May’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Harmony Eshkawkogan to support a community garden helping Indigenous youth connect to the land.
“I am an Indigenous youth from Wikwemikong, on Manitoulin Island,” explains Harmony, “but I reside on Algonquin territory, or in Ottawa. I am the garden helper with a grassroots Indigenous youth organization called Assembly of Seven Generations, or A7G, which supports Indigenous youth with community and cultural support.”
“An important part of Indigenous culture,” continues Harmony, “is connecting to the land. But it is challenging living in an urban area. Our group has a small garden plot and would like to plant various Indigenous plants that our ancestors grew to help other youths reconnect to the land. The plants would be harvested to serve at community feasts. The sacred medicinal plants would also be shared within the community and for ceremonial purposes.”
“This is my third year helping with the A7G garden,” says Harmony, “and more youth want to help with gardening every year. I will use the money not only to buy garden supplies, but also to ensure the youth have transportation to visit the garden. I will also buy notebooks and paint kits to encourage nature journaling. This will allow youth to learn about traditional plants and the Indigenous names of the plants.”
Harmony moved to Ottawa for high school, and is in the first generation in her family to not attend residential school. “I suffered a lot of culture shock from adapting to living in the city,” she says, “but A7G became my home away from home. A lot of Indigenous youth share similar stories, so I agreed to become an A7G youth helper to support them.”
Funded by Ottawa (May 2023)