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Dominique Rankin

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Anicinape Matisi8in, the Circle of Life; A First Nations Vision of Nature – a lecture in French

Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 7 p.m.

The Circle of Life is central to the Algonquin culture and is a vast symbol of the countless interactions between all the elements that make up life. It includes the four races of humankind – yellow, red, black and white – that make up a huge family circle. The four cardinal points, represented by four sacred spirits, the Turtle, the Eagle, the Bear and the Buffalo, stand for the Feminine, Balance, Strength and Peace, respectively. Human beings are an integral part of this Circle and must never hold themselves apart from it. Although people today sometimes forget about our bonds with Mother Earth, we must remain inside the circle, for if Mother Earth suffers, we also suffer.

The Circle of Life is also a Medicine Circle, for human health depends on maintaining the proper balance between its different elements: body, heart and mind. Reconnecting with and protecting Mother Earth also means taking care of ourselves – giving our bodies, hearts and minds everything they need to flourish and be part of the oneness of life.

About the speaker

Dominique Rankin is an Algonquin hereditary chief and medicine man. He comes from Abitibi and was once Grand Chief of the Algonquin Nation. In 2006, he was admitted to the small circle of 49 recognized medicine men in Canada. Since then, Kapiteotak (his real name at birth and his spiritual name) has devoted himself to teaching traditional knowledge to the Anishinabeg peoples (members of the Algonquin family) as a way of reconnecting them with their roots. He also shares his knowledge with people of all origins who are interested in learning about the simple, profound philosophy of his ancestors. With Marie-Josée Tardif, he co-wrote an autobiography relating his youth in Native residential schools, On nous appelait les Sauvages (They called us “savages”). His story is a vibrant tribute to forgiveness and reconciliation.

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