COMMUNITY COLLABORATION

London Indigenous Teaching & Sharing Circles [LITS Circles]

A local educational resource fostering TRUTH AND reconciliation through Indigenous education
In collaboration with Huron Heights Community Association [HHCA],  we plan, organize and offer customized public and private workshops  which provide participants with the opportunity to engage in meaningful, transformative dialogue, and reflect on the core values of reconciliation, given the shared desire for a new way forward in Canada.

What We Offer:

Based on Indigenous-world views and using Indigenous teachings and protocols, the virtual workshops  we offer address both historical and contemporary topics. in an honest and personal way.   Led by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers who have extensive experience facilitating the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE), the sessions aim to build positive relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous through truth, sharing, and open dialogue.  

We host and facilitate both private and public workshops, either as a standalone session or series of workshops.  The workshop series can be offered either through individual registration or can be custom delivered to your organization/group.   We have a selection of topics from which you can choose what best fits the indigenous education goals for your company/agency/organization/group.

Our workshops are ideal for individuals, schools, educational institutions, and organizations committed to the goals of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.  Using  indigenous teaching and sharing circles , the program content  blends historical data and facts with personal accounts and stories – thus providing a deeper and more meaningful way to learn about truth and reconciliation.

How To Book A Workshop:

We invite private/for-profit companies, not-for-profit/community organizations,  registered charities, and educational and government institutions to consider either hosting or sponsoring the costs for a workshop or workshop series.  These workshops are a great way to provide professional/lifelong education, raise awareness, and demonstrate commitment to support local, provincial and federal government strategies and initiatives in response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations.

For enquiries about booking a:

About LITS Circles:

After working together between 2018 and 2020 presenting Kairos Blanket Exercise Workshops to the London community,  Mary-Anne Kechego, Tina Stevens, Gloria Thomson, Tracey Whiteye and Sister Kathleen Lichti (Sisters of St. Joseph) engaged in discussions on how to collaboratively keep Truth and Reconciliation efforts going locally.  The Coronavirus pandemic, which continues to place public health and safety restrictions on community gatherings, resulted in the cessation of in-person blanket exercise workshops.  But the need remained for opportunities to engage in meaningful dialogue and ongoing education on the truth about Canada’s history with Indigenous peoples. 

The London Indigenous Teaching & Sharing Circles [LITS Circles] was formally created in January 2022 to be a local educational resource fostering reconciliation through Indigenous education.  Canadians who have an honest desire to be part of the Truth and Reconciliation journey will find this learning opportunity to be very engaging and participative.  Using a virtual learning platform, Indigenous knowledge keepers will facilitate teaching and sharing circles on a variety of topics which include:

  • Indigenous histories and relationships with settlers on Turtle Island which later became Canada

  • First Nations and Métis teachings, culture, and practices; and

  • Social justice matters impacting Indigenous peoples today

Our Organizing Team:

  • Indigenous Knowledge Keepers: Mary-Anne Kechego, Tina Stevens, Gloria Thomson, Tracey Whiteye

  • Program Coordinators: , Kathleen Lichti (Administration), Rosy Pellarin (Finance)

  • Community Partner: Jacqueline Fraser, Huron Heights Community Association

Meet The Indigenous Knowledge Keepers:

MARY-ANNE KECHEGO - Turtle Clan, Oneida Nation of the Thames

Fifty years ago, Mary-Anne began her journey of healing and discovery to find her identity as an Indigenous woman.   She travelled to different territories and Nations, learning along the way.   By way of marriage, Mary-Anne is now  a band member of Chippewas of the Thames First Nation.  She is, however,  originally from Oneida Nation of the Thames.  Both Nations are  located just outside London, Ontario.  Mary-Anne  belongs to the Turtle Clan.  The people of the Turtle Clan are considered the well of information and the keepers of the land.  A mother of four,  Mary-Anne is the proud grandmother of 16 and great-grandmother of 5.  

Since returning to the London-area, Mary-Anne involved herself in  her indigenous and London communities, volunteering on various Boards.  She is presently President of Desh Kaan Ziibii Women's group, the London Chapter of Ontario Native Women's Association (ONWA).  She is Owner/ Operator of Gramz Kitchen and Catering, specializing in indigenous cuisine.  Most recently, she achieved her lifelong dream of opening a food truck in Oneida.

Mary-Anne  has been facilitating  KAIROS Blanket Exercise workshops for the last 5 years.  Currently, Mary-Anne is working with Western University and King's University College, providing education on some of the truths of Canadian History.  

Mary-Anne Kechego
TINA STEVENS - Loon Clan, Kitigan Zibi, Kettle & Stony Point First Nations

Tina Stevens is an Algonquin-Ojibwe woman who has lived in London, Ontario her whole life. She has three strong sons and attributes her energy to having been raised by a strong mother– a great Knowledge Keeper in her own community.   Tina's given name is Minhminhs (Little Pigeon) and is a part of Maang Dodem (Loon Clan). 

For more than 30 years, Tina has worked in court system as a Court and Client representative and other positions within the Ministry of the Attorney-General.  Working with various unions, the Children's Aid Society and other community organizations,  Over a number of years, Tina has been involved in providing education to the OPSEU union members and bringing Indigenous issues forward, especially on water issues.  Tina continues to be an advocate on Reconciliation and historical impacts on Indigenous peoples including the Doctrine of Discovery.

Tina is a very active labour activist in her community as an advocate to uphold the need to address social injustices.   Passionate about making a difference and demanding change, Tina has served since 2010 as Secretary on the London and District Labour Council and is also their 2nd Vice President.  In June2020, Tina was elected to serve as President for Co-Operative Housing Federation of Canada.

Tina enjoys sharing her knowledge about Indigenous teachings, history, culture and traditions using a wide spectrum of resources.  She shares her lived experience within the settings of the courthouse and as a trained Facilitator for  the Kairos Blanket Exercise.

GLORIA THOMSON- Métis

A proud Metis woman with roots in the Northwest Manitoba region, Gloria is the mother of two grown daughters and one grandchild.  Gloria is a Kairos-trained Facilitator. Prior to the pandemic, she was involved in facilitating many Kairos Blanket Exercise workshops. In 2019, Gloria became a Senator for the Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO), local council. She has attended various workshops and Annual General Assemblies at the MNO, enlarging her scope of knowledge about the Metis. Gloria is presently engaged by the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at UWO, as Elder for Metis students.

Gloria is excited and honoured to be presenting the workshop “Who Are We, the Metis People of this Land?” in both English and French.

M. TRACEY WHITEYE, MSW, RSW - Bear Clan, Moraviantown

A  Wilfred Laurier University Masters of Social Work: Indigenous Field of Study graduate, Tracey works at the Anishinabek Educational Institute  in the Social Work Program teaching Indigenous Traditional Healing Methods.  

Tracey's spirit name is Wabusk Skweow Kahetapit Neegn Nipeek Ohscheh - which means “Polar Bear Woman or White Bear Woman Who is Looking Ahead from the Water”.   Tracey is Lenaapeew/ Anishinaabe kwe from the Bear Clan. The Nation she comes from is Elunaapeewii Lahkeewiit First Nations, known as  Moraviantown or Moravian Nation of the Thames. 

In her 21 years of sobriety, Tracey has learned how to walk the Red Path, as an Oshkaabewis kwe (a woman helper for the Creator). Like many Indigenous across Turtle Island,  Tracey's healing journey came from the impact of colonization, assimilation, and oppression.   As a proud  Nokimis (Grandmother), Tracey continues to learn her role and responsibilities.

Upcoming Events: