On October 21, 2017, people from different walks gathered at Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre for a Feast for Friends. It was an afternoon and evening “to meet each other in friendship on the land,” and to share in meals, teaching, learning, and to hear about the previous week’s Mamawe Ota Askihk Festival, which had been supported by the SCM.
I began the day with a group by walking the four corners of the sacred land that Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre is built on. The day was sunny and beautiful and as we wandered through the woods we took down prayer flags from the previous Feast for Friends and tied up new ones. After lunch, I spent the afternoon examining a cowhide from the previous weeks festival, winnowing wild rice, and learning about an amazing farming initiative taking place in Garden Hill First Nation. Throughout the day there were many familiar faces, may new faces, and many new friends made. The day ended with a communal meal and a sharing circle to reflect on the day.
As Bill-262 is being debated in Parliament, a bill that would bring the Government to implement in law the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is important to bring friends together for feasts around the topics of land and food. Feast for Friends is one step in the direction of understanding and reconciliation, and a way to make new friends.