Miskanawah Ceremonial Fast

June 4th 2020
From May 23rd to 26th, Miskanawah hosted a four-day Ceremonial Fast at Sibbald Flats, located in beautiful Kananaskis Country. This bi-annual fast (one hosted in the Spring and one in the Fall) is facilitated by Miskanawah Elder, Patrick Daigneault.

Our recent Spring Fast hosted 12 community members and staff, who made the commitment of abstaining from food and water for up to four days. Fasters camped overnight at the location, in separately designated areas in a tent or cabin, and spent their time in reflection/meditation or prayer, journaling, reading, crafting, drumming, and singing.

One day prior to beginning their ceremony, fasters have the opportunity set up camp and support the building of a new Sweat Lodge. For more information on why we build a new lodge, visit: Why We Build a New Lodge  . 

The Ceremonial Fast itself is considered to be a sacred act of self-sacrifice, challenging oneself to go deeper into prayer or meditation. This takes us beyond the internal chatter and discomfort that naturally creeps into our consciousness with refraining from our physical needs of food and water, or when we make an effort to fall into silence. A fast takes you to a place of discomfort to achieve growth and healing.

Perhaps there isn’t a more opportune occasion than right now, in these challenging and unprecedented times where this parallel of discomfort is on a global scale. Very literal food for thought, as these fasters take a moment to pause and ground themselves, connecting with their spirit and Mother Earth.

More on Miskanawah’s Cultural Offerings

Our goal is to empower Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, youth, and families living in the Calgary area to access cultural resources, knowledge, and members of the Indigenous community. Participation in cultural activities builds trust and safety for deeper healing to occur. Traditional community events inspire families to connect with other community members in a culturally meaningful way. This nurtures their natural supports and social network, as cultural activities and events support the foundation for healthy and strong urban Indigenous communities.

Through ceremony, children, youth, and families have the opportunity to increase their spiritual wellbeing. The ceremony provides a safe and culturally relevant means to healing historical, intergenerational and ongoing trauma. Sweat Lodge and Pipe ceremonies for staff, clients, and community members are led by Miskanawah Elder, Patrick Daigneault. Sweat Lodges, Pipe ceremonies, a Ceremonial Fast, smudges, collecting medicines, and weekly staff talking circles are Miskanawah’s culturally-informed healing practices and initiatives that drive all of our programs to create healthy families, youth, staff and environments.

Ceremony provides a safe and culturally relevant means to healing historical, intergenerational and ongoing trauma. Miskanawah’s ceremonial offerings to families include, talking circles, sweat lodges, pipe ceremonies, fasting ceremonies, harvesting medicines, and an annual Round Dance.

Medicine Harvesting:

Cultural activities, like harvesting medicines provide opportunities for everyone to further their understanding of traditional customs and teachings related to medicines, smudging, cleansing, and healing. The act of collecting medicines is a deeply spiritual experience in the sense that we are working together to collect a sacred ceremonial item that will go into lives, homes, and communities. Miskanawah welcomes everyone to partake in these practices, with the intent of furthering spiritual development, connection to culture, and holistic healing.

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