Michelle and Shawna smile at the camera while standing on a beach

About Michelle and Shawna

Michelle and Shawna met while studying at Carleton University. Shawna was enrolled in Environmental Studies, and Michelle studied Human Rights. The journey since has been filled with extraordinary joy and also the facing of hard truths about Canada’s history. Together, they continue to uncover the deep trauma that Indigenous peoples to this land have faced before and since the inception of Canada as a sovereign state. Their focus is on what the future can bring moving forward. Shawna is Temagami First Nations and is from the Porcupine Clan. She works at an Indigenous Land Based non-profit in Toronto called Ojibiikaan. The organization is an all Indigenous run team, with a wealth of knowledge related to the land. Shawna also developed a Treaties workshop for Treaties Recognition Week at Canadian Roots Exchange and taught the workshop in High Schools across Ontario. Michelle is a flight attendant by trade and writer otherwise unknown. Through her welcoming in Sacred Water Walks around the GTA, learning about concepts such as Environmental Citizenship, and Reconciliation through Indigenous Education, she has begun to embody more fully the ways in which she is to approach her connection to the land, with the ongoing intent of respect, reciprocity and gratitude, as was shown to her so delicately by the Indigenous community that exists around her. She became a participant in a 5 month program offered through FoodShare called Teachings from the Land, which facilitated discussion around medicine walks, Indigenous food, involved Knowledge Keepers and Elders as well as a trip to Six Nations and an Indigenous Food Gathering on the Tkaronto Islands. Being a settler youth, she has been shown kindness, openness and deeper insight into her own self in these spaces. Gratitude is a tenement that is at the core of Shawna and Michelle’s values in life, and so is at the heart of our project, Tkaronto Teachings.

About Tkaronto Teachings

Tkaronto Teachings is about facilitating and encouraging a deeper connection to the land in Tkaronto for newcomers and those not Indigenous to these parts. This will be done under the premise that is The Dish with One Spoon Treaty. This Treaty dates centuries upon centuries back to where nation to nation peaceful co-existence was seen as essential to the welfare and benefit of all. This treaty has been extended to newcomers and we are hoping to help facilitate them in developing a relationship to the treaty and its teachings. It is important to honour this Treaty and to carry out its teachings, so that we can honour the first peoples, that the land can heal, and so that we as a people can come together through knowledge sharing, land based experiences and in this process, deepen the connection we have to the land, whom we are always in relation with. Offered 4 times a year, at the shift in seasons. We want to raise awareness and knowledge of this Treaty, by building stronger alliances inside the city of Tkaronto, so that we can attempt to bridge the divides that face the many sub-groups of the city. The reality of living in a multicultural world is that we must focus on what it is that unites us. We feel strongly that this focus should be placed on the land and the indigenous people that protect the land. To them, we must show ongoing gratitude and respect.