Submitted by: Larry Ferris, MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council Chair

Georgian Bay Métis Council-smudging ceremony
MNO citizen Ethan Rodgers performs a smudging
ceremony before the monument of Francis Pegahmagabow.
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On June 21, 2016—National Aboriginal Day, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen Ethan Rodgers was given the honour of performing a smudging ceremony before the monument of Francis Pegahmagabow during the unveiling ceremony at the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts in Parry Sound. Rodgers was chosen because of his dedication to Aboriginal studies.

The life-sized bronze monument commemorates Francis Pegahmagabow as the most highly-decorated First Nations World War I soldier. The monument features elements of Ojibwa culture and was created by Sudbury artist Tyler Fauvelle.

The event was well attended with around 100 people and included special guests such as: Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, former Commander of the Canadian Army; Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Parry Sound–Muskoka MP Tony Clement; Chief Warren Tabobondung of Wasauksing First Nation; Shawanaga Chief Wayne Pamajewon; members from the provincial government and many more. The Canadian Military also provided an honour guard during the unveiling.

The speeches at the event focused on the contributions of all Aboriginal peoples and their part in helping to build Canada. Particular attention was made to Aboriginal veterans. The history of poor treatment of Aboriginal peoples was acknowledged with promises of changes to come.

The MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council (GBMC) would like to acknowledge the excellent job by Rodgers in performing the smudging ceremony, especially with the windy conditions. Rodgers proudly wore his sash and was easily identifiable as Métis.

Smudging is a cleansing ritual practiced by First Nations and some Métis people. It is a practice where you burn a single or a combination of sacred medicines, which include sweet grass, sage, tobacco and cedar. The smoke that is created is then directed over an individual’s body, with particular attention usually being focused on one’s head, eyes, ears and heart.

MNO GBMC Chair Larry Ferris attended the event and was happy “to see our youth involved in these ceremonies to celebrate, especially when they represent us with such dignity.”

Published on: July 27, 2016