While seeing what was happening on Facebook newsfeed before work yesterday, I came across this video from the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre (HRIC) offering a water teaching and a live morning smudge.
Set against the backdrop of our beautiful west harbour, you can almost smell the aroma of the traditional medicines with the sounds of the water, the wind, and the birds bringing peace and calm to the start of our day.
Although their teachings and conversation can be a bit hard to hear, it can still be made out as can the beat of the drums as they break out into some traditional songs.
We have so many great assets here in Crown Point, including HRIC, located at 34 Ottawa Street North.
As a Trustee, I sat on the FNMI (First Nations Metis Inuit) committee and later the IEC (Indigenous Education Circle), of which I am still a member although we haven’t been able to meet in a while due to teacher work to rule issues and now Covid-19.
Through this work and reading books by Indigenous authors, I have learned a great deal about Indigenous history, advocacy, and programming. I also took part in many memorable activities, and had the pleasure of being in the presence of their songs, and the opening and closing of meetings in their language. Being able to listen to the elders voices with the scent of their medicines in the air brought further peace to these moments. There is something very grounding about their language, the beating of their homemade drums, and their traditional songs.
Even through these unprecedented times, HRIC has been busy on their Facebook page offering programming from a daily virtual smudge, to Mohawk language classes, making edible slime, learning Indigenous sign language, cooking, life skills, and so much more.
When they do open their doors to the public again, pay attention to their calendar for opportunities to enjoy a meal, dancing, and learning about First Peoples cultures and traditions right here in Crown Point.
For example, did you know that the Strawberry Moon happens in June? Or that strawberries are featured in the creation story? See the image below to learn more including a tasty strawberry drink recipe!
Thank you HRIC for the important role you play in our community, including sharing your beautiful culture and spirit with us.
I’d like to leave you with this song by Canadian Indigenous musician Jeremy Dutcher. How his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa came to be is a story all in itself. While it is available on streaming sites such as Spotify and Google Play, please purchase it if you can. It’s captivating, inspiring, beautiful, and powerful.
“When you bring the songs back, you’re going to bring the dances back. You’re going to bring the people back. You’re going to bring everything back.”from Eqpahak by Jeremy Dutcher.
And that’s The Point.
For more great virtual programming from HRIC, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hric.hamilton or visit their website at http://hric.ca to learn more about HRIC. The Catholic Board also has a visually appealing page full of Indigenous resources at https://www.hwcdsb.ca/indigenouseducation.