A Brockville church is taking the lead in the spirit of truth and reconciliation, and the entire community is invited to participate in an Indigenous Day of Learning and Sharing on Oct. 21.
Organizer Pat Alexander, hospitality and events coordinator for St. Paul’s Anglican Church, explains that the season of Truth and Reconciliation Day turned her and her colleagues’ thoughts “to our Indigenous brothers and sisters that suffered needlessly in residential schools, and their families that in some cases never saw their children again.”
Many of the community members at St. Paul’s were previously ignorant of the fact that this tradition continued until as recently as the 1990s, which instilled in them a desire to do their part for reconciliation and forgiveness.
“As we delved into the culture we found that in many ways we were more the same than different and that both [Indigenous and Christian cultures] had chosen to live as the Creator wanted to be good people of the earth,” Alexander explains.
She and her co-planner, Julie Daxon, who is a warden at St. Paul’s, have collaborated on events before, and saw an opportunity for the Brockville community to come together to learn about and connect with Indigenous culture.
“We both shared in the vision and were a natural duo to bring this together,” Alexander says.
The Indigenous Day of Learning and Sharing will take place at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Brockville on Saturday, Oct. 21.
The day is open to all ages, and will include a beading workshop for children from Patsea Griffin.
“When we learned of her workshops for children we were overjoyed that this day could be all-inclusive,” Alexander says. Children will make porcupine quill earrings. In order for Griffin to know the amount of materials to bring, parents are asked to register their children ahead of time by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the grownups, keynote speaker Callie Hill, executive director at the Tyendinaga Language and Cultural Centre, will share her knowledge on the impact of the loss of the Mohawk language. The talk will take place at 10 a.m.
In addition, Théo Redsky Paradis is leading an interactive drumming workshop.
There will also be lunch offered, as well as an Indigenous entrepreneurs marketplace in the church hall.
Alexander explains that a St. Paul’s member who is also a quilter is leading a special project for participants of the workshop. They are “providing 20 quilting squares and everything needed to meaningfully decorate them. Interested participants are invited to do so.”
The squares will then be made into a quilt, with the plan to raffle it off in time for National Indigenous Peoples Day in June 2024. Proceeds will go to an Indigenous group.
The Indigenous Day of Learning and Sharing will take place at St. Paul’s Anglican Church (12 Pine St., Brockville) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 21. Tickets are $20 at the door, and include lunch. Proceeds will go to Joekenha Student Bursary Awards.