On November 6th, we gathered at Sadlier House for the second week of the 2017 workshops “Stories of Resistance, Resurgence and Resilience in Nogojiwanong.” It was an honour to share the day with everyone once again and to witness some of the incredible stories that were told. Elder Audrey Kewaquom-Caskannette and Tasha Beeds generously opened the space, inviting us to smudge and then to join in singing a beautiful song, “you are a gift to me.” May led us in the “diversity welcome”, an exercise which she learned from local youth organizations and which aims to give voice to, and welcome, the many different experiences and identities that may be present in the room. As we went around the circle, many people personally expressed who they would like to invite into the room. At the end of the circle, Melissa asked if there was anyone else we would like to invite who was not mentioned yet. Lynn and Tasha invited us to shift the paradigm behind this exercise to also welcome into the space the different orders of creation, our ancestors, and the generations to come, keeping in mind seven generations before and after us. Carlo also shifted our awareness to those who were not present by asking us to remember the detained, the deported, and the dead. This opening circle was such a powerful beginning to the workshop. Chi miigwech.
We split off into four smaller recording groups, where in each group there were storytellers, student interviewers and photographers, and facilitators-- please stay tuned in the weeks to come for the media capsules of these stories. In a closing circle, many people expressed feelings of gratitude, fullness, and respect for having participated in the storytelling process. Ziy offered us a poem that named the sacredness of that particular shared moment in a brilliant way. The room filled with laughter as we tried to squeeze ourselves into one group photo, which required some to climb chairs and others to pose stylishly with one shoulder towards the camera. See above some of the results of this group photoshoot, and other shots from the day captured by the facilitator team. We are now in the midst of the editing process, and next week we will gather again to share food and watch some of what we created. We cannot wait for the final gathering on December 7th!
Miigwech, many thanks- you are all gifts!