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.

The time of the day associated with the southern direction is the afternoon. The Earth’s element that is associated with this quadrant is nibi or water. It was interesting I was having a conversation with someone, and they said, “water is the only one that has Spirit”. I gave her some food for thought and said “Actually, all of our relations, all of the animals, all of the grass, trees, rocks, rivers, and mountains, they all have Spirit”. Nibi of course is a very important spirit, this is how we were born. We need water to survive. The other thing I like to think about when I think about Nibi is that the water that I am drinking was drunk by my ancestors and my descendants as well. That’s a very powerful thought for me and it illustrates again how we are all connected.

The winds from the South, they’re usually warmer. That’s usually how it goes, not always of course, weather has its own mind about things but usually the winds from the South are warmer.

When we think about our stage of life when we are looking at ourselves holistically, this would be the stage when we would be a youth. This stage is a very powerful time in a person’s life because this is when we are discovering who we are. This is when we are testing what our boundaries are. We are exploring things, we’re discovering what is important to us and what we want to pay our attention to. The Elders suggest that this is the time when the youth truly need to be supported and encouraged to believe in themselves, to accept who they are. Again, it’s a time in life when they are discovering their identities. As we know, there is so much pressure on so many people about their identities and how their identities are being challenged. So now more than ever, as Elders, as Knowledge Keepers, we need to provide this support to youth to help them through this very important time in their life.


It’s also important to consider that many youths are very wise Knowledge Keepers. Even though others may perceive them to be too young, that’s not actually the case. These youth carry much wisdom and all of us should be listening to them and respecting them, acknowledging, and honouring them. That is my life’s mission. It is important for them to connect with likeminded people.

The final thing that I will say about this direction, is that at this stage of their life they could be perceived as being a warrior. A warrior but not attaching a gender identity to that role. We don’t want to do that. Again, there are so many gifted young people out there, they have so much for us to understand and learn about. I’m 63, I’ll be 64 in July, and I am working at and practicing learning about these different identities because in our villages before contact, there were many different genders, and the different genders were highly respected and revered in the communities. I would like to see society get back to that understanding and respecting people for who they are. I had a neighbour out here yesterday, and we were saying, “Live and let live. If they’re not causing anyone harm, if they are not causing us harm, why wouldn’t we simply be grateful and respectful of what it is they believe in and how they see themselves”. If we are simply respecting people for who they are, I think the world would be a much better place.

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

Esker Lake OYEP Camp

The Outland Youth Employment Program (OYEP) invited ORIGIN to host the Wake the Warrior workshop series with youth participating in their summer camp. These workshops empower individuals with skills to learn more about themselves and feel motivated and excited about their future career path.

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Rocky Bay Simulators

Randy made his way to Rocky Bay last month to run simulator screenings for community members of Rocky Bay First Nation. Participants had the opportunity to complete testing on the simulators to assess their aptitude for Heavy Equipment operation. 28 students stopped by to participate!

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Mink Lake OYEP Camp

For the final OYEP camp of the summer, Colette and Randy returned to run a workshop series including Personality Dimensions, Core Beliefs, and 7 Grandfathers Teachings and Career Ethics. Campers got creative with their outdoor dog houses and learned a little more about themselves and their fellow campers!

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Train the Trainer with Mnidoo Mnising Employment and Training

The team from Mnidoo Mnising Employment and Training is a part of our inaugral group of employment and training Partners for Operation Innovation. They are now trained in our First People First process and will be completing assessments with jobseekers in their respective communities.

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HEO Graduates from Operation Innovation

The next group of Operation Innovation trainees graduated from the Taranis Heavy Equipment Operator course this month!

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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IL7 VR Experience

The IL7 experience is currently in beta testing. The team is working on enhancing user design elements to increase potential interactivity and improve the overall experience.  IL7 is now supported by workbook and facilitators guides to ensure users are getting the most out of this learning module.

Originally, IL7 was designed for trainees and students. The team is working on expanding this course to be applicable in a corporate.

Will be available in virtual reality and on Windows.

Carpenter's Union VR Experience

This project will include a series of interactive virtual reality training modules including framing studs & metal studs, drywall installations, doors & trim, roofing, siding, millwork, scaffolding, and form work in both residential and commercial spaces.

The Sharing Circle with Melissa Hardy-Giles

Cultural Preservation and Powwows

August 30, 2023

Learn more about this history of Pow Wows and the importance they serve in celebrating Indigenous culture.

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Upcoming Events

Digital Transformation Conference

Sept 24 – 26

Thunder Bay, ON

Charmaine will be a part of the panel discussion on Mixed Reality: Coming to a Face Near You

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ONWAA Fall Assembly

Oct 17 – 19

Toronto, ON

ORIGIN will be hosting a workshop and a booth at the Fall Assembly. Stop by to test out IL7!


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First Nations Housing Conference

Oct 24 – 26

Thunder Bay, ON

The ORIGIN team will be attending the tradeshow at FNHC. Stop by to check out ImmersiveLink experiences and chat with the team.

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Community Spotlight

Big Grassy River First Nation

ORIGIN has worked with community members of Big Grassy to screen and assess individuals on their aptitude for heavy equipment operation.  We’ve also had the opportunity to develop a skills inventory to capture the current capabilities of the members in the community to support employment efforts.

Another opportunity for the Heavy Equipment Screenings is coming up on September 12th and 13th! Find the poster through the link below to learn more.

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Service Highlight

7 Grandfathers Career Ethics Workshop

The 7 Grandfathers Career Ethics Workshop immerses participants in traditional teachings and teaches the connection between these teachings and the modern day workplace.

It helps bridge understanding between Indigenous values and mainstream work ethic, and promote building self-esteem and pride in identity. Participants will be able to experience ImmersiveLink 7, an Indigenous innovation, capturing the traditional teachings in virtual reality!


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