Chad Gedeon is a Councillor here at the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government, and works in the Culture and Language department. When he got back into politics in 2018, he knew right away that he wanted his focus to be on revitalizing the culture and language in the community. The first project he took on was the creation of the Etlinpisulti’gw Healing Grounds. In the beginning, the area on Bordeaux Road only consisted of a teepee, and after community engagements, and discussions with elders and residential school survivors, Gedeon took the lead on making the grounds what they are today. A place of healing, outdoor community gatherings, ceremonies, and teachings. It’s a place where people can just sit outside and be at peace.
Gedeon’s next project is the Turtle Lodge. He said, “The Turtle Lodge will be a place of healing, where we will practice our language more, where ceremonies can be formed, where we can practice our teachings, share our stories and culture. We will have a room for elders and residential school survivors. There will be a kitchen for feasts after ceremonies. There will be workshop rooms for drum making, basket making, learning about medicine making, and more.” At this time, ground-breaking for the new Turtle Lodge is expected Spring of this year.
Not only are these healing resources beneficial to individuals, but also to various departments in the community, such as Social Services. With many people battling mental illness and addiction, having a place like the healing grounds, or the Turtle Lodge, is a useful tool for departments to recommend individuals take part in to begin or continue their healing process.
Gedeon believes these healing resources are a way for the community to change their way of thinking. To help encourage the preservation of the language and culture, and to learn the tools the Mi’gmaq people once had before. He said, “Before with our ancestors, everyone had a role in the community, the basket makers, the gatherers, the fishers, it was a balance, and we lost that balance once modernization kicked in.”
A lot of people in the community of Listuguj practice spirituality and everyone practices it in their own unique way. “To me, spirituality is the connection with our ancestors, our teaches, and Mother Earth,” said Gedeon. If you are looking to learn more about spirituality and healing in the community, reach out to knowledge-keepers and elders for more insight. Take part in the various ceremonies and gatherings at the Etlinpisulti’gw Healing Grounds and other facilities in the community, and eventually, the new Turtle Lodge will be another alternative for your spiritual journey.
By Ann Marie Jacques