Hugh McKenzie: Canadian Ojibway Artist

- over forty years of experience in originals, prints, and art cards -

My Spirit name is Zaagiidgeaway Gabo (Standing near the top of a hill). I am 68 year old Ojibway Elder, artist, Musician & Traditional Healer from Temagami First Nation on Bear Island, Ontario, Canada.

I spent my early childhood in the traditional native way on our family trap-line on Lake Temagami hunting, fishing and trapping. During the winter months I learned about our lifestyle and spiritual ways through the Elders and Medicine People. Storytelling and spiritual teachings were gifted to me by my grandfathers, grandmothers and parents. This was my introduction to the "Seven Grandfather Teachings".

During these early years I learned how family lifestyle teachings were the strengths to help us into adulthood. I watched as my childhood friends were taken away to resident school by the Indian agents and policemen. This would have a deep affect on me for the rest of my life.

When they returned home I saw their emptiness, low self worth and lack of interest in family lifestyle and spiritual culture and growth.

I lost many of my best friends to suicide.

I believe our sacred healing ceremonies and the Seven Grandfather Teachings are the true healing paths to help guide us to forgiveness of both ourselves and others. The path of recovery through old values and traditional spiritual ways will help all people who seek nneness with our Creator.

I struggled with my alcohol addiction for 40 years. It was through the Sweat Llodge, Healing Lodge and Sharing Circle Teachings that I was helped and came around to self awareness, honesty and acceptance of my self and my personal commitment and belief in our Creator. I will celebrate19 years of sobriety this year. I have participated and facilitated in many different teaching/healing events, Sweat Lodge, Healing Lodge, Sunrise Ceremony, hand drum making, and the Sacred Pipe ceremonies and I continue to follow the 12 step recovery program.

I use my art and music as tools for "Healing with Art and Music" in art classes that I teach throughout different communities, schools and cultural centres, both on and off reserves. I also have been running my own art gallery from our home on Bear Island reserve for the past 20 years.

I reside with my wife Victoria, who is also a traditional healer, helper and teacher and has had her own successful healing practice for the past 20 years. We share and practice our native teaching together and offer healing and spriitual guidance in our community, in addition to travelling to other communities, both native and non native.

To further my teachings as an Elder, I have an Ontario College Dipolma from Canadore College in North Bay, Ontario. I have also completed the Indigenous Wellness and Addictions Prevention Program, I am a certified Native Drug and Alcohol Counselor.

In native teachings, all living things are connected, each with a speical part to play within Creation. The Canadian Geese have always been held in high regard as teachers of unity and direction, striving to keep alive the sacred tradition of always returning to their rightful place in Canada.

please contact phone Temagami (705) 569-2881 or Bear Island (705) 237-8814