Kenora Chiefs Advisory Cancer Care Project hosted a Traditional Medicine Camp for Community Youth on August 29 and 30, at the Youth and Family Wellness Camp.
The Camp was led by Dr. Shannon Wesley, a physician and band member of Eagle Lake, and Tom Chisel, an Elder with the Sioux Lookout First Nation Health Authority.
The duo, with the help of Dr. Wesley’s husband, Dr. Chuck Branch, and her children, led the group of participants through opening prayers and presentations on traditional medicines.
Participants were also taught how to make traditional tobacco and how to identify useful plants they found while on a group medicine walk through nature.
Harmony Scott, a participant of the 2-day camp spoke about how the event went, “In the past two days, we identified some plants around the property – it was pretty amazing and interesting to see how many plants are just in your own backyard.”
“It was interesting to learn how to make our own tobacco and just how many plants can be used to make tobacco.”
Scott explained what her favourite part was, she said “I would say preparing the medicines. So once [the plants] were dried out, we had to prepare it, [for example] we picked out some of the mint leaves and crushed them until they were grinded up to the correct consistency.”
“Honestly, I didn’t even realize how important it was to learn this stuff, I just came because it was something to participate in. Since being here, I definitely have a lot more interest and I am excited for them to come back next year and continue to share their knowledge!”
When asked if she was going to continue with her knowledge of traditional medicines, she said “Oh yes! I have some medicines that they shared with me, and I don’t know, they mentioned that once you start to learn about the medicines, you start to look and the world a lot differently, I feel as though I can truly see that.”
The two-day event finished with closing ceremonies and songs, gifts, and dancing.
As part of the KCA Cancer Care project’s goals, they are working with Dr. Wesley to host Traditional Medicine Camps for youths in member communities.
If you are interested in future traditional medicine camp opportunities, please reach out to the KCA Cancer Care Project.