Wii Baba Mose Maamiwi | We Walk the Path Together: How youth can unite Indigenous and Western cultures through Ethical Space
We at Plenty Canada are very excited to be delivering our newest youth program, Wii Baba Mose Maamiwi, which translates to We Walk the Path Together in Algonquin. Youth participants aged 14 to 25 are coming together over several months to participate in online webinars paired with discussions, where they hear from leading truth and reconciliation thought leaders and practice how they can work together respectfully across multiple cultures towards a just future. There will also be a hands-on workshop where participants will braid sweetgrass together.
This training program is inspired by the concepts of Ethical Space cultivated during recent efforts to meet Canada's international commitments to protect biodiversity (Pathway to Canada Target 1). Ethical Space is an engagement framework that examines the potential and contextual positioning of Indigenous peoples and Western society. It takes an approach that applies emerging standards of collaboration and relationship building to create a process for bridging Indigenous and Western knowledge and worldviews.
Guiding this approach has been Mi’kmaw Elder Dr. Albert Marshall, who developed the concept of Two-Eyed Seeing (Etuaptmumk). This involves “learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of mainstream knowledges and ways of knowing, and to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all.”
Plenty Canada Executive Director Larry McDermott was a key player in this process as a member of the Indigenous Circle of Experts. Listen to Larry discuss some of his perspectives on Ethical Space here: youtu.be/6u5sVvo7hF4.
Registration officially ended on October 31, 2021, enrolling a total of 95 participants from across Canada. Workshops have already begun and will extend through March 2022.
The program kicked-off at The Healing Place in Shanly, Ontario on October 14 where we marked the first anniversary of a cross-cultural project implemented within the Ethical Space framework taught through this program. A Remembering the Children Ceremony was held to gather, reflect, and grieve together in a safe space as we begin our journey towards healing. We also spent time planting culturally significant trees and plants, creating a children’s garden, and sharing stories to celebrate Indigenous cultures. The youth participants joined us both in-person and via an immersive live stream that included the opening ceremony, an interactive tour, and bonus interviews with some of the Healing Place project partners.
The webinar series officially launched on November 1, 2021 with a presentation on the history of wampum belts and treaties from renowned historian Rick Hill Sr. from the Tuscarora Nation of the Haudenosaunee at Grand River, followed by facilitated small-group discussions. The second webinar, held on December 6, was led by Reg Crowshoe, a prominent cultural and spiritual leader from Piikuni First Nation in Southern Alberta, and will cover a recent history of calls to change societal directions and include examinations of the Canadian constitution, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.
We are looking forward to gathering together in Ethical Space over the next few months to learn from other leading thinkers and change-makers including Chloe Dragon Smith, Larry McDermott, and Albert Marshall. The learning and relationship-building of the program has already been significant and we expect so much more to come throughout this collective learning journey.
For more information about the program, see https://www.plentycanada.com/path.html.
— Martina Albert, Emily Morris, Joanna Jack