“Indigenous-Mennonite Encounters in Time and Place” – an academic conference and community education event scheduled for May 13-15, 2022 at Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo – will offer stories and analyses of encounters and relationships between Indigenous peoples and Mennonite settlers from point of contact through to the present.
The gathering will take place on the Haldimand Tract, granted by proclamation to the Haudenosaunee / Six Nations in 1784 as land protected from settlement, in order to ensure the maintenance of their way of life. It is also the traditional territory of the Attawandaron, Huron-Wendat, and Anishinaabeg Peoples. Mennonites were the first European settlers on Block No. 2 of the Tract (now the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, and part of Cambridge), arriving in the early 19th century. Nearby is the Niagara Peninsula, where Mennonites first settled in Canada, and Six Nations of the Grand River, the largest First Nations reserve in Canada. The topics to be explored, however, will also be international, given that Mennonites have a long migratory history that saw them settle in many parts of the world over the past three centuries, during which they encountered Indigenous peoples across the globe.
The intent of this event is to advance understanding, on the part of Mennonites and other interested participants, of their colonial histories, and is an effort to advance reconciliation and bring justice to Indigenous-settler relations. The event will comprise academic presentations, community storytelling, artistic offerings, and both Indigenous and Mennonite ceremony. The organizers anticipate an event full of listening, hearing, conversation, and silence.
See the website for more detail about topics, proposals, and instructions for submission.
Marlene Epp, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo