Red Dresses were displayed in Uxbridge, Ontario on Sunday October 3/21 after A Gathering of People walked carrying Empty Dresses… This is becoming a “Traveling Acknowledgement OF MMIWG2S” first held in Unionvill with Shanta Elizabeth Sundarason with much help from Giving Tree Young People, then Stouffvill organized by Nikki Best Devereux and then Uxbridge by Maamawi Collective. A conversation has started to continue to Port Perry. Please let us know your community is interested too.
The walk from Centennial park to Elgin park.
The Elgin park gathering among the trees and red dresses
A travelling acknowledgement of MMIWG2S
Guest speaker Becky Big Canoe member of Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation
Barbara Blower passes out the red ribbons
…a red Ribbon was passed from Hand to Hand starting and ending with Becky creating a circle. Deanna then moved around the circle cutting the ribbon so people could take home their “piece” Deanna suggested we tie the pieces to a tree at our home.
photos by Stuart Blower
We offer sincere thanks to The Uxbridge Cosmos newspaper and The Standard Newspaper, published in Port Perry, for publishing this acknowledgement. 2021 is the third time this wreath has been laid at Uxbridge Cenotaph. Gathered on the grass in Centennial Park were residents of Uxbridge and Stouffville. After the Land Acknowledgement was offered a red ribbon was passes Hand to Hand to complete a circle starting and ending in the hands of Original People Of This Land now know as Canada. The ribbon was cut then cut so that each person held their pieces as they walked to the cenotaph lead by Member of Cree First Nation Dianne Brown-Green and son’s James and Will carrying the wreath marking National Aboriginal Veterans Day. The wreath ribbon carries the Ojibway word “Mishkooziidaa” – To Stand With Strength” as local area resident Mim Harder walks along side. The Canada Flag is lowered by Dianne’s son Will. National Aboriginal Veterans Day is acknowledged on November 8th in Canada, Recognizing The Service Of All Aboriginal Veteran and Serving Members of Canada’s Armed Forces.
photos by Stuart Blower
Members of Maamawi Collective along with neighbours and friends assemble in a circle, in front of Uxbridge Township Office at 2:15 pm, Tuesday, June 1st. Standing silently in a circle connected by an orange ribbon a Land Acknowledgement was offered acknowledging that First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples ….are not history …THEY ARE STILL HERE and their stories matter.
Letters to the Editor – by Barbara Blower
(reproduced in the Uxbridge Cosmos and the Port Perry Standard newspapers)
The anticipation of a new year comes hand in hand with reflections on the that’s just done. Asked what we wish for in 2021 offers the opportunity to share thoughts. As a member of a local Uxbridge volunteer “collective”, I appreciate much will be different in 2021, expecting positive responses to the availability of a COVID vaccine is top of mind. However, if we each reach out a little further, positive change will happen related to food security, housing for vulnerable people, acceptance of diversity to suggest just a few.
Recently Senator Murray Sinclair expressed that not enough change has occurred in the five years since Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission published its final report and corresponding 94 Calls to Action. Maamawi Collective has particular reference to “Number 53 – Part 4” as it calls on all Canadians to: “Promote Public Dialogue, Public/private Partnerships, and Public Initiatives for Reconciliation” in support of a National Council for Reconciliation.
Eight volunteer members of a “collective” based in Uxbridge, Ontario acknowledge this as Work In Progress that continues. An acknowledgement/fundraiser related to MMIWG2S Peoples continues in our town for 2021 and have adopted a mission statement:-
“We have been inspired by TRC Call to Action 53, Part 4. to: “Promote public dialogue, public/private partnerships, and public initiatives for reconciliation” in support of a National Council for Reconciliation.
An Open Letter To the Artist; Dianne Brown-Green,
We offer so much gratitude for your willingness to partner with Maamawi Collective. Your painting SISTERS, We Will Not Forget Them inspired our 8 member administrative circle “collective” to create a fundraising effort that continues ’till an additional 100 Red Dress Pins are sold.
