Reconciliation Toolkit: Ideas for Healing the Relationship
Published October 21, 2020
When it comes to reconciliation, how we do what we do can be just as important as what we do.
We have a shared responsibility in creating and maintaining a respectful relationship. Good process is about acting in ways that build respectful relationships. The way we work will require trust building, investment or sharing of resources, and accountability.
It will be important for Indigenous ways of knowing and doing to inform reconciliation work, and that is why we will look to Elders and Knowledge Keepers, while ensuring that we honour and respect their time and contributions
These suggestions are excerpted from our resource Building Better Relationships: A Reconciliation Toolkit. Download the full resource to learn more about how you and your co-op community can help work towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
- Get to know the First Nations, Inuit and/or Metis communities near you. Attend community celebrations or gatherings.
- Drop off coffee and muffins at a band office or Indigenous organization.
- Come to the relationship as a learner, wanting to build a trusting and respectful relationship.
- Host viewings of videos or films about the Residential Schools and their legacy, such as We Were Children.
- Organize a Kairos blanket exercise at your co-op.
- Partner with Indigenous community members to organize an art project.
- Form a reading group around the TRC Executive Summary Report. Read it in sections, having discussions at each phase or use a reading guide (see Manitoba Harm Reduction Network’s TRC Reading Guide).
- Seek out a residential school survivor educator and ask if they can do a session with your co-op.
- Learn some basic words in the Indigenous language(s) from the territory you’re on.
- Organize events around important dates like:
- June: National Indigenous History Month
- June 21: National Indigenous Day
- September 30: Orange Shirt Day
Bain Apartments Housing Co-operative Inc. in Toronto created the Honour Canoe, a community art project that commemorates residential schools and the children who were forced to attend. It was launched through a celebration that brought together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from the co-op and the larger community.
The project was organized by The Bain Honour Canoe Crew, a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous members from the co-op and surrounding community. A Cree Knowledge Keeper and former co-op member, Pauline Shirt, acted as guide and consultant on the project. The relationship with the Knowledge Keeper created connections to the larger Indigenous community, including Les Harper, the Cree artist who worked on the project, and dancers and community members who attended the dedication celebration.
If your co-op is taking action on reconciliation, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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