A guided experience based on the seven sacred teachings of the Anishinaabe, Cree and Dakota peoples is one of three tours being offered at no extra charge to visitors during the month of February at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).
The Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour encourages participants to live in accordance with nature, rooted in spirit, honouring the rights of all. Led by specially trained Indigenous guides on Saturday mornings and most Wednesday evenings*, the tour makes connections between First Nations' teachings and elements of the Museum's architecture.
Its concept and teachings were gifted to the CMHR by the Elders Circle Seven – a group of seven Elders in Manitoba who are fluent in their traditional languages and work to preserve their people's sacred knowledge. Architectural historian Dr. Frank Albo (whose research also inspired The Hermetic Code tour of the Manitoba Legislature) and the Museum's design architect, Antoine Predock, assisted CMHR program staff in the tour's development.
"For the Original People, human rights do not come from paper – they are not man-made," said Elder Dave Courchene. "Everyone and everything is held together and governed by Spiritual Laws and Natural Laws, woven into the fabric of Creation and written upon the Earth. This tour originates from the spirit of our ancestors."
The 90-minute tour includes drumming and singing to share the creation story, an introduction to Indigenous medicines and water ceremony, a journey along a pathway of glowing alabaster, and stops in the Indigenous Perspectives gallery, the Stuart Clark Garden of Contemplation and the Israel Asper Tower of Hope.
After February 28, the three tours will be offered for an additional fee of $5 each. The Mikinak-Keya tour will continue to be offered to Indigenous peoples at no charge, in keeping with the Museum's overall admissions policy, which has been informed by the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This declaration recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage and traditional cultural expressions.
*Note: The Mikinak-Keya tour is not offered on the first Wednesday evening of each month.