“Read the calls to action. Read the summary report. It’s about increasing your level of awareness.”
– Senator Justice Sinclair,Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
October 18, 2017, STITCH-BY-STITCH update
It’s been my great pleasure to spend the past three Saturday afternoons on the fourth floor of the Millennial Library in downtown Winnipeg hosting a drop-in Stitch-by-Stitch embroidery circle and reading group. As we stitched sections of the TRC’s Calls to Action onto Canadian flags, Monique Woroniak—librarian extraordinaire!—enriched our learning experience by sharing information from the library’s impressive collection of resources related to the TRC and Residential Schools. When questions arose about specific calls, terms, or the issues they address, Monique deftly pointed out resources and read to us from texts ranging from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, books of poetry, graphic novels, children’s books, and more. I encourage everyone to check out the library’s Residential Schools Info Guide and Indigenous Info Guide.
Two things emerged from my experience of stitching at the library:
1. In addition to the TRC Summary Report, I am going to start bringing other texts with me to sewing circles so that participants have the option of engaging information through a variety of forms.
2. I am putting out a call for participants who would like to commit to regular Stitch-by-Stitch Sewing Circle and Reading Group meetings. If you’re reading this, and would like to join me, give me a shout at email@example.com! Let’s stitch, read, learn, and grow our commitments to being part of the movement towards redress!
STITCH-BY-STITCH: AN UNSETTLING CANADA DAY SEWING CIRCLE, READING GROUP & PICNIC
An action in solidarity with, UNsettling CANADA 150 National Day of Action by Idle No More and Defenders of the Land.
WHEN: July 1, 2017, 3:00-6:00
WHERE: Queen’s Park (North side). Look for the large Canada 150 flag embroidered over with the hashtags #Colonaialism150 and #UnsettleCanada150.
BRING: Yourselves, friends and family; picnic-y food to share; lawn chair(s) if you’re able.
Stitch-by-Stitch invites participants to embroider sections of the TRC Report’s 94 Calls to Action onto Canadian flags, to read aloud from the TRC’s 388-page summary report and Arthur Manuel’s “Unsettling Canada: a National Wake-up Call.”
A work in progress, Stitch-by-Stitch’s unfinished status is a reminder that as a praxis of redress, reconciliation is an ongoing process that requires collective and sustained labour. Stitch-by-Stitch will be a porous event. Participants are welcome to come and go, embroider, witness, and share reflections as they wish. No experience necessary.
More than a destination, reconciliation is a journey that demands a collective commitment to increasing awareness. It is a national consciousness- and conscience-raising endeavour that necessitates sustained participation in varied labours of collective reckoning. It is journey that requires a myriad of practices in and through which we can bring our intellectual and creative labours to bear on the task at hand—redress.
Stitch-by-Stitch engages a labour aesthetic that brings together two necessarily care-filled and time-demanding tasks—embroidery and critical reflection. A work in progress, Stitch-byStitch’s unfinished status is critical to its meaning. It is a reminder that reconciliation—as a praxis of redress—requires ongoing, sustained labour. No experience necessary: All are welcome to come participate in reconciliation’s labours of critical reflection and action.
May 16, 11AM-2PM, New Directions,Winnipeg
May 3, 2-4PM, Artfest, Crescent Fort Rouge United Church, Winnipeg
March 30 & 31, Tallest Poppy, Winnipeg
March 8 & 14, 2-4PM, greenhouse artlab: 5th floor, UWinnipeg Library, Winnipeg
February 28, 5-8PM, ArtsJunktion ArtHive, Winnipeg
The TRC Report is easily accessed, here are some places to get digital or hard copies or to hear the report read on YouTube:
#ReadTheTRCReport is a video project started by Erica Violet Lee, a Nēhiyaw woman in Saskatoon, Zoe Todd, a Métis writer in Edmonton, and Joseph Paul Murdoch-Flowers, an Inuk man in Iqaluit.
Hard copies of the report are available through the Winnipeg Public Library system or for purchase through Lorimer Publishers or at McNally Robinson.