The Seventh Generation Initiative

 

 

There is movement happening around the Great Lakes that is gathering momentum. In fact it is evolving so fast it’s hard to keep up

Through ceremony and spiritual guidance, the Seventh Generation Initiative, a grass-roots phenomenon led by Indigenous women and youth, is based on our love for the the land, the water and the future generations of all species. Guided by a series of four fires led by Mississauga ceremonial keeper, Nancy Rowe, the Initiative is rapidly emerging throughout the Great Lakes region.

Based on the traditional modes of indigenous council, the Talking Circle is a structured dialogue centred around significant questions of concern, with a fully inclusive and open approach to engaging each individual’s contribution to the question of focus. A deep listening emerges and possible actions form from the understanding among people. We also add visual recording to capture the dialogue.

Indigenize or Die- The Way Ahead

Friends of the 7th Generation

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After 18 months of learning from numerous indigenous educators, wisdom keepers, elders, and several recent ceremonies, we come to a crossroads where we are called to decide on a next course of action. At the Talking circle on Wednesday 30th August we gathered to discuss the way ahead for the movement, how have we (that is, allies) been changed in our personal decolonization? How are we changing our own cultures through respect and restoration of original indigenous principles? How might we be allies to an Indigenous Toronto and Canada going forward?

We were pretty happy with the turnout and very much with the level of depth and engagement. We’re in a process of drawing a community of spiritual sisters and brothers sincerely drawn to supporting the 7 Generations. Since this is 140 years or so, we ought to start considering this a community of cultural foresight as well as support for the balance of our ecologies and people in the near term.

While this initiative is extraordinarily life affirming, without the support of a large segment of non-Indigenous people, we won’t collectively transition to a way of life in harmony with our Mother. Indigenize or Die is proposing to build this support base of allies from the ground up – community or neighbourhood based, Indigenously led talking circles of people committed to creating a socially just, ecologically sustainable and spiritually fulfilling world — leading to a broad based gathering of allies who together with the Indigenous women decision-makers will be a force for change.

The image below captures the highlights from the discussion.


This weekend NOW magazine covered an article discussing the efforts the towards decolonizing design curriculum, here is the link to the article:
https://nowtoronto.com/art-and-books/art/the-plan-to-decolonize-design/  

Being effective allies in a Rapidly Evolving Indigenous-Settler Relationship in Toronto

A stimulating talking circle dialogue as our process of moving from community-based learning and indigenous education toward meaningful ownership and personal investment in decolonizing ourselves and our immediate communities and social worlds was organised on Wednesday, July 26 at 6:30 pm, Lambert Lounge OCADU, 100 McCaul Street.
 
Indigenize or Die has proceeded as a continuous series of engagements with indigenous history, experience, and cultural knowledge since January 2016. The image below is a visual recording from the session, summarizing the highlights of the discussion.

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Over the past 18 months, the curated monthly series of  Indigenize or Die has evolved from being largely conceptual (either we as a society adopt an indigenous world view of interconnectedness and reciprocity with all life or we won’t survive) towards a trajectory that is increasingly active in building life affirming pathways for the continued well being of the water, land and future generations. Our process has enabled connections with such groups as Naadmaagit Ki (Helpers of the Earth), Toronto Parks 40 year revision and a leader of the Mississaugas of New Credit – the legal rights holders of the land upon which Toronto now sits. Each of these has led to progressively greater opportunities for decolonizing and re-indigenizing Toronto.

At this point we are turning toward serious reflection on our purpose and opportunity as a learning group. We see that the next steps are necessarily to move toward taking action on our commitments, on becoming true allies in  the movement toward reconciliation (e.g., acting on the TRC) and cultural regeneration, not only for justice for  Indigenous peoples but for the future of us all.

While we recognize the necessity of decolonization, many non-indigenous observers wonder about how we can participate authentically, in a good way, and especially how we can be effective allies without inadvertently colonizing.. This discussion was a step towards becoming effective allies in support of this rapidly evolving indigenous-settler relationship.


Honouring the Water Keepers

Welcoming the Mother Earth Water Walkers & Great Lakes Canoers on Toronto Island.
Saturday July 1st

​The ceremony was a great success, despite some delays and rain. Here’s a link to the Toronto Star photos by Alex McKeen https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/07/01/in-photos-honouring-the-water.html

We were greeted by the Arythmics band who accompanied us to the beach and ceremony fire circle. As the Picking Up the Bundles canoe approached, Josephine went out to greet Edward George, leader of the journey who has been keeping pace by canoe with the Walkers all the way. The beautiful ceremony was led by Deb Danard with Grandmother Waterwalker Josephine Mandamin and Edward.

