The initiator of the Knowledge Circles Project is The Land Between: a non-government grassroots national charity. With their partners, the Hastings Stewardship Council and Curve Lake First Nation, they are reintroducing the Talking Circle to create the platform for equal voices and collective decision-making in an atmosphere of humility and mutual respect. The Talking Circle is used by the charity and is a traditional form of governance used by First Nations today. In the Circle, the eagle feather is passed from one participant to another as a testament of truth, love, and faith.
Funding for the Knowledge Circles project is being generously provided by the Government of Ontario under its Partnership Grant Program. Laura Albanese, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, states:
“Not-for-profit organizations play an integral part in our social fabric and deliver programs and services that improve people’s everyday lives. I look forward to the outcomes of The Land Between’s project to build inclusive leadership through the Traditional Talking Circle approach.”
Knowledge Circle events will be held in October and November of this year in four catchment areas across the region: in the west at Simcoe/Muskoka/Haliburton, centrally in Peterborough-Kawarthas and Hastings areas, and in the east at Lennox & Addington/Frontenac/Lanark. The goals of these Circle events are to share local knowledge, understand the conditions of the land, find cooperative solutions, and build capacity through new relationships. Citizens from all areas will be invited to participate. The knowledge of those who work on and with the land is invaluable and is of crucial importance to the process.The Land Between bioregion spans nine counties stretching from Georgian Bay to the Frontenac Arch. The landscape bears the same name as the charity whose “bioregionalism” approach recognizes that the land and the people are connected and interdependent. The Knowledge Circles Project respects this understanding, and as a First Nation Elder revealed, “a circle can expand or contract, but it cannot break.”