On Friday the Peterborough Leap co-hosted the First Annual Nogojiwanong/Peterborough Reconciliation Gathering as reported here in the Peterborough Examiner and here on the CBC. The forecast of thunderstorms caused us to move to our backup location in Peterborough Square in the large space that was temporarily the home of the library.
Elder Shirley Williams opened the day with a traditional blessing in Ojibway that she repeated in English to a hushed, respectful crowd of about 400 elementary school students.
The children took part in cultural activities and workshops where they learned about indigenous culture and history. They participated in many workshops including drumming, dancing, making beads and learning “Nibi Nagamowin”, “The Water Song”. Some participated in a youth version of the Kairos Blanket Exercise. A demonstration of native singing and dancing held their attention until the closing ceremonies of the youth partion of the gathering at 2:00.
The mood changed for the adult portion of the gathering. Some of the morning workshops and craft booths remained, some new ones were set up. The short documentary “OSHKIGMON: A Place Where I Belong” played several times showing the history of Curve Lake with particular focus on the controversial 1923 Williams Treaty.
At 4:00 almost everyone present took part in the Kairos Blanket Exercise, an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re rarely taught.
Elder Shirley Williams closed the gathering and we once again sang “The Water Song”.
Leap Peterborough would like to thank the sponsors and organizers who collaborated to make this first annual gathering a success.