On January 27, 2018, MMAMR provided an opportunity for interested folk to gather and share their thoughts and experiences on the theme of renewing our friendships. Here are the reflections of three of the participants.
The next opportunity to listen, reflect and share in a knowledge-keeper-led Talking Circle will be on Saturday March 10, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St Paul’s (62 Clyde St) in the Hall.
You are invited to bring a snack to share with others during the break. Please bring a plate for your snack and a cup for your tea or coffee.
Sitting quiet in circle, wondering what will happen.
What will people say, what will I say??
I am encouraged to focus on listening,
and I am moved by what I hear,
each of us from our own heart,
somehow weaving a circle from a wider community.
If there is hope for a stronger, more compassionate world,
it will come from circles like this.
— Clare Sylvan
To me, the talking circle was a real experience in creating a sacred and welcoming space for people to feel safe just being themselves. Many spoke and all were heard with compassion and open hearts which, for many of us, is a rare experience in the bluff and bluster of our modern world. Ross and Christina are both wonderful people who have so much to offer, and to have them come and share with us this way of communicating together was a generous gift to all who attended.
— Dave Rouleau
In the company of close to 30 participants, under the generous and sensitive leadership and guidance of 2 indigenous knowledge keepers, Ross Saunders and Christina Bendevis, I was privileged to be a part of an All My Relations “Talking Circle” that proved to be both inspiring and challenging.
Inspiration was abundant through the palpable desire on the part of the participants to listen, learn and share deeply personal concerns related to their heartfelt wish to be part of the “reconciliation” solution. One non-indigenous participant has been taking an on-line course over the past year in order to learn the Ojibwa language. Another memorable moment occurred when a pre-teenage participant agreed to be the “model” for a demonstration to a smudging ceremony.
Challenge was evident in the comments shared about concerns of the potential for misappropriation of Native cultural practices and what the implications are when using the terms “settler” and “colonial”. One particularly poignant moment occurred when one of our Algonquin Teachers offered his personal response to the implications of truly understanding what it means to say that we all live on “unceded Algonquin territory”.
Clearly these sharing Circles offer tremendous potential as a powerful vehicle through which greater understanding and personal growth may result.
I look forward to the next opportunity on March 10 to continue the conversation!
Meegwetch — Ron Williamson