MCEC Truth & Reconciliation Working Group

An Online Story-Telling Series 2020-2021

all speakers in a chart

Our grandchildren will hear stories about 2020: railroad blockades, a global pandemic, and worldwide protests of systemic racism. While the pandemic will pass, broken treaties with Indigenous peoples will continue to fuel Indigenous-Settler conflict unless we learn from history. Treaties are covenantal relationships.  

The MCEC Truth and Reconciliation Working Group has launched a year-long online story-telling series centred on covenants made, broken and renewed. Mennonites might be familiar with biblical covenants between God and people – but what about more recent covenants between peoples here on this land that Settlers named Canada?  

This series will include Indigenous and Mennonite Settler voices, shining light on the history of broken covenants – and illuminating pathways of hope to a more just future for all nations on this land.

Each storytelling session begins at 7:00 p.m.
Register Below for Individual Dates OR   Register for All Sessions

September 23, 2020

Myeengun Henry

Myeengun is Manager/ Counsellor of Be-Dah-Bin Gamik, Indigenous services at Conestoga College and former Chief of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation. He created an Indigenous studies course called “A first nations experience” and practices Indigenous ceremonies and language.  He serves as co-chair of the Indigenous Advisory group at the Ontario Law Society Law Society of Ontario; an elder/teacher at McMaster University; and Indigenous advisor to the Ontario Provincial Police. He organizes rallies to address the climate crisis; and hosts CJIQ-FM’s NISH-VIBES radio show. Myeengun is building an off the grid house and several tiny houses on his reserve.

Watch Video

October 20, 2020

Janis Monture

Janis is from Six Nations of the Grand River, Mohawk Nation Turtle Clan. She has recently returned as the Executive Director of Woodland Cultural Centre.  Previously, Janis was appointed the Director of Tourism and Cultural Initiatives for the Six Nations Development Corporation.  Janis was a committee member for the Great Lakes Research Alliance for the Study of Aboriginal Arts and Cultures and for the Arts & Culture Advisory Council for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Para Pan American Games. 

Storytelling begins at 7:00 p.m. ET

November 18, 2020

Lyndsay Mollins Koene

Lyndsay is honoured to have spent over 25 years working with Mennonite Central Committee's Indigenous Neighbours Program.  As Coordinator, she partners with First Nations and Indigenous Organizations throughout Ontario to pursue relief, development and peace. Lyndsay earned a Masters of Education; but she feels it is the traditional knowledge shared with her by Indigenous teachers over the years that has brought to life the work she does with communities. Lyndsay works at the MCC Timmins Regional office on the Traditional Territory of Mattagami First Nation as part of Treaty Nine, living with her partner Job, and children Christian and Amanda.

Storytelling begins at 7:00 p.m. ET

January 20, 2021

Rick Cober Bauman

Rick lives with spouse Louise on an organic farm near Shakespeare, Ontario where they raised three offspring. Haudenosaunee and Neutral, and Anishnabe people preceded them on this beautiful land. Rick serves as Executive Director of MCC Canada.

Rick and Steve Heinrichs will share this story-telling session.

Storytelling begins at 7:00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Register for January 20
with Rick and Steve

January 20, 2021

Steve Heinrichs

Steve Heinrichs is a Settler Christian from Winnipeg, Manitoba — Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation. The director of Indigenous-Settler Relations for Mennonite Church Canada, Steve is also the author/editor of 5 books exploring matters of decolonization, including Unsettling the Word. He spent a week in jail for supporting the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s right to protect their territories/watersheds from the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.  Steve is a student of activism who loves to march with his partner, Ann, and their children, Izzy, Aiden, and Abby. 

Steve and Rick Cober Bauman will share this story-telling session.

Storytelling begins at 7:00 p.m.

February 16, 2021

Adrian Jacobs

Ganosono of the Turtle Clan, Cayuga Nation of the Six Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy at Grand River Territory, ON. Adrian is the father of five and grandfather of two. He lives as guest on Anishinaabe Treaty One territory as Keeper of the Circle of Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre. He teaches in the areas of Indigenous history, culture and contemporary issues.

Storytelling begins at 7:00 p.m.

March 24, 2021

Sandi Boucher

Sandi Boucher is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and activist dedicated to empowering people by increasing their awareness of their own capacity.  A proud member of Seine River First Nation in northern Ontario, Sandi uses storytelling, metaphors, conversational English and humour to make complex concepts understandable, all the while renewing her listeners belief in themselves and their own individual wisdom.  Sandi strives to make every learning experience enjoyable, whether her audience is Indigenous, non-Indigenous, or mixed. Sandi lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she enjoys spoiling her grandchildren.

Storytelling begins at 7:00 p.m.

April 21, 2021

Mary Anne Caibaiosai

Mary Anne Caibaiosai is Ojibway Anishnaabe kwe, bear clan from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, where her ancestors walked. She is an artist, counsellor and PhD candidate in Indigenous Studies at Trent University. She is also a water walker, holds and shares traditional teachings from her Elders and teachers; responsibility for the gift of workshops she received from her Elder on: Stages of Life, Medicine Wheel Teachings, Self Care on the Medicine Wheel, Seven Stages of Life and Indigenous/non-Indigenous worldview. She will lead the third of four ceremonial water walks for the Grand River following the protocols of Josephine-baa Mandamin. She also holds a Master of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, a Bachelor of First Nations & Aboriginal Counselling Degree, Brandon University.

