This story is shared with us by Maysa and Ancel of Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House.
Last December, our Monday English Conversation Club participants had 2 sessions learning about Indigenous history and culture from Jessie Seegerts, a women of Dene-Cree First Nations, a culture facilitator and knowledge-keeper, and also our Intergenerational Programmer at Frog Hollow.
The English Conversation Club at Frog Hollow is for all those who are newcomers, permanent residents, refugee claimants and citizens, who want to meet and connect, also practice English.
“I am so thrilled that I have the opportunity to share space and conversation with our friends from other parts of the world. To learn from one another and find so many commonalities that connect us as humans. I welcome any amount of curiosity to learn and seek understanding. Thank you Maysa for inviting me and I look forward to more experiences like these ones.” Says Jessie after the workshops
As part of the introduction to Indigenous history and culture, the group also watched a movie called "Tia and Piujuq." It tells a beautiful story between a 10 year old girl (a Syrian refugee) living in Montreal who befriends an Inuk girl and their healing journey through the shared friendship and togetherness in challenging times.
Both the talk and the movie brought up a lot of mixed emotions from the group of participants experiencing lots of commonalities, such as living experiences under colonial impact. Many of them got emotional. One participant who came from Libya, where there has been war between troops for more than 10 years, says “you remind me of my country. We have the same history as First Nation history , we are fighting for freedom and social justice the same as First Nation people”.
Our newcomer participants were grateful for the opportunities to know more about the history of the first peoples on this land, through which they then discovered connections among different cultures, family, friendship, and love is something so universal and beautiful.
Thank you Maysa, Ancel, and Jessie for this story!