The First Nations Métis Inuit (FNMI) Planning Working Group organized workshops in Maynooth and Tyendinaga on October 18th and 19th for professionals working directly with Indigenous children and families.
Faciliated by Enyonkwa’nikonhriyohake’ (Good Minds) staff Tracey Gazley and Diana Barlow, Circle in a Box is a teaching tool to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. Participants were invited to step into the role of First Nations, Métis and Inuit people and experience what it must have felt like to live in these communities during colonization, residential schools, the sixties’ scoop and now.
Each workshop was attended by 40 individuals from education, health and community service sectors along with youth and elders. The photo above shows smiling participants of the North Hastings session. Participants of the South Hastings session are shown below, creatively engaged in a restorative activity, intended to build and strengthen relationships.
Impact of the teachings on participants is revealed in a sample of testimonials:
“Useful knowledge/building awareness when working with First Nations families & Band(s).”
“Very informative, helps me understand better the family’s I work with and why they may not be so receptive to services.”
“It’s not the first time I’ve been at this workshop, yet EVERYTHING was new. I heard it differently & it resonated with me.”
“Teach my children about who they are; work on self to ensure I am healthy and raising my children so they are proud, have self-identity, empathy, compassion etc. for themselves + everyone around them.”
“Greater insight, more committed to provide info to doubters of residential issue.”
“It enabled me to experience an indigenous perspective more deeply and profoundly.”
“The overall experience was very informing, I am walking away from this experience feeling very informed, and full of knowledge. I will admit I never realized all these events took place.”
“Continue to work with my community/school to infuse indigenous pedagogy in an authentic way.”