Gibimishkaadimin – Paddling Together for Truth and Reconciliation

Gibimishkaadimin update for 2021

Just a little more than one year ago, an exuberant group of nine Indigenous & nine non-Indigenous youth arrived in Toronto for a four-day reunion. They were celebrating the successful completion of an eight-day Temagami adventure in August 2019 called Gibimishkaadimin. For those new to the Fairlawn community, Gibimishkaadimin is an Anishinaabemowin word representing “paddling together by boat”.

It’s the name of a five-year pilot project offering youth aged 14-18 from across the country the opportunity to develop relationships with one another and with the land on a wilderness canoe trip. The trip is delivered through an Indigenous lens and is led by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff. The project itself is directed by a six-person board (three of whom are Indigenous) and is supported by the United Church of Canada and by three Toronto area United churches Bloor Street, Rosedale, and Fairlawn. The reunion marked the completion of our third year of operation.

In hindsight, it’s remarkable that those participants returned home from the reunion just two days before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and just nine days before the government of Canada imposed the country’s first official lock-down. At the time, word of Gibimishkaadimin had been spreading, and the program for the summer of 2020 was already fully enrolled.

However, just a couple of months later, the Ontario government made the disappointing, but necessary announcement that overnight camps would not be permitted to operate during the summer of 2020. A few days ago, the Gibimishkaadimin board made the very difficult decision to again postpone the program – hopefully to be run again in the summer of 2022. We feel the risks to our participants, particularly those from isolated communities are simply too high.

The good news is the program’s funding is secure and our commitment to completing the five-year pilot remains firm. In the meantime, the Gibimishkaadimin board is looking at ways we can provide individual development opportunities to some of the Indigenous youth who have taken leader-in-training roles over the course of the project first three years.

We’ll keep you posted.

Fairlawn Participants
Megan Boone 2017
Malcolm La Prairie 2017
Lucy Tempest 2017
Ella Pattison 2018
Alex Berndorff 2019
Reid Cumming 2019

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August 2019 Canoe Trip with Gibimishkaadimin

Another successful year for the Gibimishkaadimin Canoe Trip in Temagami.
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Gibimishkaadimin means “traveling together by boat’ and is sponsored by Bloor Street United Church, and in part by Fairlawn, as well as other United Church groups. Two Fairlawn youth attended this year’s trip, Alex Huibrechtse-Berndorff  and Reid Doherty.

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Here’s the 2019 video

Apply early in 2021 for next summer’s trip

It’s a five-year project engaging Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in collaborative and experiential learning through an Indigenous lens. to learn about Indigenous issues and spirituality. It’s a youth leadership opportunity to foster relationships with each other, develop respect for each other and the land, as part of a summer canoe trip. This year’s location is once again in Temagami, Ontario.

Gibimishkaadimin is open to Indigenous youth (age 14-18) from across Canada. It is also open to non-Indigenous youth from Shining Waters Region 10, who are age 14-18 at the time of the canoe trip, and who have a connection to the United Church of Canada. It is free of charge, fully funded by the project, including air fare to Toronto for Indigenous youth, and bus transportation from Toronto to the camp for all participants, as well as canoes, gear, food and camping costs.

2018 Trip Report by Ella Pattison

Read the trip report of Gibimishkaadimin 2018 in Temagami by Ella Pattison from Fairlawn church.
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2018 Video

We are pleased to present the 2018 Gibimishkaadimin video which gives us an unexpected window into the events of the canoe trip and the lives of these young people.

View the 2018 Gibimishkaadimin video to get an idea of what this summer’s trip will be like!

Campers and leaders were reunited in Toronto, February 2019.

 

 

Previous Gibimishkaadimin Trip 2017

Read more

 

 

References on Truth and Reconciliation 

Report Card on provincial curriculum on Indigenous Peoples (and how Ontario compares to other provinces):

Orange Shirt Day at Fairlawn was Sunday, September 29

Find out more

 

Land Acknowledgement

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.

 

 

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