Cree teachings with Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra

Sacred teachings and self-growth

A person pours water from a copper cup into the cupped hands of another person. Partially obscured.

CMHR, Aaron Cohen

Event series details

Join Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra to explore Inninewak (Cree) ways of being and thinking within the principles of wahkowtowin.

Wahkowtowin –­­­ which translates to kinship – highlights how relationships, communities and the natural world are all interconnected.

Participants will discover and reflect on their connections with each other, with balance and with human rights through teachings and a traditional tea.

These workshops are part of a monthly Wahkowtowin and Ways of Being series. Each month, we will explore a variety of moon, pole and tea teachings in the Cree tradition.

Upcoming sessions

Being an Oskâpêwis – An essential ceremonial helper 

Date: Saturday, January 27, 2024, 
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
View event

Second winter is upon us and we change how we do things. Our teams are no longer fanned out like in first winter but cohesively bound and working together in relatedness. It is time to focus on our responsibilities and obedience to Wahkowtowin and to natural law, which never changes. 

Join Cree Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra to explore three of the natural laws. Learn how we can easily be connected to all our relations because we are all part of the circle, and we can all take on the important role of helper, Oskâpêwis. We will participate in an activity while we enjoy Labrador tea.


Date and time: Sunday, February 25, 2024,
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Description to come


Date and time: Saturday, March 23, 2024,
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Description to come

Marilyn Dykstra is a status Bill C‑31 First Nations woman from northern Manitoba. She has been immersed in a working matriarchal system that practiced Indigenous ways of thinking and being since she was born. Alongside her family, she has participated in many peaceful social justice movements.

Marilyn uses her matriarchal knowledge as a foundation for her work in the Indigenous community, which has been ongoing for over thirty years. She still follows her matriarchal teachings, but she has also spent her life learning traditional knowledge and passing the teachings on.

She is a pow wow dancer, knowledge keeper, and she carries the responsibility of a bundle. She happily participates in naming ceremonies, sweats, pipe ceremonies, moon teachings and more.

Past Events

Opikinawasowin – The process of lifting children and growing sacredness 

Date: Saturday, December 9, 2023, 
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
View event 

Children are ceremony. Raising a child is much like placing the lifting pole on a migawap‐tipi. The lift requires coordination with the foundation poles of obedience, respect and humility. If the coordination is done right, children grow in mastery of their own sense of belonging, meaning, purpose and the ultimate hope. Their vision is strong: they relate within Wahkowtowin, they learn from it, they apply it as they grow. 

In this session, Cree Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra invites you to learn how children are lifted to grow their sacredness. 

Children are the rebirth of the ancestors in a human form – and that form needs to be surrounded by the ultimate protection of the migawap (great tipi) and the tikinagan (baby carrier). We serve our purpose when we rear our children in a good way. The purpose teaches us how to leave a sacred path to guide children and not to leave harm within them that requires healing. 

Freezing Water Moon – Ni Kiskinohamâson – Strength and Hope 

Date: Saturday, November 25, 2023, 
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
View event 

Cree Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra for a workshop as we enter first winter in the Inninewak six seasons. In the Freezing Water Moon, Ni Kiskinohamâson (which translates to "I am learning"). This is the time, we acknowledge that we need to slow down and focus on our introspective work. 

In this moon, let’s begin our adventures in this moon learning and focusing on all parts of ourselves to access the hope our ancestors have for us. 

We all have four parts that need to grow. We gain hope and strength within the ultimate protection of our home, ways of being, and stewardship. Our greatest strength lies in our interconnectedness, which gives us the ability to pull others through in tough times. 

The discussion will include raspberry tea. 

Migration Moon: Share a pipe ceremony and potluck 

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2023, 
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
View event

Migrating is a difficult yet wonderful transition in life. We envelop ourselves in the teachings of the pipe – Nîkân isîhcikêwin, “the way ceremony was conducted since the beginning of time.” This is the way of our ancestors. 

The pipe teachings give us the plan to walk the red road, rooted in ancient knowledge and custom, that we humans migrate. 

Let’s celebrate the momentous migration that our animal family members will make during this moon. We will send them off with a pipe ceremony and then we will share a potluck lunch. Please bring a food item to share with the rest of the group. Dishes, cutlery and echinacea tea will be provided.

The Mating Moon – How do we stay thankful in the era of swiping?

Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023,
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
View event

Much like the rings in a tree, relations do not step over one another but rather respect connectedness, inter‐relatedness and thankfulness. Each year, we learn and add to our understanding of our place on earth.

This workshop will explore the complexity of relating within Wahkowtowin. Some teachings of the traditional matriarch will be discussed. Traditional does not mean old and out of date but rather tried, tested and perfected. Let’s investigate how the matriarch is still viable and how to date, mate and relate in a modern world while we enjoy some Elderberry tea.

Learning to fly right

Date: Saturday, July 29, 2023,
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
View event

When geese learn to fly, they do it in stages – flying low at first until they gain resilience and confidence. The same is true for all of us. Before we fly high, we must learn and practice.

Join Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra as she leads this workshop on the significance of the flying up moon and cleanliness in Cree teachings.

Marilyn will explore the importance of rites of passage, of making “clean” decisions that keep us true to ourselves and to natural law. She will share strawberry tea and discuss our connections to the three generations that came before us and the three that come after.

Peyakôskan: One family, one bond, one nation

Date: Saturday, July 8, 2023,
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
View event

Peyakôskan is a Cree word that means one family, one bond, one nation. Kinship is only a part of the story; it’s also about how we relate to others. In the traditional Cree community, efforts are made to not “step over” relations and relationships. This can happen in many ways, including by failing to follow natural law that dictates our responsibility to care for both our earth and our human family.

In this workshop, Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra will explore the openness of kinship, how family is defined, how all things have a spirit, and how we relate.

She will discuss grief, honouring those who have gone before us, and the belief that nothing truly dies but rather continues in a different way. And she will talk about what we can learn from the process of molting, where animals shed their hard outer layers so that new growth can take place.

During the workshop, participants will make their own fur drop earrings, to mark the season animals often shed their fur.

What’s love got to do with it?

Date: Saturday, May 6, 2023
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
View event

Love thrives in all living beings, driving so many of our actions. But how do we learn to live with love in a soft way, like a frog on a lily pad? How do we learn to experience love when it becomes jagged like a mint leaf? How do we focus on all our relationships and not just the most passionate ones?

Come and learn how to grow your own sense of love through the teachings of Grandmother Moon and finish our experience together with a full moon ceremony for women and Two‐ Spirit people.


Date: Saturday, June 3, 2023,
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
View event

Faith and relationships give us hope and protect us in life’s turbulence. Faith lives in each being. With this hope in us, we grow from mistakes, grow in relationships, and move forward in a better way.

We are small beings, or little eggs, on Mother Earth that are beginning a path of discovery and making a commitment to growing in faith. Each day, our Grandmother Moon rises and reminds us that we can continue, no matter how many clouds distort our sight. We clean our minds with sage, so that the clouds will clear just as our Grandmother does when she wanes.

So how do we grow faith? How can we move forward on this path of discovery? This session is not to change anyone’s faith, but rather give space to look at their own, understand the benefits and learn how to grow it. Come and enjoy a cup of sage tea while we look at these things and end our experience together with a full‐moon ceremony for women and Two‐Spirit people.