Mississippi Mills’ All My Relations group held its second Talking Circle on Saturday, March 10, with thanks to St Paul’s Anglican Church, for the use of their downstairs hall.
The Talking Circle’s aim was to enhance cross-cultural awareness between Indigenous Canadians and Immigrant Canadians. Fifteen participants came to learn and to share their thoughts, feelings and personal experiences, in a welcoming, non-judgmental environment.
The Talking Circle was facilitated by Indigenous elder, Ross Saunders, an Algonquin Fire Keeper, Pipe Carrier, Sun Dancer and Sweat Lodge Keeper. We began our circle with a cleansing smudge, to clear our senses and promote truthful sharing. Ross brought his drum and he and others led us in singing a few Indigenous songs. Throughout our time together, Ross highlighted aspects of Native Spirituality, teaching the uses of the medicines in the medicine wheel, the significance of the spiritual objects laid out at the centre of the circle, and the reasoning behind a few of the customs we observed. He also helped us to see more widely, the current situation Canada’s Indigenous People are in, in terms of land claims and prejudices that affect Indigenous People daily.
We ‘talked’ around the circle four times. Respect was shown to each speaker through the use of a speaking-object: Ross’s sacred eagle wing. It was passed from person to person, giving everyone an opportunity, if they wanted it, to share, uninterrupted, while the the rest of the circle listened and learned from their sharing.
A potluck feast was laid out at the close of our circle, giving us time to openly reflect on and extend our learning while enjoying a wonderful lunch.