The sculpture in the image used above is by artist Vince Bomberry and is titled “Guswentah” (Two Row Wampum belt). It is located at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford.
The work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada came to an end in June 2015 as recommendations were made to begin to pave the way toward reconciliation between First Nations and non-First Nations peoples. The residential school system, where First Nations children were stripped of their culture and identity, reveals a dark chapter in Canada’s history. The way forward includes non-First Nations people coming to an understanding of how our current culture and behaviour often contributes to the ongoing legacy of colonialism and injustice.
During this program we will seek to deepen our understanding of the role we can each play to make reconciliation a reality. We will learn the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) teaching of the two row wampum as a model of right relations as well as other teachings and practices that will lead to greater understanding and appreciation of local First Nations history and culture. We will learn about the legacy of the residential school system in Canada by touring a former residential school building, the Mohawk Institute in Brantford, ON and hearing stories from survivors. We will seek to examine our own culture and the barriers that arise when seeking to journey toward reconciliation.
We will spend time on the land and connect with the wisdom found in nature. Our hope is that our time together will promote peace and compassion toward all beings, offering gratitude to Creator for all that has been given to us.
This program is being offered as a part of the Turtle Island Pilgrimage for Justice & Peace. We are inviting anyone who wants to join us for this section of the pilgrimage program to register with Five Oaks.
Sara Stratton serves the United Church as Reconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator. Prior to coming to the United Church, she worked for KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, and taught history. Originally from Newfoundland, she has a PhD in history from York University, and spends her spare time gardening, cooking, and birdwatching. She lives in the East End of Toronto with her spouse, Kelly. On one of her first trips to church, Sara put a quarter in the collection plate and took back 20 cents change.
Robin McGauley is the Program Director at Five Oaks where, through her work, she lives out a commitment to live in right relationship with all people. For the past three years, Robin has spearheaded a unique program called ‘Wampum’ which brings together First Nations and non-First Nations youth to learn about Haudenosaunee history and cultural values and to forge friendships across cultural divides. She is an experienced facilitator, bringing practices from her training as a spiritual director and from a program titled “Engage Difference: Deepening Understanding for Intercultural Ministry” offered through the Canadian Churches’ Forum. She was also a participant at a United Church gathering in the summer of 2015 dedicated to understanding the Doctrine of Discovery and creating resources in response. She is also the creator of a workshop on journeying toward reconciliation that was published in the November 2015 issue of Mandate magazine.
Additional partners including Pow wow dancers and The Woodland Cultural Centre. Full details will be available soon.
For a printable flyer for this program, click here.
Two Row Journey: Toward Reconciliation with First Nations
Start: May 12, 2016 @ 3:30 PM End: May 13, 2016 @ 7:00 PM
Includes meals and accommodations. Please note that this event ends with supper on Friday.