I Am A Well


When my husband and I were going through the pre-marital course at church about a million years ago, we had to sit through a series of outdated and awkward videos. There was one video, in particular, that we giggled all the way through. The elderly man in the video spent an hour comparing men and women by using the analogy of fountains and wells. He said: Men are fountains and women are wells.

*insert all the innuendo, immature looks and poorly contained laughter here*

I hadn’t thought about that video, or that analogy, in nearly twenty years but it suddenly popped into my head the other day as an answer to a question I have been unable to articulate for weeks.

Women are wells.

I am a well.

It suddenly made total sense!

Last month, I was in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for the Atamiskakewak National Gathering. I met up with nine other SheLovelys for a week of engaging in the culture and issues facing our indigenous communities in Canada. It was an incredible,  difficult, heartbreaking and healing week of learning and connecting. My eyes were opened to so many truths and I felt strong in the midst of these magnificent, healing people.

In the weeks since I have returned home, I have struggled with finding adequate words to describe all I experienced. I felt this thing, deep in my chest. So deep and yet so near to my soul. I can still feel it with every breath. I can hear my heartbeat echo in this space and I can feel the presence of something else there, too. Something sacred and fragile and yet o, so undeniable. It’s all there, but I can’t quite grasp it. I cannot hold it firm or tame it. It’s there, but not for me to master.

During that week in Moose Jaw, I heard a hundred stories. I took in generations of previously hidden truths. I absorbed a million unshed tears, each holding the heartache and hope of my people, of my nation, of all the indigenous people.

I could feel this transformation—or maybe an expansion—happening. I could feel this hidden space deep within me grow with every voice calling forth their truth. I could sense a shift in my soul and a homecoming in my heart. I realize now that I was made for this. These are the truths I am meant to hold. The space within me was meant for this.

I know now I am a vessel in which truths dwell.

Recently, my uncle and I sat together for a couple of hours, talking about our family—our Metis and Cree family. As we talked, his memory opened up and he began to sing songs in Michif, our Metis language, and remember Cree phrases that his father, my grandfather, used to say. He remembered stories I had never heard and he showed me pictures I’d never seen. As I flipped through the pictures, I suddenly saw my own face looking back at me. It was my face, yet not quite.

The picture was of my great-aunt Myrtle, holding her infant daughter, surrounded by her aunts. My own mother looks exactly like Aunt Myrtle did and I look like the aunt standing directly behind Myrtle. Those are my aunties and I am their child. These are my people. These strong, proud, loving women are the ones I come from. My heart comes from their hearts. I felt it as soon as I saw them. I feel it now. This is a truth I hold.

I do believe women are like wells. We were created to hold things—deep, precious, sacred things. I believe there is a knowledge women innately carry with us in the deepest places of our souls. Indigenous people call it “blood memory.” The Bible refers to this as a generational connection. It’s the thread that anchors us to the past while connecting us to the future. It’s that other sense we have, the one that makes us feel grounded and somehow linked to our sense of purpose. We, as women, hold this in the wells of our souls.

We hold these things deep within, because they are pieces of us that are most precious. They are the things we need to keep safe and the things that need to be nurtured, protected and given space to grow. These are the truths of the past mixed with the hopes for the future. These are the things that are of us, of our ancestors and of our children’s children. We are the Keepers in the middle.

So, we absorb stories.

We feel truth.

We hold space and we feel it all deep within our souls.

We were made for this. I was made for this.

Spending a week marinating in the culture and stories of my people, was a profound experience for me. It was healing and empowering and enlightening. There was a moment, during our SheLoves Reconciliation event where I, for the first time, put on the sash of my Metis people. This sash was traditionally worn by trappers and Yorkboat men to enable them to carry heavy burdens. It has become a symbol of the Metis people in the Red River Valley and, on that Wednesday evening, in the midst of a crowd of cheering brothers and sisters, I donned my sash and pledged to carry the message of my people forward from that place. And so I will.

I carry the burden of the message from my ancestors.

I am the holder of their stories.

I am the witness to their truths.

I am the well that protects these intangibles,

that gives space for them to float and swirl and take shape.

I am the well that holds these truths at the ready for those who wish to lean in

and draw from the depths.

I am a well.

I was made for this.



What truths and passions do you hold?

What do you feel you were made to carry?