As a part of our Indigenous Education for Newcomers Initiative, CFN recently hosted a dreamcatcher workshop, led by Winona La Freniere, and the Ojibway elder imparted traditional teachings about the meaning and use of dreamcatchers.
Those in attendance learned that dreamcatchers represent the sacred ways we are connected to our surroundings, our culture and ourselves. The Ojibway people were credited as the first people to use dreamcatchers and they are woven to provide dreams filled with positive energy and beauty. When a dream catcher is placed above the place where one sleeps, it moves freely in the night air and catches the dreams as they drift by. The good dreams, knowing their way, passes through the opening in the centre of the web, while the bad dreams, not knowing their way, are caught in the web and perish at the first light of dawn. Each participant in the workshop received their own instructional kit and shown how to weave the pattern into the hoop.
The Indigenous Education for Newcomers program at the Centre for Newcomers creates opportunities through its various activities, including dialogue circles and storytelling, to bring newcomers and indigenous participants together. These activities promote discussions, in order to honor different historical and cultural perspectives; to create bridges of understanding and appreciation on both sides.
One of the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is that the information kit for newcomers be revised “to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Indigenous peoples of Canada including information about the Treaties and the history of residential schools” (TRC, 2015, p.10).
In July 2017, CFN held the official launch celebration of the Indigenous Education for Newcomers program. In partnership with an advisory group of representatives from immigrant-serving agencies and indigenous services, the program supports efforts aimed at ending cycles of systemic discrimination faced by indigenous people. This is facilitated by culturally appropriate educational workshops on indigenous issues, meaningful partnerships that seek to create alliances for public education and creating awareness among partners and within the broader community.
For more information on Indigenous Education for Newcomer workshops and events here at CFN, visit our website at www.centrefornewcomers.ca