Indigenous Mennonite Encounters: A Gathering of Body, Mind, and Spirit

A group of international attendees will gather at Grebel May 13-15, 2022 for an education conference titled Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters in Time and Place. As a preview of the conference, a sampler video as been released on YouTube. This presentation includes messages of welcome and introductions from Indigenous and Mennonite scholars, collaborators, community members, and musicians.

“The conference was originally planned for May 2021,” said event organizer and Archivist-Librarian Laureen Harder-Gissing. “When we decided to postpone until May 2022 due to COVID restrictions, we didn’t want to let the original date go unmarked. The sampler provides a taste of what the 2022 event might be, and encourages responses to our call for proposals.”

fibre art pieceThis fibre art piece depicting Indigenous and Mennonite histories along the Grand River is installed in the Mennonite Archives of Ontario gallery.

Both the conference and the sampler aim to advance reconciliation and bring justice to Indigenous-Mennonite relations by furthering understanding on the part of Mennonites and other settlers of their colonial histories. Participants will share stories and conversations, and artists will express their creativity.

“Mennonites have a long history of encounters with Indigenous peoples across the globe,” event organizer and director of Mennonite Studies Marlene Epp explained. “This includes positive relationships and also violation of justice and rights for Indigenous peoples. The Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters gathering is one small step on a journey that Mennonites need to travel in rethinking their own historical narratives.”

Participants featured in the preview video include Amy Smoke, Reina Neufeldt, Steve Heinrichs, Clarence Cachagee, Seth Ratzlaff, Hannah Enns, Lori Campbell, Kelly Fran Davis, Mim Harder, and Cris Derksen.

Watch the preview video: