Braiding Together  '24

Friday, October 18 - Saturday, October 19

Dialogue Towards

Truth & Reconciliation

"In Two Canoes"

ATA Members: Fill out this form to join RMEC and support our work.

October 18-19, 2024

Banff Centre - Banff, Alberta - 107 Tunnel Mountain Dr, Banff, AB T1L 1H5 - (403) 762-6100

The Annual Conference of RMEC, the Religious and Moral Education Council -  Alberta Teachers Association

Come join us as we engage in  Critical Conversations in response to the 

Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,

exploring our individual and collective journeys as we walk together, 

fostering authentic and inclusive relationships 

as we celebrate diversity and work towards healing and wholeness, 

attentive in heart, mind and soul.  

“A sheaf of sweetgrass, bound at the end and divided into thirds, is ready to braid. In braiding sweetgrass – so that it is smooth, glossy, and worthy of the gift - a certain amount of tension is needed. As any little girl with tight braids will tell you, you have to pull a bit. Of course you can do it yourself – by tying one end to a chair, or by holding it in your teeth and braiding backward away from yourself - but the sweetest way is to have someone else hold the end so that you pull gently against each other, all the while leaning in, head to head, chatting and laughing, watching each other's hands, one holding steady while the other shifts the slim bundles over one another, each in its turn. Linked by sweetgrass, there is a reciprocity between you, linked by sweetgrass, the holder as vital as the braider. The braid becomes finer and thinner as you near the end, until you're braiding individual blades of grass, and then you tie it off. Will you hold the end of the bundle while I braid? Hands joined by grass, can we bend our heads together and make a braid to honour the Earth? And then I'll hold it for you, while you braid, too.”

Preface, Braiding Sweetgrass - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Milkweed Editions 2013 

Sweetgrass is Sacred Medicine  holding an important place in the culture and ceremonies of Indigenous Peoples.  It is among the four plants, tobacco, sage, red cedar, & sweetgrass, considered to be sacred medicines.  Sweetgrass thrives on both mountain and prairie scapes, as well as in meadows and along bogs and lake shores.  

Sweetgrass has many ceremonial uses among Indigenous tribes, with  its smoke used for prayer and cleansing.  Often combined with sage - used to drive away negative forces - sweetgrass summons positive ones.  

While one blade of sweetgrass can be easily broken,  when braided together, it is nearly impossible to break.  with the braid symbolizing strength - strength of family and strength of community.  

Sweetgrass is believed to be the first plant to grow on Mother Earth.  When used in smudging, prayer and talking circles, it has a historical healing effect, purifying thoughts, spaces and places.

as the smoke of the sweetgrass rises, it cleanses and purifies both externally and internally, including the heart, mind and spirit. 

May BRAIDING be a powerful metaphor for our journey towards wholeness and healing as we engage together, supporting healing and fostering strong ties as we honour the dignity of all, with a focus on our relationships with Indigenous Peoples.  

Land Acknowledgement

The Alberta Teachers’ Association acknowledges Treaty 4, 6, 7, 8 and 10 territories within Alberta. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations, including the many places that you are joining from. We are grateful for the traditional Knowledge Keepers and Elders who are still with us today and those who have gone before us. We recognize the Land as an act of reconciliation and gratitude to those whose territory we reside on or are visiting.

The Alberta 

Teachers Association

cover image: sweetgrass free wallpaper download -

Two canoes: "Brown Gondola on Body of Water"  Lorenzo Moschi free download: