Community feast in Kingston, Ontario
Following the close of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Katarokwi Grandmothers Council partnered with KAIROS and its Board of Directors to host a community feast on October 21 in Kingston, Ontario. It brought together various circles on the shared traditional territory of the Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee nations.
To the accompaniment of singing and drumming, close to 200 people shared a meal of moose and buffalo stew, wild rice, three sisters soup, and bannock, all wonderfully prepared by Carol Ann Maracle of Tyendinaga.
Many thanks to the Presbyterian Church in Canada’s Healing and Reconciliation Fund for their very generous support of the feast!
In the words of some participants:
What a powerful beginning to a life long journey of friendship and unity among neighbours…
The Grandfather drum’s voice and heart beat immediately set the tone and calmed. The Grandmother drum circle added customary softness and soothing rhythm.
The food was delicious, served with kindness and friendship.
It was truly a privilege to meet some KAIROS board members, and to chat with Jennifer. She and I will keep in touch as a personal choice.
Andrew, you lit a special fire when you reached out to the Grandmothers to join KAIROS in a feast. Your openness rekindled the flames of inclusivity in many, many hearts last night. I recognized an unspoken willingness in most or our guests to perhaps, just perhaps, place hesitant trust in people they might otherwise walk by on the street without a glance; in others to not be so afraid to approach “the ‘Indian’ next door.” And people from the indigenous community “had fun”, sang along with Kate and Sue, nodded heads in approval hearing Gillian’s voice, “want to do this again”, gingerly engaged in chats – with table mates, and thought the night was “awesome.”
SO DID I!
Barbara Hooper, Katarokwi Grandmothers Council
Everyone went home smiling, chatting, up-beat with full tummies and plans for future gatherings and circles. I met some old friends, made some new friends and thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening. I had the advantage of seeing everyone arrive and received many hugs and smiles as they left. There was not a lull the entire time. I could barely speak for the emotions running through me, but I hope I conveyed the wonder and joy I felt at having been part of the event.
Judi Montgomery, Katarokwi Grandmothers Council
The sacred drum was in the centre…sounding the heartbeat of the Creator…sounding the good heart within us all.
My wee grandson, usually a shy boy, walked with me to the front. I held his tiny hand. And as we held hands with so many gathered that evening, the Circle song gifted from the Creator almost ten years ago, found new heart and soul for me.
Dancing in peace,
in the Circle,
dancing with good heart…
towards right relations
I am overjoyed and was amazed at the conversations I saw started during the night. I really believe everyone learned so much. One thing I have seen is that while our community is comfortable coming together themselves, they are still learning that they are welcomed outside that comfort zone. And last night I saw that. What a night – great words, drumming, prayers and singing.
Paul Carl, Master of Ceremonies
The feast was very symbolic. I like how you said that we all were there on behalf of each other, but also ourselves, as a way to rekindle and build upon the things that make this country so great. I only felt peace and love in that building yesterday!
Nick Castel, a Queen’s University student who assisted by serving elders at their tables
All photos by Ada Mallory