Indigenous People's Solidarity Group
The June 2023 Solstice ceremony at St. Matthew's Indigenous Healing Garden. (Marcelle St-Amant)
The Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Group (IPSG) was founded in 2018, as congregants and community members acted on the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We aspire to live in accordance with St. Matt’s Territorial Acknowledgement, now posted streetside, which recognizes 15,000 years of Indigenous history in this place as well as our commitment as settlers to the Land and its first stewards.
The IPSG hosts regular ceremonies and events—including book studies, Indigenous Song Circles, liturgies, and other activities—as well as oversees Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan/Healing Garden.
Anyone can join the gardening, reconciliation and spiritual events being held in the garden. Sign up for the St. Matt’s e-newsletter for regular invitations and reflections from the IPSG, and/or contact Outreach Coordinator Betsy Anderson to join. Keep up with our activities on Facebook.
Monday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m.: Book Discussion of Michelle Good's book Truth Telling: Seven Conversations about Indigenous Life in Canada
Sunday, Dec. 17 @ 12.15 p.m. - Winter Solstice
Celebrate the shortest day with Indigenous Elder Catherine Brooks. This is an in-person event in the Noojimo'iwewin Gitigaan Garden on the west side of the church.
Fall Equinox September 17
The Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Group and Noojimo'iwewin Gitigaan National Healing Forest Project Crew were privileged to offer a Fall Equinox Ceremony honouring the Ancestors led by researcher and writer, Pamela Devonshire, and her daughter, Stephanie Wiatr, from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Both are descendants of the founder of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Chief Desarontyon.
We offered Tobacco to the Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks at the northwest corner of the garden, remembering all of our lineages from the Four Directions. Pamela shared some of the story of Chief Desarontyon, and of her personal history of uncovering the secret of her beloved Grandmother Ruby's heritage. She has since written 3 books for children about Chief Desarontyon and the Mohawk's cultural understanding of the local landscape.
What began as a project to teach her two children about what it means to be the 7th Generation descendants of Chief Desarontyon is now an ongoing fundraiser in support of the Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Mohawk Language and Cultural School currently in development at Tyendinaga. Hearing Stephanie, our amazing 2023 Community Development Worker, speak a few words in what should have been her mother tongue had colonialism not taken so much from her People was one of the highlights of a deeply moving Ceremony.
Pamela's $25 book bundles are available online through Lightening Spark Books. She will also have books available at our upcoming Tea & Bannock event in Tollkeeper's Park, Saturday, September 23, 1 to 4, at Bathurst and Davenport Road.
Adding flags in the Noojimo'iwewin Gitigaan Garden (Marcelle St-Amant.)
All-Nations Round Dance Concludes Why We Wear Orange Campaign
"Learn about Indigenous brilliance and success as much as you learn about Indigenous suffering and trauma." - Megan Tipler ( Métis Educator)
The Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Group and the Community History Project organised a commemorative Orange Shirt Day event that took place at the National Healing Forest Project located at Tollkeeper’s Cottage and Park at Davenport Rd. and Bathurst St. Community members gathered in a circle wearing orange, and were welcomed by Jeanette Mazzacotto, President of the Community History Project whose members steward the small museum and surrounding greenspace.
The event began with an introduction from Isaiah Cada, an Anishnawabe Health Traditional Helper. He started with smudging, a cleansing ritual, for all present followed by an Honour Song. The dancers arrived, and Isaiah introduced his partner, Nichole Leveck, and their daughters Nazarene and Indiana. Included are photographs of Nichole and her daughters dancing along with Isaiah drumming and singing. Afterwards 3 Sisters Soup made by the IPSG members was served, along with strawberries.
This was a vey enjoyable spiritual event and community outreach success for the Why We Wear Orange campaign. We are happy that two staff members from the David Suzuki Foundation attended, as well as our MPP, Jill Andrew, and Heritage Canada Project Officer, Jane Hubbard.
Funding for the Why We Wear Orange Campaign was provided by the Government of Canada and generous private donations.
On Sept. 23, the IPSG and Community History Project hosted a Why We Wear Orange Tea & Bannock gathering featuring Council Fire's Red Bear Singers. Red Bear Singers was founded to bring the healing of drum and song to Residential School and Sixties Scoop survivors and their families.
Pictures of Why We Wear Orange Day by Linda Wojciechowski