Earth Lodge: Virtual History Lessons


Session 1: Anishinaabeg Origin Stories

Treaty 2 Territory- Allan Sutherland, Treaty 2’s Earth Lodge Keeper, is doing a number of ‘Virtual History’ session. At our first recorded session, he shared the Anishinaabe creation story, which began with thought and awareness of being, which led to spirit and the creation of Mother Earth. There were four events that started with the emergence of the four sacred elements (water, rock, fire and wind), followed by the sun, earth, moon, trees, plants, and animals.  It was the animals that taught us about the medicines.  The stories of our history include stories of Gitchi Manidoo who wanted to share all the beauty he saw when he looked at these creations.  This was ‘Manidoo Gitigaan’, which translate as ‘Creator’s garden’. Mother Earth had everything to sustain life so that was when humans were lowered to the Earth. Man came from  a blue flame which had all the elements to support life and to connect us to everything.  This was the 4th and final order from Creator.  And with that, man was give the gift of free will and the abilities to dream and imagine.  Allen continued to share the story of the original woman Winonah and her sons.  View the video(s) on our website  for more about this Creation story, as well as all the other recorded history sessions.

Session 2: Winayboozhoo Creation Story

The second Virtual History Session was all about the original man and our original people.  The sharing  included stories about Waynaboozhoo, also known as Nanabush and his power to shape shift.  He was sent to teach us about the healing plants, about virtues such as kindness, generosity and honesty.  To learn more about Waynaboozhoo, Wenack (his mother) and his family, watch the video on our website:

Session 3: Mshki’ki – The Medicines

Virtual History Session 3 is about our Medicines and the teachings of the four directions.  The first medicine given to the four Manitous and Waynayboozo was asemaa, tobacco, which he offered to Aki (Earth).  To the East is the animal world; to the south is the plant world which includes the medicines of sweetgrass (the first plant), sage, cedar and tobacco.  To the West is the rock world, the mountains, the rocks and the spirit of the pipe.  To the North is the tree world that includes Cedar (giishkaatig), the first tree, the tree of protection.  There were many teachings shared such as teachings about Mother Earth, the sacred bundle, the Sun Dance and our ceremonies. All recordings are on our website:

Anishinaabe Medicines

Session 4: The Great Migration

This fourth Virtual History session speaks of the great migration after the melting of the glaciers some 21,000 years ago.  It was when the Anishinaabe people moved north on the east coast.  As the story goes, there were seven miiigis beings that appeared. They stopped at seven places during this migration: Montréal, Niagara Falls, Detroit River, Manitoulin Island, Sault Ste. Marie, Spirit Island in Duluth, followed by the north and south branches coming together at Shaugawaumikong.  It is here that the Algonquin linguistic group and the Midewin Society originated.  Other teachings shared during this history session includes details of Anishinaabemowin and the numerous tribes that came together as part of that migration. The full video can be viewed on the Earth Lodge website:

Session 5: The Great Migration 2 – European Contact and the Fur Trade

The ‘Great Migration 2’ lesson is about the past 200 years of history and trade that started with the French Coureurs de Bois, who were the middle men of the fur trade. It was in 1670 that Charles II, the King of England, granted HBC a trading monopoly in Rupert’s Land. This area included all the land that drained into the Hudson’s Bay. The unfortunate part of the Fur Trade was the territorial wars, diseases, fire-water, overhunting and missionaries. The 1700’s is when the medicine society originated due to the high numbers of death due to disease. It was also at this time that the Treaties took place with a total of 70 treaties entered into from the years 1701-1923. To view the full session, visit the Earth Lodge website During Allen Sutherland’s next session he will discuss more about the European relationship and the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

Submitted by Renée McGurry, Earth Lodge Development Keeper