Dunn Indigenous Garden Revitalization - West Neighbourhood House

Photo collage of gardeners working

The Greenest City program at West Neighbourhood House is reminded of the relationship with First Nations People and with the ancestral lands on which we work, live, learn and share. The Dunn Indigenous Garden is a place for Indigenous folks in the city to grow  food, medicine and hold gatherings and ceremonies. This summer we have been getting meaningful volunteer assistance to revitalize and reactivate this garden. This stewardship journey has involved the collaboration of different groups and people such as the National Healing Forest through Noojimo’iwewin Gitigaan garden, Canada Nos Une -Monarch Butterfly Project, My Brothers Keepers, refugee program and a great team of our community members. We want to express our most sincere gratitude for the fantastic work you ALL have offered to make this Indigenous-centred space accessible this year.

This season the garden is opened once again and Indigenous people from North and Center America have started planting food and medicinal plants while providing us, non-Indigenous people, with knowledge and reflections to understand the valuable spiritual teachings that underlie Indigenous food systems.  For example, we have learned that before beginning any intervention on the land Indigenous people, local Tkaranto, ask permission, while offering Tobacco to the plants and greeting the four directions (North, South, East, West). We also learned that every single plant has a spirit and an innate purpose in the land so human beings must show respect even to those species that are considered weeds. It was highlighted that our food is our medicine so Indigenous people need to get back to the land to restore the balance and recover cultural identity.

Greenest City is committed to stewarding spaces to reconcile with this land and to the Indigenous people who lived here before us. Through our land-based work and climate action we are trying our best to support the wellbeing of Indigenous people as an urgent matter.

All our relations have been supporting us with this endeavor. 

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