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“Create Your Spirit Animal” Workshop: Roots and Meanings

“Create your Spirit Animal” is a unique, guided meditation and painting workshop run by Wine Country Studios.  The owner and workshop facilitator is professional Métis artist, Louise Lambert.  The program draws on the Métis understanding of ‘spirit animals’ as life guides and symbols of qualities and values that each animal holds. 

Louise draws upon her forefathers the Algonquin people that believed that nature was inhabited by spirits that intermixed with the physical world.  The Algonquin were deeply spiritual and had a religion founded on animism, the belief that a spiritual world animated and interacted with the physical world.  Instead of believing in one god, the Algonquin’s believed in an essential spirit present in all living things, and embodied in Kitchi Manitou.  

Spirit Animal: Bear - painted by Louise Lambert
Spirit Animal: Bear – painted by Louise Lambert

Historical evidence of the Algonquin settlements, date back to 4280 BC and possibly earlier. Their tribal lands were largely found in the areas of the Ottawa River valley.  Their first known meeting with Europeans occurred in 1603 when they encountered the French explorers. Later they were exposed to the influx of French trappers as the region was rich for the fur trade.  

Helen painting her Spirit Animal: Quail
Helen painting her Spirit Animal: a quail

Many European settlers married Algonquin women, as they provided comfort as well as acting as guides in the new territory.  The first inter-mixed breeds, as they called them back then, became known as the Métis which translates in French as a ‘Mixed.’ 

Interested in leaning more about Métis people?  Check out our blog.