My name is Diane Maytwayashing. I am an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper and the Heritage Interpreter of the Whiteshell Petroforms. The Petroforms are stones or boulders shaped into patterns by Indigenous ancestors. The Bannock Point Petroforms are to be found in Whiteshell Provincial Park.
I live with my family in the town of Seven Sisters Falls, in the Whiteshell area. I am Anishinaabe with Scottish ancestry, a mother of four children, a grandmother of four grandchildren, and I am in a partnership with a gentleman.
The story of how I became a Knowledge Keeper of the Petroforms is not a romantic narrative, but rather, my knowledge came out of great despair.
At a time in my life when I was in desperation, with no sense of purpose, my friend, Leonard Martin, suggested we take a drive out to Whiteshell Provincial Park, a day trip to visit a special place. I did not know it then, but this place would forever change my life.
This sacred site, known to the Anishinaabe as Manitouabee, is an area of flat interlocking expanses of rock where small boulders were set long ago by Indigenous ancestors into various shapes, including turtles, serpents, animals, circles, a star woman, and many other formations. My heart was captivated by the beauty and mystery of this incredibly ancient and mystical site.
I experienced a phenomenal feeling, seeing Manitouabee for the first time. Never had I imagined that a place like this existed on Earth. Being there, I felt as though I stood at the gateway to a great spiritual domain. That day, my friend gave me the gift of meaning and life purpose by sharing with me his knowledge of the Petroforms. He respectfully gave credit for this acquired knowledge of the Petroforms to his elder and teacher the late Peter O’Cheise.
Twenty-five years have passed since I first walked through the Petroforms site, and since that time I have spent years participating in vision quests for knowledge. The Petroforms have revived my life in many realms, and in return for this legacy, it is my responsibility to share it with the people.