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Candid photo of a woman sitting on a chair laughing

Nisnekasun Oshawe Mikasiskew iyun Ochi Puskwa-moostoos ninotim

I am Brown Eagle Woman from the Buffalo Clan.

My English name given at birth is Liegh Audrey Burns also known as Audrey Leigh Constant from OCN Opaskewyak Cree Nation in Manitoba (Treaty 5). That is where my father is from, and that is where I am registered. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother are from James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. I have 5 children of my own and 2 grandchildren.

Audrey Leigh Constant

I am not a residential school survivor or from the 60’s scoop or from the Day School era, I do though live in the ripple effects of all that painful history. And in being so I do not carry my language, but I identify as Cree, I am hopeful and optimistic in learning what I can to become a fluent speaker.

I was raised across the prairies, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. I didn’t start my traditional learning, my traditional journey, until I met a little old man by the name of Raymond Ballantyne in 2010. I needed his help with a bad migraine I developed in my late 30’s. In the coming years he became my teacher, my mentor, and finally my adopted dad in 2016. In 2018 we celebrated Raymond’s life. He is better able to help us on the other side, I miss his earthly presence every day, but we all know he is busy busy busy helping each and every one of us. He left for me 7 brothers and 3 sisters who all have his beautiful teachings.

Through ceremony we learn about oneself, we explore our deepest hurts, our deepest pains, we learn how to see it, sit with it, accept it and then let it go, use that energy now in a good way, we learn how to forgive both the perpetrator and ourselves, and finally we learn how to use this new found knowledge to help others who seek assistance.

I have been a Sundancer for the past 13 years, I am a pipe carrier (I don’t really like to use that term because it is not me who carries the pipe, in reality the pipe is the one who carries me). I am also a lodge keeper, moon lodge skabea, I do full moon ceremonies, sharing circles, woman/spider sweats, and traditional feasts. I bead, make earrings, medallions, pipe bags, and winter gantlets. I pick, use, and store all kinds of medicines that are from around our region, I can make ribbon skirts and am learning how to make ribbon shirts for men.

I am open minded and caring, I have a big heart, I give my utmost attention, pay attention to detail, I am creative, and I love learning. I am also a professional cook, so I love baking and making food pretty, dancing in the rain, and dancing in the kitchen. I enjoy playing the guitar, I have practiced the piano, I enjoy sports (volleyball, tennis, hiking, swimming), going for long rides, and going to the mountains and water. I love the company of others. I love watching the clouds, thunder, lightning, and rain. I love visiting, helping, and listening to the stories of our Elders. I love being outdoors, just not in the winter months.

Illustration of two women hugging

So much more to see and learn, I hope to meet you someday, exchange greetings, smiles and hugs.

May you be blessed today and for all the days of tomorrow. Many prayers for your happiness, good health, and all the good things like water, food, and shelter. Remember to share everything to everything, shine bright and always smile.

Ekosi

White Buffalo Treatment Centre