Opikinawasowin – The process of lifting children and growing sacredness

Cree teachings with Knowledge Keeper Marilyn Dykstra

December 9, 2023

This event has passed.

A Indigenous dancer in brightly coloured Fancy Shawl regalia beside a river. Partially obscured.

Photo: Shutterstock, Nina Henry

Event details

Free, registration required
Canadian Museum for Human Rights The group will meet in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall, Level 1 and proceed together to level 6.
Language and Accessibility:
This event is offered in English.

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.


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

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.