The First Steps of a Walking Out Ceremony

ImageCheryl Tomatuk-Bagan guides her daughter Sasha out of the shaputwan and onto cedar boughs.

From: Wawatay News Online 2013   http://www.wawataynews.ca/sagatay/node/214

Walking Out: Introducing Cree children to community and their place in it | Sagatay 

(Story and Photos By Catherine Sergerie)

People gather in Moose Factory to participate and witness the meaningful Walking Out ceremony. In this rite of passage, a family introduces its small child to the community, and the child to his or her traditional role as a male or female within Cree society.

Exiting a teepee, their feet touch the ground for the first time. These first steps symbolize entry into both the communal and spiritual worlds. In the Walking Out ceremony, the mother guides her child along a circular path of cedar boughs. Halfway, girls and boys perform simple gender-specific tasks. Witnesses encourage as they watch.

After the ceremony, the community members proudly pass each child – kissing and hugging them, making loving promises to support them as they grow.

 

Feet first on the path of life; twin sensations of touching and being touched.

Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths.   (Psalm 25:4 NKJV)

 

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