A Project of Reconciliation
Gibimishkaadimin – An Indigenous word representing “paddling together by boat” – is the name for the five-year pilot project of reconciliation, engaging Indigenous youth from across Canada, and non-Indigenous youth from Shining Waters (Region 10). The trip includes collaborative and experiential learning through an Indigenous perspective. Gibimishkaadimin seeks to provide youth with the opportunity to foster relationships with each other and the land on a canoe 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 called 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 will run over 5 summers. It was held 2017-2019, paused for two years because of the risks of COVID-19, and resumed in 2022.
Gibimishkaadimin is a partnership of Bloor Street, Fairlawn and Rosedale United Churches. We are funded from the Helen Ricker Bequest, the United Church of Canada, Toronto Conference, Toronto United Church Council, and individual donors.
Model for the Project of Reconciliation
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, program leaders and Elders.
Following the trip, Gibimishkaadimin will support each youth to create a project of reconciliation to share their learning and engage others in the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
More on Truth & Reconciliation
Goals for the Project of Reconciliation
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 to lead their communities towards reconciliation,
provide a life-changing experience and establish lasting friendships.
Questions? Contact Beth Symes at
As we gather from across Canada to paddle on Lake Temagami, we acknowledge this sacred land, the traditional lands of many Indigenous people. We are mindful of the broken covenants and the need to strive to make right with all our relations.