Truth and Reconciliation Week may be over, but the work doesn’t stop there.
That from Mohawk woman and Huntsville resident Joyce Crone, who is trying to grow the town’s branch of the Muskoka Indigenous Friendship centre.
The organization currently has two locations in Gravenhurst, with the Huntsville location founded earlier this year. Crone says they’re putting out a call for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit community members in and around Huntsville to help shape the future of the centre.
“We’re in the midst of trying to decide what our Huntsville [Indigenous] community needs, what do they want, how can we serve those in the greatest need,” says Crone. “Whether it’s traditional meals, sitting together in a talking circle, doing art together. It’s really just determining what are the needs in this community of the Indigenous People, and encouraging them to come out.”
Crone says people from all walks of life are invited to join the group’s events and activities, which will be facilitated by the Huntsville Public Library. Once they have the centre’s steering committee established, she says they’ll open up membership to non-Indigenous residents.
She says it’s important for Indigenous Peoples to take the lead on this, as many are apprehensive about making themselves heard.
“A lot of Indigenous people tend to sit back and stay in the weeds about this. They observe and they wait to trust,” says Crone. “So those of us trying to organize it, we want our Indigenous families and community members to participate in these activities and come out, because we need support.”
Crone says they hope to hold their first event before the end of the year.
Anyone interested in joining can contact the main branch in Gravenhurst at 705-687-4309, [email protected], or on Facebook.