needed:
  • Paper, markers, stickers.

  • Write children’s or family members names or words on a large piece of paper.
  • Have the children place their favourite stickers on top of the lines.

Mystery Paint Activity

Here’s a fun art craft to try today using white crayons and watercolour paint. If you don’t have access to watercolour, just use watered down children’s paint. This activity promotes use of colour exploration and fine motor skills.
Items needed:
  • Thick paper (Card stock), Paint brush, Water colour (watered down paint), Paint container, White crayon.
  • Use the white crayon to draw a picture, make sure to apply pressure for the image to be clear.
  • Use gentle strokes of water colour over the paper to reveal your hidden image.
    Allow time for the water colour to dry.

Shake It Up Activity

Shake up your day with our shake it up art activity. This is an easy mess free craft for all ages to enjoy. Children get to explore colour theory and sound while exercising their gross motor skills.

Items needed:
  • Paper, container with a lid, paint, loose parts.

  • Place paper inside of the container.
  • Add in loose parts (rocks, marbles, gems etc) 
  • Pour a variety or bright paint colours into the container.
  • Firmly close the lid.
  • Shake container in all directions until desired effect.
  • Add decorations to your artwork if desired.

Math Sticks Activity

Practice math skills with math sticks. A simple and open ended way to learn number concepts!
Items needed:
  • Popsicle sticks, markers
  • Create dots on popsicle sticks that correspond to the number.
1. Count & Match: Count the dots and place that amount of objects under it.
2. Hidden number: Cover the number with your finger and have the children count the dots, than reveal the covered number. 
3. Number jumble: Mix up the sticks and have your children place them in order.
4. 3D numbers: Portray the number on the sticks with 3D objects.
5. Addition: Add sticks together and use objects to show the total amount.

Math Race 
Math race
Looking for an easy interactive math game to play? Grab some dice and your favourite toy as your characters and get ready to roll!
Items needed:
  • Dice, characters, track (coasters, books, paper, etc)
  • Build a track using any objects found around the house.
  • Select a toy or object to use as your characters.
  • Roll the dice and move your characters accordingly.

Don’t forget to create a variety of tracks with different lengths and include more dice to add a challenge.

Easy Rain Sticks

Easy Rain Stick

Save this one for a rainy day! This is our guide on building an easy rain stick with your children.
Items needed: 
  • Paper towel rolls, seeds or small loose objects, tape, scissors, paper, aluminum foil.
  • Tape one end of the tube closed.
  • Roll up aluminum foil and place inside of the tube.
  • Add in loose parts.
  • Seal the opposite end of the tube.
  • Wrap the tube with paper.
  • Tape the paper down on both ends.
  • Add decorations to your rain stick.

Fireworks Paint Activity
Fireworks paint
Want to light up your artwork? Here’s how you can create fireworks with paint, tubes, and paper.
Items needed: 
  • Paint, black paper, cardboard tubes, scissors
  • Cut lines around the tubes at various lengths.
  • Fold the strips outwards.
  • Dip the tubes into you paint.
  • Dab the tube onto the paper.
  • Layer your colours for a fireworks effect.

How to make Playdoe

Looking for something to keep your kids busy today? Let’s make some playdough! This easy craft introduces children to the states of matt...