“Ayhay for all your help and understand as we learn to… …walk together in a good way…”*
(*Words from Mim Harder – Hodinohso:ni & Anishinaabeg and Matthew Stevens – Who hails from Georgina Island First Nation and is a Cultural Coordinator for Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation)
Cree Artist Dianne Brown-Green. Her original painting titled “SISTERS We Will Not Forget Them” has been digitally reproduced with her kind permission for this Red Dress Pin fundraising event. Photo Credit: Preston Gallery, Uxbridge.
Our Fundraising Efforts:
MMIWG2S Peoples Red Dress Pin fundraising sales began “On-Line” and in person in the community of Uxbridge, Ontario on November 11/2020 and continued to December 31/20 with resulting proceeds of $1,150. share between Native Women’s Resource Centre – Toronto, Lil’ Red Dress Project – Comox, BC and as an ongoing partnership with Justice 4 Stolen Sisters Memorial Walk – Oshawa – 2021, and continuing as sponsor for 2021.
Future proceeds from the sales of 100 Red Dress Pins @ $10. each, in acknowledgement of MMIWG2S Peoples will be shared as 50% forwarded to JFSSMW – 2021 and 50% retained by Maamawi Collective for future projects related to the following:-
We have been inspired by TRC Call to Action 53, Part 4. to:
“Promote public dialogue, public/private partnerships, and public initiatives for reconciliation” in support of a National Council for Reconciliation.
C # 905.649.0407
Acknowledging theLand of the First People,
Hodinohso:ni & Anishinaabe.
Link Here to the Toronto Star article
Comments by Barbara Blower Coordinator – Maamawi Collective.
They are numbered # 1 to 5, but # 2 resonated with me the most: “# 2:- TELL YOUR KIDS! “Most people my age weren’t taught the ugly truths of this country, such as treaty covenants broken by Canada, the enslavement of Indigenous peoples, the stealing, rape and abuse of their children and the ongoing colonial assault against Indigenous survival.”
I’m an immigrant and therefor a settler, non-Indigenous citizen/resident in Canada since 1966. I believe the work of RECONCILIATION is work that settlers, immigrants, none-indigenous people who live in Canada now must do. Suggesting that previous generations of settlers did the damage so todays settlers are not responsible is, in my opinion, the biggest barrier to achieving Reconciliation.
Words by Professor Cindy Blackstock, member of Gitxsan First Nation, are paraphrased “When We Know Better We Must Do Better ”. So! Education in all it’s forms for every settler living in Canada today will become the huge stride we all must make as we …walk together in a good way… words given to me by members of Hodinohso:ni & Anishinaabe and Chippewa First Nations in response to my questions “what can each and every settler do?”.
Professor Cindy Blackstock -First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
Link Here to On Line 4 person panel discussion
My E mail to Liane Kotler – Program Producer; Comments from Barbara:
Aniin Boozhoo Hello,
I’m settler living on the land of the Hodinohso:ni & Anishinaabe Nation about an hour drive north from Toronto. My story is available to read on the home page of the web site linked below. Our collective’s mission statement is: Maamawi Collective Mission Statement: – Uxbridge, Ontario. We have been inspired by TRC Call to Action 53, Part 4. to: “Promote public dialogue, public/private partnerships, and public initiatives for reconciliation” in support of a National Council for Reconciliation. To this end we created a facebook page and web site, hoping to inspire other settlers to recognize that …the work of reconciliation is the work all settlers…
But if your picking up a hot drink at your local Mc Donalds during this Holiday Season your cup has a story to tell! The design work of Indigenous Elder Philip Cote 111 – member of Moose Point First Nation in Muskoka Ontario, is featured on a number of mural’s around Toronto. Now Phillip has been asked to collaborate with other commercial artist on behalf of Mc Donalds, to create what he calls “a sprinkling of Indigenous Identity in a place where everyone can see and learn”. Link to McDonalds cup info.