Greetings. Memashkegaabowek ndizhinikaaz. Adik ndoodem. Opwaaganisiniing niindonjiba. Niibing niindonji. My Spirit name is Standing Strong. I was thinking about this this morning, I’ve received two spirit names and this second Spirit name I received from Harry Windigo from Stanjikoming First Nation and I can still remember him standing there. It was a ceremony, I don’t remember if it was a fall ceremony or a spring ceremony, at Anishnawbe Mushkiki when they still had the location close to where the Old Courthouse was. He was talking in the language, and I was only getting little bits and pieces and he was holding this very magnificent white Eagle Feather and it looked to me like this feather was shining. It was so bright. At one point he turned to me, and he said the Spirits are asking you if you are willing to receive your name. I don’t remember what I said to him because I feel like it’s changed in my head many times, but I was curious because I had received a Spirit named the year before from Jim Boshkaykin from Seine River First Nation on top of Mount McKay. Harry gave me this name and you know I would say it’s a powerful name in that there’s many responsibilities attached to it. With these cool names that we get, they’re heavy with responsibility and I am still learning that so many years later. This was in 2004, so that’s nearly 20 years ago, and I’m still learning about my name. My clan is Caribou, that’s part of the hoof clan. I am from the Red Rock Indian Band which is east of the city of Thunder Bay and next to a little town called Nipigon and just on the other side of the bridge is the junction of Highways 11 and 17. Many people have driven past there. That ancestry comes from my grandma, my dad’s mom’s. My grandfather was French Cree from northern Manitoba. This land that I live on and care for and cares for me, I call it Niibing which is “it is summer” and it has watershed that goes into Little Trout Bay that goes into Ktichigaming or Lake Superior. I feel like it’s a very special place that I live on. There’s a small picture of some of the property, I have 135 acres here. It’s a provincially significant wetland so it’s super special to me.

I want to respectfully acknowledge the sacred land I am between. There’s many ways that people will say this – Anemki-Wiikwedong, those are the traditional homelands of Fort William First Nation. The Elders like to call it Fort William First Nation, so I try to acknowledge that in my in my mentioning of the land. I’m also between Gichi Onigaming or Grand Portage of the Lake Superior Chippewa. The government has created an invisible line there, but we never recognized that there was a line. These two communities were one community and I’m finding more and more evidence of that. In each community you’ll have relatives from the other community. I’m grateful to be living here on this very special land.

I want to mention that what I’m sharing today is only my understanding and I apologize for the mispronunciation of some of the words, I am a learner, but I’m encouraged by Elders to continue practicing so I am doing my best. The best way to learn is to continue practicing and to continue learning.


Today we’re going to focus on the Western Direction, and we would say ning-ga’ be-an and of course if we were looking at the medicine wheel the West would be the quadrant facing west or left. It is the stage of harvesting. If we think about the animals, like the squirrel came to mind this morning, as the squirrel has been busy collecting nuts and other goodies, and all the animals are collecting. The bear, makwa, has been busy eating as much as possible to have a good lining of fat for the long winter. People are harvesting as well so, some people will refer to this season as the berry season. We would harvest our sacred medicines like the sage, the sweet grass, the tobacco plants, and cedar. Cedar you can harvest all year long, but you may not have access to it in the wintertime so it’s good to do it in the fall so that if you need cedar during the winter you can have some. I keep some frozen in my freezer so that if I need it during the winter, it’s handy and I can make a cedar tea easily.

When we think about that quadrant of the medicine wheel, I think of that quadrant as the intellectual or the mind. Some people would refer to it as the mental. When we’re taking care of ourselves in a good way, mino-bimaadiziwin, living the good life, we need to focus on all four areas of our life. So, this one for the West is our mind. How would you take care of your mind? You may you want to resist taking in harmful products that could be destroying your mind like drugs or alcohol or other things that are harmful poisons and rather you want to focus on nourishing your mind. So, how can you nourish your mind? You can continue to be learning and challenging yourself. On Saturday I was out with my 6-year-old grandson and I was looking at some dinosaur books to get for him and what did he want to get? He wanted to get math books! Well, this blew my mind. He likes practicing his math so that’s great. That’s what we need to do to keep ourselves healthy and get away from some of those illnesses that people get as they get older.

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

NAN Student Orientation

The NAN Student Orientation helps students with their transition relocating to Thunder Bay from Northern remote communities. It also is a chance for students to meet community partners and learn about programs and opportunities available to them. It was great to welcome new students to Thunder Bay and share opportunities with ORIGIN!

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HEO Screenings: ORIGIN Office and Big Grassy

As a part of the Operation Innovation project, we are hosting Heavy Equipment Operator screenings to recruit candidates for training opportunities! This month we hosted a screening at the ORIGIN office and travelled to Big Grassy First Nation.

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Digital Transformation Conference

At this year’s Digital Transformation Conference, Charmaine and Colette hosted the VR Corner where conference attendees were able to try out ImmersiveLink and learn more about how we are leveraging technology in our work. The team loved connecting with other organizations and seeing how technology is being incorporated in other organizations.

Operation Innovation: Orientation Group

The next training group has begun! We are excited to welcome the third Heavy Equipment training group to Thunder Bay. Over the course of the next few weeks, they will be completing the Heavy Equipment Training program offered by Taranis Training.

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School Sims Tour

Randy is back on the road and travelling to schools across the North East Ontario French School Board! At each stop, students will have a chance to run through the heavy equipment screening on the CAT simulators and check out ImmersiveLink Careers experiences. This experience gives students a better idea of available careers in the trades and what a day-in-the-life would look like in these roles!

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ONWAA's Fall Assembly

This year’s Fall Assembly was jam packed with great speaker, insightful workshops, and new connections. ONWAA attendees were the first to preview the 7 Grandfather Teachings Workshop with the ImmersiveLink Seven experience.

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Production Updates

Upcoming Productions

Meter Installation: Day in Life (with skills assessment in VR)  in partnership with Capgemini and Honeywell


Webequie Community Tour Launch

In partnership with Northern Road Link and the Webequie Community, the Webequie Community Tour is now ready for viewing! Featuring traditional and land-based knowledge shared by community members, this tour highlights the culture and resources in Webequie.


Carpenter's Union VR Experience

The team is continuing to build out different training modules for different tasks you would complete on a building project including framing studs & metal studs, drywall installations, doors & trim, roofing and more.

These training modules will be fully interactive in virtual reality.

The Sharing Circle with Melissa Hardy-Giles

Fostering Reconciliation through Treaty Relationships

November 9, 2023

By learning more about our collective treaty rights and obligations, we can create greater understanding and nurture relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. In this article, Melissa discusses the history and significance of treaties in Canada.

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Community Spotlight

Moose Cree First Nation

Moose Cree, located in Northern Ontario, is one of the many communities we have had the opportunity to work with. Our work their community has included workshops and our attendance at the LDM conference to share more on ImmersiveLink.

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Service Highlight

ImmersiveLink Careers Workshop

The IL Careers Workshop is all about improving confidence and motivation in job seekers! Participants will:

  • Improve understanding of their personality and how that intersects with career
  • Learn more about career opportunities through 360 video
  • Understand industry expectations and what is needed to be work ready

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Workshop Page

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