St. Matt's Indigenous People's Solidarity Group
Responding to the call to listen and learn about the lives and stories of indigenous people in Canada and around the world, we are a group of members of St. Matt's and from the surrounding community who are committed to this cause.
Right Relations Garden
Neighbour and former Hippo School parent, Charlotte Rose has been taking on one of the most thankless tasks in the Right Relations Garden: removing the soil from the sod that was lifted to construct the garden. She found the perfect tool for the job lying around with stuff her husband hadn’t used in years: a masonry trowel, sharply pointed and sharp on both sides. Slowly but surely, she’s getting through the piles of sod, stewarding the earth, literally.
The soil left behind presents its own challenges. Neighbours walking by as we painstakingly took up the grass commented on the heaviness of the soil in the St. Clair West area, and the difficulties of starting their own gardens. St. Matt’s and community members came by with donations of topsoil, compost, and bags of manure and mulch, but not enough to remediate the soil in the Right Relations Garden as well as reinvigorate the other Gardens.
We started chopping up punk wood found behind the church, and laying that down as mulch, with the affirmation of Nah-Hak Hartmann from the Mashkikii;aki’ing Garden in Hillcrest Park. He said they mulch with anything they can find, given the cost of commercial inputs. So we scooped up leaf mulch from under a bench behind Oakwood SS, full of worms. And we started asking Mabel’s Bakery for coffee grounds.
Planting had to be completed whether the soil was what we might wish or no, and so this year’s garden went in. Some plants are thriving: the sioux tomato from Lee Adamson is already setting fruit, as are the alpine strawberries from the Buyers. The garbanzo bean seedlings from Linda Fowler-Wojciechowski have mainly survived. The Medicine Wheel Garden grows greener each day as the Cedar, Tobacco, Sweetgrass, and Sage put down roots.
This week, John and Renwick cleaned the roof, and we knew that next year, and in all the years to come, we’ll have a fine way to renew the soil. St. Matt’s is known for its pigeons, and it happens that what pigeons produce in quantity is, when well-composted, better for gardens than the best hen manure. Into Betsy Anderson’s repurposed composter it went.
After the fall harvest, we’ll dig out and spread the compost, knowing we’re beginning to understand the gifts of this very specific ecosystem at the corner of St. Clair West and Rushton Road, in the Meeting Place of Tkaronto. And we’re learning how we might use them, responsibly, as stewards.
Spring 2020 Book Study on "Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Lenten 2019 Book Study on "Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization"
Tanya Talaga Book Discussion on All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, January 19, 2019
KAIROS Blanket Exercise, October 28, 2018
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) covers more than 500 years in a 90-minute experiential workshop that aims to foster understanding about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Participants are guided through the experience of walking together through our history by trained facilitators. The Exercise concludes with a debriefing, conducted as a `talking circle’, during which participants discuss the learning experience, process their feelings, ask questions, share insights and deepen their understanding. KAIROS is a Canadian ecumenical organization supported by 10 churches and religious organizations working together, locally and globally for ecological justice and human rights.