“Indigenize or Die” extends an invitation to a CEREMONY  HONOURING FIRE

led by Giidaakunedaad (Nancy) Rowe

This is the territory governed by the treaty of the Dish with One Spoon. Gradually the nations that were party to that treaty will bring back their understanding of the treaty, renew it with  each  other and the true law of the land can be re-established. 
But our relatives can’t wait for this process. The children of all of them are in peril. It is said that the bear circles the village keeping a watchful eye. In times of great danger it goes to the centre of the village and faces the danger. All of our villages are in great danger. Our ceremony leader is Bear clan. Following her, we are coming to the centre to face the danger. It is time for the prophecies to be fulfilled, for Indigenous people to show the way in support of life.
 
The time is now, to unite all nations. All are welcome to join the Ceremony Honouring Fire. We especially encourage Indigenous women and women of all Nations who are party to the Dish with One Spoon. Following the ceremony we will share some of what has come regarding protecting the land.

Ceremony leader: Giidaakunedaad (Nancy) Rowe
Giidaakunadaad n’dizhinikaaz “I am called the spirit who lives in high places”. Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Kinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.” She is also part of a newly formed, Indigenous based, initiative of Rivercourt Engineering, a dynamic team of engineers, scientists and social innovators who have been on the forefront of award winning, ecologically and socially integrated design for over 40 years.

When – Sunday June 4, 2017 – 11 am sharp to 3 pm

Where – Algonquin Island Park, Toronto Islands
(Although the parks are closed, the island is open to guests of residents of the island. We are guests of David Smiley.)

“Indigenize or Die” extends an invitation to a CEREMONY  HONOURING FIRE

led by Giidaakunedaad (Nancy) Rowe

This is the territory governed by the treaty of the Dish with One Spoon. Gradually the nations that were party to that treaty will bring back their understanding of the treaty, renew it with  each  other and the true law of the land can be re-established. 
But our relatives can’t wait for this process. The children of all of them are in peril. It is said that the bear circles the village keeping a watchful eye. In times of great danger it goes to the centre of the village and faces the danger. All of our villages are in great danger. Our ceremony leader is Bear clan. Following her, we are coming to the centre to face the danger. It is time for the prophecies to be fulfilled, for Indigenous people to show the way in support of life.
 
The time is now, to unite all nations. All are welcome to join the Ceremony Honouring Fire. We especially encourage Indigenous women and women of all Nations who are party to the Dish with One Spoon. Following the ceremony we will share some of what has come regarding protecting the land.

Ceremony leader: Giidaakunedaad (Nancy) Rowe
Giidaakunadaad n’dizhinikaaz “I am called the spirit who lives in high places”. Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Kinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.” She is also part of a newly formed, Indigenous based, initiative of Rivercourt Engineering, a dynamic team of engineers, scientists and social innovators who have been on the forefront of award winning, ecologically and socially integrated design for over 40 years.

When – Sunday June 4, 2017 – 11 am sharp to 3 pm

Where – Algonquin Island Park, Toronto Islands
(Although the parks are closed, the island is open to guests of residents of the island. We are guests of David Smiley.)

“Indigenize or Die” # 15: Fire & Water–How Indigenous Rights are the best hope for protecting the land

Indigenous Rights Holders-Indigenous Land Defenders… continuing the conversation how Indigenous Rights are the best hope for protecting the land and water.

Wednesday April 26
6:30 doors open 7:00 (sharp) – 9:30

Fire and Water are medicines, relatives. Water is the blood of Mother Earth. When we light a fire, we invite the spirit in.  The relationship with fire and water informs the broader relationships with the land and how to protect it. 

We have lost so much. Despite all the rhetoric and “green” laws, the daily attack on the Earth continues. Water, the lifeblood of the Earth continues to be degraded and poisoned. But within the darkness of this landscape there shines a ray of hope – the emerging movement of Indigenous Rights Holders supported by Settler Allies. All over Turtle Island, Indigenous people, led by the women, are standing up for the land and water. 

“Toronto” is recognized as Traditional Anishinaabe Territory with the Rights Holders being the Mississaugas of the New Credit. It is also a major metropolitan city with four river systems and many ravines that are wildlife corridors throughout the city. There are many staff in the city who are deeply committed to the Earth. But change is slow, if it happens at all. Why?

