There’s a new group in town, Mississippi Mills All My Relations*, with a brand-new website: www.mmallmyrelations.ca.
This group focuses on renewing our relationship with Canada’s First Nations peoples, emphasizing local reconciliation. The initiative is sponsored by St. Paul’s Almonte with support from other local churches and social justice organizations. Members include parishioners, people from other local denominations and like-minded individuals from the community.
We’ve all been deeply moved by the stories we now hear of the multitude of ways in which Indigenous peoples in Canada have been harmed, maligned and marginalized over generations by the dominant cultures – we “immigrants”. We understand that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report is only the beginning of a process of healing of relations between Canadians and First Peoples, a process which may take generations.
And we wanted to DO SOMETHING about it locally. So, we spent the winter educating ourselves. And, in the spring, we began looking for ways to share what we were learning.
St Paul’s held a National Aboriginal Day service which began outdoors, on the lawn by the river, under a tent. It was led by some of our First Nations neighbours from the Lanark Drum, with a smudging, indigenous prayers and sacred songs. This was followed by a moving time of sharing as one by one people stood with the talking stick and spoke from the heart. We continued inside the church with a wonderful speaker, a woman with Cree and Innu heritage, who shared her experiences and thoughts.
We are holding our next event on Saturday August 19: Renewing Our Friendship: Reconciliation and the Birch Bark Canoe. The goal is to learn together about how our Indigenous neighbours are moving forward, and how we can walk with them respectfully.
Come for the day (cost: $25), or just for the traditional lunch ($10) and a chance to speak to Chuck Commanda about the traditional birch bark canoes he is bringing.
Details of the programme can be found on our website at www.mmallmyrelations.ca/education/upcoming-events/
You can register for the day online! Don’t delay, seating is limited.
* “All My Relations” is an Indigenous phrase which succinctly describes the inter-connectedness of everything (people to people, people to creation, people to the Higher Power — what Christians call God and Indigenous people refer to as The Creator).
Deane Zeeman, Web Manager
Mississippi Mills All My Relations