By Lindy Kinoshameg, YPT Community Engagement Facilitator
About INDIGENizeUS: During YPT’s 2017/18 Season, the entire staff participated in INDIGENizeUS workshops created by Lindy Kinoshameg and Leslie McCue that focused on Indigenous relations, raising cultural awareness, and exploring individual reconciliation. Learning began around the seven sacred teachings of Respect, Bravery, Humility, Love, Honesty, Wisdom, and Truth. The intention behind the workshop series is to hear stories from Indigenous artists/elders and participate in traditions first-hand. It is our hope that programs such as this will begin building a bridge between nations and help take the first steps toward reconciliation. To read INDIGENizeUS – Part 1, click here.
I started each workshop with an introduction in my language, Ojibway: Boozhoo, Aanii, Lindy Kinoshameg diishinikaaz, Wiikwemikoong, minwaa doganning doonjibaa, Ginozhe dodem [Greetings, Hello, my name is Lindy Kinoshameg from South Bay on Wikwemikong First Nation, and I’m from the Pike Clan] – followed by a personal land acknowledgment that came from the heart each time. I then gave an overview of the program, but more so on how to accept the information being given to them and to let it become a part of their personal knowledge. One thing I didn’t want people to feel was that they were forced into being there or being told ‘what you learn here on this date must be enacted henceforth by order of your majesty…’. No. That model has been done (residential school) and I’m not going that route. These workshops were an opportunity for each participant to take a personal journey, to listen as an individual, and not as an employee of the oldest professional theatre company in Canada.