I quite enjoyed my experience at the Pipe Ceremony. It was a very comfortable atmosphere, and with Noel and his assistant being exceptionally friendly people, they created an extremely welcoming environment. I appreciated that Noel embraced the fact that majority of us had never attended a Pipe Ceremony before, and took the time to teach us it’s value and purpose through stories. I definitely felt a little nervous before starting, as I’m sure many of my peers did too, because I am in no way an expert on these practices and did not want to act in a way that went against protocol. So, it was great that Noel was calm yet confident throughout the experience; it helped me relax and really value my time there.
I also really enjoyed that Noel discussed how powerful women are on their moon time, as I feel this is such a wonderful understanding to have! Often there are negative perspectives of women on their time that exist today—usually a taboo topic—so to have Noel’s perspective challenge the way people typically think within our society was very empowering. This is a prime example that addresses the two different ways of thinking and understanding between western and Indigenous perspectives.
As well, since Noel only had a men’s pipe, I thought it was great how much he talked about the importance and value of women and their power through prayers during these ceremonies. It made my rethink my role as a woman when I participate in these ceremonies, and considering majority of the people who attended were women, it was very neat to feel connected with everyone on such an important level.
I think participating in a Pipe Ceremony would be a wonderful experience for my future students. I feel that one learns significantly more from hands-on experiences, rather than just discussing topics in class, so this would be a perfect opportunity for students to not only perhaps push themselves to learn out of their comfort zones, but to take away valuable knowledge on First Nations practices and beliefs than I would never be able to teach in class. This would allow students to develop and appreciate different ways of thinking and understanding, and help them broaden their perspectives and ideas as they continue to grow through their learning.