Storytelling begins at 7:00 p.m.

MCEC Truth and Reconciliation Working Groups are part of the larger MC Canada Indigenous Settler Working Group structure.

There are five MCEC Truth & Reconciliation Working Groups:

Niagara Area
Greater Toronto Area
Markham Stouffville and Toronto

Kitchener-Waterloo Area
Hamilton Area

Mennonites Call for Peaceful Engagement with Wet'suwet'en Protectors and Their Allies
From the MCEC Truth & Reconciliation Working Group - March 2020

As members of Mennonite Church Eastern Canada congregations, we are deeply concerned with events on Wet’suwet’en territory and the many solidarity blockades which have arisen in recent weeks.

According to Christian scriptures, a primary agenda for God is reconciliation among peoples. (2 Corinthians 5: 19). Mennonites in Canada reaffirmed our commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the New Covenant signed in 1987, and we continue that work in response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We implore our elected leaders to take the message of reconciliation seriously in their responses to the current crisis. A commitment by Canadians to engage in reconciliation with our Indigenous sisters and brothers is paramount at this point in our history. It is one of the most important tasks for this generation of Canadians. It is work that will require creativity, compassion, patience, wisdom and much courage. In this spirit, we implore our leaders to show true strength and leadership in addressing the current crisis. We invite our political leaders to resist the temptation to engage in expedient, simplistic responses to the complex circumstances that are the result of a long history of inaction by government leaders. We beg you to refrain from imposing quick, coercive fixes that do not address the underlying historic causes behind the current tensions in our Indigenous communities. In contrast, we call for decisive action by government leaders to address the historic injustices and grievances of our Indigenous peoples.

We appeal to government leaders to take the following actions:

  • Publicly recognize that the recent blockades and the conflicts that precipitated them are the result of decades of government inaction and neglect of our relationship with Indigenous peoples
  • Renew relationships with Indigenous leaders and in good faith build bridges of reconciliation with Indigenous communities across the country
  • Negotiate in good faith with Wet’suwet’en Indigenous leaders and all Indigenous communities to resolve the underlying issues regarding the right of Indigenous self-determination and Aboriginal title
  • Respect the rule of law and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including recognition of Indigenous legal orders, free prior and informed consent, and land reparations
  • Respond to the current crisis with peaceful and nonviolent actions that build trust, support reconciliation and initiates steps towards resolution of the historic injustices that have been imposed on Indigenous peoples

As Mennonites, we commit to personal engagement with this important work of reconciliation and pledge to support our government leaders in this task. We respectfully remind our political leaders that “quick fixes” will come back to haunt all of us who live together on this land and will simply result in creating more problems. These were painful lessons that we learned at Oka and Ipperwash.

We acknowledge with deep concern that blockades cause extreme economic hardship for many people, families and businesses across Canada. At the same time, we as Canadians need to recognize the extreme social and economic hardship that we have frequently inflicted on our Indigenous brothers and sisters. We believe that peaceful, nonviolent responses based on reconciliation and good faith will have the greatest impact in addressing the current crisis and renewing a just relationship with our Indigenous peoples. We must recognize that the current crisis is generations in the making and will not be solved quickly. Patience, courage, integrity and a commitment to reconciliation are the leadership responses that will most effectively address the current circumstances.

We invite our government leaders to embrace this call to reconciliation and act with courage and decisiveness for the sake of Indigenous-Settler reconciliation and the health of the Canadian economy. Lasting peace and prosperity for all will only come through peaceful actions that foster trust and a renewed partnership with Indigenous peoples. In the spirit of reconciliation, Mennonites call on our political representatives to commit to nation-to-nation dialogue and to seek the long term welfare of all Canadians.


Sincerely,


Members of the Mennonite Church Eastern Canada Truth and Reconciliation Working Group


Local Organizations, Resources and People

Healing for the Seven Generations 
MISSION - The Healing of the Seven Generations is healing from the past, where the waters were not calm, the people just cried, where the children became broken and lost. Where the children were stolen from their families. Healing of the Seven Generations is a place that provides calmer waters. Life in the future is spiritual, and healing has taken place, from between the wings of the Creator above for the men, the women, the youth, and the children. Guiding our People from the past, into today, and wholehearted for the future.


Anishnabeg Outreach 
The DREAM - A centralized space for Indigenous people to grow, learn and to be a beacon for future generations. A place where we involve the entire person – including their families and their connections. Before moving on to our dreams, it is important to remember and reflect on our roots and our growth

Mary Anne Caibaiosai 
Water Walk Leader

Wilfrid Laurier University - Indigenous Initiatives and Services

Wilfrid Laurier University - Centre for Indigegogy

University of Waterloo - St Paul’s Indigenous Student Centre

University of Waterloo - Reconciliation: Discussions and Implications of Settler peoples in Canada
a 10 week course

Conestoga College Aboriginal Services
Be-Dah-Bin Gamik, a Place of New Beginnings, provides services for Aboriginal students at Conestoga College, including those who are First Nations (status and non-status), Metis and Inuit. It is a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment that assists students with a smooth transition to college life by providing ongoing student support.

Region of Waterloo - Public Health report on First Nations health in the Region

APTN - Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

CBC - CBC Indigenous News

GLOBAL News - GLOBAL First Nations News

Huffington Post - Huffington Post Aboriginal News