Aanii!! Hello! Thank-you for dropping in!! I am really excited that you have visited our web site and would like to let you know about who I am.
My name is Joanne Kewageshig. I am amarried mother of four children and a settler of European ancestry. I have studied and worked with herbs for over 20 years. This journey of mine began when I was a young disillusioned student and passionately wanted to learn skills to create a more sustainable and equitable world.
After finishing my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies at the University of Waterloo, I moved to the big city, Toronto! I also began my formal study of herbs. I enrolled in a Dominion Herbal College correspondence course- “Chartered Herbalist”- and completed the course while working full time as a personal attendant to Judith Snow, a well known quadriplegic and advocate of the differently abled. I was also busy as a volunteer activist with a variety of social justice and environmental organizations and spent time working in solidarity with Stoney Point First Nation.
For me, learning about and using herbs has always been intertwined with social justice. I find promoting and marketing individual wellness challenging when the world is fraught with suffering and inequality. Our own wellness is most fully enhanced when we weave sustainability, compassion, and inclusiveness into the choices we make and the way we live our lives.
In 2002, my husband and I moved from the city to his home of Stoney Point First Nation. I was 8 months pregnant and we had an 18 month old boy. We moved into the officers quarters of a former army barrack. In 1995, the people of Stoney Point had evicted the Canadian military from Stoney Point territories. My husband was involved in all of this, but had moved to Toronto with me for a couple of years.
Once back at Stoney Point, I dove into learning all kinds of things- we grew a small veggie garden, which grew into a number of herb gardens and a large veggie garden. I learned from my husband how to cut firewood, use a wood stove, track and hunt animals, clean fish, butcher game, tap trees and make syrup.
I took more courses and workshops about herbal medicine, grew, harvested and worked with plants, learned to use plant medicine for our growing family and an ever increasing circle of interested friends. I began creating our current line of products as I learned more about working with plants. The small batch, organic products we now sell were first made for our own children and family to use. Since we do not have a lot of money, we have done everything on a modest budget. I learned from my husband’s “indianuity” how to improvise and do the best with what you have.
Being healthy shouldn’t be something you can attain only if you have money to pay for it. Yet in our modern world, this is far too often the reality. Wellness can be exclusive; something impossible to attain for poor people and for many whose identity is outside of the norm.
Since my late teens (I’m now in my forties), I wanted to work in a herbal practice and assist people to use herbs for their health. As life unfolded, this dream was harder to realize than I thought. The idea of wellness promoted in the mainstream has requirements that are difficult for poor and marginalized people to meet: stability and predictability in your life; eliminating stress (gotta love that one); time for self-care; money to purchase top quality, organic food, free range eggs and pasture fed meat; and the calm and grace to manage all of that without stressing about it!!
Tall order, right? I know, it is a daily challenge for our family as well! There have been times when I have felt discouraged, focused too much on the challenges and not enough on the possibilities. But there is almost always a way through the challenges with a little bit of determination, resourcefulness, and a sense of humour!
Our home is an old army barrack. We have modified, torn down and reconstructed parts of the building to make it more livable and comfortable. We installed wood stoves and kitchens. Our gardens were turned, dug, planted and maintained through our own labour. We cook maple sap down on a wood stove made from re-used materials and our chicken coop is designed from a combination of purchased lumber, scrap wood and metal salvaged from old buildings and previous projects.
The Stoney Point community where we live is re-establishing itself amidst past turmoil. Indicators of military occupation still dot the wild spaces – abandoned out-buildings, barbed wire, and you can still see the trenches that were dug for people and machines. Yet this is our home, where we have raised our family, and where we work hard to create a healthy life, reclaiming traditional skills for ourselves and our children. As a family we grow gardens, raise chickens, harvest food and medicine from the bush, engage in cultural activities like powwows and ceremony and generally like to spend time together, out on the land.
My heart’s passion is not in selling a formula for a perfect life, rather it is in working with real people to come up with manageable ways to live healthier in an unhealthy world. I can be a facilitator. I can share knowledge of medicinal plants and how to use them; how to grow them; practical ways to incorporate them into your life.
We welcome all people to participate in workshops and other learning opportunities or to arrange a personal consultation. We offer subsidized spots for workshops and pay what you can consultations as well as opportunities to work/learn in our gardens and apothecary in exchange for goods and services. Every time you purchase a product or service from Honey Pot Herbals, you help us provide education and services to people who cannot afford it. I sincerely hope that some of what is written here resonates with you. Please visit our home page for more details about our offerings. I would love to have you walk with us for a while!
Education (Joanne Kewageshig)
Honours Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and International Studies, University of Waterloo
Chartered Herbalist, Dominion Herbal College
Grandmothers Medicine Bag (Two day workshop with Mohawk healer Kayanderes)
Vital Health and Hygeine, Alternative Medicine College of Canada
Herbal First Aid, Learning Herbs
Introduction to Animal Herbalism, Instructed by Cat Lane of the Possible Canine.