On October 21, 2017, Sikh Sangat of Canada hosted Sikh Immersion – Interfaith Event on Indigenous People at the Sikh Cultural Centre, Rexdale, Toronto.
The day began with a tour of the Gurdwara, and over 30 attendees from various faiths and background were able to sit together and eat langar – communal meal. Guests were also provided a brief history lesson on some of the art work and paintings in the Gurdwara, followed by a presentation led by a member of the Sikh faith.
During this presentation, guests were able to learn more about Indigenous People, from the Sikh perspective including commonalities between Indigenous groups and Sikhs. Incidentally, a Sikh celebration named “Bandi Chhor” was also taking place at the same time in the Gurdwara and much of the congregational talks were on this topic. Bandi Chhor means “The Day of Liberation”, which is quite fitting for the event topic – Indigenous People. One particular quote from the presentation that stood out to guests was, “When you are in a position of strength, you should align yourself with the less powerful, the weak and not other powerful people.” With this, it was emphasized that the powerful or the strong should try to uplift those that are weak or less fortunate.
Guests also had the opportunity to participate in Turban tying, during which a turban was offered to each guest at no cost. Volunteers prepared each Turban and performed the act of tying it on those who expressed interest. This was a very powerful site to see as the Turban is a symbol of sovereignty and freedom, which offered additional appreciation to the topic of the event.
“Turban tying was a lot of fun and I had no idea the skill involved in tying one, let alone tying it on someone else,” expressed a guest from the Christian faith. “Wearing the Turban, I knew I looked a little bit different, but that in itself gave me a sense of pride, freedom and strength. The presentation about Indigenous People was also very eye-opening, and I was able to understand the connection to The Day of Liberation celebration.”
Guests were invited to stay for the regular evening program and sit with the rest of the congregation to participate in the singing of hymns and learning more about spirituality and how it can be implemented in our everyday regular life.
A highlight video of the event can be seen here: Sikh Immersion - Indigenous People.