Reflections from the 2019 Elders Gathering


by Bernadette Maracle, Prevention Manager for ANCFSAO

The 2019 Elders Gathering, hosted by Mnaasged Child and Family Services and ANCFSAO, ran for three days from September 24th-26th in Muncee-Delaware Territory, bringing together Elders from Indigenous child and family well-being agencies from across Ontario.

Elders, helpers, and cultural coordinators came together to discuss the future of child welfare. Friends were reunited and new friendships were formed, with hugs, tears, and smiles exchanged constantly throughout the three-day event.

During the gathering, attendees heard amazing words of wisdom about the teaching of the big drum, giving tobacco, honour songs, and women supporting the drums by standing around the men singing and drumming.

The Mnaasged Cultural Coordinator, Nicholas Deleary, spoke on the history of their communities and why the agency operates in Southern Ontario: they are in the centre of a triangle, between three sacred water women points, one being Niagara Falls.

Gordon Peters, Deputy Grand Chief from Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI), spoke about legislation developments concerning Indigenous child welfare and what can be done to improve and correct them.

Beatrice Twance-Hynes, a Juno-nominated hand-drummer, played several of her songs for the group and shared teachings about playing and caring for drums.

Attendees heard a powerful story from an Elder about a men’s healing gathering, his story of years of abuse at a residential school, and his creation of a healing program for men suffering from trauma. 

Larry Jourdain emphasized the concepts of cultural arbitration and cultural congruency over phrases like “culturally appropriate” or “culturally sensitive”, as communities are looking to implement a practise that puts culture at the centre of families’ healing and strengthening.

Nogdawindamin has 26 cultural workers with 800 referrals last year and 600 so far this year. The Cultural Unit covers requests for ceremonies, teachings and workshops, assistance with circles, staff support and team building, events, community support, and collaboration and partnerships. Ceremonies include those dedicated to finding clan and colours, naming, baby-welcoming, walking out, adoption, and reunification. The agency hosts annual events and ceremonies by the season.

Feasts, drumming, and sunrise ceremonies bonded the group and kept discussions and teachings grounded in the culture and surrounding nature, and a karaoke night filled the grounds with music and laughter.

This was my first time attending the annual Elders Gathering. I learned new teachings, made new contacts, and was filled with inspiration. Coming from Six Nations, I do not have very much knowledge of the Anishinaabe traditional teachings and appreciated hearing the teachings and stories from the community.

It was a beautiful event and I look forward to learning even more next year.

Are you a Sixties Scoop Survivor?


Are you a Sixties Scoop Survivor?  We are looking for you!

ANCFSAO and the Sixties Scoop Foundation are working collaboratively together to identify individuals that self-identify as Sixties Scoop survivors and would like an opportunity to have a direct say in the creation of their foundation. 

What is the Engagement Process?

The Sixties Scoop Engagement Process is to hear from as many Sixties Scoop survivors as possible, from across Canada and beyond about how the Foundation can best serve you.    We will be asking you what they want the Foundation to do to best serve you in recovery and reclamation.  How can the Foundation best support your goals? Your voice and your insight are critical in helping answer these questions. 

When and where are they happening?

From September 2019 to February 2020, we will be launching our Survivor Engagement Processes which includes 10 Sixties Scoop Survivors Engagement Sessions and an online engagement platform.  

ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATION DATES
Survivor Session # 1 Montreal, QC Sept. 21st
Survivor Session # 2 Winnipeg, MB Oct. 5th
Survivor Session # 3 Halifax, NS Nov. 9th
Survivor Session # 4 Toronto, ON Nov. 23rd
Survivor Session # 5 Calgary, AB Nov. 30th
Survivor Session # 6 Saskatoon, SK Dec. 7th
Survivor Session # 7 Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL Jan. 11th
Survivor Session # 8 Vancouver, BC Feb. 1st
Survivor Session # 9 Yellowknife, NWT Feb.  8th
Survivor Session # 10 Iqaluit, NU Feb. 15th

How can you participate in a Survivor Engagement session?

If you are interested in participating in one of the Survivor Engagement sessions, please visit www.60sscoopfoundation.com to complete the registration form.

In addition, Sixties Scoop survivors with special circumstances can apply for travel assistance funds to attend the engagement session nearest to them. Priority will be given to applications demonstrating an explicit need for travel assistance.

If you would like to apply, please visit www.60sscoopfoundation.com to complete the special circumstances travel assistance application. Funds to support travel are limited. Please apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

What if you cannot attend a Survivor Engagement sessions?

There is also an online engagement platform for the Sixties Scoop National Engagement Process. This is intended to gather the voices and recommendations from survivors who are unable to physically attend a Survivor Engagement session. This includes survivors who live outside of Canada and or are more comfortable with engaging in this format. The online engagement platform will be launched in October 2019. Sign up for the mailing list on the 60sscoopfoundation.com website for updates.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to visit the website: www.60sscoopfoundation.com or contact info@60sscoopfoundation.com.