Anishinabek traditional knowledge practitioner, Dr. Debby Wilson Danard, led life promotion sessions at Wilson Hall, New College at from October 29th-December 10th, 2019.

During these sessions, many traditional teachings were shared as a way of encouraging self-awareness and supporting individual strengths. Debby took participants on a journey during these sessions by discussing themes of reciprocity in relationships, attachments and considering areas of life that may require special attention or healing. Participants were invited to think of different phases of their lives and what they were willing to let go of. Each session began with the Anishinabek tradition of smudging to help cleanse the energy of each participant.

“Gaining clarity requires getting in touch with one’s own rhythms and cycles in life”, Danard explained. Participants were also asked to consider their own approach to life promotion and discuss their ideas during sharing circles, drawing on the “7  Grandfather Teachings” and “Lodge of Life”.

The power of the moon was emphasized during the sessions. The moon in Anishinabek tradition is referred to as Grandmother as her energy provides guidance to problems by having the ability to illuminate or shed light on hidden aspects of life. Debby explained that by deepening our connection to the moon and through engaging with the earth directly (either by sitting on it or by listening to its silence), we gain wisdom, self-awareness and become more in-tune with life and environments (both internal and external).

Every session was concluded by a water ceremony where participants were asked to project positive thoughts on to water or remember things they are grateful for. The water was poured through a copper vessel and the water song was sung as everyone faced east. These sessions challenged members to look within and share their concerns and feelings in a safe and judgement-free space.

Stay tuned for future life promotion events by Dr. Danard in 2020.

A special thanks to Dr. Debby Danard for leading these events and Principle Bonnie McElhinny of New College for sponsoring.


Written By: Nasreen Hussain