Peoples of the Great Arc: Two Ways of Knowing



The 2016 Forum is the centerpiece of a loosely connected 3 year series on the history and the future of human settlement on the Bruce Peninsula.

In 2015 we were reminded that the Bruce Peninsula is part of a much larger landform, the Great Arc or rim of the Michigan basin.

The communities along the Arc are diverse but, particularly along its northern path, they share a sense of place. Because of our similar geographic and geologic setting there are similarities in our development and as we examine our own past and future it is useful to keep theirs in mind.

As a prelude to examining possibilities for future development in 2017 this year’s Forum examines the long history of human settlement in Southern Ontario, from the end of the ice ages to the recent past. This history is almost entirely First Nation’s. It can be viewed through their stories; it can be viewed through archaeology. These very different windows on the past – the “two ways of knowing” – are ultimately complimentary and deserve equal weight in reaching an understanding.

The SOK Forums tackle serious issues, but there is also a sense of fun to our proceedings. Come to learn, but also come to enjoy.

TOBERMORY is a much-loved destination these days. The summer months can best be described as crowded; hundreds of thousands of tourists visit this little port and its surroundings at the far end of the Bruce Peninsula during June-September. That’s why a spring or fall visit is special. True, it will not be quite as warm, but this is amply compensated by the scarcity of your fellow travelers! With the mid-Spring Sources of Knowledge Forum the town comes to life after a quiet winter. Stores, restaurants, hotels and (depending on the season) tour boats are open for business. Trails are snow-free, the private and public campgrounds are open, only the Park Visitor Centre sadly remains dark until late May. So come to the Forum but stay for the place. Participants will discover why this is a unique environment and identify some of the efforts of conservation-minded people and organizations to protect both the lands and the waters.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON, April 29, features the traditional field trip to set the stage for the Forum.This year’s afternoon trip features a visit to Neyaashiinigmiing (Cape Croker) for talks by tribal elders on subjects such as language, oral traditions, treaties. We will meet on the Cape at the Maadooki Seniors Centre at 1PM to meet with elders and tour the community. (Unfortunately the visit to the Nochemoweniing site, advertised previously, has had to be cancelled.) Details of this trip will be forwarded to participants as the program evolves.

FRIDAY EVENING, starting at 6PM, we meet at the Tobermory Community Centre (hereafter the TCC, where all indoor events are held) for a social hour with cash bar and music by local phenom John Haselmayer. This is followed by the very popular Mini-Film Festival hosted by Dr. Stephen Scharper from the University of Toronto. Stephen chooses films, or excerpts of films, that touch on the theme of the Forum. Popcorn is provided by the Reader’s Haven Bookstore.

SATURDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON, April 30, are taken up with the plenary sessions of the Forum. Please see elsewhere in the program for the titles and abstracts of the talks, and the biographies of the speakers.

Sustenance for the morning and afternoon breaks are generously provided by the Friends of Bruce Parks. Lunch can be found in the many fine restaurants in town.

The formal session ends at 3:30. A number of activities are offered as options to fill the couple of hours before the evening festivities begin at 5:30.

SATURDAY EVENING. A social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 at the TCC leads to the Annual SOK Dinner, followed by Guest Speaker John Riley, distinguished environmentalist and Science Adviser Emeritus to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

SUNDAY MORNING. The Sunday festivities are open to all. There are no fees, no required nametags. Things start early for the bird watchers among us. Local Naturalist Rod Steinacher will lead an excursion to view the resident and migrating birds that populate this flyway in the spring. Meet at 7:30am at the TCC.

At the TCC, the Culinary Market complete with the Tragically Hip Replacement band begins operations at 8:00AM and continues until 10.AM. Local food & tastings and local At 10AM to noon there will be a public forum on implications of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for the Bruce Peninsula. The format of this meeting is still evolving at time of writing but the intention is to follow a brief explanation of the findings and recommendations of the report with a frank discussion of views. We hope you will come to learn, and to join in that discussion.

© 2009 - Sources of Knowledge