Walking The Path - Mennonite Church Saskatchewan

Walking the Path – Mennonite Church Saskatchewan

1) Name and contact info for the chair of the group:

Leonard Doell and Eric Olfert [note that this is an ad hoc group and membership and leadership are often flexible]

2) What is your working group’s particular focus or passion?

The relationship between Mennonites and Indigenous people in Saskatchewan has deep roots, both negative and positive. Walking the Path seeks to honor that history and nourish those ongoing relationships on the path of reconciliation. This means education opportunities for our churches, intentional relationship building between Mennonite and Indigenous communities, and the “ministry of showing up” in support of public reconciliation opportunities. Members of Walking the Path offer connections to other community groups and projects; networking and information sharing is a real gift. Our group is particularly forming intentional relationships with Muskeg Lake Cree Nation.

3) How does your group meet and facilitate discussion?

We meet monthly, typically with a formal agenda that sparks all kinds of interesting conversations. We are an ad hoc committee comprised of representatives from several Mennonite and Indigenous groups. We meet in the office of Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan and our meetings are facilitated by MCC Sask’s Indigenous relations officer.

4) What meaningful relationships/projects/events have you built or undertaken in the past, or are ongoing now? Explain them briefly and how they have impacted or impact members of your working group.

MCC SK’s annual Spruce River Folk Fest // A weekend of music, food, art and inspiration, with a fundraising aim of supporting the Stoney Knoll (Young Chippewayan) Band genealogical project.

Cultural Connections with Muskeg Lake Cree Nation // In July 2017 we shared a day of singing, dancing, eating and much laughter with both communities.

Discovery: a Comic Lament // MC Sask hosted this play by Ted & Co, now titled We Own This Now at Wanuskewin National Park in July 2018. It is a brilliant reminder of our shared colonial history and of the need for many different points of engagement with ongoing stories of reconciliation.

Called To Action: In Support of Bill C-262 // In support of Mennonite Church Canada’s “Walk the Talk” efforts to adopt and implement UNDRIP, we joined other Saskatoon community organizers to host a cultural and educational event on.

*as an ad hoc group, Walking the Path is rarely formally in charge of anything, though its members contribute as partners in other committees and organizations that are.

5) Which resources have been especially helpful for your group? Why?

Reserve 107 documentary // We are proud to include this as part of our story of reconciliation on the prairies. The film continues to serve as education and inspiration for finding practical ways to walk together as neighbours. Director Brad Leitch also filmed Treaty Talk: Sharing the River of Life.

Spruce River Folk Fest 

The tenth annual Spruce River Folk Festival (Spruce River, Sask.) took place on August 10, 2019. Music featured  Jeffery Straker, Val Wiebe, BJ and Friends and a new partnership with Prince Albert’s Voices of the North. Photo courtesy of MC Sask.