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WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag Blog:

Singing Old Songs New

WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag means ‘They Help Each Other’ in Ojibwe – or THEO, for short. The project’s primary focus is to convene a series of gatherings aimed at centering Native voices and seeking true grassroots solutions to the issues facing the Indigenous community – especially the challenges posed by unsheltered homelessness and addiction.

To date THEO has hosted a community feast to mark the transition of Franklin Hiawatha encampment residents to the Minneapolis Navigation Center as well as three workshops facilitated by Indigenous Collaborations. These workshops have fostered conversation and gathered information: first from the residents of the Navigation Center, then from the leaders of Native-led agencies, and recently from a combination of both these groups.

However that’s not all that WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag/THEO does. THEO also hosts weekly workshops for Navigation Center residents. Featuring traditional Native crafts, residents have made dream catchers and recently starting crafting medicine pouches. They will soon finish their medicine pouches and begin a two-week path towards traditional Native naming ceremonies. There is also a cedar healing ceremony being planned.

Native people were purposefully cut off from their spiritual practices and cultural roots by the U.S. government.Their land was stolen, their families broken apart. Reconnecting with these sacred practices is the first step towards addressing historical trauma and the issues that challenge Indigenous communities today.

“every crack of dawn brings new light

all we have to is see ourselves clear

without our masks or our tremblings

rhythms of the sun sing old songs new”

Poem by John Trudell, from Becomes Apparent, a musical collaboration with the Swiss artist and producer, Kwest. Listen to Becomes Apparent here. To read the entire poem/lyric scroll down below the photos. To learn more about the John Trudell, poet, and fighter for Native American rights, visit his website.

Photos of the WiiDooKoDaaDiiWag workshops below.

Post by Camille. Workshop photos by Carrie.

Please note we respect the privacy of the Navigation Center residents. Permission received for use of any photograph that includes images of residents.

Working on a medicine pouch

Enjoying a home made meal together during the medicine pouch workshop.

Working on a dream catcher.

A dream catcher takes form.

Supplies for the medicine pouch workshop laid out and ready.

A prayer to the Creator and smudging starts every workshop in a good way.

Becomes Apparent by John Trudell

if we spend our lives looking for sad

then its sadness we will find

and turning lonely into a junkie habit

only ends up with lonely as its fix

those lost parts of feeling out of control

are the parts can’t make up our minds

those always somebody to blames are

keepers of us from looking at us instead

theres that abundance of pity parties

willing to let us be the life of the party

easy to do when we’re the only guest

and we’re the host and entertainment

while the joker and the fool laugh it up

outside the darkness we use as lights

the place where good memories party

enjoying the rushes that life pleasures

every crack of dawn brings new light

all we have to is see ourselves clear

without our masks or our tremblings

rhythms of the sun sing old songs new

ancient melodies as life’s incantations

weaving vibrations into a sound silent

in visions of dancing shimmering heat

reminding us to sensation in our alive

medicine we are is medicine we bring

in creators eyes we are sacred is good

in man’s eyes we are told we are bad

in whose eyes are we going to listen to

in the ways the wind tells us her stories

moon and stars send us their blessings

giving us opportunities to remember us

as human beings and the spirits we are

without judgement of self as our clarities

realities of our value, becomes apparent

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