Honouring Aboriginal Peoples: National Aboriginal History Month

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This post was provided by Megan Fowler of Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.

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Photo courtesy of Na-me-res from their 2013 Annual Pow Wow

June was declared National Aboriginal History Month in Canada in 2009 to provide Canadians with the opportunity to recognize the historic contributions of Aboriginal peoples to the development of Canada, and the strength of present-day Aboriginal communities and their promise to the future.

A Time for All Canadians to Celebrate

In June many events are held and all Canadians are invited to celebrate and honour Aboriginal peoples, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit. Traditional teachings and activities are important to bring together the urban Aboriginal community in Toronto as well as creating an inviting space for non-Aboriginal people to learn and partake in. With distinct cultures and practices, services informed by Aboriginal teachings allows for the four aspects of self, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual, to be addressed in a holistic way. Our work and direction is guided by the Seven Grandfather teachings: Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth.

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A Look At 2014 Events in Toronto

Native Women's Resource Centre Toronto at Na-me-res Pow Wow
Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto at Na-me-res Pow Wow

In Ontario, and Toronto specifically, people are taking the time to acknowledge the people who traditionally occupied the land. In Tkaronto (Mohawk phrase for “where there are trees standing in the water,” adapted into the word Toronto by the French), we acknowledge the Mississaugas of the New Credit and the Haudenosaunee people.

The Native Women’s Resource Centre Toronto participates in a number of events in June. Two that are especially significant to us are the Toronto Aboriginal City Celebration and the Na-Me-Res Pow Wow.

The annual Toronto Aboriginal City Celebration: This event brings Aboriginal service agencies together from across the city in a space where we can celebrate and recognize the vibrant, thriving community we serve. We have the chance to showcase the services we provide including life enhancing resources, cultural ceremonies and teachings. We also enjoy connecting with traditional artists and craftspeople – some of whom are current or former members of the Centre, and with performers who drum and dance. We also enjoy seeing the groups from the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and the hand drumming group from Native Child and Family Services.

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Drum Group at the 2013 Pow Wow. Photo courtesy of Na-me-res

Na-Me-Res (Native Men’s Residence) hosts a traditional outdoor Pow Wow: This annual event is one of our favourites! Pow Wows are a celebration and coming together of the community through dancing to heal, honour, show respect for each other, each nation and Mother Earth. We love that it welcomes people of all nations to come and experience this vibrant community celebration for themselves. This year their theme was ‘Honouring our Elders.’ They chose to acknowledge the continued need for truth, justice and reconciliation after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology for the government’s role in the Residential School system – an important issue to keep front of mind since many of our members and clients still feel its effects.

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Children taking part in a Smudging Ceremony at the Na-me-res Annual Pow Wow 2014

 

These Powerful Events are Just the Beginning  

As the only organization dedicated to serving Aboriginal women in Toronto we provide life-enhancing resources, cultural ceremonies and teachings, we also support skills development, and programs to build capacity and celebrate Aboriginal cultures.

To learn more about the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, visit their charity profile page.

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