Bell Tower: Welcoming Cooperation List

On January 9th, 2015, Meet Me @ the Bell Tower held an event called WELCOMING COOPERATION at the North End Bell Tower (Powers/Selkirk). Our event description stated “Lets make a list of the folks who we can cooperate with this year and decide how we will WELCOME them. Together everyone achieves more!”

bell tower cooperationSee below the list of people who our Bell Tower Family identified as people who could work with us to stop violence. Anyone interested in helping to host one of our Bell Tower Fridays is invited to send us an email at info [at] ayomovement [dot] com.

WELCOMING CO-OPERATION

  • THE VILLAGE (Got Bannock, Keewatin Otchichak, Drag the Red etc.)
  • Voice of Women for Peace
  • RB Russell High School
  • Bell Tower Community Cafe
  • Lady Bug Foundation
  • Bell Tower Business People***
  • Winnipeg Police & RCMP
  • Shaw TV (to help with videos or documentary)
  • Bear Clan Patrol
  • Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre (24 Hour/Weekend Team)
  • Council of Canadians (I ❤ Voting Campaign)
  • Independent Bloggers and photographers

***BELL TOWER BUSINESS PEOPLE*** Separate Post Click HERE

We looking forward to welcoming cooperation with many more groups as our stop the violence movement grows into 2015. We are grateful for all of the support of the many organizations who continue to support the MM@BT gathering, especially the Indigenous Family Centre who generously shares their space every Friday.

Advertisements

Blanket Resistance

This week at Meet Me @ the Bell Tower, we had an event called the Blanket Exercise. It was presented by the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and KAIROS – Winnipeg Chapter was in partnership with the Indigenous Family Centre. We knew that the topic was colonization and were prepared to deal with a heavy topic, one we deal with on a regular basis but this time we were experiencing a new activity. We shared some information online before the event, but many people do not check our Facebook page and simply come to the Bell Tower each week to visit with the regulars (Bell Tower family), ring the bell and belong. This week we were happy to welcome many new guests to the bell tower as you can see in the group photo of the night (that we took once we went back inside) [another AYO Shout out to Greg Littlejohn, our resident photographer for capturing the below image]

blanket exercise at the bell tower

It was a pretty intense exercise. Many people learned a lot about history. The guest facilitators did a good job handling the bell tower. The exercise called for some interesting activities to take place. The blankets represented the land, so everyone walked on the blankets (no shoes in the family centre please) as the facilitators read out various scripts. Going throughout time, starting with first contact with Europeans in the 1500s, the treaties in the 1700s, the Indian Act, Residential Schools and broken promises. Throughout the exercise, I was so proud of members of the Bell Tower family for being their usual rowdy selves and not cooperating with the rules of the game as history was read out to us. I truly believe that the actions displayed by members of our family throughout this activity were very much representative of the tenacity and determination of our communities – since forever.

  • Scripts corrected – Throughout the exercise we were more than vocal when we heard parts of history that were incomplete in their delivery. We were also honest and vocal when reading scripts ourselves when we felt like additional information was required.
  • Blankets unkicked – The facilitator was required to go around and remove blankets as the script went on and many were offended by the kicking of the blankets, since they represented the land. The offensiveness was likely intentional and by design, but it didn’t stop us from going behind the facilitator and unkicking the corners of our blankets behind them. Good job guys.
  • “Don’t let go” – there was a part where some of us, including me, represented the children who were taken away to residential schools. We were taken to a blanket separated from the rest of the group. At one point were brought back to participants who were holding hands in the circle, representing our home communities. When the facilitator told the participants to let go of their hands, to represent the challenges in the communities, many of the bell tower said ‘don’t let go’ and refused to do so. They resisted, everyone witnessed that, and I believe that THAT was  a true part of history.
  • Breaking out of residential school – The narrator read on, until he got to the 2008 apology by Stephen Harper (which we corrected details about, that the speaker of the house was not sitting in the chair at the time of the apology, as he must be when laws are passed). However, some of us were still standing on the ‘residential school blanket’. I asked if we could leave, since the residential schools were closed in 1996, and he said he would get to us…which he didn’t. When he got to the sharing circle part of the script, me and the other residential school blanket students broke out of residential school and sat back with the rest of the circle.
  • Put the blankets back – After a couple people shared, one of our regulars said they didn’t want to continue with the exercise until we all put the blankets back. He was very articulate in stating, after the few seconds it took to put all the blankets back on the floor he said ‘obviously its gonna take more than 45 seconds to fix what has happened here, but this is where we need to go’. The facilitators told me that they don’t encourage groups to put the land back because they don’t wanna let non-indigenous participants ‘off the hook’ and I can respect that. But I also love how at the Bell Tower we finish our evening with hope….always.

