The Mamingwey Burn Society has a rich history and evolution to the thriving organization it is today.
In the late 1990s, some staff members at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg planned and hosted a “Burn Survivor Sunday”, a half-day gathering for survivors, their families, and medical staff to gather, share their healing journeys, and hear stories of others’ recoveries. The planning group grew and in a few short years, many survivors joined the committee, and we changed the gatherings to 2 day conferences. We then decided we needed a name for our group, in order to establish ourselves as a society. We consulted with an indigenous elder, Sakoieta Widrick, a Spiritual Co-ordinator of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, who suggested a name based on “A Butterfly’s Lesson” which is attached below. In 2004 the “Mamingwey” name, stemming from the indigenous legend, was feasted in the Indigenous Health offices at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg as a gift of hope, transforming a community of burn survivors, family members, friends, caregivers and firefighters into a Burn Survivor Society.
MAMINGWEY is an Ojibwey term for butterfly. It refers to our journey through life’s cycle of transformation with its fragility and its strength. Monarch butterflies fly thousands of miles from Canada’s north to the mountains of Mexico. This is a reflection of strength and fragility co-existing.
The Butterfly’s Lesson reminds us that we must endure the struggle before we gain strength. When man denied the butterfly its struggle, he remained weak and frail. By overcoming obstacles, one learns the skills and gains the confidence needed to survivor and thrive.
The MAMINGWEY logo is based upon the medicine wheel teaching and is divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant represents the pillars of our survival and evolution as beings.
In the infancy or physical stage, the egg represents a new beginning. A burn injury causes physical alteration, pain and suffering and often a feeling or helplessness and dependency on others.
The emotional stage (larva) is the period of establishing one’s identity, learning about one’s emotions and learning how to control those emotions. It refers to what we put into our heads, our “inner talk”.
The adult or mental (cocoon) stage is that of wisdom, morals and kindness.
The butterfly, in its adult transformation is in search or spirituality, that of a Higher Power, God, Creator or whatever creates a sense of empowerment.
The fire in the middle with the smoke rising symbolizes ones connection with the Higher Power. One must continually feed their spirit and by looking after each quadrant, everything comes into balance.Butterfly lesson