Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in southern Manitoba are invited to come together in Winnipeg to celebrate common treaty bonds at the third annual We are All Treaty People.
Sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee Manitoba, with support from the Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land, United Church, and Winnipeg Society of Friends (Quakers), the free public event will be held at The Forks Parks Canada grounds (southeast of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights) on Sept. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.
"We need to remind ourselves as non-Indigenous people that Treaty 1 relates to us, too," Kerry Saner-Harvey, MCC Manitoba Indigenous neighbours program co-ordinator, said of the treaty that involves communities such as Winnipeg, Brandon, Portage la Prairie, Selkirk, Steinbach and Winkler.
"We want to remember and honour this agreement, which has shaped us and allowed us to be here."
At the same time, organizers want people to have some fun as they mingle, listen to music, enjoy free food and visit Indigenous craft vendors.
"It’s a fun family event," Saner-Harvey said. "We want to enjoy ourselves as we honour the amazing gifts Indigenous people have given to us."
The day’s activities will include opening prayers by Indigenous and settler elders, and entertainment by Tracy Bone and Christine Fellows, Warrior Women Drum Circle, German Brass Band, Village Green Morris Men dancers, Byron Beardy, Red Sisterhood singers and hoop dancer Melvin Starr.
The event features a free lunch, hula hoop class, puppet making, button making and clay crafts. It will conclude with a round dance.
While there are many challenging issues between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, "we hope people come away with a sense there is real hope for a new era of positive relations between us," Saner-Harvey said.
"We want to work daily towards justice and equity, but we can’t do it unless we also enjoy our life together."
John Longhurst has been writing for Winnipeg's faith pages since 2003. He also writes for Religion News Service in the U.S., and blogs about the media, marketing and communications at Making the News.
The Free Press acknowledges the financial support it receives from members of the city’s faith community, which makes our coverage of religion possible.
Updated on Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 8:50 AM CDT: Adds date of event