“Atsokaanak Ishiming - Spirit in the Sky”

“Atsokaanak Ishiming – Spirit in the Sky”

Giiwe Media

2023

Rolling River First Nation

On loan from Giiwe Media

This image was captured along the eastern shores of Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park, a part of Rolling River First Nation’s ancestral homeland. My grandmothers and grandfathers are my teachers, they taught me about my home and the sacred places in and around Riding Mountain. To mark the occasion I wrote a poem about this photograph:

Whispers in the Spirit Lights

Waawaate whispers secrets to the pines,
Teachings carried on the northern winds that blow,
Whispers of a sacred gift, a life that intertwines.

The Mystery touched clay to form our skin,
Sunlight burns inside our eyes, connecting us to the universe above,
Sweetgrass connecting us to Aki, intertwining to make us feel,
Water courses through our veins, cleansing our homes,
Wind blows life into our chest, when it’s gone we become part of the Mystery.

Waawaate dances to the beat of the odegun,
Singing songs and telling stories of ancient ways that call to us,
Stories of the bear and the eagle, stories being told in the spirit lights of the sky.

This life’s a song sung in the whispers of the spirits,
A witness to the teachings, listening to the whispers in the pines,
A gift from Mystery in every breath, a life that intertwines.

Aaron McKay – Mashikaydun