In the last session (see report below) Kevin Best, the series curator who has been working on merging Indigenous and non-Indigenous actions for restoring the Great Lakes bioregion for more than 20 years, was joined in conversation by Giidaakunadaad (Nancy) Rowe from Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. 

We heard about New Credit’s initiatives to protect the land and water and their movement to restore Indigenous Governance in Toronto. We explored the opportunities and challenges in working with government structures, particularly in the areas of planning, education and the rights of Indigenous children.

We explored how exercising Indigenous Rights and re-establishing Indigenous governance are the best, if not the only, hope for protecting the land and water from further assault and beginning the process of regeneration. We looked at how realizing this hope requires spiritual, political, technical and social action.
 
In this session we will explore more fully Nancy’s dreams for a regenerated territory for her grandchildren.

Kevin will share some ideas about spirit engaged, grass roots revolution. 

Presenters:

Giidaakunedaad (Nancy) Rowe
Giidaakunadaad n’dizhinikaaz “I am called the spirit who lives in high places”. Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Kinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.” She is also part of a newly formed, Indigenous based, initiative of Rivercourt Engineering, a dynamic team of engineers, scientists and social innovators who have been on the forefront of award winning, ecologically and socially integrated design for over 40 years.

Kevin Best, Series Curator
Kevin Best has focused on how to create a just and sustainable society through activism, innovative business and restoring Indigenous society for over four decades. Of mixed descent he identifies as Anishinabeg of the Martin Clan. He has worked with Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island, consulted to Greenpeace and pioneered green energy in Ontario. He is currently working on a start-up called Odenaansan (Village or “the little places where my heart is”), an integrated, culturally-based approach to restoring Minobimadzin (the good life) through sustainable food, energy, housing and water in Anishinabe communities. Passionate about decolonization and re-indigenization, he is committed to spreading understanding of these life-giving possibilities. He is Managing Director of Rivercourt Engineering.

Report on Indigenize or Die #14: “Indigenous Rights Holders: Indigenous Land Defenders”

How exercising Indigenous Rights represents the best hope for protecting and regenerating our Mother Earth and all life.

We have lost so much. Despite all the rhetoric and “green” laws, the daily attack on the Earth continues. Water, the lifeblood of the Earth continues to be degraded and poisoned. But within the darkness of this landscape there shines a ray of hope – the emerging movement of Indigenous Rights Holders supported by Settler Allies. All over Turtle Island, Indigenous people, led by the women, are standing up for the land and water. 

“Toronto” is recognized as Traditional Anishinaabe Territory with the Rights Holders being the Mississaugas of the New Credit. It is also a major metropolitan city with four river systems and many ravines that are wildlife corridors throughout the city. There are many staff in the city who are deeply committed to the Earth. But change is slow, if it happens at all. Why?

In this session with Kevin Best, the series curator who has been working on merging Indigenous and non-Indigenous actions for restoring the Great Lakes bioregion for more than 20 years, we were joined in conversation by Giidaakunadaad (Nancy) Rowe from Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We heard about New Credit’s initiatives to protect the land and water and their movement to restore Indigenous Governance in Toronto. We explored the opportunities and challenges in working with government structures, particularly in the areas of planning, education and the rights of Indigenous children.

We explored how exercising Indigenous Rights and re-establishing Indigenous governance are the best, if not the only, hope for protecting the land and water from further assault and beginning the process of regeneration. We looked at how realizing this hope requires spiritual, political, technical and social action. 

The session began with a conversation between Kevin Best and Giidaakenedaad (Nancy) Rowe followed by a circle of introductions, a Q & A and then smaller talking circles. Below you will find notes from three of the talking circles.  

Presenters:

Giidaakunedaad (Nancy) Rowe
Giidaakunadaad n’dizhinikaaz “I am called the spirit who lives in high places”. Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Kinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.” She is also part of a newly formed, Indigenous based, initiative of Rivercourt Engineering, a dynamic team of engineers, scientists and social innovators who have been on the forefront of award winning, ecologically and socially integrated design for over 40 years.

Kevin Best, Series Curator
Kevin Best has focused on how to create a just and sustainable society through activism, innovative business and restoring Indigenous society for over four decades. Of mixed descent he identifies as Anishinabeg of the Martin Clan. He has worked with Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island, consulted to Greenpeace and pioneered green energy in Ontario. He is currently working on a start-up called Odenaansan (Village or “the little places where my heart is”), an integrated, culturally-based approach to restoring Minobimadzin (the good life) through sustainable food, energy, housing and water in Anishinabe communities. Passionate about decolonization and re-indigenization, he is committed to spreading understanding of these life-giving possibilities. He is Managing Director of Rivercourt Engineering.

