Barry Sarazin from Pikwakanagan First Nation, Chuck Commanda from Kitiga Zibi First Nation, Larry McDermott from Sharbot Obajiwinan First Nation, and Plenty Canada Summer Students hosted a gathering to share the language, stories, and teachings of the Anishinaabeg people. The opportunity to educate non-Indigenous youth was seized, as Biosphere Education joined the gathering. Biosphere Education is an organization dedicated to preserving Earths beautiful creatures through storytelling and photo journalism, and for this year’s expedition four youth, led by biologist Dr. Shelley Ball, joined an on-going project to better understand how climate change may affect wild rice, or as it is known by the Anishninaabeg people, Manoomin. By bringing together knowledge holders and the biosphere youth expedition, we created a cross-cultural dialogue that helped gain a deeper understanding of biodiversity for all attendees. Students helped Plenty Canada complete a benthic invertebrate diversity index for McCullochs Mud Lake, a nearby provincially significant wetland, that is home to species at risk such as the Least bittern, and Black tern. This data will be shared in a final report that highlights Manoomin, and how climate change may affect this sacred, and only cereal native to North America.
Chuck Commanda and Cole Williams take the birchbark canoe they built for its maiden voyage.
On July 20, 2018 master birchbark canoe maker Chuck Commanda and his apprentice Cole Williams, with the assistance of Murphy's Point Provincial Park employees, successfully launched a birchbark canoe that was created over a two week period at the park. The canoe launch event included a smudge ceremony, passing of the eagle feather, and guest speaker Larry McDermott, Executive Director of Plenty Canada.
You can read the full story posted by the Perth Courier Newspaper HERE
You can find our full album of photos from the day on our Facebook page
Photo's from the Event!
Reconciliation through shared commitment to the continuation of all life.
Have you ever wondered how you might contribute in a meaningful way to the Truth and Reconciliation process with Indigenous people in your own community? On July 21st, you will have an opportunity to both participate in an unusual learning experience and make a concrete difference to the life of Indigenous Youth here in Lanark County. Mississippi Mills All My Relations is sponsoring an educational event in partnership with the Indigenous organization Plenty Canada to raise funds for Plenty Canada’s Cross Cultural Youth Program.
Plenty Canada is a registered non-profit organization that facilitates access to and shares resources with Indigenous peoples and other community groups around the world in support of their environmental protection and sustainable development goals. It is dedicated to Indigenous cultural revitalization, and the building of cultural capacity within our communities and among our youth and committed to reconciliation through the cross cultural protection of nature.
In addition to their environmental stewardship efforts, the organization hosts traditional skills workshops where Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth can experience and engage with Algonquin traditions like dreamcatcher-making, birch bark basket-making, canoe buiding, drumming, language, hide-tanning, and more. This summer the organization has launched a youth arts series titled “Mòkinàn”, which aims to bring artistic opportunities to Indigenous and non-Indigenous rural youth in Lanark County. The Mòkinàn series will host monthly events where youth can participate in theatre, visual arts, poetry, storytelling, and music, and will see Indigenous feature performers brought to venues throughout Lanark County.
On July 21st, attendees at this event will have an opportunity at Plenty Canada to meet Indigenous Youth benefitting from these activities and to experience the land through Indigenous eyes. The day’s events will open and close with traditional Algonquin ceremony, led by elder Larry McDermott. Indigenous wisdom keepers and non-Indigenous science experts will collaborate on knowledge sharing circles, touching on subjects like forestry, wild rice, invasive species, and Algonquin cultural teachings. A traditional Algonquin lunch will be served for attendees, during which there is opportunity for community members to observe the Mòkinàn Arts Exhibit, which will feature painting from Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth artists aged 12-19 from Lanark County. Attendees are also invited to partake in a 3-hour workshop hosted by Algonquin master birch bark canoe builder, Chuck Commanda, in which participants will learn these techniques hands-on, and create their own miniature birch bark canoe to take home.
Our Wisdom Keepers:
Algonquin elder Larry McDermott is an ambassador of Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, Executive Director of Plenty Canada, and lead elder at the Silver Lake Pow-Wow this year. He will be conducting opening and closing ceremony at the event, and leading a knowledge-sharing circle on Algonquin cultural teachings, including the four sacred medicines.
Algonquin wisdom keeper, Chris Craig, is a member of Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, and a senior forestry technician with South Nation Conservation. He will be guiding us on our walk through the William Commanda trail, and sharing knowledge on the healing powers and cultural significance of plants and trees that we discover.
Master Algonquin birch bark canoe builder, Chuck Commanda, will be sharing knowledge on the historical significance of the birch bark canoe, and the natural materials harvested from the forest that are used in the process. Attendees of his workshop will be working with birch bark and spruce root to create their own miniature models of the birch bark canoe, and will be taking these home with them after the event.
This event will take place on site at Plenty Canada.
Saturday, July 21, 2018
9:00 – 5:00
266 Plenty Lane, Lanark, Ontario
$35 for knowledge sharing circles, traditional lunch, and art exhibit
$50 for knowledge sharing circles, traditional lunch, art exhibit, and birch bark canoe workshop
To register for this event, please visit the Mississippi Mills All My Relations website at: www.mmallmyrelations.ca/education/upcoming-events/ Please note that registration is limited to two groups of 25 people each.