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First Steps

A woman with a shawl carries her baby on her back.her's back

Babies were carried by their mothers until they ‘walked out’.

Our very first journeys are joyful celebrations of Eeyou life and well-being. We mark these events with ceremony.

Small child walking to teepee with her parent.

Ava’s Walking Out Ceremony, 2017.

At sunrise in early summer, family and friends gather to welcome small children into the world. When children step out onto the earth for the first time, they walk in a circle around the woodpile with their mothers. The children then return to the miichiwaahp (teepee) with small gifts of food and firewood  collected for the elders.


Inside the miichiwaahp they are welcomed with hugs and kisses by the elders, and then by everyone else. Coffee, tea,  snacks, and sweets are offered to all. Later in the day there will be a feast to be shared by everyone who came to celebrate the child’s first steps.

In this video of Simon, Trenton and Jordan’s Walking Out in 2009, Elder Fred Blackned, a former Chief of Wemindji, explains the importance of the ceremony:

Watch the video about the  Walking Out Ceremony with transcript here