Plenty Canada is always remarkably busy -- to the point that it can often be difficult to properly acknowledge and discuss all of the events and programming it carries out over the course of a year. On that note, this past year the organization has successfully carried out a number of Indigenous languages and cultures workshops and trainings, all of which were healthily attended and packed to the brim with amazing conversations and learning opportunities.
For instance, from the 19th to the 22nd of May, Plenty Canada hosted their “Language, Food, and Medicine Gathering” at the Perth Civitan and the Plenty Canada CampUs; a four-day gathering attended by over 50 participants.
True to the format of many of our multi-day workshops, the gathering featured talks and activities on a number of diverse topics, unified by their celebration of Indigenous cultures. After an opening ceremony led by Larry McDermott, the first day kicked off with a traditional medicines workshop led by Algonquin Elder (and longtime Plenty Canada collaborator) Roy Paul, and his partner Shirley St. Pierre. This was followed up by talks on Indigenous food sovereignty and a training session on Ethical Space led by Gary Pritchard. Gary’s session gave participants a chance to learn about how to cultivate Ethical Space, especially in conservation and environmental spaces, and how to create meaningful engagement and relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
The following days of the gathering more than lived up to the promise of the opening day, with highlights including traditional Mohawk beading with Liv Rondeau, “The Spirit of Harvesting” with Dan Longboat, sturgeon traditional knowledge and preparation with Curtis Lazore, a mushroom foraging workshop with Alyssa General and Levi Grant, a Grandfather teaching and storytelling with Elder Vince Pawis, drumming with Barry Sarazin and his Algonquin drum group, and a cooking workshop led by award-winning Inuk chef, Trudy Metcalfe-Coe (who also provided nightly feasts throughout the gathering).
This wasn't the only elaborate, multi-day and multi-stage workshop we hosted this year, of course --and it won't be the last. Plenty Canada’s “train the Trainer” gathering from March 12th-14th focused on sharing language and cultural knowledge between Elders/Knowledge Keepers and other Indigenous community members, and featured many similar activities as the May gathering, such as a traditional medicines workshop, drumming, foraging, beading, cooking, as well as hide-tanning, and land-based learning via a nature hike led by Kayla Sunday. And rest assured, Plenty Canada already has a host of similar programming in the works.
In addition, we have been busy working with Indigenous Language experts on Indigenous languages revitalization. This year, we hosted an Anishinaabemowin (Algonquin language) class for the second year in a row, as well as a Kanien’kéha (Mohawk language) class, for the first time! We have also been working on a second Algonquin language guidebook, to be completed soon.
Keep an eye on this website and our social media channels for news on these projects, and meanwhile keep an eye on the “Resources” section of our website for professionally recorded videos of some of these workshops, as well as the Algonquin language guides to be published online soon.
— Emily Morris