Programs

Welcome to the site of Kakaway and Associates, where we offer teachings based on traditional Indigenous values of family and spirituality. Here you can explore the different modules, or levels, that we offer. Our program was designed to deal with dysfunctional behaviours while maintaining a traditional way of life within contemporary society. The different levels are synonymous with going back to school. We start off with basic, traditional teachings, and each subsequent module builds upon the previous lessons.

 

Introduction to Culture – Level 1

This is the first level where participants are taught about the sacred circle and the four sacred directions. Smudging is introduced and participants are taught about some of the protocols to be aware of when leading this purification ceremony. Males and females have different roles to play in life, therefore, basic teachings begin at this level.

 

Traditional Life Skills – Level 2

The framework for this training session is based on the restoration of holistic health. Traditional teachings have been available to us since the beginning of time and have not changed. They may seem somewhat different in various communities, but their goals are much the same: they show that life is a gift. Traditional teachings explain how everything that exists must be in harmony and balance; they teach about maintaining the equilibrium of the spirit. The teachings also show that people need to constantly develop and adapt. Life is revealed as a journey that is packed with events that determine the paths we take. Our choice is simple: we can live in chaos, or we can preserve our traditions.

In this level, participants learn about age-grade teachings. They are conditioned to sit on the floor or ground in a ceremony and they are given instructions about protocols inside the sacred circle. There are up to eighty years of teachings at this level and the participants are taught about the four stages of life and the rites of passage associated with each stage. There is a fifth stage called the "passage home" which speaks about our journey to the other side.

As Indigenous people, we are blessed with ceremonies, such as sweats, fasts, vision quests, teachings of traditional law, age grade teachings, rites of passage with each stage of life, traditional medicines, traditional healing practices, and feasts. The participants who take Traditional Life Skills will discover how these ceremonies restore balance and harmony in their lives. Some of the more salient topics we will explore in this session include:

 

Traditional Offerings – Level 3

Participants start in a classroom, but they will go out to the land where our medicines are found. They are taught how to prepare willow offerings, pray with them, and put them out. With willow offerings, they will have tools for helping loved ones overcome addictions. They also learn the difference between a spirit and a soul. They will learn the different smudges used in accessing a spiritual connection, and medicines for protecting their homes.

We should know about prayers and the gift of life. There are no shortcuts, and we need to understand our role and commitment to Creator. There are protocols and laws in accessing a pipe and stem. They are different bundles, smudges, and tobacco used, in meditation while opening our souls to Creator in a humble way.

Participants will discover these teachings help prepare them for a sweat lodge, vision quest and fasting ceremony. Some of the more salient topics include:

 

Suicide Intervention

Lateral violence stems from colonialism, residential schools, and the Sixties Scoop. It is found in cyber-bullying, alcohol and drug addictions, mental illness, low self-esteem, gang violence, sexual abuse, and systemic racism. Isolation, boredom, and despair can be contributing factors to high suicide rates. In order to deal with this epidemic we need to return to our culture. Some of the topics we cover in this module include:

 

Traditional Parenting

Indigenous people are guardians of the land and always maintained a close connection to it. The impact of historical practices that separated children from their families robbed them of their culture. Our children and youth need to learn about "spirituality" from birth so they will know their roles within their families. Traditional parenting shapes an understanding of our values and instils pride into Indigenous families. Some of the more salient topics we cover include:

 

Dealing with Addictions

In our communities, many of our youth are faced with boredom, poverty, lateral violence (including cyber-bullying), family violence, and low self-esteem. This can have a negative impact and lead to substance abuse and addictions. Our traditions can help an individual make healthier choices when they are confronted with challenges in their lives. Some of the more salient topics we cover in this module include:

If you are interested in hosting any of these workshops, please write to us for further details at .

 

Facilitators

 

Robert Kakakaway

As Founder of Kakakaway & Associates, I believe in the value of a good education. After acquiring my B.G.S. degree, I went on to earn numerous counselling diplomas and certificates, but at the end of it all, I didn't know a thing about my culture. I was lost!

