I was seeing in a sacred manner the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the centre grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy.
– Oglala Sioux Holy Man. The Great Vision of Black Elk.
It is very difficult for Indigenous Peoples to tell their stories and very difficult for non-indigenous people who feel great pride about who we are as Canadians to hear them. While we are not to blame for what was, we are nevertheless still all treaty people and we all share the impact of colonialism, not only on our relationship but also on the way our land is suffering from our thoughtless exploitation of her resources. The Truth and Reconciliation process is about healing on both sides.
For this reason, we meet regularly to reflect on what we are learning and its impact on us, and to suggest future events and activities that might be helpful. This is an open group and anyone is welcome. If you are interested, please fill in our contact form with your name and email address and we will let you know about the date of the next meeting.
Some of the questions and reflections have centered around the following:
- How can those of us who want to participate in this process establish relationships of trust and friendship with Indigenous people living in our area?
- What do the words “sovereignty” and “nation” mean to Indigenous people?
- Do Indigenous Peoples consider themselves to be Canadian?
About Talking Circles
St Paul’s Anglican Church, 62 Clyde St (access through lower yellow doors)
- Bring something for a light Potluck lunch.
- We encourage you to bring along your own cup, cutlery and plate.
This is an opportunity to listen, reflect and share in a safe, welcoming, non-judgmental environment. Under the umbrella of Spirits of the Rainbow, Christina Bendevis and her husband Ross Saunders provide a comfortable introduction to cross-cultural awareness and the experience of Native Spirituality.
What you can expect
- An open circle – you don’t need to commit to coming every time. New people can join as we go along. If your time is limited, try to be present for the opening of the session, and stay as long as you are able. Ideally, plan for the entire 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. session to fully benefit from the experience. Children are always welcome.
- As we arrive, smudging – we will start with a traditional opening ceremony.
- The Talking Circle – the feather will be passed around the circle 4 times. We listen and speak from the heart. We can “pass” if we are not feeling prompted to speak.
- A Light Potluck Lunch Feast – we will end with a time of sharing around a table.
Ross Saunders, is a Fire Keeper, Pipe Carrier, Sun Dancer, and Sweat Lodge Keeper with over 30 years of experience working with the Sacred Fire, Traditional Medicines, Elders, and Lodge Keepers across the nation. Learning from Elders from different nations including Algonquin, Cree, Ojibway and more, Ross has dedicated three decades to learning traditional practices which he now uses to help others at home and in ceremonies, sessions, and workshops. Ross completed the Cross-Cultural Awareness Training at Red Willow Lodge, Manitoba, with Elder Jules Lavallee. He draws on that experience to create a safe, welcoming, non-judgmental environment for those who come to his Lodge. Growing up in the Ottawa Valley, Ross truly appreciates being able to live on the land of his Algonquin ancestors.
Christina Bendevis, is of mixed decent, including Croatian, Mohawk and French. She has spent the last 6 years dedicated to learning her Indigenous culture and traditions. Christina is a Singer, Fire Keeper, and Pipe Carrier. Under the umbrella of Spirits of the Rainbow, Christina and her husband Ross Saunders provide a comfortable introduction to cross-cultural awareness and the experience of Native Spirituality.