Last week I attended the Federation’s Spring General Meeting and Social Policy Forum. Leadership 2020’s core faculty member, Chris Corrigan, led the 120 participants in Open Space (see sidebar on Open Space) and a beautiful array of topics were proposed by the participants for deep discussion. You can find the raw proceedings here. I called a conversation on the question of “How do we live into reconciliation fully and in our day-to day practice” and an amazing group of people leaned into the conversation. Gratitudes to the participants for being open to the exploration, for sharing examples of living into reconciliation, and for the willingness to continue the discovery and action-taking over the coming months.
I called a conversation on the question of “How do we live into reconciliation fully and in our day-to day practice” and an amazing group of people leaned into the conversation. Gratitudes to the participants for being open to the exploration, for sharing examples of living into reconciliation, and for the willingness to continue the discovery and action-taking over the coming months.
Here are a few take-aways from the conversation:
- Reconciliation is not a program or a formula – it is a way of being that influences our personal actions that in turn inform and influence organizational and societal actions. Reconciliation is a personal responsibility.
- “We don’t think enough ourselves about the importance of our work and the difference our actions can make.” In support of reconciliation we have to attend to the finer details of our practice and know that we have to challenge inaction and indifference – our own and others – in order to live into the possibilities.
- It is important to know about our own culture (as non-Indigenous peoples) – whatever that might be – in order to have empathy with what it would be like to have this culture taken from us, and what it would feel like to be unable to connect with culture.
- “As Indigenous advocates, we have had to take a strong stance, and have had to be fierce, which has scared some people [but was necessary]…Before the TRC there was the shear weight of holding space for our history [despite the indifference]; post TRC the space is everywhere and we can have the conversations we need to have now.”
- We have to shift the narrative from separation to connection and overcome our histories of boundaries and distance.
- “We don’t know what to do or how to reconcile, but we can figure this out together” – we need to host conversations for discovery. “Ask, where is my role to collaborate and build relationships?”
Ideas that were shared included:
- Forming a ‘reconciliation committee’ within the organization to consider how to live into reconciliation.
- Creating space and time in our teams and agencies to ask: What are we doing in our organization that is causing a problem or getting in the way of reconciliation (this could be policies, practices, etc that explicitly or implicitly create barriers and challenges)? What are we going to do about it? It is important that we bring curiosity to everything we do to see with fresh eyes what the experience of people accessing our services is.
At the end of the Social Policy Forum, ten people stepped forward with ideas they wanted to turn into action – plans and next steps that they would each be willing to champion. Those ten projects are listed here. Find one that could benefit from your energy and get involved!