The Turtle Island Pendant made by Inidgenous artist Emma Rain Smith, given to co-chairs Donald Dardar and Charles "Chuckie" Verdin of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe.

 

Saturday was an auspicious day as we were invited to the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe's spring social. We were warmly welcomed by the community in their elevated tribal building.

Before eating we were formally welcomed by Chairman Charles “Chuckie” Verdin. After a Christian prayer by Chairman Charles Verdin and Ojibwe prayer by Chief Henry we sat down for a delicious seafood feast of crawfish, crabs, potatoes and corn. 

Artist Emma Rain with Elder Theresa Dardar of the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe.

Artist Emma Rain with Elder Theresa Dardar of the Pointe-au-Chien Tribe.

With the feast winding down, Chief Myeengun Henry was recognized by Chairman Charles Verdin with a gift of food from the tribe's community garden. Chief Henry said a few words of solidarity to the group and recognized Chairman Verdin and Co-Chairman Dardar with specially crafted Turtle Island Solidarity pendants made for the occasion by artist Emma Rain Smith. He spoke these words.

“We’re all together, we’re all indigenous people and we need to help each other and support each other. We come here to see how you live and we would like you to come and see how we live and come to our powwows and gatherings…as Turtle Island Solidarity, we are just a group of people who want to help support living life in a better way and facilitating working together with our friends and our allies and so we think that building friendships is the way to go.  We don’t do this often enough. As indigenous people we need to do this even more. The turtle pendant is a symbol of our friendship and we want to continue to be friends and make this stronger for all of our people. And so from the Ojibwe people and the people of Canada, and indigenous people, thank you so much for your hospitality, friendship and let’s continue! Meegwetch”

Chairman Verdin presenting Chief Henry with a gift from the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe.

Chairman Verdin presenting Chief Henry with a gift from the Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe.

Later artist Emma Rain took some time to explain the significance of the turtle and the medicine wheel she had beaded onto the back of the turtle.

Chairman Verdin, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Elder Theresa Billiot, Emma Rain.

Chairman Verdin, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Elder Theresa Billiot, Emma Rain.

We spent the rest of the afternoon making new friends and new beginnings.

 

Dr. Stephen “Sven” Svenson

 

*It is important that we support the Pointe-au-Chien in their struggle against a changing climate.

You can help the Pointe-au-Chien people by:

  1. Donating to their building fund.
  2. Helping them convince political leaders that they need to rebuild the barrier islands.
  3. Helping them to protect their burial grounds that are threatened from the loss of land
  4. Helping them to obtain federal acknowledgment from the federal government so that we can have a real voice in responding to emergency disasters.  This is also important in maintaining their culture and livelihoods.

 

DONATIONS MAY BE MAILED TO:

POINTE-AU-CHIEN INDIAN TRIBE

PO BOX 416

MONTEGUT, LA 70377

Website

Facebook Page 

Thank you for joining us on our journey! You can follow along by liking our facebook page or by following us on twitter @turtleislandsol. You can also contribute to the journey by contributing to our gofundme page where there are lots of cool perks from Anishinaabe artist Emma Rain Smith and John “Smitty” Smith, Lower Ninth Ward resident and author of Exiled in Paradise All funds will go to unforeseen trip costs, honorariums to the communities we meet, and to the production of visual media. These media will feature notable community organizers and indigenous leaders we meet throughout our journey speaking out on issues of environmental racism, climate change, and colonialism and inspiring us to take action to create a better world.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the WLU AUS (Arts Undergraduate Society), WLU Indigenous Initiatives and Services and St. Jerome's University as well as Commons Studio for their generous rate on camera equipment. 

Stephen Svenson, PhD, Department of Sociology, Department of Global Studies Wilfrid Laurier University

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