So, I went to the bush and listened to nature and the animals. They told me my name was "Koppi-nook-sik." They told me if I worked for Creator they would guide and protect me. That's when the real education began. The plants and animals taught me about Creator's law, natural law, traditional law, and ceremony. They offered me smudges and a sacred pipe which would become my lifeline to the spirit world. They gave me teachings only found in the spirit world and acquired through ceremonies. I feel honoured to share these teachings with anyone who wants to learn from them.

 

Vanessa Kakakaway

I am from the Whitecap Dakota First Nation in central Saskatchewan. I teach traditional life skills, traditional offerings, traditional parenting, suicide intervention, and dealing with addictions workshops. I also teach about the protocols around ceremony and age-grade teachings. These traditional teachings are very helpful when dealing with everyday problems. I have been facilitating traditional teachings since 2002. I have travelled here and there learning about my culture and I've seen our people do many of our ceremonies differently but the end result was always the same. It was a great honour to have been able to sit in many different ceremonies with our Elders and learn about our traditional ways.

My teacher, Phillip Auger, who is originally from Paddle Prairie, Alberta is a great inspiration for me. His patience and his love for Creator and all of creation has helped me realize that life is simple and to never give up on my faith. Robert, my husband, who is originally from White Bear First Nations, is also a good teacher. I am very grateful that he is a part of my life because he has always been by my side offering me guidance with his patient and understanding ways. We've travelled to many cities and Indigenous communities together for the past sixteen years and I'm grateful for my dream job.

Although I am not sure what the future holds, I try to live each day to the fullest. And now that I am a grandmother, I want to leave my grandchildren with traditional teachings so they can make healthy choices when they are confronted by challenges in their lives. I am grateful for everything that I've learned so far and I know there are many more lessons I have to learn. I try to keep an open mind because I know there is more than one way of doing things and everyone has different teachers, so I will continue to learn as I travel to different Indigenous communities across Canada.

 Books by Robert Kakakaway

I was sentenced to this prison called Marieval Residential School for being an Indian. The conditions were so harsh and traumatic for a little boy in grade one, they can never be forgotten. This story is my first-hand account of the time I spent there. It was run by Catholic priests and nuns who controlled the students with a strict code of conduct. Parents were discouraged from visiting their children during the school year to separate them from their families.

My home was more than a hundred miles away. I would not hear Grandpa's stories for a long time. My name would be replaced by a number, and I would have to come running when they called it. Any mention of my culture was forbidden, and I was told to pray for my ancestors because they were burning in hell.

I learned to watch out for the bullies. Some of the older boys liked to pick on the younger ones and make them cry. This violence stemmed from the nuns, priests, and staff who constantly hit the students with rulers, keys, and straps to vent their anger. I lived in constant fear of making a mistake. I had to live a perfect life. There was only one person who lived a perfect life, and he was crucified. When he died on the cross, the nuns and priests were happy. I couldn't understand why Christians would kill their god and celebrate it as a good thing.

I would long for the days of being at home where it wasn't wrong to be an Indian. I would miss my mom's home-cooked meals where I didn't have to wait for the sound of a bell to tell me I could eat. Back home, no one talked about hell where a devil waited for us with a pitchfork.

Grandpa said we didn't commit sins. He called them "learning experiences," and each one was sacred because they taught us about life. Grandpa was very wise and there were many things the nuns and priests could have learned from him. Oh, I forgot. We were heathens and our ways were forbidden because they were the work of the devil.

Check either of these sites for more details:

Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08HTM7VZJ

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HTM7VZJ

On Saturday, September 2nd, 1961, I was back at Marieval for another year. It would be my second year, and I was going into grade two. But nothing had changed; I hated being in this hellhole. I could not understand why I was locked up; perhaps it was because of my skin colour. Why was it wrong to be an Indian? Why was I being punished?

This book is the second volume of a proposed trilogy about one small boy's experience within the Canadian Residential School system. I was one of the lucky ones. I survived it. But at the time I didn't think I was so lucky....

You can read more about it here or here.

 
Kakakaway & Associates
511 Sandy Ridge Place
Whitecap, SK
S7K 2L2
Ph: (306) 244-1081 ♦ Fax: (306) 244-1071