What I am going to share with you today is only my understanding. Every Elder, every Knowledge Keeper, every Anishinaabe person that you talk to is going to have a different understanding.

South is zhaawanong and it is referred to as the stage of thriving. So, if we think about it, in the summertime, everything is growing quickly and we see how abundant and green everything is. Everything is thriving, as well as the animals.

If we think of ourselves in a holistic way, we are made up of spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual. When we think about the medicine wheel, the southern direction, again this is my understanding, is the emotional quadrant of ourselves.

I feel like the emotional or the social quadrant is so important to the identity of Anishinaabe people because it is our sense of community, it is our sense of belonging and as we know there are so many people that are struggling to find their tribe. They’re struggling to find who they belong with. They’re struggling to find their likeminded people. You can always put down asema or tobacco for the Creator or whoever you pray to for that assistance, to help you find your people. I feel like once it gets started, you’re like a magnet and you get all kinds of people attracted to you. It’s important for us, for our support, we really need that.

Thinking about the medicine wheel, the southern direction, the way that I see it is the colour red. That’s representative of the Anishinaabe people or the Indigenous people around the world.

The medicine in the southern quadrant is giizhik or cedar. It’s so powerful, it has so many uses including protection. If you are at a sweat lodge or another ceremony and there is a Sacred fire going and you sprinkle cedar into the fire, you’ll hear it crackling. They say that’s waking up Spirit and sending those messages directly to Spirit. You can also make a tea with the cedar. It is a good energizer if you need a boost of energy, it’s a good thing to drink in the morning. I wouldn’t drink at night, or it could keep you up! It’s loaded with Vitamin C and it’s very good for any respiratory conditions. Some people, after a fast, might use this as the first medicine that they take. They’ll have a little piece of cedar branch and ingest that to boost their energy.

So, there is a little bit of a debate or a difference in the different tribes how they see the animal associated with this direction. For myself, because I’m a Caribou, I’m going to say that it is the deer or waawaashkeshi which is part of the hoof clan. When we think about the hoof clan, the hoof clan are the gentle people. They are the reconcilers. They are the ones helping to move the reconciliation action steps forward. They’re bringing it to people’s attention. Normally, the hoof clan is also the clan that takes care of the social and the emotional aspects of communities. It’s fitting that I am the hoof clan given the role that I have and the name that I carry!

Cindy Crowe – Standing Strong

Caribou Clan, Red Rock Indian Band

Cindy Crowe is a Lodge Keeper. She holds physical space as well as spiritual space for people. Cindy provides assistance to people with their identities and their life purpose. She also offers tourism opportunities with Blue Sky Community Healing Centre.


Indigenous Engagement and Training

Webequie Open Careers Session

In June, the team visited Webequie to host an open careers session. We were able to collect a skills inventory of 25 interested individuals. Visitors were able to try out the VR experience created in partnership with SNC. We also had the chance to stop in at Simon Jacob Memorial School and share the new Webequie community tour! Students who were involved were excited to see themselves in the experience.

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OI 2.0 First HEO Training Graduates

Our first group of HEO trainees started with Taranis on June 12th and have now successfully completed their training! The second training session with a new group of students is now underway. Graduates of the program are certified to work as Heavy Equipment Operators and will be supported in finding their next position with their new credentials.

The goal of Operation Innovation 2.0 is to screen, train and employ 178 Indigenous individuals using our innovative First People First approach along with our mobile heavy equipment simulators. Stay tuned for more training opportunities coming up!

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Wake the Warrior with HAAMB

The Huronia Area Aboriginal Management Board invited ORIGIN to host the Wake the Warrior workshop series with their team. This series is all about improving work readiness, promoting teamwork, and understanding how traditional values can be reflected in work ethics. By the end of the series, participants left with a better understanding of themselves, their team members, and career opportunities available to them!


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Wake the Warrior Series with Rocky Bay First Nation

Youth from Rocky Bay First Nation participated in the Wake the Warrior workshop series. This series includes IL Careers, Soft Skills and the 7 Grandfather Teachings and Career Ethics workshops. A popular exercise that gets participants working together is building dog houses. It’s all about learning how different personality types work together and what different ideas can come to life through teamwork!

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Wawa OYEP Camp

Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) runs a curriculum for youth that teaches about Indigenous culture and its applications today in both their personal and professional life. ORIGIN was invited to host three different workshops: Personality Dimensions, 7 Grandfather Teachings and Ethics, and Core Beliefs and the Medicine Wheel. It was awesome to see youth open up throughout the workshops and see them feel confident in themselves and their future.

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Production Updates

NEW Cultural Experience!

Webequie Tour – Moss Experience

LMS Advancements

Our Learning Management System (LMS) complements ImmersiveLink experiences as a way to measure the intake of information learned from the VR experience. The production team is currently working on building out new features and functionality to create different integrations and questions types that can be used within the virtual reality environment.

Carpenter's Union VR Experience

This project will involve the creation of an interactive virtual reality experience that allows users to engage in short carpentry experiences categorized into residential and commercial projects. Users will be able to choose from various types of work, providing an immersive understanding of the carpentry trade and the roles carried out in the carpentry profession walkthrough of different jobs in including drywalling, framing, roofing, siding.

The Sharing Circle with Melissa Hardy-Giles

Indigenous History Month

June 1, 2023

Melissa shares the significance of this month to her and more on the topic of cultural preservation.

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Upcoming Events

Facilitation 101


Facilitating 101 is a professional development workshop that provides program staff with an overview of skills, methods and understanding of what goes into facilitating workshops for community members.

Once all spaces are filled, registrants will be contacted with more information on dates and the location.

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Community Spotlight

Rocky Bay First Nation

Rocky Bay First Nation is located just a few hours north of Thunder Bay, ORIGIN’s office location. A few weeks ago, the ORIGIN team was on site in Rocky Bay working with youth from the community who were participating in the Wake the Warrior workshop series. Next week, Randy will be visiting with the heavy equipment simulator trailer. Adults 18 and older are invited to stop by and test out their aptitude for heavy equipment operation.

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Service Highlight

Community Tours

Capturing community knowledge and land-based traditions is important to preserve Indigenous culture. Community Tours are highly customizable, virtual reality experiences that highlight different areas in the community along with any knowledge you are looking to preserve from Knowledge Keepers in your community.

A use case of this is our recent project with Webequie First Nation. In their experience, users are able to navigate around the community to several locations. When they arrive at each location, they can explore different topics including ice fishing, beaver trapping, sewing, net fishing and learn more about different plants. Check out some behind the scenes of the moss experience in this video!

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