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Indigenous Education

Spring Equinox Celebration

March 11, 2021

Monday, March 22 at 12:00 pm
Live on the Indigenous Education Facebook Page
Featuring Elder Paul Guimond, Elder Una Swan, and a special screening of NFB’s Nonoonse Anishinabe Ishichekewin Ka Kanawentank

To welcome and celebrate the Spring Equinox, join us on Monday, March 22 at noon for a livestream featuring tales and teachings of Spring with RRC Elders-in-Residence on our Facebook page.

On Saturday, March 20, we will have equal amount of day and night. Not only is the Spring Equinox recognized by many Indigenous cultures ceremoniously as new beginnings and rebirth, but traditionally it also meant opportunities for food. Historically, many communities would travel throughout the year, settling in places where animals would migrate or food sources would become available, and Spring is no different.

Along with certain plants and medicines only available in Spring, maple tree tapping was an important (and laborious) process, providing sweet treats for families to enjoy. As part of our celebration of Spring, we will share a screening of the National Film Board’s Nonoonse Anishinabe Ishichekewin Ka Kanawentank (1980). Filmed on Lake Manitoba, near the Ebb’n’Flow Reserve, Nonoonse provides both a clear description of sugar-making and a quiet statement on the importance of the tradition to the Saulteaux or Ojibway of the region.

Not only does this film showcase a local treasure, respectfully living with the land and Indigenous traditions, it’s a beautiful to hear Nonoonse speaking her language. RRC staff and students have access to a library of NFB films year round, and we are thrilled to be able to share this film with the wider community.

We spoke to Nonoonse’s daughter Roseanna Desjarlais (Ebb and Flow First Nation) who continues to tap trees. Noonoose joined Roseanna and her husband Frankie on their first outing to Sugar Island, and now one of their daughters now makes the trip to Sugar Island. Frankie and Roseanna have planted their own trees in their yard – just to keep the tradition alive. Maple sugar tree tapping would take about two weeks, depending on how the tree sap is running. It takes 35-40 gallons of tree sap to boil down to make 2 gallons of syrup. Noonoose would tap approximately 300 maple trees on Sugar Island.