Native Assembly 2014 - Workshops

All workshops run daily between 10:30am-12:15pm

Walking Together: An Indigenous Worldview Conversation

This is a First Nations worldview training session with the discussion of beliefs, values and philosophy of life all from an “insider’s” point of view. This is the beginner's “toolbox” to better understand how to bridge build with our local Indigenous communities.

Leader: Brander McDonald

Brander – Strongraven/Standing Bear – is a Cree First Nation with membership to the Peguis Nation in Hodgson, Manitoba. He was raised in an indigenous Christian home and from the early age of four has been passionate about following the Creator revealed in Christ. Brander now lives in Chilliwack – Sto:lo territory – with his wife, children and grandchildren. In partnership with Mennonite Church Canada’s Indigenous Relations and MCCBC, Brander is serving as Mennonite Church British Columbia’s Indigenous Relations Coordinator.

Living Mino-Pi-Matisi-Win

The words Mino-Pi-Matisi-Win mean “A Good Life” and the Anishinaabe believe this life is ensured by honouring the Spiritual Laws of the Great Mystery. This means living your identity, complete with your language, your customs, traditions, and following the Natural Laws of Nature.

Leader - Dave Courchene, Jr.

Dave Courchene Jr. – Nii Gaani Aki Innini (Leading Earth Man) – is an Anishinaabe elder of the Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba, who works locally and internationally, to share a traditional message of hope and peace.  Dave believes that ancient Indigenous knowledge can act as the foundation in supporting healthier and more sustainable relationships between diverse peoples and the lands we share.

Sharing Seeds, Sharing Land

This workshop will take place out on the Canadian Mennonite University Farm and will explore the exciting relationship that is emerging between the Metis Horticulture and Heritage Society and CMU to develop a community seed library. We’ll share stories about our work to save seeds that were traditionally used by the Metis people in this bioregion... and also discover a squash that is over 800 years old!

Leaders - Kenton Lobe & Caroline Chartrand

Kenton farms with the Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) Farmers’ Collective at a one-acre urban Community Shared Agriculture farm on the campus of CMU in Winnipeg.  Kenton is interested in the ways in which collaborative seed saving practices create space for settler communities to learn more about land, identity and agricultural biodiversity and has been working with members of the Manitoba Metis community and members of the White Earth Land Recovery project to grow and save seed from varieties of vegetables indigenous to the prairie bioregion.  In the winters, Kenton teaches International Development Studies at CMU and home schools two children with his partner, Julie. They are members of Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

Caroline grew up on the move, experiencing rural farming communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and both urban and remote northern Manitoba settings. Her roots, family gardens and hunting grounds are in the Métis community of St. Laurent, MB. Caroline has a Bachelor of Education and has taught academics and Traditional Métis Dance at Children of the Earth High School. She founded the Métis Horticulture & Heritage Society in 1997 and began to network with other seed saving organizations and Indigenous communities across North America working to revive seed saving practices while restoring traditional seed varieties. She is currently in the process of working to establish a regional seed library in the Red River bioregion.

The Loss of Turtle Island & The Blanket Exercise

Interactive teaching experiences to raise awareness and understanding of the nation to nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada and the United States.

Leaders - Sue and Harley Eagle

Harley Eagle is of the Dakota/Anishinabe First Nations, enrolled in the Whitecap Dakota First Nations Reserve, in Saskatchewan, Canada. With his wife, Sue, he is the co-coordinator for Indigenous Work for Mennonite Central Committee and a conflict management specialist. Harley  is passionate about reclaiming Indigenous understandings, lifeways and processes. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Sue Eagle is a settler of Russian Mennonite descent who strives to remain respectful of the land and the people who are the original caretakers. A social worker (BSW) with over 20 years of experience, Sue’s work and life has opened up opportunities for her to learn about, explore and develop tools for dismantling oppression and unpacking White privilege. In collaboration with her husband, Harley, she has developed an interactive website aimed at deconstructing stereotypes, myths and untruths about Indigenous Peoples. 

Out of doors and out of the box: Scripture on the Land

The Bible is a book best read out of doors, says farmer-poet Wendell Berry. The land is God's second book, said the Irish. What happens when we read the one in the presence of the other?

Leader - Marcus Peter Rempel

Marcus Peter Rempel is a songwriter, homesteader and founding member of Ploughshares Community Farm, an agrarian Christian community on the banks of the Brokenhead River, in rural Manitoba, a good place to read the Bible and listen to the land. Every so often, he understands something these are telling him. Marcus will share some reflections, some songs he has caught, and some tea.

Where do Aboriginal Beliefs and Teachings Intersect with Scripture

We will look at the 7 Sacred Teachings of the Ojibwe and see what the animals have to teach us, and the Cree view of land (As Ki).

Leader – Vincent Solomon

Vincent Solomon is Cree from Norway House First Nation. Vincent is the Aboriginal Neighbours Coordinator for MCC Manitoba and a priest for the Anglican Church of Canada. Before MCC, Vincent worked as a liaison/cultural teacher for a Winnipeg School Division.

Sister Care

The Sister Care workshops provide women with tools for ongoing personal healing, for recognizing God’s grace in their lives, and for responding more confidently and effectively to the needs of others.  The seminar includes four units:  Claiming my identity as God’s beloved daughter, Caring for self and others, Compassionate listening, and Transforming loss and grief. Sister Care has been presented throughout the USA and in India, Nepal, Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Bolivia, and Puerto Rico.  For more info, check out this pamphlet.

Leaders - Rhoda Keener & Carolyn Heggen

Rhoda has served as executive director of Mennonite Women USA since the fall of 2000, a role she now shares with Ruth Lapp Guengerich. Rhoda’s background includes teaching and mental health counseling in a variety of settings. Rhoda is the co-editor with Mary Swartley of She Has Done a Good Thing: Mennonite Women Leaders Tell Their Stories. She lives in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and is a member of Marion Mennonite Church.

Carolyn is a psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery. She currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon, but has also lived and worked in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Latin America; Pakistan; and Nepal. Carolyn is the author of Sexual Abuse in Christian Homes and Churches and is a frequent speaker and workshop leader on personal and communal healing, pastoral boundaries, gender issues, and PTSD. She is a member of Albany Mennonite Church.