On Thursday, March 17, 2022, as an action in learning truth for reconciliation, some of the Primate’s World Relief and Develop Fund (PWRDF) parish representatives, among many others in the Diocese of Niagara, participated in the “Mapping the Ground we Stand On” workshop. The workshop was arranged by the diocesan PWRDF representative, Kerry Lubrick, facilitated by Greg Smith (PWRDF Huron) and Cheryl Marek (Diocese of Toronto), and supported by Bruce Weaver (Diocese of Niagara, Mohawk Elder).
This workshop, through the content, exercises, and discussion, definitely opened our eyes to the true history of Canada and how explorers, immigrant settlers, colonization, industrialization, and land occupation has negatively impacted relations with Indigenous peoples in Canada and abroad. Indigenous peoples entered into agreements with settlers to respect the land and to share in its abundance of resources to allow for sustainability of the land. These agreements were soon broken by settlers. The first step in our reconciliation is for us to understand the true history.
In 2015, as part of its commitment to support the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, PWRDF developed the interactive “education for reconciliation” resource Mapping the Ground We Stand On. This workshop is available in-person and also has been adapted for Zoom utilizing animations, videos, and breakout room talking opportunities. This workshop, also known as the Mapping Exercise, invites participants to explore Indigenous presence on the map of Turtle Island/Canada, the history of settler arrival, and their relationship to one another. It also offers an opportunity for learning and reflection on the concepts of terra nullius (empty land), the Doctrine of Discovery and Indigenous knowledge, enabling individuals and groups to imagine how both personal and collective journeys toward a just, respectful, and healing relationship might look.
We encourage parishes to host a Mapping workshop. To book your workshop (virtual or in-person) please visit https://pwrdf.org/mapping-exercise