Syed Mukarram Nazeer, Canada Correspondent
In Canada, the month of June commemorates National Indigenous History Month. During this month, Canadians take time to recognise the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across Canada.
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Canada celebrates this month regularly and uses it to further strengthen its friendly relations with indigenous communities.
Jamaat Saskatoon organised National Indigenous History Month celebrations at Baitur Rahmat Mosque on 15 June 2022, reported Indigenous Desk Coordinator Jamaat Saskatoon, Rashid Ahmed Sahib.
On the event day, the weather forecast called for rain all day. Local police called and informed us that they were unable to put a tipi; a type of shelter, shaped like a cone and traditionally made from wooden poles and coverings sewn from the hides of bison. A letter was written to Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa requesting prayers for the success of the event. In addition, all volunteers were asked to pray for the success of the event. By Allah’s grace, within a few minutes of requesting prayers, the rain stopped and didn’t resume for the whole event.
The event started with a silent prayer led by the local missionary, Saad Hayat Bajwa Sahib. This was followed by a flag hoisting ceremony.
More than 270 First Nation community members participated in the event. Many drove 7 to 8 hours. Some of the prominent leaders who attended the event were:
1. Charlie Clark, Mayor of Saskatoon
2. Troy Cooper, Police Chief of Saskatoon
3. Barry Wilcox, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commissioner
4. Savana Walkingbear, Councillor First Nation Reserve
5. Chief Felix Thomas, First Nation Reserve
6. Kurt Delorme, Saskatoon Fire Department
7. Ali Sadat, President Ismaili Community
8. Bijan Khosravi, President Iranian Community
9. Senos Robert, President South Sudanese Community
10. Ali Abu Bakar, Executive Director Saskatoon Open Door Society
11. Elder Florence, First Nation Community
12. Elder Evelyn Linklater, First Nation Community
In addition, many First Nation school principals, as well as executive members from Saskatoon First Nation offices also attended.
Many First Nation community members were emotional to see Muslim and indigenous communities together organising this event at a mosque. They appreciated the efforts of interfaith dialogues and initiatives and requested such events be organised in future to keep the spirit of brotherhood alive.