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Beausoleil Elder inspires others to accept themselves

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Beausoleil Elder Trish Monague shared some of her teachings during her Connection to Our Spirit virtual presentation for Lakehead University’s Elder Teaching Series on Feb. 15.

By Rick Garrick

ORILLIA — Beausoleil Elder Trish Monague stressed that the road people walk on is perfect but they are not during her Connection to Our Spirit virtual presentation for Lakehead University’s Elder Teaching Series on Feb. 15.

“Creator, God promised us that — at the time that we were born into creation, we were promised that this road we walk on is perfect,” says Monague, a member of Lakehead University’s Elders Council and an Elder-in-Residence. “But we, however, as spiritual human beings, are not, so the processes that we have that were gifted to us by Creator was so that we could not be perfect but walk on this Anishinabek miikana the best way that we can, and definitely not with perfection.”

Monague says she still follows her father Joseph Sylvester’s teachings.

“I walk with those and I hold them close to my heart because it’s given me direction and it’s given me focus,” Monague says. “It’s given me the ability to … be focused and determined at the task at hand. When I use this Eagle Feather, I feel my ancestors, I feel my mom, I feel my dad, and I hear them in my ear, I hear them whispering: ‘Don’t forget to say this’, ‘Don’t forget to say that.’ So I try really hard to remember and I try really hard to listen to what they are giving me and offering.”

Monague says she lived a life of addictions for many years but “got clean and sober” through the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

“It took me a long time to understand that was the opening door to my understanding of the higher level of spirituality, one I had to learn to love myself, accept myself, to actually know my purpose of self,” Monague says. “My journey with those three mantras in my life, I can honestly say I’ve been clean and sober 10 years before I could finally actually look in the mirror and look back and say: ‘I like who’s here, I like who’s standing in front of me.’”

Monague says she cried for many years to unburden all of her stress, and remembers her father telling her to never let anybody tell her to stop crying.

“Tears are cleansing, tears are purifying, tears are unburdening,” Monague says. “Now when I feel the tears coming up, I don’t stop them anymore, I don’t try to control that so that my spirit can always be free to see the next steps ahead of us.”

Monague says being a spiritual person means that she has truly accepted all of her faults and everything about herself and truly learned to love herself.

“My belief is there is something greater and bigger than myself out there, it’s an entity, it’s a spirit, it’s not something I can touch, it’s not something I can see,” Monague says. “It’s my faith and belief that this is here for me and that anytime I have problems or anytime I need help, I take my semaa out of my bag and I pray for it and I ask Creator to look kindly on me, I ask Creator for help.”

Monague adds that a spiritual person is related to all things in creation.

“In spirit, we are all related,” Monague says. “And if we haven’t learned that through COVID-19, I don’t know what bigger lesson or teaching did Creator give us when the entire world faced the exact same feelings of loss, disconnection, sickness, fear. The whole world felt the same and we were given that ability to totally understand each other in ways that we would have never gotten.”

Monague says she prayed for people in India and for friends in the United States whose parents were sick and dying in hospital with COVID-19.

“I prayed for my own kids when they got COVID-19,” Monague says. “So that teaching that came along with COVID-19 is that we are all related in spirit. Even though we can’t reach out and touch each other, we can spiritually.”

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Lead Facilitator – Circle Process

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Rice will serve as a mentor for program featuring budding Indigenous writers

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By Sam Laskaris SUDBURY – When Anishinabek writer Waubgeshig Rice found out he had a chance to serve as a mentor for young Indigenous writers he jumped at the opportunity. […]

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Inherent rights highlighted at the 8th annual Anishinabek Nation Lands and Resources Forum

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By Kelly Anne Smith NORTH BAY— Concerns of climate change, extreme mining claims, and the health of the Great Lakes were heard over three days at the 8th annual Anishinabek […]

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