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Jeremy Hansen's mission patch: recognizing Indigenous Peoples

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Uploaded on February 7, 2024

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Jeremy Hansen's mission patch: recognizing Indigenous Peoples

2024-02-08 - For the past decade, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen has been fortunate to be invited by numerous Indigenous communities to sit with Elders and Knowledge Keepers. They have blessed him with knowledge and teachings that he carries with him as he prepares for the historic Artemis II mission. It was important to Jeremy to recognize the importance of traditional knowledge and Indigenous Peoples of Canada as he represents our country in space.

Hear from Anishinaabe artist Henry Guimond and David Courchene III, Leader of the Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng First Nation (Manitoba), who worked with Jeremy to create a patch that he will wear in space with great humility. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA, Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Center, Turtle Lodge)

Transcript

Jeremy Hansen: Everything I, I thought it would be. It's amazing, Henry. It's just absolutely beautiful work. Would you mind maybe telling us a little bit about what is in, what you decided to include in here and why? 

Henry Guimond: Well, the bow represents, in Greek mythology, Artemis. And she's going to launch her arrow. And the astronauts are going to be riding on that arrow, going to the Moon.

Henry Guimond: And then we have the Dipper. And the star represents you and your family. This blue represents all spirits of mankind. The silver represents the capsule that you'll be in. 

Jeremy Hansen: And the spirit will be with us inside the capsule. 

Henry Guimond: And we have the seven teachings, and these symbols represent the flowing spirits.

Dave Courchene III (Sabe): The reasoning behind the animals and the representation is to keep us connected – to keep us connected to our natural environment.

Sabe: When I listen to our Elders and talk about… as Indigenous people, we've never been given an equal opportunity to, to contribute or seen as equals within our own homelands. By saying that though, our Elders will say we have yet to give our greatest contribution to the world. And part of that to me is what we, we’re referring to as the Seven Sacred Laws.

Sabe: When you look at the buffalo, that teaching represents respect. That buffalo gave its entire being in order for the people to live. When you respect, you give of yourself, you give of your life to, to, to help people around you to create, again, a better place for everybody.

Sabe: The eagle represents love, and you always hear our grandmothers, they will say one of the most powerful medicines that we have is love.

Sabe: The third one is the bear representing courage. When you look at a mother bear and her cubs, she will do everything she can to make sure her little ones are safe.

Sabe: These Seven Sacred Laws or values offer us an opportunity to be able to create a foundation of, of unity.

Jeremy Hansen: In the space program, this is one of the things that guides us is this idea of cooperation and humanity across the entire globe, being reminded that we must work together.

Jeremy Hansen: I love when you speak about the humility and just the understanding that, you know, we are all the same, we all have the same value.

Henry Guimond: Grandmother Moon has always been like, just so connected with the Earth, with life. And seasons. It’s just to say that she's sacred. So sacred. Everything that’s living on the Earth, all connected with her.

Jeremy Hansen: This is a big journey going around the Moon, and I just feel ill prepared as a human to do it and am looking for advice. And so this is – this is represented here in these Indigenous teachings. This is a reminder for me on how to – how to walk as I get ready to go on this journey. I am reminded by your artwork on how I need to walk to represent humanity and as I go on this journey around the Moon. 

Jeremy Hansen: You’re such a talented and gifted artist to be able to communicate all these things in a – in an image for us to see. And I just can't thank you enough.

Jeremy Hansen: Yeah, it's beautiful. Henry, I have such immense gratitude for you. Thank you.

Henry Guimond: Thank very much.

Jeremy Hansen: Thank you so much for this amazing work.

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