It’s a beautiful spring day in Nova Scotia, and at Tatamagouche Centre people are scrambling through the underbrush looking for special plants—plants to settle a tummy ache or headache, or plants to help ease many of life’s daily ills.
Under the careful watch of Judy Bernard-Googoo, a Mi’kmaq healer, everyone is learning a few of the basics from centuries of Mi’kmaq traditional healing. Judy learned it from her mother, as did her mother before her. Now, Judy wants to share her knowledge with others. “We are all one people,” she says.
At Tatamagouche, mending the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is a high priority. By openly sharing their traditions and learning together about the plants and herbs that are the basis of traditional Mi’kmaq healing, which creates a window into Mi’kmaq culture, they will build bridges of understanding.
“Everything is done with respect. You have to respect the plant, take only what you need, and always give thanks to the Creator for providing these healing medicines,” explains Judy. “You have to be careful; there are a lot of plants that can hurt you. It’s like going to the drugstore—you have to make sure you choose the right medicine. That’s the knowledge I have that I want to share.”
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