The following authors and contributors – Elders from the Ojibway, Cree and Dakota Nations – met many times inside the Turtle Lodge to share and bring out the teachings and knowledge found in this book. The Turtle Lodge is a place of learning, healing and sharing ancient Indigenous knowledge for all peoples, focusing on the youth. It is located in Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba, Canada, and was built based on a vision received by Elder Dave Courchene (Nii Gaani Aki Inini – Leading Earth Man).
More information on the Turtle Lodge can be found at www.theturtlelodge.org and on our Facebook page at The-Turtle-Lodge.
Peter Atkinson - Dabasaaniqwat (Low Cloud) is from the Turtle Clan and has entered the Midewin lodge twice. Born in Roseau, Peter has a large family and does various ceremonies. He enjoys sharing teachings that were passed on to him.
Peter believes that the only way to effect change within our people is to follow the example of his ancestors, who left for us a positive way of thinking and many beautiful teachings. It is very important for him to share with our younger generation, as they will be the generation that will bring the teachings into the future.
Harry Bone (Giizis-inini from the Mikinaak Clan) is from Giizhigoowining (Keeseekoowenin) in Treaty No.2 territory. Fluent in Ojibway and English, he was the former Chief of Keeseekoowenin First Nation, CEO of West Region Tribal Council and Director of Education of Keeseekoowenin and the Manitoba Indian Education Authority.
Elder Bone has a special interest in the Treaties, specializes in First Nations Government, and has led delegations that have met with all levels of government. He has been instrumental in furthering the Treaty Education Initiative, Oral History Project and Historical Atlas of First Nations in Manitoba.
Sherry Copenace – Nii zho sake and Sa gi ma Kwe, Atik dodem (Elk clan) – was born and raised at Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation. She was raised by her parents, John and Evelyn Copenace, and lived next door to her paternal grandparents, Shawon and Mensinoiwshkung, who were very influential and provided many Anishinabe teachings to her.
Sherry is a firm believer and supporter of the Anishinabe way of life and speaks the Anishinabe language. She is the keeper of Paabamasagaa – the Treaty 3 Peoples Drum. She belongs to a large extended family and has two daughters, Gwen and Kara, and three grandchildren, Robyn, Valec John and Evey.
Dave Courchene - Nii Gaani Aki Inini (Leading Earth Man) has travelled internationally, carrying a message of hope and peace. Dave created a special place for sharing ancient Indigenous knowledge - the Turtle Lodge - based on a vision he received many years ago.
Dave was recently honoured at the 2010 International Indigenous Leadership Gathering, received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and the Volunteer Manitoba Award for Outstanding Community Leadership (2012). In 2011 Dave shared the stage twice with the Dalai Lama in New Jersey and Monterrey, Mexico, to share a message of peace. Recently he has initiated International Roundtables Supporting Ancient Indigenous Knowledge, co-led by US Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and the annual Makoose Ka Win and Vision Quest rites of passage for youth.
William Easter is a Swampy Cree Elder from the Chemawawin First Nation.
Robert Charles Greene was born and raised on reserve in Iskatezaagegan No 39 IFN, where he is a recognized Elder of the Anishnabe Nation.
He attended and survived Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School and graduated with honours from Beaver Brae High School in Kenora, Ontario. Elder Greene has been employed as an Elder at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre and Ochi-Chak-Ko-Sipi Healing Lodge in Crane River First Nation.
D'Arcy Linklater was born in Nisichawayasihk (Nelson House) and raised by his grandparents who taught him to live openly like the water and the river to experience life to the fullest. His great grandfather, Chief Pierre Moose, made the Adhesion to #5 Treaty with the Crown in 1908.
D'Arcy has worked as a trapper, fisherman, hunter and miner. He has been executive director and an elected leader for his Cree Nation for over fifteen years.
Henry Skywater is an Elder of the Dakota Nation, from Birdtail Sioux First Nation.His grandfather was his role model who introduced him to the traditional way of life, showing him “our way,” as he “had it in his heart”. Henry gives credit to the influence of many Elders in his life even when he was young and did not see the significance they have in people’s lives.Henry appreciates the importance of “Sun Dancing and Sweat Lodges.” Henry is very pleased that our people are beginning to use our history, traditional ways and teachings. “A very positive move,” he has a vision that it will continue in our communities and homes.