These are some examples that made me so proud of the way our community is healing. At the end of the night, many of our regulars addressed their own feelings about the exercise, sharing freely how they felt, but in usual bell tower style, sharing their recommendations on how future BEs could be facilitated in a more respectful and sensitive way.  Working cooperatively with groups and learning together is part of why MM@BT exists. I am also happy to report that I am in email connection with the folks who deliver the blanket exercise and will continue to collect feedback from our bell tower participants and share it with all parties involved. Thank you all for your beautiful blanket resistance – we are strong – we are healing. [YOU CAN SEE VIDEOS OF THE SCRIPTS BEING READ OUT ON MM@BT F.B. PAGE thanks to @WCDanyting for capturing them]

Forever resistant,

MC

Keeping our Girls SAFE! (Int’l Day of the Girl List)

PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Littlejohn

PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Littlejohn

On Friday October 11th Meet Me @ the Bell Tower celebrated the International Day of the Girl with GIRL POWER. This event saw us brain storm ways we can keep young women and girls in our communities safe as well as take on a very important role in preparing tobacco ties for an event that happened the following day (Jingle Dress Healing Dance). It was a great evening we rang the bell, and took our pictures of approximately 30 throughout the night who ate cake, bannock (courtesy of Got Bannock?) and helped compile the following list. (via MM@BT Community Flip Chart method)

HOW DO WE KEEP GIRLS SAFE?

  • Respect & Protect Your Sister – first and foremost, look out for your sisters and close female relatives – if everyone took care of their sisters our community would be a lot safer
  • Buddy System – when you travel places, make sure someone is with you
  • SAFE WALK system – we need a system in the neighbourhood where people can be escorted safely home or to their cars (a role perhaps for the North End AMbassadors?)
  • Bust Stop Safety: Wait at bus stops with people if you think they are in danger and ask people for help if they look like they need help (even if it feels awkward)
  • Get Involved: participate in safety events (COPP, MM@BT, etc)
  • Build relationships with local police at every opportunity. Also, make sure you become familiar with how police systems work and how you can interact with them (legally)
  • Check Ins: use phones and internet to check in with loved ones: say when you are laving/arriving at your destinations as well as your route
  • Kids Must Know their Own Address: work with families so children are familiar with their own neighbourhood and know their street address
  • UPR: treat our kids with unconditional positive regard when we encounter them in the community. There are enough people who treat them with suspicion, let’s be patient and loving….always.
  • Escape! keep bus tickets/bus fare/cab fare/cell phone on you at all times so you can get to and from safety
  • Escape! (Again) Get on the bus and talk to the driver or go inside of local businesses and speak to store owners and inform them of your concern
  • “its ok to ask for help” – overall, just remember you should be able to ask your loved ones and people in positions of responsibility (like police) for help
  • House Numbers Visible: make sure your neighbours have their house numbers visible
  • BLOCK PARENTS: This is a good idea, having a sign visible in windows so kids know they can go their safely. We also discussed the slip side where someone could make the sign and falsely reproduce it…
  • Group Dog Walks: increased traffic increases safety and people get to know their neighbours
  • Be involved in children’s lives: ask kids what is important to them, what their goals are and encourage them to be whatever they want (regardless of gender norms)
  • Help Others: offer to assist to help someone in need
  • Go to School! make sure kids (any!) are in school
  • 7 Teachings: follow the seven sacred teachings, they are good guidelines for living the good life (love, respect, honesty, courage, humility, wisdom, truth)
  • Smile: smiles are free and contagious…so SMILE!
  • Student Parent Support workers: There should be more staff to liaison between the school and the family to see what is needed in the home and in the classroom to increase student success (and their families success too)
  • LEARN, LEARN & LEARN: Lots and Lots of Education -inside AND outside the classroom is needed for our kids to know how to keep them selves safe.
PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Littlejohn

PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Littlejohn

Photo of our group making the tobacco ties for the Jingle Dress event (check out #jingledress on twitter for more info)

PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Littlejohn

PHOTO CREDIT: Greg Littlejohn

Meet Me @ the Bell Tower Stop the Violence Movement Marches On!

AYO!

The time is coming when Meet Me @ the Bell Tower Stop the Violence Movement will be turning two years old! If you feel like October is the best month to get involved the next 2 Bell Tower themes have been decided. The community building that takes place is a safe place where we can openly share and strategize about how we can stop violence. Take a look and get involved, together we can BE THE CHANGE and STOP THE VIOLENCE 🙂

—————————————————————

BELL TOWER MEDICINE WALK & Community Potluck

October 18th, 2013 @ 6pm

bell tower med walk

Let’s take to the streets with our medicines and smudge our neighbourhood.

And Bring some food…we’ll eat it!

—————————————————————

Bell Tower ZOMBIE WALK

October 25th, 2013 @ 6pm

bell tower zombie walk

Come dressed up as a zombie and march around the neighbourhood with us. We will even be eating some snacks & be giving out toothbrushes!! More details to be decided on the 18th!!

—————————————-

If you are wondering what happens at the Bell Tower, check out Bell Tower 101 by CLICKING HERE