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Raphael Moses leads medicine walk at Boulevard Lake

Thursday June 26, 2014
Rick Garrick/Wawatay News

Pic River’s Raphael Moses shares some of his knowledge about traditional medicines with a group of medicine walk participants on June 14 at Boulevard Lake in Thunder Bay. He plans another walk in mid-July.
Rick Garrick/Wawatay News

Pic River’s Raphael Moses shares one of his traditional medicines during his June 14 medicine walk. He plans another walk in mid-July.

Pic Mobert’s June Desmoulin enjoyed learning more about traditional medicines during Raphael Moses’ June 14 medicine walk at Boulevard Lake in Thunder Bay.

“I’m studying to be an herbalist practitioner and I learned a few more of the regional plants,” Desmoulin said. “The walk was good — I’m glad it wasn’t hot out. It was actually the right temperature and it didn’t rain on us. I’m looking forward to going to the next one coming up in July.”

Desmoulin and six other people participated in the medicine walk with Moses, who began studying the traditional medicines about 35 years ago and recently published a book on traditional medicines called Holistic Adventures.

“Everybody said it was great, educational, informative,” Moses said about the medicine walk.
“They said we didn’t know that plants like this grow around that have so much value.”

Moses showed the participants a variety of plants and trees during the five-hour medicine walk through the forest south of Boulevard Lake and along the road to Centennial Park.

“We talked about the dandelion, the rabbit root,” Moses said. “We talked about the birch tree, the poplar tree, the cedar, the black spruce (and) all different kinds of trees and plants.”

Moses even gave the participants a plant to flush their kidneys.

“Everyone should flush their kidneys every three to four months for a 10-day period,” Moses said.

Thunder Bay’s Jean Riddell enjoyed the medicine walk.

“It was great,” Riddell said. “I really appreciated the knowledge of Raphael. I learned things about my own city, all the things that are right here in the city.”

Moses plans to do a tree-peeling workshop involving a number of trees, including birch, poplar, cedar, tamarack, cherry and willow, during July.

“We make a tea out of it,” Moses said. “It is good for 47 different sicknesses.”

Moses has already sold more than 500 copies of his book to people from across northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He recently sold out of books during a book launch on June 18 at the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres office in Toronto.

“My goal is the sell 1,000 in order to pay translators to put it in different languages,” Moses said. “To my surprise, the youth are buying the book.”

The book features pictures of herbs, barks and roots, what they are used for, where they can be found, when to pick them, how to dry them, how to prepare them and how people can look after themselves in healthy living.

Moses decided to share his knowledge with others through a book after watching a number of Elders pass on without sharing their knowledge.

“I watched the Elder pass away,” Moses said this past winter. “And the youth came out and said ‘we don’t have any more teachers out here. We don’t have nobody to talk to; no one to teach us.’ So I’m hoping this book will go out to the public and help the people.”

Moses’ next medicine walk is scheduled for mid-July on Mt. McKay. Interested people can contact him at 632-5651 or HOLISTICADVENTURES56@GMAIL.COM.

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