Mennonite Heritage Village

All My Relations

By Gary Dyck

“All my relations” is the English equivalent of a phrase familiar to most Native peoples of North America. It may begin or end a prayer or speech or a story, and, while each tribe has its own way of expressing this sentiment in its own language, the meaning is the same. “All my relations” is at first a reminder of who we are and of our relationship with both our family and our relatives. It also reminds us of the extended relationship we share with all human beings. …More than that, “all my relations” is an encouragement for us to accept the responsibilities we have within the universal family by living our lives in a harmonious and moral manner (a common admonishment is to say of someone that they act as if they had no relations).

-The Alberta Regional Professional Development Consortia

At the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV), we believe that the identity of any group is inextricably connected to their relationships. Mennonites, like all healthy cultures, value their heritage and community. We know that to be at peace in the land and to prosper we need to have good relations with our neighbours and the earth we live on. Our relations (frintschauft in Low German) are essential for our well-being.

The ’All My Relations’ initiative that MHV is starting to develop, is looking at how MHV and stakeholders could become more aware of how our existence as Mennonites affects those around us and how we are affected by them also. A natural starting place is with the First Nations, to understand the realities of our settler colonialism, and nurture equitable friendships. The Canadian Museum Association is currently developing specific steps to honour the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action for Canadian museums.

We are grateful for the variety of neighbours and cultures that are part of our journey and story as Mennonites. The sharing of their friendship, knowledge, food, and land have impacted who we are today. As our region becomes more diverse, we want to expand our value as a Mennonite museum beyond the individuals to whom we are already relevant. We are not an isolated people, and these cultures that we share land with should matter to us. In turn, by appreciating our points of intersection and divergence, we will hopefully become more relevant to them also. Relevance is a process. Sometimes, the work could be about welcoming people into our community on their terms, other times it could be about us going out to theirs. At MHV, who we are and what we do matters beyond our own communities. Hopefully, with time and your input, we can bring people together across their differences and build a more connected community at MHV. Join us this Thursday as we co-host ‘Stories We Have Not Heard’ with the Hanover Teacher’s Association. See the details below or on our website.

Upcoming Events:

MHV’s galleries and Village Books & Gifts are open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am – 5pm. Our grounds and Livery Barn Restaurant will be opening Friday, April 29th!

Perogy Drive-Thru Fundraiser April 21, 5:00pm – 6:30pm. Back by popular demand, the MHV Auxiliary will be hosting a drive-thru perogy fundraiser night! Tickets are $20 per meal and can be purchased at 

Stories We Have Not Heard, April 21, 7pm. This evening of Métis and First Nations stories of settlement in southeastern Manitoba is brought to you by Hanover Teacher’s Association and MHV. RSVP ahead of time to enjoy a perogy supper in the Auditorium! 

Volunteer Orientation, April 26, 7pm. We are preparing for a full season of visitors at the museum. We love our volunteers and want to make sure that we are prepared for the work that needs to happen! If you would like to volunteer at the museum contact Robert Goertzen.