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Opening by Bonnie Freeman and Trish Van Katwyk

Saturday November 10, 2018

Testing the Waters: Building Relationships through Reconciliation and a Two Row Research Paradigm.

Bonnie and Trish spoke about meeting during their PhD program and developing a strong connection. They went their separate ways – and then came back together in the project Testing the Waters: Building Relationships through Reconciliation and a Two Row Research Paradigm. The two have learned deeply, including about respecting one another, and they shared a story about their travels:

Bonnie Freeman and Trish Van Katwyk – seen here participating in Stitch By Stitch – opened the Anniversary events on Saturday.

Drawing Strength and Learning from the Past...

Two summers ago, Bonnie and Trish participated in a three-day paddling journey down the Grand River, aimed at promoting understanding and alliances between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The two got some extra insight — when they capsized.

Freeman, who is Algonquin/Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, had never paddled a canoe until two days earlier, when she took an hour-long canoe lesson. She had invited her colleague Trish Van Katwyk from the University of Waterloo, also a novice paddler to join her in the canoe during the Two Row on the Grand paddle.

The pair had a rough time for the first day and a half, trying to keep up with the larger group, before ultimately flipping their canoe.

“It was pivotal point for us — we had been working against each other, and now we realized we each had different but complementary responsibilities within the canoe, and we had to work together, hear and understand. The canoe became a conduit in understanding alliances, a bridge between our two paths.”

Bonnie and Trish – with lots of laughter – reflected on this moment and its significance for all of the relationships at the School: drawing strength and learning from the past; respecting one another's paths and the distinctiveness of those paths; recognizing what it takes to work well together; moving towards solidarities that endure over time.