Photos by Brendan Forward.
Emerging from the teepee with the help of his big brother Kenny MacLeod, 18-month-old Logan MacLeod made his walking out into the world and onto the land May 23, continuing a sacred Cree tradition.
Having had her two sons a full 18 years apart, Pamela MacLeod reflected on how different each walking out was for the two boys.
MacLeod would have liked the ceremony for Logan to take place last fall but her father, Luke MacLeod, had to have surgery at that time, so they decided to delay it until the spring.
“I had to really watch him so that he didn’t walk out the door on his own as he was so wanting to walk on the ground and I couldn’t let him,” she laughed. Cree tradition says children do not touch the ground outside of a tent or house until they have a walking-out ceremony.
So when Logan set his little moccasin-clad feet outside of the teepee for the first time, he was a little boy already confident on his feet. After the ceremony all Cree children understand they are now allowed to walk upon the land. You can see their happiness as they walk or run around.
They know the importance of their new freedom and the significance of the ceremony with friends and family reinforces the meaning of the even. It is always a communal ceremony and the feast that follows is something special with everyone contributing to the celebration of the child’s introduction to the Cree way of life.
Another element that made this event special was how mother Pam had actually made part of her son’s outfit herself, combining the design of the ribbon shirt with traditional Cree embroidered moose hide to create an alluring original design. Her aunt, Maggie Wapachee, made the rest of the outfit.
“I used my grandmother’s patterns for the embroidery part as I had copies of them from my Aunt Bev and so I was able to put something together. It was really nice, I felt like a part of her was there with us and that was how I thought of it when I was working with the embroidery,” said MacLeod.
According to MacLeod, having 19-year-old Kenny walk out his little brother made the day extra special because of the role that he will play in his younger brother’s life.
“Kenny is probably going to be the one to teach him things about hunting and whatever else so I felt that it was just really important for him to be part of it,” said MacLeod.
The feast meal also honoured two other hunters. Nephew Nicholas MacLeod (son of Emmett) is walking Logan into the teepee in these photos. He had just shot his first moose, which was being served at the feast. Gabriel Shecapio had just shot his first goose this spring.