Winter Solstice 2023

The Event


Winter Solstice Change of Seasons Event: Thursday, Dec. 21st  starting at 5 pm – Location Collingwood, On (Awen’ Gathering Place – Cedar Street)

Winter Solstice Change of Seasons is an event that celebrates the shortest day and longest night of the year, as well as the cultural diversity and richness of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. The event will take place on Dec. 21, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Awen’ Gathering Place in Collingwood On. The event will feature three speakers who will share their knowledge, stories, and teachings about the importance of light in the winter and its significance for their respective cultures.

Muckpaloo Ipeelie is an urban Inuk who is the founder and CEO of the Urban Inuit Identity Project Inc., a social enterprise that provides culturally relevant educational materials and workshops for health care workers and community builders who are involved in the circle of care of Inuit. She is also an advocate for better Inuit social supports and a knowledge sharer of Inuit culture. She will share about Inuit culture, throat singing, and solstice at the event.

Jennifer McFarlane is a proud Métis woman who is learning more and embracing her Metis culture. She began her journey learning in Rama On, and after time, moved into her new role as Camp Developer for Metis Nation of Ontario. She continues learning and teaching on the land in this new role while sharing the joy with young Metis Children and their families. She is looking forward to reflecting her experience as a mentee in the organizing committee of the Collingwood Indigenous Circle Group. She will share and review the year, teachings, and journey, and touch on what Northern Lights means to her at the event.

Opichi Commanda is a Two-Spirit content creator and firekeeper who belongs to Nipissing First Nation and is a member of the Marten clan with relations to eagle clan through her mother. She utilizes the power of social media to empower Indigenous youth to regain a cultural connection through traditional roles. She also keeps a traditional medicine garden and enjoys teaching about Indigenous medicines and plants. She attends ceremony across Ontario and is currently working to complete a Bachelors of Indigenous Education at Trent University. She will share fire teachings and touch on what she has been doing during fire keeping for the past two years at the CIC Changes of Season’s events.

The event will also include an Inuit Light Ceremony, which is a ritual that honors the return of the sun after the long winter darkness. The ceremony involves lighting a qulliq, a traditional oil lamp made of soapstone, and reciting praise songs to welcome the sun. The ceremony symbolizes hope, warmth, and gratitude for life.  The Inuit Light Ceremony will be community inclusive, and follow Inuit customs.

The event will also offer a warm cider as a beverage for the participants to enjoy. The event is free and open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the solstice and the Indigenous cultures of Canada. The event is a great opportunity to celebrate the renewal, connection, and diversity that the solstice brings.

This will be our last and final Change of Seasons Gathering.  Thank you to all who have come, supported and created our Collingwood Indigenous Circle community.  However, we will be creating a big Indigenous celebration next year in Collingwood.  Also, keep an eye out for Indigenous events stemming from Wasaga Beach as well (more to come).   For now, watch for announcements for the next 3 Yonnhe’ón:we events for 2024.

A final note: When Knowledge Sharers share teachings with you, they are investing in you and in a way, they offer a piece of themselves to you. Showing reciprocity is customary In First Nations culture. You may observe or participate in this by bringing medicines in the form of tobacco ties, cedar leaves, dried sage or sweetgrass braids in show of gratitude and respect for the investment made to the learners. Many First Nations people, prefer these medicines. We invite you to also try to participate in the ceremony with the First Nations customary practice of reciprocity.

In Inuit tundra, these medicines above do not grow in the arctic and so are not traditional to Inuit way of life however, we accept First Nations medicines for healing. Because of this, community members who wish to participate in the First Nations customary way, may also choose to bring a small gesture item in honour of the Inuit way. These items include tea, or coffee since these are our Inuit favorites! You may choose to give First Nations medicines or Inuit small gesture items to any person who you learn from at the event. The CIC organizers will be there, for you to ask questions to learn.

Thank you to the Town of Collingwood for sponsoring this event.

Muckpaloo Ipeelie and the Collingwood Indigenous Circle Organizing Committee – Dec. 1st 2023