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.


So, again thinking about the medicine wheel, that very left quadrant, it is the black colour. I use the black colour because I like to look at the four tribes of the world. You would say ‘makade’ which would be black. Other communities might use blue or a dark green. The way that I look at it is I’m looking at the black people of the earth. So, the yellow, the red, the black and the white, that’s how I like to look at it on the medicine wheel.

The medicine that we would be considering here would be the sage. Mush-ko-day-wushk’, which is the sage medicine. Beatrice Twance-Hynes has taught us that this is a woman’s medicine. This medicine can be used during a woman’s moon time, which is really good. I share that with all the women I work with, the only caution is not to be touching sacred items during your moon time. So, what are we doing with the sage? Well, there’s many purposes of sage, but I’m going to talk about smudging today. I use the sage in a shell. I light the plant medicine and then I will fan it with an Eagle feather to get the smoke going and then that smoke can be brought across you. It’s used to cleanse your thoughts, cleanse your words, cleanse what you’re hearing, cleanse what you’re feeling, cleanse what you’re touching. It helps us to release energies that are no longer serving us. It’s always nice to have someone smudge your back as well because we get those sticky energies on us. It’s a wonderful way to communicate with the Spirits because if you think of that smoke going up, it’s going up to the Spirits and so it’s like a telephone. Smoke is like a telephone for you to talk to Spirit and whoever your higher power is that you that you pray. Maybe it’s Creator, maybe it’s your ancestors, maybe it’s Angels. Generally speaking, we will do smudging before any gatherings or ceremonies. If you ever go to a Pow Wow, you will note that people are smudging themselves in their regalia before they dance in the arena. It’s a very reverent ceremony, very respectful ceremony.

What I think is very interesting is that science is catching up to what the Indigenous people have known for thousands of years, and they’re realizing that smudging actually does clean the air. They explain it as neutralizing the positive charge and releasing negative ions and it has antiseptic bacteria killing properties. So, there you go! As they say the proof is in the pudding, science is definitely confirming many of the things that we already knew.

I mentioned makwa earlier, so it is considered that the Bear spirit is in the Western direction. I mentioned earlier that the Bear is fattening itself up and getting ready for winter, so when it’s doing that, sometimes it’s uprooting some plants when it’s eating, so that’s why they say that they associate the Bear with the Western direction. The Bear is one of the representative animals of the Grandfather teachings as well for courage and bravery. The bear reminds us to maintain our boundaries and the Bear, makwa, is very significant for the Anishinaabe people as it is the medicine holder. Bears are super special.

This quadrant represents fall. You would say “dagwaagin”. And again, just reminding us, that things are ready to be harvested and the nights start to get chilly, gi-si-naw’ (cold).

The element is aki or the earth. So literally the dirt. Why is the dirt so important? Well, we wouldn’t have life without it. We need the earth, it keeps everything in place – it keeps the trees in place, it keeps the plants in place, it’s what we walk on. It’s absolutely vital to our survival. We talked earlier when I was acknowledging the sacred land that I live on, about the mountains or Wajiw. Some people say it as “wa-chew”, around here everybody says it as “wa-zhew”. There are different ways to pronounce it. When you think about the West, the mountains are in the west.

There is also the time of day. Now we’re into the setting sun, the sun is setting now, and the teachers remind us not to be afraid of these Spirits that are beyond the setting sun because the next direction will be the Northern direction. Instead, we focus on this wonderful life that we are living and get to experience.
The stage of life is the adult stage, so we’ve had the child, the youth, and now we’re in the adult stage. So, gichi-aya’aa (gih-chee-eye-ah-ah). For me, when I think about the adult stage, I mean I’m 64 now and I am considered an Elder, but I think that the adult stage is possibly the longest stage of our life. Perhaps, it’s the stage where we get the most completed in our life. You know we’ve raised a family; we’ve worked different jobs, it’s also the time when we would complete our spiritual purposes that we came here to do. I think the adult stage is definitely an important part of our lives and we’re thinking about that again in the Western quadrant.

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

Operation Innovation Sims Tour

Stopping in Curve Lake, Hiawatha, Aundeck Omni Kaning, Sheguiandah, Sheshegwaning, Whitefish River, Nawash and Saugeen First Nation, over 40 individuals were screening on the heavy equipment simulators and completed the Personality Dimensions workshop.


Learn More

Personality Dimensions with DSSAB

At the DSSAB office, Colette facilitated the Personality Dimensions workshop where the team learned more about their personality styles and how that can apply in the workplace and on a team.

Learn more

Wake the Warrior Series in Seine River

With OW workers and community members, Colette ran the Wake the Warrior workshop series! Everyone showed up excited to participate resulting in a successful week filled with great conversations, skill and community building.

Learn More

Webequie Team Building

The team from Webequie Ontario Works joined us for a series of work readiness activities. We facilitated the Team Building and Conflict Resolution workshops, refreshing the team on important soft skills and bringing back the team synergy.

Learn more

Wikwemikong Work Readiness Workshops

Back in Wikwemikong First Nation, Charmaine facilitated the IL Careers, VIP Employee, and Lateral Violence workshop. No matter what stage you are in your career, these workshops are a great place to build or refresh your skills to perform at your best.

Learn More

MNRF IL7 Workshop

ORIGIN customized an IL7 workshop for the Indigenous Relations northwest region team.  This workshop created a space for team building activities and increasing overall cultural awareness within the team.

Learn More

Production Updates

Upcoming Productions

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


Carpenter's Union Wrap Up

This fully VR experience is now complete! In the developed environments, users will be able to practice their skills at common carpentry tasks including drywalling, studs, framework and more. Users will have the ability to pick up tools and materials and use them in the appropriate places.

ESUMA Student Experience Tour

In our second project with ESUMA, we are continuing to build out a new experience for promotion of student facilities available on campus. This experience will be used for prospective students as they research and determine what will be their next step post-secondary school.

The Sharing Circle with Melissa Hardy-Giles

Exploring the Intersection: Personality Dimensions and the Medicine Wheel

December 13, 2023

Personality has been studied for thousands of years. Learn more about how Personality Dimensions integrates with Indigenous personality studies and the medicine wheel.

Read More

Community Spotlight

Seine River First Nation

Travelling west of Thunder Bay, we hosted our first workshop in Seine River First Nation! Ontario Works employees and community members came out for the Wake the Warrior workshop series.

Chi-Miigwech for the warm welcome! We look forward to future events in your community.

Learn More


Service Highlight

Personality Dimensions

Empower community members to explore their strengths and boost confidence! In this full day workshop, participants will learn more about their core personality type and how they can use that knowledge to leverage their skills and work with other. Key benefits from the workshop include:

  • Build interpersonal skills
  • Gain conflict resolution tactics
  • Understand your natural strengths and abilities

Learn More

Workshop Page

Interested in learning more?

Contact us today!

Contact Us