To Anishinaabeg, Sweetgrass is called Wiingaashk. It is best planted not by seed, but by putting roots directly in the ground, fostering connectivity not only for this generation but for generations to come. The braid reminds us of all we have been given as well as our responsibility to care for those gifts in return.
Represents a space where traditional knowledge can co-exist and interact with contemporary experience, where dreams – bawaajigewin – are conceptualized and brought into reality. Spirals cross and interconnect creating an intricate unity in life. We exist not just as individuals but as beings connected to an intricate web of rationality. From our bodies and our location within an ecosystem to our families, our sense of being is predicated on an intricate web of relationships with all life. Once one strand is activated, all strands are impacted. When we see ourselves as part of a web of relationships, we co-create a world that reflects this harmony.
The quill of the feather represents stability, strength and foundation. This is where our path begins. The plume of the feather is billowy and soft, representing the purity, lightness and gentleness of childhood – a time of bonding and attachment to relationships, values, and personality. The vane of the feather represents flexibility and adaptability and has a unique design as each feather – like each individual – is unique. In the same way that that feather expands, youth are expanding into the world and being nurtured mind, body and spirit. The top portion of the feather represents the peak and eventual ebbing of life. Interdependence, empathy, insight and foresight enables adults to be keepers and protectors of our families, cultures and communities. To encourage and support others during this time is to give back what was given and also to give of one’s self.
People do not live in isolation, nor do we achieve our highest potential without the support of friends, family, community, and culture. The rising sun represents our lodges and longhouses. The
path of the feather guides us to our collective space: a sense of community, belonging, and pride.