A Project of Reconciliation
Gibimishkaadimin – An Anishinaabemowin word representing “paddling together by boat” – is a name for the five-year pilot project engaging Indigenous youth from across Canada, and non-Indigenous youth from Region 10, who are 14-18 years old at the time of the canoe trip. The trip is undertaken with collaborative and experiential learning through an Indigenous lens. This project seeks to provide young people with the opportunity to foster relationships with each other and the land on an outdoor experiential trip in northern Ontario. Gibimishkaadimin is directed by a six-person Board, three of whom are Indigenous.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada filed its report calling on the United Church of Canada to ensure that all institutions, policies, programs and practices both comply with and implement the principles identified in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Gibimishkaadimin is one of the many ways to respond to and realize this call. The Gibimishkaadimin program is a
5-year program running from 2017 to 2021.
Gibimishkaadimin – A Project of Truth and Reconciliation for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Youth has received significant funding from the Helen Ricker Fund at Bloor Street United Church. Helen was a long-time member of Bloor Street United who was deeply committed to social justice. Through her Estate, Helen chose to support social justice initiatives of the church. As a person who loved canoeing, she would be delighted to know about Gibimishkaadimin and would be pleased to know that the Gibimishkaadimin logo incorporates a piece of art that graces the sanctuary of Bloor Street United. We are deeply grateful to Helen Ricker and the community at Bloor Street United Church, as well as other generous donors: Seeds of Hope, The United Church of Canada Foundation, Toronto United Church Council, Toronto Conference,
Rosedale United Church, Fairlawn United Church, other congregations, and individual donors.
Youth are integral to the journey towards reconciliation. Each year, Gibimishkaadimin will welcome 12 Indigenous Youth and 12 non-Indigenous youth to join together to build relationships, leadership skills, and increase their knowledge of Indigenous cultures, histories, and ways of engaging with the land.
Over the course of the trip, youth will participate in trip preparations, a multi-day paddling journey, and end in post-trip reflection. The youth will be joined by experienced outfitter guides, group leaders and community Elders.
Following the trip, group leaders will support the youth in a project to share their learning and engage others in the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
The project seeks to foster reconciliation between Indigenous and non- Indigenous peoples:
enhance the knowledge of Indigenous issues and culture
connect participants with the land
change stereotypical attitudes
build respect for others and self; create opportunities of mutual learning
develop leadership skills in the truth and reconciliation process to enable the youth participants to lead their faith communities in the process of reconciliation
provide a life-changing experience and establish lasting friendships
As we gather together to paddle along the shores of Ontario’s lakes, we acknowledge this sacred land, the traditional lands of the Anishnaabeg people. We are mindful of the broken covenants and the need to strive to make right with all our relations.