Nimaywikwedong Reconcilation Garden
Start date: 14 December, 2016
End date: 1 January, 2018
Description of the Niimaywikwedong Reconcilation Garden: To provide ongoing opportunity for healing historic trauma for All Nations through the development of a Memorial Garden where pain can be remembered, mourned and transformed and a new way becomes possible. In the Spirit of Reconciliation the garden will be a contemplative place where our community can pause, reflect and remember, learn about the past legacy of residential school and intergenerational trauma that still exist today. The project will be sited on the traditional territory of the Saugeen Ojibwa Nation and very close to the original Nawash Village. To date there is no visible acknowledgement of the Saugeen Ojibwa Nation to preserve our history in Owen Sound. The project will help all cultures within our community move forward with shared understanding and respect, humility and love in our hearts, walk softly and be ever mindful. The art pieces will share indigenous culture and healing practices. The Sturgeon (Niimay) Installation brings the 7 dodem teachings and family names. The indigenous plants in the gardens will tell stories and legends of the history of the location. The project will reclaim place, culture, ecology and wellness. Several interpreter plaques will be placed to educate, inspire and encourage further research by the visitor. To develop this project we have engaged community organizations, Elders from 2 reserves and 2 Métis communities who are knowledge holders in our region using their input and cultural knowledge. We are proud to acknowledge and celebrate the history and culture of the First Nations and Métis peoples of the Grey Bruce area.
Nature of the Project Reach
Residents of Grey and Bruce Counties and beyond and the City of Owen Sound, the Saugeen Ojibwa Nation of the Saugeen Ojibwa and the Chippewas of Nawash, Métis Nation of Ontario Great Lakes Métis and the Historic Saugeen Métis Nation
1. Goals of the Project:
a) To acknowledge our first people’s presence in the past, present and future on traditional territory.
b) To reclaim place, culture, ecology, and wellness.
c) To educate all nations about the legacy of residential schools and helps build right relationships.
Our hope is that all nations will honor the culture and spiritual teachings. Together we will walk the sacred path of truth and honor and build a better future and walk in a sacred way. What we do today is for future generations. Through traditional stories, and indigenous plantings we will honor and remember our First Nations and Métis Ancestors. With open and friendly dialogue we strive for mutual understanding, balance, and unity for the people of our community so we may move forward together in a good way with one heart.
Residents of Grey and Bruce Counties and beyond and the City of Owen Sound, the Saugeen Ojibwa Nation of the Saugeen Ojibwa and the Chippewas of Nawash, Métis Nation of Ontario Great Lakes Métis and the Historic Saugeen Métis Nation.
By learning the truth about the history of land, its people, their culture and the treaties in our area this will provides a way for the city of Owen Sound to move forward in its goal of reconciliation with local first nations It will enhance the city of Owen Sound’s 160th and Canada’s 150th 10 day celebration Maawanjiding: Festival Canadiana (The Gathering) with the opening of the Niimaywikwedong Reconciliation Garden. Increase knowledge and understanding of aboriginal culture and spirituality. Build and foster relationships between individuals, community groups and service providers of all cultures. Address the issue of abuse, addictions and disrupted family relationships. Break down barriers and address racism and discrimination within the broader community. Our hope is for the Niimaywikwedong Reconciliation Garden begins the process of healing in our communities.
To develop this project we have Owen Sound community organizations, Elders from 2 reserves which include a former Chief, 2 Métis communities, and 2 knowledge holders in our region using their input and cultural knowledge. There are 2 Anglican clergy on the committee as well as a former Owen Sound City Councilor Saugeen indigenous masons specializing in dry stack stone, aboriginal teachers of medicinal and local ingenious plants
Our goals for the Garden:
a) Community: Increase the awareness and respect for long ignored history, culture and traditions of our local first peoples. This will help our community address continuing racism and colonialism. We will pray together in the garden once finished. We expect ceremonies such as weddings, baptism, events, and celebrations such as aboriginal day, solstice and equinox, church and vacation bible school to be held in the garden. Schools and children will visit and experience local history, traditional language, and art.
Find next steps forward and develop new relationships, rebuild relationships which celebrate healing and reconciliation within our educational, judicial, political, health, and religious institutions.
b) Participants: Learning about our collective history, culture and traditions of our local first peoples. A place to reflect, to sit with Grandfather and Grandmother Stones to enjoy indigenous sacred plants and trees. Inspire a deeper understanding of our community. Encourage conversations about the residential school legacy, the intergenerational impacts that are felt today, racism and discrimination. We will learn and promote healthy ways to live.