Indigenous people, newcomers invited to free, two-day online event
- Andréa Ledding | January 12, 2021
The Saskatoon Open Door Society (SODS) thinks newcomers, Indigenous people, and other Canadians need to know each other better. Visit. Converse. Hard to do in a pandemic when you can’t even hug your grandma. So, of course they have moved that conversation online.
Threads: Cultural Conversations, will be a free two-day online event - January 20-21, 2021 - of national scope exploring the issues, challenges, and desires for Newcomers, Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures to live in harmony.
Free registration is available on the SODS website (www.sods.sk.ca).
“Threads is all about celebrating community and celebrating Canada,” said Michael Afenfia of SODS. “While a lot of work is being done at all levels to promote multiculturalism, unity and diversity, we sometimes find these are done in silos. With Threads we hope to bring everyone together to share and listen to one another. Our list of speakers is rich and diverse to reflect and speak to the interest and issues affecting us individually and collectively.”
Participatory sessions weave together art, film, needlecraft, storytelling, philosophy, dance, music, poetry, games and more, featuring more than 30 speakers and performers from across Canada. Keynote speaker is Métis performer Andrea Menard; other guests include CBC’s Omayra Issa and the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson.
“Our aim is building community through listening and shared experiences,” said Afenfia. “In our forty years of existence and operating in Saskatoon, we have made the transition to being successful and active Canadian citizens comfortable and smooth for countless immigrants to our city. Through Threads, we hope to reinforce old and new connections. We see ourselves as threads, each with their own story and experiences inextricably intertwined with other stories and experiences. By connecting with other threads, we become part of a mosaic or a pattern with a purpose. We provide comfort, beauty and a bond with other threads.”
Afenfia says by listening to diverse stories, we unlearn that which creates uncertainties around what we believe to be true.
“Our message is hopeful and that is something we want participants and invitees to go back with. We hope to start a conversation and keep it going long after the event is over,” he explained. “As the world continues to grapple with racism, division, and a crippling pandemic, we at Open Door cannot think of a better time to connect, heal and build a better world. Our slogan is, ‘weaving community one thread at a time.’”
Producer Dawn Wasacase describes the online gathering as a place to experience kinship, belonging, and connectedness.
“This community, grassroots-driven event is about people talking to people,” says Wasacase. “In the spirit and intent of this event, we were mindful of our core values of empowerment, engagement, and respect so we designed it to be mindfully inclusive of all.
“As a producer and community member, I am blessed to be a part of these Cultural Conversations and invite you to listen with an open heart and open mind.”
Check it out: www.threads2021.ca