On this, National Aboriginal Day...

Hillside has a long partnership with our Indigenous community members, who have run the Aboriginal Circle programming for over two decades.

This year, we are welcoming the change of the 'Aboriginal Circle' to the 'Indigenous Circle', following the lead that activists, scholars and members of the Indigenous community in Canada have made. 

Programming for the Indigenous Circle is once again being led by the wonderful Jan Sherman and Lois MacDonald.

We'd like to share with you some of the events and guests happening this July at the Indigenous Circle and and throughout the festival. 

In 1996, June 21st was officially declared National Aboriginal Day by then Governor General Roméo LeBlanc after decades of activism by Indigenous leaders. The date corresponds with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, an important time in many Indigenous cultures.

The day is meant to be a celebration of the "unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada" with many different events and celebrations are being held across the country today. 

What are you doing today? Chances are that you are going to work and you're not going to think much more about it past this newsletter. Which is kind of the problem isn't it? Did you know that today is a Statutory Holiday in both the Northwest Territories (since 2001) and in the Yukon (as of May 2017). That leaves ten provinces and a territory, not to mention the federal goverment, which have not taken this extra step.

Aside from a day off, what does making it a statutory holiday actually matter? It symbolizes that as a nation, we recognize the importance of the subject matter and that we value it. It is the idea that we put aside our work for the day and focus on connecting to one another in a meaningful way, through education and building community. 

Upon conclusion of the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission, a report was published called 'Calls to Action' , which is a list of action items that Canada (both the govermnent and its people) can do to start the reconcilliation process. For the purposes of this newsletter, we want to draw your attention to #80 : 

"We call upon the federal government, in collaboration
with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory
holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to
honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and
ensure that public commemoration of the history and
legacy of residential schools remains a vital component
of the reconciliation process."

This call is focused on residential schools and there has been much discussion about whether it would be effective to broaden it to include a celebration of Indigenous culture as well as a commemoration, and fold it within National Aboriginal Day. Whether this is done or not, it IS important that we honour both the memory of trauma in addition to the uniqueness, complexity, and creativity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

We are entering into a new era in this country in how we view, interact with, and understand our relationship with the Indigenous peoples of this land. We must all be working towards reconcilliation and that wont happen unless every one of us and every organization, company, and level of government embraces that concept and that truth. 

 

How We Honour

Our Vision Statement, which guides every aspect of Hillside, states: 

"Hillside will create a more vibrant and caring world by promoting altruism, equality, environmentalism, and peacemaking in every aspect of it's work" 

This is something we take seriously and we are proud to see it reflected in our legacy. However, we recognize that there is always more work to be done and we work to remain active in our recognition of our privileges, biases, and approaches to the world. 

To truly embrace and enact the spirit of reconcillation, it takes organizations like Hillside, and its members, to be leaders. It would be far too easy for us to take the 'easy' way, to pat ourselves on the back and not think about it.

As an allied organization we have an even greater responsibility to reflect, listen, act, and reflect some more. We need to make sure we are constantly moving the bar and that we are constantly challenging ourselves to do more, to do better. 

Indigenous Circle 

Hillside has a long partnership with our Indigenous community members, who have run the Aboriginal Circle programming for over two decades. This year, we are welcoming the change of the 'Aboriginal Circle' to the 'Indigenous Circle', following the lead that activists, scholars and members of the Indigenous community in Canada have made. Programming for the Indigenous Circle is once again being led by the wonderful Jan Sherman and Lois MacDonald.

We'd like to share with you some of the events and guests happening this July at the Indigenous Circle and and throughout the festival. 

 
green treeline alongside a serene lake in the summer. Words on top of image say 'womens drum circle' and the Hillside logo is beneath it
 

Members of Wiiji Numgumook Kwe, the Guelph Women’s Drum Circle, will welcome all women and female-identified folk to join them in raising their voices in thanksgiving, and celebration. Grandmothers (Drums) are provided.

 
 
photo of Leonard Sumner, an Indigenous man. He is looking confidently into the distance. He has a medium-short beard and an undercut on the side of his hair.
 

Leonard Sumner is an Anishnaabe singer who was on the forefront of #IdleNoMore and who confronts traditional heirarchies through his music. His revolutionary voice is not to be missed.

 
 
a photo of forest trees taken from the ground looking up to create a sense of illusion and height. Sun is peaking through the tree tops. White words overtop of the image that read 'storytime with nokomis' with the hillside 2017 logo beneath it
 

Relax in the peaceful energy of the Tipi while Nokomis(Grandmother) reads First Nations, Métis and Inuit stories. This is a great way to take a break from the busy festival.

 
photo of DJ Shub, an Indigenous man. He is looking directly at the camera with a solemn look on his face. He has a shaved head and short beard and moustache. He is wearing a zip-up hoodie with an Indigenous colour pattern on it
 

One of the founding members of A Tribe Called Red, DJ Shub is brilliant in his solo work. He actively challenges the white Eurocentrism of the Canadian identity and tirelessly works for the Indigenous community.

 
 
picture of a serene lake with a cloudy sky and treeline in the distance. Words on top of the image read 'water ceremony' with the hillside logo beneath it
 

Water is Life! Join members of the Indigenous Circle to honour and to give thanks to the waters from which we are born and that sustain all living beings. Everyone welcome.

 
 
photo of The Jerry Cans taken on the street in Nunavut. The sun is shining and they are standing near a stop sign. There are two women and three men in the photo, dressed in casual millennial clothing. They are smiling.
 

The Jerry Cans hail from Nunavut and strive to bring the power of the North wherever they go, infusing traditional Inuit music and themes with a contemporary feel.

 
image of a forested mountain-hilltop vaguely in the distance. Photo looks like it was taken at sunset or sunrise in the fall as the trees are different colours. Words on top of the image read 'Flint Knapping' with the Hillside logo beneath it
 

Learn the art of creating stone points and tools using basic traditional materials including Arkansas Chert. Come learn history associated with this important survival skill, and create an arrowhead.  

 
 
Image of William Prince, an Indigenous man. He is looking away from the camera to the right and he is holding his right sleeve with his left hand. He is wearing a leather jacket and he looks contemplative.
 

William Prince is a stunning and award-winning performer from the Peguis First Nation. His music challenges the status quo while seeking to share Indigenous stories and experiences.

 
 
photo of long prairie grass taken at sunset in extreme closeup. Grass blades create lines across the image. Words on top of the image read 'Sharing Circle' with the Hillside logo beneath it.
 

 Using personal experiences to express spirituality, the Sharing Circle helps process emotions and thoughts, using written or spoken word and other arts, to share our perceptions of our truth