Walking Out Ceremony

On Thursday morning, we woke up bright and early to attend the twins’, Memphis and Mackenzie’s, walking out ceremony. We met at the now finished michuap.20160602_052637 The Chiskamish family had covered it in tarps and collected boughs that they used to cover the floor of the michuap. 20160602_064622.jpgThe boughs are always placed in a clockwise fashion, starting at the entrance to the michuap, which always faces east.

It was a very cold and rainy morning, so we were very pleased to find a fire roaring in the centre of the michuap. IMG_5581

Walking out ceremonies symbolize a child’s introduction to the Cree community. Children take their first steps on the ground, usually around the age of 1. This means that walking out ceremonies typically take place in the spring and summer, after the snow has melted. Walking out ceremonies are slightly different for girls and boys, and we were lucky enough to witness one of each! In this case, the walking out ceremony took place on the twins’ first birthday, which made it extra special!

Here are the twins, ready for their first steps! Little boys are typically dressed as hunters, and little girls as cooks. 20160602_054452.jpg

Their parents helped them walk out of the michuap and around the wood pile. IMG_20160602_054912113.jpg

As the hunter, Memphis’ role was to “shoot” a goose that his grandfather had shot that morning. Here is the goose, propped up to look alive. IMG_5567

Here’s Memphis, hunting the goose with his toy rifle. 20160602_055113

Mackenzie had to collect wood for the fire (in Cree culture, women are responsible for tending to the fire). IMG_5577.jpgHere she is “collecting” branches.

After the walking out, the family served breakfast for the guests inside the michuap. In the evening, they hosted a giant birthday feast at the community centre. IMG_5582.jpgHere is The Michuap building, a local community hall.

Here is a pile of geese, waiting to be cooked. There were 34 in total! The Chiskamish family spent all day cooking the geese over the fire in the michuap. 20160602_064257.jpg

Here is Huong, enjoying her first taste of sigabon nisk (goose cooked over the fire). 20160602_204806The desserts were delicious as well!

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