The story of one clan of women working to bring back the ancient matriarchal values of their indigenous ancestors for healing in First Nation communities.
On a bright June morning in 2015, in the backyard of a family home just outside Winnipeg, Manitoba, a small child is being prepared for her Walking Out Ceremony. Her family and community have come together to celebrate her first steps on Mother Earth since her birth one year ago. This rites of passage ceremony is being reconstructed from the knowledge her Grandmother still carries of the ancient ways of indigenous matriarchal culture. For over 200 years, these types of ceremonies were forbidden to the indigenous peoples of Canada. All that was sacred and central to their traditional way of life was taken away and labeled as uncivilized under the formal policy of assimilation adopted by the government of Canada. In Winnipeg, a group of indigenous Grandmothers have also come together to reclaim their rightful place as visionary leaders of their people. Rites of passage into their wisdom years entitles them in their cultural traditions to now speak their unapologetic truth as they focus on the protection and well being of their communities. United as the Clan Mothers Turtle Lodge, they believe that the reintroduction of indigenous matriarchal values and cultural practices is the missing link for bringing healing and balance back both within their communities and the larger world.
In the time before written records, society was centred around women. Women were revered for their mysterious, life-giving powers and honoured as the incarnations of the Great Mother. It was believed that since women were the givers of life, they embodied the rhythms and the wisdom of nature and should naturally make all the important decisions concerning their families and communities as the spiritual and political leaders in the earliest known systems of self-governance. Within the ancient cultures of indigenous peoples throughout the world, women presided over child rearing, building and agriculture and are thus credited as the first creators of art and science. It is from these ancient lineages of wise women who used sacred laws to govern and keep balance and harmony in community that the Clan Mother systems originated. And it is from this inherent knowledge and through their blood memory that the Clan Mothers Turtle Lodge draws its strength and vision.
The Clan Mothers Turtle Lodge is committed to the creation of a contemporary, sustainable, self-governed healing and educational village based on the indigenous values and teachings. This place will provide a safe, nurturing and healing environment for sexually exploited women and girls to begin their healing journey. This village is neither a government project nor an institutional facility, but an informed place founded on indigenous matriarchal concepts of self-governance and holistic values.
The documentary film Our Way Home will take us on an odyssey with these indigenous Clan Mothers as they re-establish within a modern context, their rightful place as sacred and honoured women in indigenous society. Five hundred year ago, the European settlers brought their religion and politics to North America and began the transformation and control over the indigenous peoples, forcing a system of male rule on their ancestral matriarchal society. Our featured characters, Elder Mae Louise Campbell, a grandmother, spiritual advisor and community leader and her two-spirited daughter Jamie Goulet will take us on their personal mission to establish a village based on the ancient indigenous matriarchal values within today’s patriarchal dominated society.
This feature documentary film will weave like a braid of sweet grass the personal stories of lost indigenous wisdom with the vision of creating a village that will heal the inter-generational trauma from the effects of colonization and residential school systems. These Clan Mothers believe the only way to build the foundation for new and sustainable approaches to wellness are to return to the ancient indigenous matriarchal values. They have learned that in order to heal the heart of their communities, the life givers, the women and daughters, must move beyond the dominant euro-centric systems that disengage and disempower women. We will observe the struggles and the accomplishments as their dream becomes reality, creating hope and an understanding that there is an alternative to the existing patriarchal system which has failed the indigenous people of Canada.