Indigenous Arts & Stories - Healing Process

Healing Process

2016 - Writing Winner

One of the buildings was for teens that needed rehab; another one was a daycare for children, and there were two buildings in the back for adults that needed to finish their grade twelve. The stairs had such a high step each time going up. The walls were so terrible; they were faded, chipped, and had smoke stains. The paint job looked very worn out. The building felt cold and lonely.

Read Kaylin Flett's Healing Process

Kaylin Flett

Duck Bay, MB
Sandy Bay First Nation
Age 17

Author's Statement

My name is Kaylin Flett. I'm seventeen years old. I was born and raised in the city of Winnipeg,Manitoba. I moved to Camperville, Manitoba, when I was fourteen.I have been living here ever since grade nine. I like spending time with my son. I like sports and school. I'm a bright girl and have a lot of goals set for my future. I'm a status Aboriginal. I have belief in the creator. I grew up around a lot of traditional Aboriginal teachings and practices.

My grandfather was an elder in residence at the University of Winnipeg. He taught me the Aboriginal teachings, and he guided me through the practices. My writing piece shows how a person in their youth or adult years can go from negative energy to positive energy through Aboriginal healing. My writing piece explores the past and present Aboriginal heritage and culture. The events that happened in the past are still happening today; they are still being taught. The piece also shows the reader how you are not alone when a relative leaves the earth. My grandfather came to me in my sleep and talked to me through his spirit. The power of healing is an important event for Aboriginals because they have been through a lot in the past and are still being healed today. They are still going through racism and discrimination across Canada. My story is dedicated to my grandpa who passed away due to cancer.. He was struggling through the years with trying to heal and get rid of his cancer . At the same time, he was teaching people Aboriginal traditional ways. He was a strong medicine man who was always so full of life and enthusiasm. He always held hands open for all types of healing processes. He taught me the way, and that's why he is so important. He came to me in a deep sleep and gave me acceptance to move on.


Healing Process

I was always so skeptical when it came to religion, traditional ways, and paranormal life. I don't believe in Christianity or follow a religion. When it came to traditional teachings, I've never really had the chance to listen or to learn – not until I was eleven years old.

My family and I were going through a lot at the time. We were placed in a treatment facility. We resided in a treatment center for six months. The building was one hundred years old, and everyone who stayed there said it was haunted. The elders would smudge and have drumming sessions every other day. The building had high ceilings and walls. The doors were heavy, loud, and creaked open loudly.

When you first arrive in the driveway to the main building, there were stairs that were as big as church stairs and trees surrounding the area. There were smaller buildings all around the building. One of the buildings was for teens that needed rehab; another one was a daycare for children, and there were two buildings in the back for adults that needed to finish their grade twelve. The stairs had such a high step each time going up. The walls were so terrible; they were faded, chipped, and had smoke stains. The paint job looked very worn out. The building felt cold and lonely.

The people all seemed lonely also; they sat around, played cards, played pool, read books. The expressions on their face always seemed so gloomy and down. The adults always seemed bored and wanting to leave. They all seemed agitated and restless. There was a big desk to the right when you walked in and two hallways going either way, to the left and right. The dining room looked like a cafeteria, and the other side had two big pool tables with chairs all around and a play room for small children. On either side of the building, there were creepy stairs spiraling up to the top. It was dark, and the stairs were old and dusty. There were big exit signs at the bottom of each stairwell.

If you looked down from the top, it would probably feel like you're going to fall. The first floor was for women with children. The second floor was for single women, and the last floor was for single men. I have never been up to the last floor or the second floor, because I was not allowed to be there. The hallways were so long and the washrooms were so big – just like a washroom at a jail. There was one room with worn out toys, and a television with couches that were very old. The floors were ugly with dusty, stained carpet floors. The windows had big bars on them, and if you looked out the window you could see the big trees far from the building. The walls were still as ugly as the ones downstairs. I felt like this wasn't a home to begin with just by walking in.

I couldn't sleep at night because the beds were so hard, you could feel the springs from underneath, and the mattresses were stained. The windows creeped me out, and if I looked outside, I only saw a big field with bushes and the two buildings for school. The building was so high up, and I felt afraid. I was afraid to see something haunted or experience paranormal activity. I had my family, but I didn't have myself, or I couldn't process the fact that I would be residing there for six months.

My first encounter with the medicine man was more than what I expected. He had a beading class in one of the buildings with all types of people including Aboriginal, White, and African-American. He was a tall and stocky man. The man smiled so big from cheek to cheek. The medicine man had dark fine hair with a braid. He was slim, and he had a peaceful and calm voice in every word he spoke. The elder spoke to me about the sweat lodge – how it was for people who wanted forgiveness, strength, and healing. I had never been in a sweat lodge in my life. He told me about the rocks, songs, and the medicines. I got so interested I jumped  at the opportunity to be in a sweat lodge.

It was a cold, fall afternoon. The trees were swaying and blowing in all directions. The sky was gloomy, and the leaves were on the ground. The lodge was in an open field in the back, and the grass was so cold and fading colour. My hands started to sweat at the thought of going into a lodge without having any knowledge of traditional teachings. I felt hot and nervous. The ladies were much older than me, and I was the only child entering the lodge. They told me to put a skirt on so I did. There were men outside of the lodge, next to fire,  sitting on logs. We had to go around the lodge to enter.

As I was kneeling down to enter, I spotted an opening in the middle for rocks. It was shaped like an igloo. The sticks were mended together to form the shape, and there were thin blankets on the floor. There were already men and women all around inside, cross-legged. The ladies were sitting on their side. I crawled in, and everyone looked surprised that I was sitting in there, ready. I sat near the outside of the lodge, against the wall. The medicine man told the guys to bring the rocks in; on each rock, he sprinkled cedar, and they sparkled like fireworks. He said a prayer while he did that to the rocks. He told the men to shut the door, and it went dark as the midnight hour.

I could already feel the heat against my skin. This felt like a sauna at first, and suddenly it felt super-hot to the point where it felt like I was breathing fire. It smelled so good – like burning fire – and everyone was singing. I could hear people yelling, screaming in my ear. The sound didn't  bother  me; it bugged me that I wasn't singing or feeling healed yet. Second round was much worse; they added more rocks in and drank water and passed it around the lodge. I had the last sip, and we all used the same cup. The water was so good to taste.

This time I sang and felt the drum. I sat up and put my head close to the ground and felt a little bit of coldness. I sat up again but this time I felt different; I felt cleansed, and I felt good. The drum got faster; the heat got more intense, and I didn't feel scared anymore. In the third round, wild berries were passed around for everyone to eat in honour of the Bear Song. Each round, he spoke about the creator and grandfathers and said prayers for everyone in the lodge.

When the sweat was over, I came out feeling more appreciative for all the things in my life. So instead of looking down, I looked up, and I saw the sun shining down at me. I felt more like a changed person.

That night, I went to bed. I woke up suddenly to a man standing over me – a ghost. He told me not be afraid, and that the healing had been done. He told me I was going to be doing great things and to never feel down about life. He told me that my spirit name was waiting for me to be heard. He faded away from my side to the top of my closet, and he nodded his head in acceptance, and he looked proud. He glanced at me once last time  and spoke in such peacefulness. He said "Don't you worry, my child."

I replied, "I've been waiting for you to come and change my eyes to see a different light." Thank you.