Sept. 28: Healing Hearts Survivor Group and the Seven Grandfather Teachings

A woman in a tan shirt with fringe leans against a tree in the woods, looking upwards. She has long light brown hair and a septum piercing and nose ring.

Join us on Thursday, September 28, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. as we mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. We’ll be joined virtually by facilitator Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone, who will be leading a circle and guided meditation on the 7 Grandfather Teachings. This workshop is a beautiful exploration, where survivors are invited to come together in a safe and supportive environment to gather tools for healing. It is perfect for anyone seeking knowledge and understanding around our struggles in our human experience on Mother Earth. Learning the 7 Grandfather Teachings allows us to become more Respectful, Loving, Wise, Humble, Courageous, Honest, and Truthful people.

The teachings are shared through a guided meditation and can also include an artistic expression to represent the learnings from these beautiful and sacred teachings. Debriefing the workshop also deepens the level of understanding and learning through the process of experience.

This session is intended as a closed space for survivors of sexual violence, and is being hosted as a part of the SVPS Centre’s Healing Hearts Survivor Group.

About Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone

Aqua, just as her name suggests, is an elemental force. Her lyrics and melodies flow out of her like the crystal clear medicine water that she is. Embracing her Indigenous ancestry, she proudly walks with the heartbeat of her hand drum. She brings a unique take on Blues music and has created her own genre, IndigiBlues; inspired by her life stories as an IndigiQueer person overcoming intergenerational trauma, mental health, addictions, homelessness, and violence. Woven together with unforgettable harmonies and the soothing sounds of strings.

Aqua is a solo artist and the creator, lead vocalist, and hand drummer for Red Rhythm & Blues. She’s had the great fortune to work with incredibly gifted and diverse artists of all walks of life. She continues to collaborate with and learn from each great artist she has the privilege to play with in and out of the studio.

Aqua not only creates music, she actively creates spaces where artists can share their original works. She’s curated for the inaugural Tłabat’si Copper Box at the Confluence Concerts and showcased a plethora of LifeGiver talent. Aqua is a mentor to many up and coming Indigenous artists who she feels will change the world. Aqua has always lived by the belief that there is enough light for everyone to shine.

Aqua is a producer and recording artist. This part of her journey began with her EP Spirit Music, and soon after with her debut solo album, Hand Drum Stories. She was grateful to have received funding from the OAC through the Music Recording Grant as the creative visionary for Red Rhythm & Blues’ debut album, Alive, set to release August 12th 2023 at Small World Music.

Aqua is a storyteller at her core. This is apparent when she is leading and teaching in circle and ceremony, as well as when she steps on stage. She is rooted in her Anishinaabe heritage and proudly identifies as a mixed ancestry being; embodying all the beauty of Ojibwe, Irish, and French bloodlines.

Aqua is currently writing her first play Water Hunters which she was graciously awarded the 40 Seeds grant from Native Earth Performing Arts, who have been long time collaborators of this evergrowing artist.

Aqua was honoured when she shared original music she created in the studio for the Earth To Sky documentary, which won Best Music Score and Best Sound at the Motion Pictures International Film Festival in Nairobi, Kenya, and Nigeria. Aqua also composed all but one of the original melodies for the Good Medicine album to aid in beings transitioning from the physical world to the spirit world with the help of the Room 217 Foundation.

In essence, Aqua has taken her soul music made of magic and shared it with the world.

About the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day

On Saturday, September 30, the University of Toronto community recognizes Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Both days of recognition—one Indigenous-led and the other established by the federal government—call for remembrance, reflection, and action around the history and devastating legacy of residential schools on Indigenous Peoples and communities. You can read more about how the University will be marking both dates on the Division of People Strategy, Equity & Culture website.