I haven’t blogged in the last week or so because I was out in the bush, or, in the woods. I was a camp counselor for a week. Our camp was called “warriors camp” and it targeted Anishnaabe male youth, between the ages of 10-16. It was a five day camp and I have am just starting to recover from exhaustion, both from heat and the kids! It was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in recent memory. The camp was a great successes. We had 33 kids, with no fights, nobody left and no injuries. Cultural components were integrated throughout the camp, such as building a sweat lodge, going in a lodge, flint fires and the kids making their own Nish samaa.
Respect was stressed throughout the camp, that a real warrior respects himself, by not abusing his body and spirit with drugs and alcohol. Sadly substance abuse is still a major problem in many native communities. This camp stressed the fact our men didn’t drink and drug many years ago, they were always putting others before themselves and provided, not only for their immediate family, but for the community as a whole. And when alcohol became present in our villages, it had disastrous effects, as it does to this day.
After resting up a few days, it’s back to NAGPRA, fighting for those ancestors. I am on my way to pick up some remains from a museum in southern Michigan. This repatriation started three years ago with the utmost uncertainty. When I first met this museum, I didn’t know if the museum would go forward or not. Now I am making the return trip in a positive manner.