Please read Strength for Climbing: Steps on the Journey of Reconciliation by United Church of Canada
Canoe Trip – “Gibimishkaadimin” Paddling Together
Fairlawn Avenue United Church contributed funds to support the Gibimishkaadimin project and canoe trip for five years. Three youth from Fairlawn participated in the August 2017 Gibimishkaadimin Truth & Reconciliation Canoe Trip in Lake Superior. Several youth will be sponsored each year.
Gibimishkaadimin: A Reconciliation Journey
Here’s some background to the project
The purpose of the youth reconciliation project is to build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from across Canada. These relationships are meant to build understanding of the Indigenous culture and mutual respect. The long-term goal is to build knowledge and skills in Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth such that they might lead or support reconciliation in the future. This project received generous funding from the Helen Ricker Fund at Bloor Street United Church, as well as funding from the United Church of Canada and several Toronto congregations.
This five-year project will feature a canoe trip each summer for the youth, and provide exposure to Indigenous culture and to the concepts of Reconciliation.
The April 30, 2017 Social Justice Sunday service launched this project and began the journey for our congregation to understand Canada’s and the United Church’s history with our indigenous brothers and sisters and to promote mutual understanding and respect.
Trip Report: Gibimishkaadimin – a once-in-a-lifetime experience
Esther Ewing – In the third week of August, 21 teens – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – arrived in Thunder Bay, looking for adventure. There was a canoe trip, sponsored jointly by the United Church of Canada and three United Church congregations in Toronto, of which Fairlawn Avenue United Church was one. Called Gibimishkaadimin, for “we paddle together by means of a boat,” the canoe trip put these youths together to learn, have fun and build relationships that would support truth and reconciliation for the future. For these three participating North Toronto teens, from Fairlawn Avenue United Church, the experience was powerful.
Megan Boone – Now that I am home and a few weeks into school I can tell you that my experiences on this trip have affected me… I know that reconciliation will continue throughout my whole life and I have only begun my personal journey learning and understanding. I feel lucky to have been given this opportunity to build a strong foundation that will serve me for years to come.
Lucy Tempest – One of the things that surprised me a lot on this trip was how fast I realized that we really are all just people – people with different experiences but not opposites… Drum making at Neys Provincial Park was also really interesting. It’s really hard to do and there are so many different steps but finishing a drum and then playing it is really fulfilling… I am so grateful I got to be a part of this amazing opportunity.
Malcolm La Prairie – I went into this trip not knowing exactly what to expect… I had never been within five meters of a canoe in my life, and I only had basic information on Indigenous cultures. … Not only have I learned countless important things about many Indigenous cultures, I’ve learned how to be a part of reconciliation and how to bring it into my own life.
Fairlawn acknowledges the sacred land on which our church stands. It has been a site of human activity for 15,000 years. This land is the territory of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. The territory was the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and Confederacy of the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes.
Today, the meeting place of Toronto is still home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work in the community, on this territory. We are also mindful of broken covenants and the need to strive to make right with all our relations.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
View their webstes: