White Buffalo Ornaments on Aurora’s Wellbriety Tree & Winter Solstice

White Buffalo Ornaments on Aurora's Wellbriety Tree & Winter Solstice

White Buffalo Ornaments honour sobriety time on Aurora’s Wellbriety tree

Boozhoo, Tansi,  Tawnshi (Tawnshey),

Aurora Recovery Centre has the privilege of being located on the Western shores of Lake Winnipeg within Treaty no. 1 Territory. These are the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and is the Birthplace of the Métis Nation.

We honour and respect the Treaties that were made on these territories in 1871 at Lower Fort Garry, we acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation, collaboration and healing.

The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it takes place between December 20 and 23, depending on the year. (The reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere, where the shortest day of the year occurs in June.) Cultures around the world have long held feasts and celebrated holidays around the winter solstice. Fire and light are traditional symbols of celebrations held on the darkest day of the year.

The winter solstice is the day of the year with the fewest hours of daylight, and it marks the start of astronomical winter. After the winter solstice, days start becoming longer and nights shorter as spring approaches with new beginnings once again.

In 2020, the Winter Solstice arrived on Monday, December 21, at 4:02 am, CST. 

To mark this day in celebration we have chosen to acknowledge it with the importance of everyone’s sober birthdays.

Each year, the Wellbriety Movement makes and distributes 1000’s of white buffalo ornaments to communities across North America with intentions of providing hope and creating sobriety awareness.

Wellbriety trees are being set up at hospitals, youth shelters, and recovery centres to name just a few. Aurora Recovery Centre and the City of Winnipeg came together to show support to the recovery community and provide hope, and support to the ones suffering from mental health and addictions with its 1st annual Wellbriety Tree Lighting ceremony in 2018.

In attendance were several Winnipeg dignitaries, Winnipeg addiction treatment centre team members, alumni members, Aurora staff, leaders and members, Selkirks Fireheart Women’s Drum Group and the Howling Wolf Men’s group. They provided courage and prayers for our community through song.

We arrive at today, this very special day.  Today we take these white buffalo and sign our names and acknowledge your sober birthdays and place them on this tree in honour of your work, dedication and your recovery.

The fire is lit to honour the longest day of darkness and continue to shine light for your recovery even in the darkest of moments as well as all those that have come through our doors before you and facing the darkness out in the world. 

We give thanks to all who helped support this evening including the White Bison program that has created The Red Road to Wellbriety program, management, kitchen staff, MCS staff, Tim, counsellors, and all of you.

We wish you continued health and happiness on your Road to Recovery and Happy Winter Solstice day.

By Kevin Koroscil