Notes from some of the talking circles:

Groups were offered the following suggested flow to guide their sharing:

  • Thinking about all that you have experienced this evening, what specific words, phrases or images still linger in your mind? 
  • What intrigued you or excited you about what you have heard?
  • Where did you feel most challenged? 
  • What questions remain? 
  • How might non-indigenous allies play a part in this process we have heard about this evening? 
  • What would you like to carry forward from this evening? 

They were invited to reflect on what the world needs to know from their discussion, and to record key points on a flip chart. Here are the points some of the groups recorded: 

Indigenize or Die #14, Wednesday, March 29: Indigenous Rights Holders: Indigenous Land Defenders

How exercising Indigenous Rights represents the best hope for protecting and regenerating our Mother Earth and all life

We have lost so much. Despite all the rhetoric and “green” laws, the daily attack on the Earth continues. Water, the lifeblood of the Earth continues to be degraded and poisoned. But within the darkness of this landscape there shines a ray of hope – the emerging movement of Indigenous Rights Holders supported by Settler Allies. All over Turtle Island, Indigenous people, led by the women, are standing up for the land and water.

Come learn how to support this movement.

“Toronto” is recognized as Traditional Anishinaabe Territory with the Rights Holders being the Mississaugas of the New Credit. It is also a major metropolitan city with four river systems and many ravines that are wildlife corridors throughout the city. There are many staff in the city who are deeply committed to the Earth. But change is slow, if it happens at all. Why?

In this session with Kevin Best, the series curator who has been working on merging Indigenous and non-Indigenous actions for restoring the Great Lakes bioregion for more than 20 years, we will be joined in conversation by Giidaakunadaad (Nancy) Rowe from Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. We will also hear about New Credit’s initiatives to protect the land and water and their movement to restore Indigenous Governance in Toronto. We will also explore the opportunities and challenges in working with government structures, particularly in the areas of planning, education and the rights of Indigenous children.

We will explore how exercising Indigenous Rights and re-establishing Indigenous governance are the best, if not the only, hope for protecting the land and water from further assault and beginning the process of regeneration. We will look at how realizing this hope requires spiritual, political, technical and social action.

There is a “Duty to Consult” as established by the Supreme Court, the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), all of which the present federal government has sworn to uphold. And the City of Toronto has passed a resolution supporting UNDRIP. The tools are there but they are hardly being used, if at all.

Presenters

Giidaakunedaad (Nancy) Rowe, Special Guest

Giidaakunadaad n’dizhinikaaz “I am called the spirit who lives in high places.” Nancy Rowe is a Mississauga, Ojibwe of the Aanishinaabek Nation located at New Credit First Nation, ON. Nancy holds an honors BA in Indigenous Studies and Political Science. She is an educator, consultant and a Traditional Practitioner of Aanishinaabek lifeway’s, views and customary practices and is currently completing a Master’s degree of Environmental Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo. She is an avid volunteer who co-ordinates Kinomaagaye Gaamik, a grass roots initiative to provide educational opportunities for all peoples interested in Indigenous perspectives of life, health, education, history and the environment. “Education is the doorway through which we all can create a common ground and understanding of not only Indigenous Peoples but also, and more importantly, our environment.” She is also part of a newly formed, Indigenous based, initiative of Rivercourt Engineering, a dynamic team of engineers, scientists and social innovators who have been on the forefront of award winning, ecologically and socially integrated design for over 40 years.

Kevin Best, Series Curator

Kevin Best has focused on how to create a just and sustainable society through activism, innovative business and restoring Indigenous society for over four decades. Of mixed descent he identifies as Anishinabeg of the Martin Clan. He has worked with Indigenous people throughout Turtle Island, consulted to Greenpeace and pioneered green energy in Ontario. He is currently working on a start-up called Odenaansan (Village or “the little places where my heart is”), an integrated, culturally-based approach to restoring Minobimadzin (the good life) through sustainable food, energy, housing and water in Anishinabe communities. Passionate about decolonization and re-indigenization, he is committed to spreading understanding of these life-giving possibilities. He is Managing Director of Rivercourt Engineering.

Wednesday March 29 
Doors open 6:30. 7:00 (sharp)-9:30
Please register for location
$15 suggested donation for guest and curator expenses;
àno one turned away for lack of funds.