It is that time of year to unplug from everything work related and help with ceremonies. I will be gone for a week, in the woods, doing my part to help with fasting ceremonies. I have been doing this for 10 years strait, every spring and fall. It is an incredible amount of work, but very rewarding. We have a great team of Anishnaabek who pull together for these events and each year we get new help as well. These ceremonies are the core, or the foundation, of everything I do related to NAGPRA and repatriation. Having that direct experience and guidance to draw from is invaluable. It is one thing to talk about oral tradition and culture, but living it and bringing to the table when working on a repatriation is a whole different story.
At these ceremonies, there are no computers, no cell phones, limited technologies. It is very refreshing in that sense. The stress of work is reduced by being there. And there is always a decent amount of work related stress. This management of stress keeps progress going forward. And the biggest attribute is having the higher powers of the universe come and help in the work. Nothing gets done without the help of the Manidouak.