What would it take to invite Joseph Boyden and John Ralston Saul to visit the Minesing Wetlands?

April 16, 2014

I believe they eat: so keeping 1,900 acres of Ontario foodland producing food is worth a look.

Joseph Boyden Orenda

That Springwater Park – Camp Nibi may be evolving into an internationally-significant Anishinaabe and Midewiwin Lodge teaching and healing centre .

John Ralston Saul Dark Diversions

And they may also know Margaret Atwood who is helping out with a petition.


Who will the MNR decide to be the best protectors of Springwater Park – Camp Nibi: Elizabeth Brass Elson or Ian Taylor?

January 2, 2014

What is their reputation in protecting land, water and air in Simcoe County?

Cedar boughs

In today’s Barrie Advance, Groups working to keep Springwater Park open:

The closure prompted the creation of two local groups which have worked to get the ministry to reverse its decision.

And last April, Anishinaabe First Nations member Elizabeth Brass Elson and some friends moved into the park, founding Camp Nibi, where they have lived ever since.

In July, a teaching lodge and traditional Midewiwin sweat lodge were erected and Brass Elson hopes to eventually turn the area into a First Nations education and spiritual centre, which would be open for everyone to experience.

“The traditional territories of Beausoleil First Nation will be protected and our teachings and ceremony will continue,” Brass Elson said. “Camp Nibi and Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will have a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all in the future.”

Meanwhile the Friends of Springwater Park is meeting with the ministry Jan. 8, but it’s unknown if a second partnership will be struck.

Has the Teaching Lodge or slide been made off-limits to anyone since April 1, 2013?

Teaching lodge

Has anyone been denied access to the Midewinin Sweat Lodge or tipi that wanted to learn?

Sweat tipi

What group has done the physical work necessary to keep the trails open since April 1st?

Clearing trees

And continues to do so now?

Plow 4


Plow 3What group has always favoured the light, life and inclusiveness while saving the land for everyone?

here comes the sun

Which group has chosen another path?

Posted on voteLesStewart.ca.

NEWS: Ontario government, First Nation agree on joint partnership at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

December 20, 2013

Elizabeth, Kimberly Rose and Sylvie (l to r). Photo: Anne Nahuis

Ontario government, First Nation agree on joint partnership at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi

Springwater Provincial Park – renamed Camp Nibi by a group of First Nations women who have occupied it for nine months – is to be a partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Beausoleil First Nation.

Beausoleil First Nation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are in discussions which ensure the interest of Camp Nibi/Midewiwin Lodge for their continued traditional, cultural, spiritual education will continue to be provided for on these lands of Springwater Park, Elizabeth Brass Elson said today.

“The traditional territories of Beausoleil First Nation will be protected and our teachings and ceremony will continue. Camp Nibi and Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will have a voice in the planning and development of the park lands for the continued use of all in the future,” she said.

An agreement between the Ministry and the First Nation is good news for all, Brass Elson said.

“We are satisfied that our vision for Camp Nibi has been recognized. Camp Nibi and the Eastern Doorway of The Three Fires Midewiwin Lodge will be working together with the First Nation to bring traditional spiritual teachings on the land of Springwater Park.”

The past nine months at Camp Nibi have been the scene of ceremonies, teachings, potluck suppers and – most important – connection with the land and the surrounding community.

It’s been an important journey for Brass Elson, known to many in Simcoe County for her leadership role in the battle to stop Dump Site 41.

She turned her attention to Springwater Park – part of the traditional territory of Beausoleil First Nation – after the Ontario government declared it non-operational as of April 1, 2013.

“I found my true spiritual connection with the land here,” she said. People came from all over Ontario to camp with the women who were in the park through the high heat of summer and the recent bitter cold. Locals were generous with support and donations.

“Chi Miigwetch, a big thank you to all those who supported us, our friends and our allies,” Brass Elson said. “And special thanks to Beausoleil First Nation and Ontario Parks for recognizing our vision for these lands.”

Two women joined Brass Elson – an Anishinabek from Chimnissing (Beausoleil First Nation) – in a steadfast determination to ensure that the land remains protected in an area north of Barrie that’s being subjected to intense development pressures.

They are Kimberly Rose Edwards, a Richmond Hill resident from the Mohawk community of Oka, and Sylvie Simard of Kapuskasing, a Mi’kmaq from New Brunswick.

“This has been my destiny,” said Edwards. A seer, she found her native roots a decade ago and saw the Camp Nibi lands long before she arrived to support Brass Elson in April.

“I came to learn,” said Simard. “My ancestors were calling.”

News release from Camp Nibi

Cross posted on iLoveMidhurst.ca.

NOTE: A very similar article appeared in the Springwater News on January 2, 2014. pdf

To protect 193 ha. from development, is it really necessary for the ladies to freeze this winter?

