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Being A Good Ancestor

Who we are today is built on the stories, actions, and wisdom of our ancestors. 

In mid-July, I once attended the Indigenous Summer School program at the Vancouver School of Theology. As always, it was a wonderful experience. What happened that week is what happens for me every year when I attend. Whatever course I take, what is most powerful are the stories. We spend a lot of time listening to each other tell stories. Stories of who we are, and where we came from, stories from our life experience. It reminded me of Jesus words, “Let anyone with ears listen!" (Matthew 13:9)

This past June a year-long journey on the continued path of truth and reconciliation began, under the umbrella: “Being A Good Ancestor.” Through a series of conversations and programs we explore and inhabit the relationships and commitments that we make in our daily lives toward the ongoing work of truth and reconciliation. In doing so, we honour the stories of those who came before us and add to those stories for those who will come after us.

In June, we heard powerful stories from Rikki Kooy, Racelle Kooy, and Kerry Baisley as we considered practical ways to be an accomplice in the journey of reconciliation. It was an amazing evening and a wonderful start to our journey, which culminated in making medicine bundles to accompany us through the year. 

In July, we were delighted to learn about Cedar weaving from Haida weaver, Giihlgiigaa (Todd Devries). Again we heard stories and learned the significance of cedar, its uses and the wisdom we can learn from it, as we made our own cedar rattles. 

Coming up in September, we will be led by Kerry Baisley in a workshop introducing Metis beading. We will learn different beading techniques as we create a beaded Orange Shirt pin. We will also talk about the Residential Schools and the story of Phyllis Webstad and how Orange Shirt Day came into being. The pin can be worn to remind yourself and others of the children who attended Indian Residential Schools.

Further upcoming offerings will include: Drum Making Workshop, Re-Wilding Workshop, and a Concluding Feast. 

People often say that they do not feel able to engage a particular creative enterprise, which many of these workshops involve. Come anyway! Come and watch. Come and listen. Come and learn. In the word of Mentoring Elder Rikki Kooy, “Come and bear witness.” 

All are warmly welcome to join in these learning opportunities as we ask ourselves what it means to be a good ancestor. We will continue to welcome and learn from various Indigenous elders and artists over the course of 2023/2024.

For more information and to register for upcoming events: