Gathering and Pipe Ceremony Sunday, June 21st at 10:00 am Perth Healing Forest Memorial in Last Duel Park
Something powerful happened on the Summer Solstice this year at the Perth Healing Forest Memorial. Elder Francine Desjardins led a gathering and pipe ceremony that both celebrated the Solstice and witnessed the systemic violence experienced in Canada by Indigenous and Black peoples. The event honoured Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two Spirit People, and the Black Lives Matter movement. With demonstrations circling the globe in this moment against racial violence and police brutality, it was an important time to stand together in ceremonial space here in unceded Algonquin/Omàmiwininì territory to express our solidarity, commitment, and compassion.
The gathering was a full and moving experience. After her Thanksgiving address, Francine shared the Strawberry teaching, including that the Strawberry is shaped like a heart and teaches forgiveness and peace. We enjoyed the delicious Strawberries passed around the circle. Teachings were also shared by the Lanark Drum Circle, each song they played touching the heart in a different way. The pipe ceremony was modified due to the pandemic, the two pipe carriers - Francine Desjardins & Christina Bendevis - honouring the Four Directions with pipe-smoke from where they sat.
Following the pipe ceremony, Francine invited a round of sharing, asking us to introduce ourselves by way of our ancestry and then to speak about what we can each do to address the continuing injustices in the world. The sharings by both Indigenous people and settlers in the circle was rich and nourishing, as each spoke from their heart from their own unique position. In the middle of this ceremony, a police vehicle arrived, responding—so we were to discover—to a report that an event was being held with more than ten people. Rather than disperse us, however, the police officer accepted an invitation to be smudged into the circle, and joined in the sharing when it came to their turn.
It was wonderful to see the work of Lanark County Neighbours for Truth and Reconciliation continuing despite the pandemic. It was a day for celebration, remembrance, truth-telling, making commitments, and affirming the ongoing presence and rights of Indigenous peoples in these lands.
Andy Fisher Lanark County Neighbours for Truth & Reconciliation
A Ceremony led by Elder Francine Desjardins to Celebrate the Summer Solstice. We recognize the systemic violence which Indigenous and Black people have experienced in Canada, and gather to honour Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls & Two Spirit People and Black Lives Matter. We recognize this as a time to reflect and remember our need to come together in solidarity during these socially challenging times. Please note that we are still restricted by COVID 19, and we ask that all who attend be prepared to physically distance, and wear a mask as required for your and others health. Please come prepared for the weather of the day.
Indigenous Culture Day at the Perth Museum Sept.7th, 2019
FOLLOW UP TO INDIGENOUS CULTURE DAY AT THE PERTH MUSEUM by Susie Osler
An unusual addition to the soundscape of Perth stopped many people in their tracks on Saturday as they walked down Gore Street. Those piqued by curiosity, who followed the sound – the rhythmic beat of a large drum - found themselves at the entrance to the walled garden adjacent to the Perth Museum.
Here, in this small intimate space, and seated around a beautiful big drum, eleven drummers from the Lanark Drum Circle, joined by anyone there who felt called to sit at the drum, sat together sharing songs, teachings and the ‘heartbeat of Mother Earth’ with visitors who stopped in throughout the afternoon.
To First Nations peoples the drum is a sacred object and the sounds of the drum represent the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The songs interpreted by the Lanark Drum Circle have been passed down from the ancestors, and have travelled to the Ottawa area from many First Nations Elders, such as the Anishinaabe (Algonquin and Ojibwe), Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and others.
It was wonderful to see the courtyard come to life with the sounds of drumming and song, the wood/brick oven fired up, bannock being rolled out, baked and served hot with blueberry sauce, and teacups with steaming cedar tea being appreciated by guests.
For some people, this was their first experience listening to traditional drumming and song. Many found the experience very powerful and moving. Other visitors spent time inside the museum creating their own dreamcatchers in two workshops (taught by Debby Lytle and Lise LeClair) and came away with a deeper understanding of what these beautiful objects symbolize. For most who attended, the afternoon was a powerful and symbolic gesture towards Reconciliation.
Three young people visiting the Perth area from Toronto - called in by the sound of drumming - each expressed with a big smile that they found the event truly welcoming and suggesting too that we need more of this sort of event - ones that provide an opportunity to learn about Indigenous cultures and help to build relationships.
Indigenous Culture Day was organized and hosted by the Lanark County Neighbours for Truth and Reconciliation (LCNTR) and the Perth Museum.
FROM 2012 - 2018
Sept. 2012 – Blanket Exercise, Kairos & Carleton Place Church social action committee June 8, 2013 – Truth & Reconciliation History, Kairos Nov.27, 2013 – Hosted the West Hill United Church First Nations Study Group – petition on equal funding for Indigenous education June 16, 2014 – hosted the Attawapiskat walkers March, 2015– showed Honour Your Word, film about the Barriere Lake Algonquin land rights struggle Nov.24, 2015 – hosted Cree walkers to TRC Closing Event May 29, 2016 – Algonquin Perspectives on the 200th Anniversary of European Settlement with Paula Sherman & Mireille LaPointe May 2016 and May 2017 – Fundraising Breakfasts for Ardoch Culture Camp Oct.23, 2016 Alliances towards Reconciliation with Professor Lynne Davis, Trent University Resources for Reconciliation manual 2016-2017 – Presentations to County & Township Councils requesting acknowledgement of unceded Algonquin Territory March 2017 – Indigenous Artifacts at Tay Valley Township office May 4, 2017 - The Canoe as a Vehicle for Reconciliation, partnered with The Table Community Food Centre, Plenty Canada, Canadian Canoe Museum with presentations by Chuck Commanda, James Raffan & Larry McDermott Summer of 2017 - In the Valley of Kiji Sibi: Celebrating our shared histories and futures – joint project with Plenty Canada; Chuck Commanda built a birch bark canoe & Reconciliation Dinner was held 2017-2018: 8 week course on Indigenous History by Robert Lovelace, more than 100 people participated Nov. 21.17 - Co-sponsored a presentation on the Muskrat Falls land protection struggle Jan.2018 – Presentation at Carleton University on Reconciliation in Action 2018 Blanket Exercise with St. Paul’s United Church 2018 Partnered with St.Paul's United Church on the Romeo Saganash visit/Pilgrimage Jan. 2017-Sept.30th 2018 - Perth Healing Forest Memorial