Enjoying gifts given by the Creator: Kapabamayak Achaak, Spirit Healing Forest at St. John’s Park, Winnipeg

July 13, 2020

Park People

This contribution from Val Vint is part of Park People’s A Day at the Park series, exploring how city parks shape us. Be sure to check out all of the contributors throughout the summer months. 


September 27 we met with several local schools to celebrate Orange Shirt Day – a day to educate and raise awareness about the Indian residential school system and the impact this system had for more than a century in Canada – and the naming of the park.  The children from the local schools had participated in tree planting much earlier in the development of the park so many had already been there.  The park itself is a dedication to Residential School children; so many were lost in so many ways.

A local ceremonialist, Peetanacoot Nenakawekapo, had received the name of the park from Spirit. It is ‘Kapabamayak Achaak’ in Ojibwaywhich which translates to ‘Wandering Spirit.’  The parks’ colors are blue, green and yellow.  The children got to learn about this ceremony and be a part of it that day.  They sang together and celebrated a step toward reconciliation.

Education is the New Bison’ by artist Val Vint

The park will be part of the curriculum in at least four local schools and will serve as an outdoor classroom.  The children’s participation in the process gives them some ‘ownership’ and ‘responsibility’ to the park and its wellbeing and continuation as a safe place.

The children brought their own lunches to the gathering but a traditional feast of smoked fish, berries, bannock and water was provided.  I was really pleased with how many children tried and enjoyed the fish.  It was a big breath of hope for our collective futures to see the children enjoying and learning and to have shared Orange Shirt Day and the Naming Celebration together as a community.

The children are now and will hopefully forever be connected to such beautiful experiences in their parks wherever they may be.  Parks will have the connotation of community, learning, relaxing and enjoying the gifts given to us by the Creator.

 

 

About Val T. Vint

Born in Winnipegosis, Manitoba, Val spent the most meaningful part of her childhood in the bush chasing foxes and pelicans with her Grandfather, a conservation officer. She draws from a background of photography, engineering, design, theatre, music, travel, and work with other indigenous peoples. Her cultural heritage makes her feel that she has a license to investigate all forms of art. Val has been facilitating cultural art workshops, including drumming and singing for about forty years. These workshops have been held throughout Manitoba, Scotland and Latin America.


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This contribution from Val Vint is part of Park People’s A Day at the Park series, exploring how city parks shape us. Be sure to check out all of the contributors throughout the summer months. 

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