Atayokan Traditional Living Skills Retreat

About the Experience

Atayokan means ‘sacred story’ in the Cree language. This transformative spiritual retreat was designed by indigenous guides Tracey Klettl and Brenda Holder, two sisters of the Aseniwuche Winewak (“Rocky Mountain People”). Atayokan offers an authentic experience and opportunity to learn the generational skills shared by the strong women in Tracey and Brenda’s indigenous lineage. These women were fire carriers, medicine women and knowledge keepers.

Atayokan encourages Wild Women to walk a path that awakens ancient knowledge from deep tap, natural roots. Learn how to cultivate balance and the necessary tools required to carry it into everyday practice.  Through the teachings of their Grandmothers, Tracey and Brenda share their knowledge and skills to foster self-reliance and confidence. Teachings include traditional plant medicine, grounding sacred earth walks, shelter construction, natural navigation, bow hunting and horseback riding. 

Situated in the sacred and serene foothills of the mesmerizing Canadian Rockies north of Calgary, Alberta, all the comforts are provided in a quiet and secluded area that supports the renewal of spirit and reconnection. In the company of gentle, curious, resilient women, investigate and re-write your own personal sacred story.

 

 

Did you know we’re a global leader in women’s adventure travel? Check out our destinations around the world!

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Atayokan Traditional Living Skills Retreat

About the Experience

Atayokan means ‘sacred story’ in the Cree language. This transformative spiritual retreat was designed by indigenous guides Tracey Klettl and Brenda Holder, two sisters of the Aseniwuche Winewak (“Rocky Mountain People”). Atayokan offers an authentic experience and opportunity to learn the generational skills shared by the strong women in Tracey and Brenda’s indigenous lineage. These women were fire carriers, medicine women and knowledge keepers.

Atayokan encourages Wild Women to walk a path that awakens ancient knowledge from deep tap, natural roots. Learn how to cultivate balance and the necessary tools required to carry it into everyday practice.  Through the teachings of their Grandmothers, Tracey and Brenda share their knowledge and skills to foster self-reliance and confidence. Teachings include traditional plant medicine, grounding sacred earth walks, shelter construction, natural navigation, bow hunting and horseback riding. 

Situated in the sacred and serene foothills of the mesmerizing Canadian Rockies north of Calgary, Alberta, all the comforts are provided in a quiet and secluded area that supports the renewal of spirit and reconnection. In the company of gentle, curious, resilient women, investigate and re-write your own personal sacred story.

 

 

Did you know we’re a global leader in women’s adventure travel? Check out our destinations around the world!

DAY ONE: MEDICINE WALKS

We will be met with a warm welcome at 9AM at the Acclaim Hotel in Calgary (which is situated close to the Calgary Airport).  Our guide will then drive us to the sanctuary of the Painted Warriors Ranch (located 1 hour from Calgary).

Upon arrival at the ranch, the friendly staff will help us get settled into the cozy canvas ‘glamping’ tents before a brief group orientation over hot coffee or a cup of tea. Following orientation, we will head outside for an enveloping walk in the fragrant forest where we will be introduced to the elements, natural navigation, traditional medicinal uses and extracts derived from plants based on Cree culture.

After a wholesome lunch prepared outdoors, we will learn about the intricate designs and importance of beadwork as we work on our own traditional projects, carefully stitched with a beaded pattern.  

 

DAY TWO: TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS LIVING SKILLS

After a wholesome breakfast, our leaders will invite us to a smudging ceremony. We will begin the day with a sacred earth walk, a meditative journey that establishes a positive start to each new day. This morning, we will learn indigenous living skills like how to start a fire without matches and the vital role of the firekeeper in traditional societies. Our guide will also demonstrate how resources from the earth are integrated as everyday tools.

After a lunch of swapped stories and good eats, we will continue our traditional education in the forest and learn to tie the knots that were used for shelter building to set up tripods. In these teachings we will hear stories connected to the evolution of shelter construction in the wild.

Our group will then have a crash course in raw food preparation for our evening meal. Tonight’s menu revolves around the benefits of eating naturally sourced food such as vegetables, nuts and fruits.

Satiated, we’ll absorb the magic of the night sky and relax into some casual social time around the campfire before turning in for the evening.

 

DAY THREE: CREATING NATURAL MEDICINES

After breakfast, we will have the opportunity to take part in a mindful yoga session.

In the afternoon, following lunch, we will learn how to make natural medicines from plants. Learning about the forest pharmacy at our feet is an amazing lesson in self-sufficiency.

It’s easy to feel rejuvenated after another healthy dinner and natural spa treatment using the plants that we gathered earlier. We’ll take part in a fun group foot soak and replenishing facial treatment before returning to our tents happily exhausted.

 

DAY FOUR: ARCHERY

After breakfast, we’ll start our day with a sacred earth walk and morning yoga session to properly ground ourselves.  The rest of the morning will be spent practicing archery, learning local wildlife identification skills and basic bow hunting techniques.

We’ll spend more time deep in the forest after lunch, learning more about the traditions of hunting and gathering from a First Nations perspective as we continue our archery journey on a 3D archery course.  We will leave plenty of time to relax before dinner and this evening is a sweet one!  Our talented raw food chef will show us how to make an irresistible campfire dessert.

 

DAY FIVE: HORSEBACK RIDING

We will start our morning with an in-depth session on horsewomanship and explore how a horse connects with us and why this relationship is so important. In time, we will learn how to read and understand horses from the ground before we begin the beautiful communication process.

As our confidence builds, we’ll learn and practice riding basics so when it’s time to hit the trail, we will have a full grasp of the safety measures to consider.

Our afternoon will be spent on a glorious trail ride where we will have a little taste of backcountry riding! Yahoo!

 

DAY SIX: BLESSINGS

After breakfast together, we’ll gather for a special blessing walk. This final walk is a direct connection and blessing from Mother Earth that we can take with us, always, in whatever direction we take next in life.

After a reflective lunch together, a shuttle will transport us back to the Calgary airport where we can either continue to explore the bluebird skies and wild expanse of Alberta or catch flights home.

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!