100 Cups Of Tea – Tobermory Listening Circle Series

Caley Doran and Lenore Keeshig of Anishinaabe Cultural Experiences guided members of the Tobermory Truth and Reconciliation Group on a walk along Ginebek Miikaans, the Snake Trail Boardwalk, at Cape Croker Park, Neyaashiinigmiing, on May 10.

Preparing For Good Change On Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territory: Are We Ready? 

Submitted by Graham Bland for Northern Bruce Truth & Reconciliation Group)

Before the coronation of King Charles, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis representatives sat down with a British monarch together for the first time.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President Natan Obed, Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron, and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald opened a new conversation in the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown.

Reflecting on the meeting later with the CBC, Caron said: “When speaking with the King today, I mentioned something from one of my elders, who said that relationships are built over 100 cups of tea. Today, we had our first cup of tea, to build that relationship, to identify our common and shared priorities moving forward, to find ways of working together that will create real, tangible change in our communities.”

Chief Archibald opened the meeting with a prayer about the seven generations to come, to focus the meeting on making positive changes for the future. She said, “We really have to come full circle with the Crown, to come back to that place of deep respect and gratitude. This is the beginning of that movement and, yeah, it’s going to take some time.”

These leaders stressed the patient work of listening that is needed to build for a respectful future in relationships among all the peoples of Canada.

This is why the Tobermory Truth and Reconciliation group has embarked on a series of Listening Circles to foster the practice of listening deeply to one another to build respectful relationships.

In the first Listening Circle on March 4th, 25 participants began to listen to one another’s responses to the changes that are coming in our society and in our area in particular. 

A path is opening towards a new understanding of our relationship with the land. Where lands have been managed by Indigenous Peoples, a pattern is found – the lands are healthier, preserve more diverse species, are protected from un-checked exploitation and harms which affect human and environmental health. Our society is recognizing more and more our need to learn from, and partner with, Indigenous Peoples in their ways of caring for the land, for Mother Earth.

A second Listening Circle will take place on Saturday, June 10th, from 1-3 p.m. in the Tobermory Community Centre. All are welcome who are interested in the patient work of building deep respect and gratitude in our relationships with one another and with the Earth. We seek ‘common ground’ on which to build for our common future on this Peninsula. There will be tea!

Four Arrows, in the book, Restoring the Kinship World View, speaks of our learning to “listen in the old Indigenous ways, with … compassion, understanding, historical context, fearlessness, with the seventh-generation considerations blossoming in our mind and hearts.” (p.53) That describes well the work the Circles are trying to do.

Yeah, it’s going to take some time. We are making a beginning.