“Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.” ~ Georges Erasmus
This year Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) has started a new initiative called ‘All My Relations’. ‘All my relations’ is a common Indigenous phrase that emphasizes the value of family relations and the relationships we share with all human beings and the earth.
On the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, MHV will be providing free admission to our grounds as well as a handout for a self-guided reconciling history walking tour. The tour can be done with friends, with school age children or alone. Its purpose is to revisit our history from specific touching points in the village and build a deeper connection with Indigenous culture and experience of the last 150 years. Each waystation on the MHV grounds will be an opportunity to learn about common places and events that influence Indigenous relations with settlers.
May we not be ambivalent about our history and the biases we hold today because of it. Dr. Joseph R Wiebe writes about how the German Mennonite paper the Mennonitishche Rundschau “included an update of the historic 1885 Northwest Resistance in present-day Saskatchewan in every issue from the rebellion’s inception through to the trial, execution, and burial of the rebellion’s main protagonist, Louis Riel, between April and December of that year.” However, not once in those updates did it share what the Metis cause was about or the injustices against them. Dr. Wiebe does mention that there was a time when Klaas Peters, a leader of a Mennonite delegation, warned their government host William Hespeler that if they keep treating the Metis inhumanely that they would consider leaving. Today, we are still here, but many of the issues remain. Please join MHV and the Hanover Teacher’s Association for the All My Relations series to strengthen our common memory, to strengthen our community.