Kiwanis Club donates $38K to Giche Namewikwedong Reconciliation Garden - Owen Sound Sun Times

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Kiwanis Club donates $38K to Giche Namewikwedong Reconciliation GardenBack to video

“We thought it was important to contribute to this community project,” said local Kiwanis Club president Jim McManaman.

The community service group is in its 97th year of operation in Owen Sound. They raise money with a Christmas tree sale and campground among other fundraising initiatives and donate up to $100,000 a year.

“This will be our biggest donation this year,” McManaman said.

The club’s mandate is to support children in the community. They sponsor the city’s skate park, soccer complex, the accessible children’s playground at Harrison Park and have organized the city’s Santa Claus Parade since its inception 77 years ago.

“This donation is slightly different than what we’ve usually done,” McManaman said. “We felt it has a very important educational component to it, and we think educating current and future children about what went on and the reconciliation that’s required for this generation and future generations, we thought it was important.”

The garden committee was established in 2010 to plan, fund and build the garden to recognize and celebrate Indigenous history and culture.

The City of Owen Sound dedicated a portion of Kelso Beach Park in support of the initiative. The site of the Gitche Namewikwedong Reconciliation Garden was dedicated on Canada Day in 2017.

The garden is intended to serve as a contemplative place where visitors can pause, learn, reflect and consider the legacy of Residential Schools and the intergenerational trauma that still exists today, according to the project page on the United Way of Grey Bruce website.

A large Nookomis Gitche Name’ Kwe – Grandmother Sturgeon – sculpture by Indigenous artist Kathryn Corbiere was unveiled at the garden in 2021.

The garden also includes stone seat walls, a bridge over a dry stream, grandmother and grandfather stones, native plantings and pathways.

“The club is very pleased to assist the garden committee with all of the great efforts they’ve done down at the beach,” McManaman said.

Information on donating to the ongoing garden project can be found at www.unitedwayofbrucegrey.com and by clicking on the project name under the programs dropdown menu.

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