Event aims to spark better understanding of Indigenous groups
Indigenous culture was celebrated in Woodstock on Saturday at Doors Open Oxford-Woodstock.
Organizers say the event is a chance to open up dialogue and create an understanding between Indigenous groups and the community.
"It's sometimes very bitter, there's a lot of bitterness there, colonialism tried to take over a lot of things. But we're trying to get back all the things that were taken away," says Anishinabe elder Rick Ogitchida.
The Fall Social Gathering is in its third year and brought in people like Janice Wabie, who trekked seven hours with her family from Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec.
"I think it's important that people know about our culture. It's a beautiful culture. We celebrate it all the time," says Wabie, a jingle dress dancer.
This is the first time the Fall Social Gathering has been held outdoors. The last two years it was inside at a high school.
Many who attended the event say they learned a ton about reconciliation efforts.
"What we hope is that what we'll see is people seeing themselves in their own community and knowing that there's resources and support and activities that they can participate in," says Cara Vanklaveren, an Oxford County Family and Children Services supervisor.
The county's Family and Children Services says its long-term goals are to build up existing programming.
Oxford County's Indigenous advisory committee is growing and reaching out to anyone who wants to be involved.