[The above group has been active in working together with the Young Chippewayan Band in seeking compensation for their loss of land. Sitting l-r: Ray Funk, Senator Don Pooyak, Harvey Weenie, Chief Ben Weenie, Harry Lafond. Standing l-r: Leonard Doell, Jason Johnson, Kirkland Weenie, Neil Sasakamoose].
Aboriginal Neighbours - Indigenous Work
On August 17, 35 people gathered under the sultry skies at Spruce River farms near Spruce Home, to remember, give thanks and recommit ourselves to work at building relationship and working for justice and peace with indigenous neighbours.
Since the beginning of MCC in Saskatchewan in 1964, MCC has worked intentionally at relating to Aboriginal people. Leonard Doell, the master of ceremonies for the afternoon and Aboriginal Neighbours coordinator for MCCS, reminded us of indigenous work that initially took place under the direction of the Welfare and Social Concerns Committee. In his review of the work, he took us from the work at Montreal Lake Children's Home and Beardy's Reserve until today's work related to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Idle No More movement.
Others who have worked with Aboriginal Neighbours work and who shared their own reflections included Bill Siemens who 47 years ago worked on Beardy's Reserve in community development. Ed Olfert reflected on his TRC experience. John Elias shared about the signing of Treaty 6 and relationships developed over time. Wilmer Froese recounted part of the Young Chippewayan story and the challenges of peacemaking when you live on Stony Knoll territory. David Neufeld spoke of the involvements with First Nations in the North Battleford Thrift Store and in Herschel where petroglyphs in Coal Mine Ravine mark scared space for Cree and Blackfoot peoples.
Ray Funk, on whose farm land we were gathered, reminded us of the role of MCC in relationship building. MCC provides introductions to the issues of justice. MCC provides continuity in the conversations as various persons share a common vision. MCC represents a unique revelation of the Anabaptist understanding for how to be in the world.
We sang together with Sandra Sinnaeve, prayed with David Neufeld and Ed Olfert, rededicated ourselves to the tasks at hand and ate cake to celebrate what God has done and will continue to do in our province.
Claire Ewert Fisher
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Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan (MHSS)
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