Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan/Healing Garden

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Moon Gardens, Conversation Circle, Pathway, and Ode'min Giizas/Strawberry Moon panel designed by 2-Spirit Anishinaabe artist, Bert Whitecrow. Photo by Marcelle St. Amant.

By stewarding the small greenspace adjacent to St. Matt’s differently, the Indigenouse People's Solidarity Group (IPSG) and Garden Crew volunteers seek to model how even small urban spaces may become sites of re-connection with Creation and respect for Indigenous spirituality.


“Our ways, of seeing and being on this earth, are much like the Hebrew people,” teach the Caretakers of our Indigenous Circle in their 2018 Calls to the United Church of Canada. “We can hear creation and have learned from all our relations, the animals, the water folk, the plant families, our mother the earth.”


Gifted the name Noojimo’iwein Gitigaan/Healing Garden by Elder Peduhbun Migizi Kwe at our Fall Equinox Ceremony in 2020, the green space is Toronto’s first National Healing Forests project, “a place for healing, learning, sharing, and reflection about Canada’s history and the legacy of Indian Residential Schools.”


We are grateful to our 2022 Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan weekly program partners, the Hippo Nursery School and The Stop Wychwood Open Door, both part of St. Matthew’s Community Hub. Special thanks to Anishnawbe Health Toronto, Miinikaan Innovation & Design, Friends of Bickford Park, and the Community History Project at Tollkeeper’s Park for their collaboration with us on new National Healing Forests projects in Toronto’s west end.


Generous funding from Park People, the Parkdale and Toronto Horticultural Societies, Canada Summer Jobs, and private donations plus the guidance of Elder Peduhbun Migizi Kwe/Catherine Brooks and the committed work of volunteers made the 2022 season possible.


If you wish to volunteer in Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan, contact Robin Buyers. Or watch for updates on Facebook.

For more about the garden, see the Garden Journal.

Welcome summer youth leaders
to Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan

The Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan Crew is proud to announce that Abby Grasham Burns and Jacob ElzingaCheng are joining us as summer staff this year. Thanks to the Canada Summer Jobs program, they will help maintain our healing garden, engage the community in our programming (as well as create new programming), and support our work with new National Healing Forests projects and events at the Bickford Centre and Tollkeeper’s Park.

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Abby Grasham Burns has just completed her first year at Trent University. Reflecting on her foundations course in Indigenous Environmental Science & Studies, she says “I got to learn about the entwined practical and cultural significance of nature and Indigenous knowledge systems through the cultural lens of my Anishinaabe instructors. I was introduced to plants as knowledge holders, and I am enthusiastic to gain practical education on stewarding land.”

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Grade 11 S.T.E.M. student and after-school S.T.E.M. children’s program leader, Jacob ElzingaCheng joins us for his first full-time job contract. 
“I have had some opportunity to participate with people who are Indigenous in land stewardship activities, culture, and ceremony in my neighbourhood,” Jacob says, “learning more about the history and presence of Indigenous people and the cultural genocide they experienced. However, I feel like I have just begun my journey in Truth and Reconciliation.”