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With the collaboration of the Saanich Peninsula parishes, St Andrew, Sidney, Parish of Central Saanich and Holy Trinity, North Saanich and funding assistance from the Vision Fund, Holy Trinity hosted a reconciliation focused workshop titled "Building Bridges Through understanding the Village on February 29, 2020. 

Registration was first offered to the three parishes and then to the wider diocese. We had 35 attendees, which was the maximum suggested.The facilitator, Kathi Camilleri is an Indigenous woman who has worked coordinating healing programs for 16 years.

The learning outcomes of the workshop included:

  1.  Exploring your own understanding of your role in the revival of the First Nations values and your part in reconciliation
  2. Learning through solutions, not recriminations and adopting a non-blame and non-shame perspective
  3. Discovering ways for creating supportive relationships

The workshop involved everyone’s participation. In the morning we began to form a village. The facilitator had a varied collection of tools and teaching aids which all had important meaning in the life of the village.  They were all placed in the village and their value and importance to family life explained.  

After a prepared lunch where we were able to talk about what we had learned and get to know one another, we all participated in an exercise of taking on the roles of family members; children, parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles. We watched and role played as settlers came to take the children. Some people tried to hide the children and others tried to reason with the authorities and everyone tried to understand what was happening. We had the opportunity after to discuss how it made us feel.

That first workshop was so well received we booked the second workshop "Paddling Together" for October 2020.  Of course with COVID-19 those plans were put on hold until we can safely meet in person again.

The workshop had positive outcomes for all three of our parishes that we didn't expect. Several Saanich community members who, after seeing the advertisement in the Peninsula Review newspaper, attended the workshop and subsequently started to attend our Trinity Time/Companion Journeying circles and meals.  Unfortunately, these weekly events were also suspended because of the pandemic. 

In order to maintain our connection with the local First Nations we, along with the Parish of Central Saanich are preparing meals, delivering groceries and masks to Tsawaut and Pauquichin band members. 

We are grateful to have had funding from the Vision Fund to bring this very worthwhile workshop into our community. The opportunities it has brought for relationship building in our community has exceeded our expectations.