Manitoba's Sacred Medicine


Aboriginal communities and elders are very protective of the deep-seated knowledge they hold about traditional medicines and healing practices Obtaining permission to meet with an elder can be difficult. It's absolutely necessary to gain the trust of the Aboriginal community or specific elder you wish to meet with before any such meeting can take place. The best way to gain their trust, is simply to form a personal relationship with them over time.

I just recently decided to write a feature article about traditional Aboriginal medicine for a school project. The assignment is due on Feb. 8, so needless to say, I did not have a lot of time to track down an elder and begin forming a personal relationship with them. Instead, I had to use my negotiation skills to gain access into Winnipeg's sacred healing community.

After two weeks of endless research, phone calls, and emails, I was finally able to set up a meeting with Betty Ross, a Cree elder and highly sought after spiritual advisor and healer in Winnipeg. Tonight, I will be given rare access into Ross's home where I will conduct an interview with her and see first-hand all of the medicines and herbs she uses in her practice.

In preparation for my interview, I set out to Shefield & Sons Tobacconists in Cityplace Mall. I purchased 50 g of sweet-smelling ceremonial tobacco, which I will offer to Ross before our interview as a sign of respect and a demonstration of my genuine intentions.

My list of questions for Ross is a long, but I am fully willing and expecting to forget about what I have written down, and to allow her to lead the conversation. If all goes well tonight, I will come away with a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture and medicine, and a great start to my article.

7 Things To Do in Winnipeg


1. Head to the library — the Human Library

The Human Library is back! For those of you who may be a little out of the loop (don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for!), Winnipeg’s first Human Library — the sequel — will be held at the Millennium Library beginning on Thursday January 24 at 5:00 p.m. Feel free to leave your library card and book-bag at home, because over the course of this 3 day event, you’ll be busy checking out people! Human Books available for borrowing include the host of CBC’s Weekend Morning Show, Ismaila Alfa, Para-Olympic Silver and bronze medalist, Jared Funk, and St. Andrews couple, Kris Plantz and Nicole Bennett, who built themselves a home out of recycled material like old tires in order to fulfill their dream of living sustainably. Visit to learn about the Human Books available and pre-reserve your favorite!

2. See the Arctic before it’s gone
With IMAX Winnipeg closing in March, there’s a mere few weeks left to witness film on the largest movie screens in Winnipeg. What's a better way to say goodbye to the theatre that brought our city hundreds of award-winning and compelling films for more than 25 years, than to take the whole family for one last show? Narrated by Oscar winner Meryl Streep, To The Arctic 3D is the remarkable documentary that follows the lives of a Mamma polar bear and her two twin, too-cute for words seven-month-old cubs. Cinematically breathtaking, undeniably inspiring, and an educational experience for people of all ages, this documentary is sure to satisfy and spark a newfound appreciation for polar bears and the Arctic.
3. Learn your way around the kitchen
Can’t quite get the hang of dicing vegetables or baking? Me neither. But hey, that’s what The Food Studio is for! Part commercial kitchen and part restaurant and event space, The Food Studio is a versatile European inspired facility that offers cooking classes and unique dining experiences. On January 21, The Food Studio’s Knife Skills class will teach you all the knife-necessities you’ll need to succeed in the kitchen. And if you’re anything like me and don’t know where to start when it comes to making homemade bread, there’s their Baking from the Heart series where you’ll learn bread basics and take home your hard work for your whole family to enjoy! 
4. Enjoy some authentic French coffee
There’s not much I enjoy more than catching up with a good friend over coffee on a Sunday afternoon. Until recently, I travelled from my home in Windsor Park to the Starbucks on Regent Avenue to meet up with friends and get my coffee fix. And then Cafe Postal opened in St. Boniface. A quaint and charming independent cafe located in the heart of Winnipeg’s French community on Provencher Boulevard, I can’t help but feel chic and fashionable as soon as I walk in the door.  
5. Experience several musicals at once

Are you a fan of the musical West Side Story? How about My Fair Lady? Les Miserables? Phantom of the Opera? (My personal favorite). If you answered yes to any of the above, than The Dream Concert is for you! Performers Michael Burgess and Rebecca Caine team up with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra to bring you a stellar mix of music, inspired by classic and contemporary musicals. Opening night is January 25 and the concert runs for 3 days only, so hurry up and get your tickets!

6. Show your creative kids what other creative kids are doing
If your kids are interested in art or photography, then SNAP! Youth Photography Exhibit is a great way to show them what other youth in the community are doing to develop their talents in this area. Real Examples of the work of youth ages 5 to 14 will be displayed at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory from January 21 to March 24. Who knows, maybe the parents will even get inspired to pick up a camera and start snapping!

7. Pencil in some classic romance
It’s not Valentine's Day yet, but I think we could all use an early reminder of what true love is all about. You know the kind I’m talking about — real, genuine, passionate love. Where could you go to discover this kind of love in Winnipeg? Gone With The Wind is perhaps one of the most timeless love stories of all, and it’s at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre until February 2. So snuggle up to your sweetie, your friends, or your family, and get ready to feel the love!

Magazine Project


Today was our magazine project pitch and good news — it was approved!

My group and I pitched the idea of a sustainable living magazine, focusing on local Manitoba stories and perspectives. The idea came to us easily, but coming up with a name for the magazine took hours of brainstorming. In the end, we settled on a name we think conveys our eco-friendly message and will be fun to work with in InDesign.

So without further delay, allow me to introduce the intensely creative and challenging project that will consume my life for the next two months... 

Sprout Magazine!

Now, a little bit about Sprout.

The ideal readers of our magazine are students, recent graduates, or recently employed people ages 18+ who have a basic knowledge and understanding of information pertaining to the environment and sustainable living practices, and who want to learn more about environmental issues.

When it comes to publishing Sprout, we plan to be as environmentally friendly as possible, printing on recycled paper and using vegetable-based inks.

Art and design will be clean and simple. Stunning photographs featuring local food, landscapes, nature, and Manitoba's green community will jump off the pages, begging you to read the articles that accompany them!

I feel so fortunate that my group managed to come together the way we did to come up with an idea that we are all very passionate about. At the moment, we have enough editorial content to keep Sprout running for years, but first we need to get working on issue #1!

I'll be heading to some pretty interesting locations for a feature article I'm writing about Aboriginal traditional healing practices. My first stop: an Aboriginal sweat lodge!

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