September 6, 2013

“We all want to see this land taken care of.”

Kim Beth

Kim Rose left, and Elizabeth Brass Elson are working to help grow a native healing centre at Springwater Park Laurie Watt

There have been 153 days from April 1 to September 15, 2013.

  • 153 days to figure out a way to keep the 15 kms. of cross-country ski and snow shoe trails cleared, groomed and open this winter,
  • 153 days to renew the contract for snow removal on the roads in the park,
  • 153 days to winterize the cabin and deal with the mold, and
  • 153 days to have a place to change a diaper out of the cold (ie. open the comfort station for goodness sake).

Laurie Watt from the Barrie Advance asks an important question in today’s article, Aboriginal camp prepares for winter in Springwater: Is it necessary for the ladies to endure a full winter camping?

Brass Elson said she already feels the cool winds of fall and relit the fire in the cabin Tuesday. She plans to stay through the winter and continues to talk with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Parks Ontario.

“We all want to see this land be taken care of,” she added.

And what’s so special about Springwater Park – Camp Nibi?

Brass Elson, an initiate at the Midewan Three Fires Lodge, has brought in an elder to bless the land and the growing community that unites people of many aboriginal heritages.

“This is a place where there’s a lot of different First Nations, rich in history, because it’s such a beautiful, spiritual place,” said Brass Elson.

“The man who designed this (park) said it should be a template for forestry in Ontario. His energy is still here. He started the tree nursery and his vision lives. It’s a shame the Ministry (of Natural Resources) doesn’t want to sustain it. This land has lots of offer everybody.”

NOTE: The flag behind Kim and Beth is the only Canadian or Ontario flag at the park anymore.

The ladies hung them up last Saturday along with a few others at the main pavilion.

Flag 1These are the Anishinabe Nation,  United Nations and Haudenosaunee Nation flags (l to r).

Flag 3

Is the ON Ministry of Natural Resources capable of getting all the Springwater Park stakeholders at one table, at one time, and in one place?

September 2, 2013

After more than 5 months, how many times has the MNR tried?

White Pine District Office

On December 6, 2012 the SPCC and the MNR met at the White Pine Boardroom (top left) on Nursery Road, Midhurst, just south of the MNR District Office (r).

These are the stakeholders:

  1. Beausoleil First Nation (Indian Act band council),
  2. Ministry of Natural Resources/Ontario Parks,
  3. local governments (Springwater Township, Simcoe County and City of Barrie),
  4. AWARE Simcoe,
  5. Jim Wilson MPP,
  6. Premier Wynne’s office,
  7. community groups (Ian Taylor and Les Stewart),
  8. Midewiwin Lodge (Anishinabe educational and spiritual leaders, see Thoughts from a Born-Again PaganSooToday.com), and
  9. Springwater Park – Camp Nibi grandmothers (Elizabeth Brass Elson).

How sincere is it  for the MNR to claim (1) that they want a partnership and then (2) refuse to meet with everyone, in the same room, at the same time?

The Ministry has met with almost everyone separately. Several times, in fact.

Why not try getting together and problem-solve in good faith?

What does the MNR mean when they said recently that they’re going to “draw a line in the sand” at Springwater Park – Camp Nibi?

August 7, 2013

Are they trying to intimidate the First Nations women who have practiced their Midewiwin Lodge spiritual practices on crown land since April 1, 2013 at the abandoned Springwater Provincial Park?


Or is this just more bad faith and unfair dealings because (in the end; and they know full well) they have no legal right to do anything but bluff  and bully grandmothers?

The Zen Warrior

An Anishinaabe tipi now graces Springwater Park – Camp Nibi in Midhurst.

August 6, 2013

A beautiful addition to the abandoned Ontario Parks lands was built on August 4, 2013.


A perfect compliment to the existing spiritual practices dwellings:  (l to r) sweat lodge and teaching lodge.


Nestled just past the Vespra Boys cenotaph.


Straight through the cathedral of pines, at the bottom of the hill entrance.

Tipi through trees nibi

Come and have your children or grandchildren’s photograph taken at this special place. Lots of families did just that this weekend!

Also, feel free to express your opinion about why aboriginal treaty rights to practice their spiritual practices should not be interfered with or bitched about.

  1. Premier of Ontario,
  2. MNR Minister and staff,
  3. County Provincial Members of Parliament,
  4. Mr. Patrick Brown and Hon. Kellie Leitch, MP, and
  5. Mr. Ian Taylor 

FYI: To see Mr. Ian Taylor‘s response to this post, click here and go to Comment 9 or see below:

“I hope an environmental assesment was made before any of these structures where built! it’s called respect for Mother Earth and is the law!
Thank you.”

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