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A personal journey...

Learning more about Indigenous Peoples of these Lands...

Dear fellow Canadian/American settlers : )
Sharing some of my learning about Indigenous Nations on these lands, in the spirit of fostering greater understanding, being a responsible ally, and restoring right relations going forward.
Please join me...

As a 'first generation Canadian', I wanted to expand my knowledge about the true history and present-day circumstances of Indigenous peoples on these lands, so I could become a responsible ally, support decolonization, and restore right relations on these lands.

My mission is to live gently on Mother Earth, in heart-based community with all life. Indigenous Nations have demonstrated this for thousands of years! : )

I feel it is very important to take personal responsibility in restoring right relations locally, i.e., challenge the 'status quo', restore/return lands, advocate to honour Treaties, and Indigenous rights (UNDRIP), and support Indigenous, resurgence, nationhood & thriving! We can expand understanding, and move with integrity, humility, honesty, respect and friendship, to live a reality of the "Two Row Wampum" relationship. (Learn more about the Two Row Wampum.)

A heartfelt Chi-Miigwech, Niá:wen, Thank you to all the inspiring Indigenous teachers, leaders, speakers, writers, filmmakers, activists, artists, healers, and Elders who have illuminated my path so far. I continue to humbly learn and share, and take inspired action.

Some education and connections include:

  • Native Canadian Centre of Toronto http://ncct.on.ca/
    - I so enjoyed and was expanded by Michael Etherington’s awesome “Indigenous Cultural Competency Training” at NCCT - a mind & heart opener for Canadians! I also greatly enjoyed monthly Full Moon Gatherings, seasonal craft fairs, the Cedar Basket Gift Shop, and the ENAGB Youth Gift Shop. Please view the Events calendar to learn more about offerings that may be open to the public.
    Also, listen to Michael Etherington's inspiring Ted Talk!:
    A Novel Approach to Inter-Community Healing | TEDxWLUBrantford
  • Dodem Kanonhsa’ http://dodemkanonhsa.ca/
    Dodem Kanonhsa' ('Clan Lodge') Cultural Facility generously offers some events open to the public. Some inspiring workshops included: Awareness 101 Education Session, Tobacco & Cedar Teachings, Sweetgrass & Sage Teachings, Diane Hill’s “Fostering Emergence of the Good Mind" Workshop, Moon Teachings, among others.
  • Niagara Region: Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre and Niagara Regional Native Centre and IDHC – Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle
    share many wonderful events/offerings - check out their calendar/events page.
  • Moccasin Talks - an inspiring and informative series of talks open to the public, created by the Ignite the Spirit of Education foundation, and the NOTL Public Library.
  • BOOKS/Reading: Some reading I found to be very illuminating and recommend:
    • Arthur Manuel, Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call
    • Arthur Manuel, The Reconciliation Manifesto (dear Arthur’s powerful final book)
    • Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back - Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence, and a New Emergence
    • Charlie Angus, Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada's Lost Promise and One Girl's Dream
    • Dr. Taiaiake Alfred, Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto
    • Dr. Taiaiake Alfred, Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom
    • Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin White Masks – Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition
    • Tracey Lindberg, Birdie (novel)
    • Lee Maracle, My Conversations With Canadians
    • Maurice Switzer, We Are All Treaty People (children's book)
    • Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves (novel)
    • Wab Kinew, The Reason You Walk: A Memoir
    • The Land We Are: Artists & Writers Unsettle the Politics of Reconciliation, edited by Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill and Sophie McCall
    • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
    • Legislation (Canada) - Indian Act (shocking present-day and past), Bill C-31, Bill C-3, and current Bill S-3 (2017)
    • Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action TRC 94 Calls to Action (pdf)
    • And more on my ‘to read’ list:
      • John Long, Treaty No. 9: Making the agreement to share the land in far northern Ontario
      • Mark Cronlund Anderson, Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers
      • Maria Campbell, Half-Breed & Stories of the Road Allowance People
      • Billy-Ray Belcourt, This Wound is a World
      • Richard Wagamese, Medicine Walk
      • Buffalo shout, salmon cry : conversations on creation, land justice, and life together (Steve Heinrichs and contributors)
      • Sakokwenionkwas Tom Porter, And Grandma Said
      • Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

  • 2017 Indigenous Writer’s Gathering – This (annual) gathering was held on Oct 13th in Toronto, with powerful readings, heartfelt conversations, and an evening honouring author/filmmaker Elder Maria Campbell & poet Louise Bernice Halfe. https://www.facebook.com/writeindigenous/
  • Indigenous Education Week at University of Toronto (Oct 30-Nov 3, 2017): Attended some of the inspiring gatherings, including:
    • Elder’s Gathering/Symposium at First Nations House https://www.studentlife.utoronto.ca/fnh/ - such an honour and a blessing to sit in circle and learn from the Elders.
    • Embedding Survival Narratives in Indigenous Literature: Reading and talk by Cherie Dimaline (author of The Marrow Thieves)
    • How to Abandon the World: an inspiring talk by Billy-Ray Belcourt.
  • ImagineNative Film Festival – so enjoy this annual inspiring film festival, showcasing Indigenous filmmakers from Turtle Island and around the world! http://www.imaginenative.org/
  • Wapikoni Mobile http://www.wapikoni.ca/home – Enjoyed an awesome Wapikoni Cinema on Wheels screening at NCCT (summer 2017), showcasing several beautiful short films created by/within Indigenous communities.
  • Indigenous Films: One of my big inspirations is Alanis Obomsawin, the Abenaki Filmmaker/Artist, who at 85 years of age released her 50th film at the 2017 imagineNative Film Festival (Our People Will be Healed)! She is such an inspiring, creative lady sharing her compassionate lens in the world. Some of her films are viewable at the NFB site: https://www.nfb.ca/directors/alanis-obomsawin/, are also available through the Toronto Public Library (online) and the Spadina Road Library (Indigenous collection - dvds).
  • Tiny House Warriors http://tinyhousewarriors.com/ – Kanahus Manuel (daughter of Arthur Manuel) and others, are courageously standing for Secwepemc Nation rights on unceded land within 'Canada'. Please support them: https://www.facebook.com/tinyhousewarriors/
  • Raven Trust: https://raventrust.com/ I am supporting the Pulling Together (Stop Kinder Morgan) campaign, among others. Raven powerfully advocates for Indigenous Nations, Mother Earth and friends/allies.
  • Volunteer and participant in the beautiful Great Lakes Water Walk - a day of Sacred Water Walking led by Nibi Emosaawdamajig (Those Who Walk for the Water), and Grandmothers, Knowledge Holders and Elders including Anishinaabe Elder Josephine Mandamin, Elder Shirley Williams and her neice Liz Osawamick. Many gathered together in Toronto region on Sept 24 2017, to walk for the water.
    Dear Nibi - Water, we love you. We thank you. We respect you.

My learning and connections continue in 2018. Let's create balance, peace and harmony together.

 

peace,
Irena

Let us Create New Harmonious Realities!

 


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