This summer has been flying by!
In July, members of our staff and Board of Directors traveled to New Credit for a Gladue Conference and were most humbled to meet and speak with the Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair, who was the first Indigenous Judge appointed in Manitoba, second ever in Canada, and the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The look on our Executive Director Donna’s face, says it all!
On August 16th, our amazing Administrator Pandora Wilhelm ensured that the community’s biennial (every two years) Canoe Day went off without a hitch!
Participants from our First Peoples community were paired with the local justice community on a 3-hour or so canoe excursion down the Grand River from West Mountrose to Kiwanis Park. The Niagara Peninsula Aboriginal Area Management Board (NPAAMB; employment and skills training), KW Urban Native Wigwam Project (housing), and professors from Wilfrid Laurier University all braved the rainy-day waters, alongside Waterloo Regional Police Services, lawyers, and others in the justice system. This event is about breaking down barriers between our communities and showing that negative stereotypes are not representative of who we are. The hope is that through better understanding, we can create more positive interactions in the future.
Despite the start and stop of rain, the communities came together in a circle, joining hands and thoughts, as our Knowledge Keeper gave a rousing prayer of thanks, and led our formal introductions to each other. Afterwards, the hamburger and hotdogs cooked on the BBQ under the supervision of our Court Support Worker James Boppre, while participants picked out a free souvenir to take home of handmade and painted canoe paddles done by some incredibly talented local artists.
Souvenir Handmade and Hand-Painted Canoe Paddles
Many then gathered round the Conundrum, created by Peterborough area artist David Hynes to hear the amazing sound from this full size Canoe Drum. The many beats together on one skin seemed to stop the rain in its tracks!
Community Member Michelle Chrisjohn is preparing for the Fall Potluck Social and was at the Canoe Day event with her fundraiser raffle and 50/50 to help cover any costs. The Fall Potluck Social will be held Sunday, September 30th at Victoria Park Pavilion in Kitchener. All are welcome!
Enjoy what’s left of the summer. Hope to see you all out at the next gathering!