With the first day of fall this Saturday and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation the following Saturday, four local Indigenous-led organizations are inviting members of the Peterborough-Nogojiwanong community to a free social gathering from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday (September 21) in the Peterborough Square courtyard.
“Dagwaagig N’kweshkodaadidaa” — which means “let’s meet and greet in autumn” in Anishinaabemowin, the Obijwe language — will feature drumming, dancing, food, local Indigenous vendors, and language learning opportunities.
All Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members are welcome to join the event, which is being presented by Lovesick Lake Native Women’s Association, Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle, Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre, and Trent University’s First Peoples House of Learning.
“Dagwaagig N’kweshkodaadidaa is an opportunity to connect with the Indigenous community of Nogojiwanong during a time where we have so much to celebrate,” says Nogojiwanong Friendship Centre executive director Ashley Safar in a media release, mentioning both the autumnal equinox and Peterborough Pride.
“It is also a day leading up to a time of reflection, mourning and healing as we approach the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. My hope is that this event will be an opportunity to come together as a larger community to learn and connect.”
This is the second social gathering organized by the four organizations, with the first — Niibing N’kweshkodaadida (“let’s meet and greet in summer”) — taking place on June 22. The gatherings came out of “Virtual Cup of Tea” sessions organized by Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough executive director Jennifer DeBues and representatives of each of the four organizations.
“For the Community Foundation, we are learning about our responsibilities as treaty people,” DeBues says. “After the discovery of the unmarked graves in Kamloops (in 2021), the Foundation decided to set aside a portion of our annual budget for reconciliation activities. As we built relationships with Indigenous-led organizations in the community, we invited them to make the decisions around how to use that money. The idea of a series of social events came from that.”
More Indigenous-led social gatherings are planned for the future.
“It has been so exciting working together on this initiative to bring community together,” says Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle executive director Angela Connors. “With the support of the Community Foundation, we have been able to share perspectives and resources, build better relationships, and see the potential for future collaborations. We are stronger together.”