Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, “Seven Caribou Spirit Bowls: Seven Valleys Toward Reconciliation”

Sunday, September 17, 2017, 2 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Western European time)

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Medium: Raw Caribou Hide, copper coins, copper wire, tanned caribou hide, small caribou antler pieces. and tea lights (to be placed in the caribou bowls).

Description of Installation (to be placed in a circle)

Seven Caribou-Spirit Bowls” represent the Seven Valleys* and a spiritual journey toward reconciliation. Each bowl has been given the name of one of these valleys.

The Valley of Search represents the constant search for meaning and purpose in our lives. Our search for truth requires patience with ourselves and others. This valley is a place where we let go; sacrifice all things we have seen, heard and understood, so we can be clear and focused on what is required for our journey. This is the valley where many friends will be sought out, in hopes of finding a trace of the traceless Friend! From this place we venture into the next valley . . .

The Valley of Love. Fire is the symbol of this valley, which represents pain. In this valley we discover our love for all created things, the love for the Creator, ourselves, our families, our nations, and for everyone else on earth. In this state we fear nothing, as if insane, allowing us to be filled with spirt and powerful enough to escape the claws of the eagle of love. Once the heat of this valley dissipates, it opens up to . . .

The Valley of Knowledge. It represents ancestral and newly acquired knowledge. In this valley we begin to see war as peace; see the end in the beginning, friendliness in anger and find in death the secrets of the spirit world. In this valley we look with our inward and outward eyes and begin to see things unimaginable and are blessed with things of the sacred allowing us to begin our trek into the importance of the fourth valley. . .

The Valley of Unity. This is the valley which has allowed us to survive since the beginning of time, without prejudice, anger, hatred or envy. True unity has always allowed us to honour our differences and to see them as strengths. In this valley we become reacquainted with oneness. Our world takes on a new meaning, and we envision the far reaching implications of this ancient teaching of unity. This is a very powerful valley in which we realize our travels are being guided by the Creator who gifts us with the vision we need. Everything in existence takes on a new glow, a new light and we take it all into our hearts. After acknowledging the necessity of unity and letting go of everything else we easily move into fifth valley. . .

The Valley of Contentment. This valley brings us to the arena of our own personal, spiritual, emotional and even physical freedom. No longer is there a question of our oneness and this confidence fills us with joy and happiness no matter what the situation, It gives us the confidence to understand even the tragedies of our lives and how they provide us with greater understanding and contentment, a condition necessary to continue into the sixth valley. . .

The Valley of Wonderment. This valley reminds us of the beauty in the world and at every moment we envision a wondrous place, a new creation, and become filled with astonishment realizing how this holds wisdom and spiritual truths. We experience the wonderment of how our ancestors stayed connected to this sacred circle of life; rich in spirit and living constantly in a state of acceptance and gratefulness for what they were provided. Thankfulness is the nature of this valley. In this valley we are challenged to destroy our animal behaviour and become the best human beings we can. After traversing the high summits of wonderment we as travelers come the last and seventh valley. . .

The Valley of True Poverty and Absolute Nothingness. In this valley nothing can deter us from the journey of knowing who were really are and our purpose in life. This is where nothing else, material or otherwise matters because we have found our spiritual path, which ultimately leads us to true reconciliation. In this valley we have to continue to listen with heart and soul to the songs of the spirit and treasure them with our own eyes. This is the most powerful valley and brings us closer and closer to our truth and reality. Travelling through these seven valleys in not a linear journey and sometimes we can return to any of the valleys to regain our perspective. Ultimately this journey influences our approach to the momentous task of seeking true reconciliation and is a constant choice throughout our lives.

Thank you for travelling with me.

Louise Profeit-LeBlanc 2017

*The Seven Valleys: A mystic work revealed by Baha’u’llah, prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, in the late 1850s or early 1860s.

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Louise is an internationally renowned, traditional storyteller from the Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation of Mayo, in northeastern Yukon. For well over 35 years she has been committed to the cultural and artistic heritage of indigenous artists of Canada.

Prior to her move to Ottawa, where she served as the Aboriginal Arts Coordinator for the Canada Council for the Arts, she was employed by the Heritage Branch of the Yukon Government. It was during that tenure that she was introduced to the expansive, rich, art practices of traditional stories of Yukon First Nations people, which she fondly refers to as Yukon “orature.” This ultimately inspired her with the founding of the Yukon International Storytelling Festival and several years of involvement with the Society of Yukon Artists of Native Ancestry, both which were germane to the evolution of public presentation for many Yukon First Nation cultural practices.

Despite her full time employment at Canada Council for over eleven years, Louise continued to respond to requests from Aboriginal communities, gatherings, festivals and inner city school programs, to share traditional stories, teach the art of storytelling and provide many examples for teachers to use in their classes.

After many years as a storyteller Louise realizes that stories have the power to teach, to educate, but most of all the power to heal; to bring listeners to a higher level of spiritual awareness, resulting in an increase in our own understanding and awareness as human beings and how we should aspire to treat one another on this precious planet we all share.

Louise believes that each person on earth has their own story and if each one of us had the opportunity to share and hear each other’s story, the world would become a much more peaceful place to live in. In the words of one of her Elders and mentor, Angela Sidney, “We should “live our lives like a story!” This is a role she feels honored to uphold in her own life as a storyteller.

She realizes also that reconciliation will not be possible in Canada, without all of our stories being heard. Stories are the bridge to understanding and forgiveness and by building friendships through story, we can become more aware of how to eradicate many of the injustices which caused these separations in the first place. Searching for our own truth will get us there.

Louise has had the privilege to be invited as a guest storyteller to many international venues including Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Wales, Germany, Belize, Greenland, Norway, Chile, Cost Rica and Hawaii and many other communities across Canada and the USA.

Now retired, she is presently working full time as a storyteller, textile artist and Indigenous Arts Consultant.

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