Why Reconciliation? FAQs

Reconciliation isn’t my/our work. It’s for someone else.
Why is Reconciliation important at my organization?
Why should you be the one to lead Reconciliation planning at our organization?
Why should me or my family or my community care about Reconciliation?
I didn’t go to residential school, and I didn’t work in one, so this doesn’t really concern me. Reconciliation is for Indigenous people and the people who ran or worked at Indian Residential Schools.
But I’m not prejudiced against Indigenous people!

Reconciliation isn’t my/our work. It’s for someone else.
You are that someone else. Reconciliation is everyone’s work. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, and their Calls to Action, talk about Reconciliation being a Canadian problem, not just an Indigenous one:

“All Canadians, as Treaty peoples, share responsibility for establishing and maintaining mutually respectful relationships.” (TRC Principles, 2015)

The Calls to Action are organized by categories like Justice, Education, Health, Language and Culture, and Museums and Archives, among others. If you work in any of these industries, if you volunteer for or partake in any organization or club involved in these categories—you have an opportunity to get involved in Reconciliation. You can start by subscribing to my blog series How to be a Better Settler. You can also hire me to support your organization to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan.

Why is Reconciliation important at my organization?
Diversity and recognition of differences is becoming the norm in many organizations, and a benchmark against which they are measured. Reconciliation can be one more aspect of your diversity plan. It can demonstrate your commitment to innovation and change–even if it is challenging territory. Mining, exploration and engineering companies in particular can think about how Reconciliation can enhance and maintain their Social License to Operate.

Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing sector of the population in Canada, and they are active and vocal in their desire for a new relationship with non-Indigenous Canadians. Introducing a Reconciliation Action Plan to your organization demonstrates your commitment and support for this new relationship.

If you’re looking to attract young & talented workers, you can expect they will be looking to work for, and remain with, diverse, forward-thinking organizations that are leading the way. . As Boomers retire and Gen X and Gen Y continue to drive how work is done, you can expect that these workers will continue to demand accepting, diverse and welcoming workforce.

Why should you be the one to lead Reconciliation planning at our organization?
I build successful partnerships between parties in opposition to each other for a living. I’m a former aid worker, and I have built relationships and created change in conflict-affected communities and war zones in Asia and Africa—based on and strengthened by the principles and values I learned growing up Canadian. Since returning to Canada I have been working with Indigenous organizations, developing and implementing  innovative community-led projects that support regeneration of Indigenous communities. Read about my success here.

I am dedicated to continuing this work, and so I develop and support implementation of Reconciliation Action Plans within settler organizations, to build a better future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. I love the possibilities that Reconciliation presents, and the innovative aspect of it. We have never done this before. It’s a great opportunity to learn, build relationships, and create a legacy that our descendants can look back on with pride.

I write about Reconciliation. I write the How to be a Better Settler blog series. I am committed and engaged. Contact me to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan for your organization.

Why should me or my family or my community care about Reconciliation?
Reconciliation happens when everyday people say “What can I do to create Reconciliation in my community?”

I believe the TRC’s Calls to Action don’t have to be implemented at just official, government or academic levels. In fact, I believe in the opposite. Reconciliation is done at the grass roots. It’s done by everyday people making seemingly small yet impactful changes to push Reconciliation ahead just a little further.

If we leave it up to the government alone, we absolve ourselves as citizens of any responsibility, and we miss out on an opportunity to build the kind of Canada we should have built in the first place—inclusive, diverse, and free for everyone. Imagine the legacy you can leave. Imagine the future you can create.

I didn’t go to residential school, and I didn’t work in one, so this doesn’t really concern me. Reconciliation is for Indigenous people and the people who ran or worked at Indian Residential Schools.
Is it? Maybe you weren’t directly involved in the administration of residential schools, but you are linked to them. Residential schools were created to assimilate Indigenous peoples so that Canada could be colonized. We have farms and railroads and subdivisions and cities because of the assimilation policies of our past governments—those have been part of the creation of present-day Canada. Priding ourselves on our values as Canadians means that we acknowledge our history, and build a better future for everyone. Even if we weren’t directly involved in the past, we are directly involved in the future.

But I’m not prejudiced against Indigenous people!
I get it. This Reconciliation stuff can make you feel uncomfortable.  It can make you feel as if you’re being judged, or labelled. The reports from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission highlight really dark stuff that just doesn’t jive with our mainstream idea of what we think of when we think of Canada. But—and this is a very big but—our country has a history that is based on assimilation policies that assumed that Indigenous people were inferior to Europeans in general and Christians in particular, and those policies built one nation while destroying others. So maybe you’re not prejudiced or racist, but you probably have a bias, and that bias was a result of the way in which Canada was developed and created. Reconciliation work will help you to recognize that bias, and give you ideas to make any changes, and live up to the standard to which you hold yourself. You can start by subscribing to my blog series How to be a Better Settler.

Advertisements