Engage for Change

Guest Blog by Tara Kainer - Community Harvest Day (July 25th 2018)

Whispering Winds Drum Group preforming at Queen's University

The last weekend of January 2017 I participated in a Community Talking Circle, the first of ten organized by the City of Kingston’s Sesquicentennial Engage for Change project funded by the Government of Canada and facilitated by Three Things Consulting.

Enhance Your Understanding of Indigenous People

In 2017, the City of Kingston through its Engage for Change project organized Ten Community Talking Circles facilitated by Three Things Consulting Inc. and co-designed with community partners and indigenous leaders. The circles openly discussed themes of reconciliation with the intent to increase overall cultural competency around indigenous issues. The circles built upon what indigenous and non-indigenous residents of Kingston know, how they feel and how their knowledge can be put into practice to create open dialogue within the community.

Engage for Change

Engage for Change Gathering

‘Engage for Change’ are powerful words, because they imply the engagement of local community and that positive change will result. Over the past ten months, Engage for Change circles occurred monthly and brought together people from many socioeconomic backgrounds, diverse cultural backgrounds, as well as from local organizations, businesses, and academic institutions.

Indigenous Identities and Cultural Resurgence

Indigenous Identities and Cultural Resurgence

What does it mean to have an ‘Indigenous identity?’ The word ‘Indigenous’ is problematic as it implies that Indigenous cultures are homogenous. In fact, there are over 600 Indigenous communities across Canada and over 50 Indigenous language groups. Indigenous cultures have unique histories, which are grounded in the territories and lands where they originate. Culture and ‘worldview’ are imbedded in Indigenous languages and cultural practices.

Narratives of ‘Response to Learning about Indigenous Residential School Systems’ in Canada

Narratives of ‘Response to Learning about Indigenous Residential School Systems’ in Canada

This blog post brings to light some of the common narratives that emerge when discussing reconciliation and Indigenous history with non-Indigenous Canadians. These ‘poems’ represent real examples of comments that have been made to the [Indigenous] author* over a series of six years. These comments have emerged in academic institutions, workshops, and casually in discussion.

For Indigenous peoples, these comments may bring up uncomfortable feelings and may act as a ‘trigger.’ Unfortunately, these are the types of comments that many Indigenous peoples hear regularly.

The Importance of 'Indigenous-led' - The Spirit of Collaboration

The Importance of 'Indigenous-led' - The Spirit of Collaboration

With the current narratives on reconciliation in Canada, there is an emphasis on ‘empowering Indigenous peoples,’ but what does that really mean? There have been countless initiatives, projects, workshops, symposiums, truth and reconciliation commissions by various organizations, businesses, academic institutions, and government - all dedicated to reconciliation… But, are they helping?

I read about the diabetes epidemic among Indigenous communities; why is it an epidemic?

I read about the diabetes epidemic among Indigenous communities; why is it an epidemic?

History indicates that upon first contact settlers to the new world were stunned by the quality of health of the original inhabitants. In fact, there are historical accounts of settlers writing back to Europe expressing their astonishment of the vast array of foods the Indigenous peoples were consuming and the apparent health of these Indigenous peoples being advanced. There were even written accounts by settlers complaining of the excessive bathing of Indigenous peoples! Good nutrition and good hygiene are paramount to living a healthy lifestyle and prevented diseases like diabetes.

I am a non-Indigenous Canadian; what can I do to contribute to reconciliation actions here in Kingston?

I am a non-Indigenous Canadian; what can I do to contribute to reconciliation actions here in Kingston?

Reconciliation is a personal journey for many of us. How we measure action and results will be based on our individual awareness and acts of caring and sharing that contribute to creating positive and progressive change. If you want to contribute to reconciliation take the time to educate yourself on the history of the original inhabitants of this land that Kingston is situated on. Learn about the Huron, the Anishinaabe and Haudenousaunee peoples and their ways of life.

Nature Isn't Perfect

Nature Isn't Perfect

Years ago, I asked my grandmother, a wise Mohawk woman why her beaded key chain she handcrafted had a missing bead in her beadwork? Her response, “I always leave a bead, or put an entirely different coloured bead in my beadwork to remind me that no matter how beautiful my work is, it is not perfect. It will never compare to the grand perfection of the natural world we live in. The world so many people forget to be a part of.”  It wasn’t until after her passing that I begin to reflect on my time with my grandmother.

Do You Carry the Great Peace?

Do You Carry the Great Peace?

The story of the Peacemaker belongs to the Haudenosaunee; this summarized version aims to provide education and insight into the life and contributions of the Peacemaker and further; to the culture and traditions of the Haudenosaunee. The information presented was written with good intentions and with the upmost respect to the spirit of the Great Peace and the Great Law of Peace, to Haudenosaunee people and to all Indigenous peoples that maintain and protect traditional knowledge and ways of knowing.