Learning to fly right

Cree teachings with Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra

July 29, 2023

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Fifteen geese fly in formation across a blue sky with mauve-coloured clouds. Beneath the flock, a rising hill is covered with spruce trees and a few white houses. Partially obscured.

Photo: marniejill, looking up from the beach; way up..., CC BY-SA 2.0

Event details

Free, registration required
Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Bonnie & John Buhler Hall, Level 1
Language and Accessibility:
This event is offered in English.

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.

An image of a goose rests on a black background. A pink and a yellow feather are imposed on the goose. Both have colourful thread tied at their base and strings of tiny coloured beads draped around them. The yellow feather has a green butterfly painted on it, while the pink feather has the words “Trees sway in the wind” written on it. Above the goose and feathers are the words “Flying up moon” and beneath is the word “Cleanliness.”


This workshop is part of a monthly Wahkowtowin and Ways of Being series led by Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra. Each month, we will explore a variety of moon, pole and tea teachings in the Cree tradition. 

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.

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.