This week, we have engaged with the many profound ways in which Indigenous knowledge, traditional practices and ways of knowing are showing the world another way forward in the face of climate change. The blogs and events explore how Indigenous knowledge is integral to forest management, biodiversity protection, and the development of climate policies that center human rights, equity, and social justice. In case you missed them, we invite you to read the Climate Action Week Blog.
To honour this week of centering Indigenous ways of knowing, we leave you with a sacred teaching from KAIROS staff member, Connor Sarazin. For this final post, Connor graciously shares the Strawberry Moon teaching from his ancestry with us – a teaching about creation, community and love.
Connor is a member of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation. A passion that Connor holds close to his heart is his continuation to reclaim his culture to honour the sacrifices his grandparents made. They fled their home, family and community and lived off the land in hiding in order to save their own children from being taken away to residential school.
Odeyimin Kizis – Connor Sarazin
Strawberry or Heart Berry Moon
How often do you think about the strawberry? The berry has great significance to Indigenous peoples; it speaks the truth.
For me, in my Algonquin and Mohawk ancestry the June moon is referred to as Odeyimin Kizis, the Heart Berry or Strawberry Moon. The breakdown of the word ‘odey’ means heart and ‘imin’ means small berry. When you cut a strawberry and open it, it looks like a heart.
The strawberry is the only fruit with its seeds on the surface to remind us that we, as humans, are the seeds of Mother Earth as we walk upon her. The strawberry symbolically represents Mother Earth, as a part of our ‘Original Instructions’ to honour our sacred food as a reminder of the connection between Sacred Earth and Sacred Self. The strawberry plant is connected to the earth by its roots, crown, stem, leaves, runners and flowers much like our hearts are connected to our human bodies, beating like the drum of Mother Earth, and are at the center of each of us. There are important medicines in Odeyimin, every part of the plant is edible, is used in ceremonies and is an excellent source of vitamin C.
The strawberry medicine is also used to teach girls who are becoming young women. The strawberry plant is said to be the woman’s medicine. As a girl becomes a woman, she fasts from berries for a year and learns about being a woman and creating life from the Grandmothers (Kòkomis). At the end of her fast she will gather berries, and the community will gather in ceremony to celebrate her learning to care for and uphold the people.
During this Odeyimin Kizis (Strawberry Moon) the community comes together and holds their annual feasts to welcome everyone home.
Spiritually, this is a time of change; a shift into a new season with the summer solstice. This is a time for the celebrations of life and abundance. Odeyimin represents the time for healing and reconciliation and teaches us love and forgiveness. Odeyimin is our guide for balance as we are connected to our minds, body, spirit and emotions through our hearts (odey). Embrace the beliefs that are liberating and let go of the hurts from the past. Reignite your faith and trust in yourself and allow yourself to dream big during the Odeyimin Kizis.
We invite you to find a quiet moment this weekend to read and reflect on this teaching and find your own moment of “connection between sacred earth and sacred self.” Maybe you will be able to take notice of ‘odeyimin’ or another gift of creation growing near you. Or perhaps you will use this moment of connection to “dream big” about the future we want to see, as the Odeyimin Kizis invites us to do.
Is there something you learned this week that you will carry with you? Share your reflections with us using #KAIROSClimateAction
Are there ‘odeyimin’ (wild strawberries) growing near you? Share a photo with us using #KAIROSClimateAction