Reconciliation in action: creating opportunities to think about things differently

If you attended our October conference in Richmond or have been reading these weekly updates you will know that reconciliation is one area of work The Federation remains focused on.

In my posts on reconciliation over the past months, I have spoken about our intention to support Federation members—and the sector at large—in considering reconciliation as a way of being rather than a specific action to be taken. As we plan the upcoming June conference in Penticton, this mindset continues to guide us.

This work is about making real, substantial change in our communities, and ourselves. And as you know, change takes time. It takes commitment. It takes repetition. It takes a community. And it requires opportunities to think about things differently. This is what we are striving to make possible at the June conference.

We will once again be hosting the KAIROS Blanket Exercise—an experiential way to think about the ongoing impacts of colonization and to consider each person’s responsibility in moving forward in reconciliation.

We will also be hosting a collective story gathering where members, leaders, and activists will share stories about the work they are doing—work that is inspiring, mobilizing, or supporting the Indigenous communities they serve. Participants will “harvest” key lessons from these stories and begin to consider other, new paths toward reconciliation—tangible actions we can take to our organizations and changes we can start making across the province.

Our reconciliation action group (made up of members like you) continues to meet and help inform the planning of this conference. The discussions have been challenging at times and the group members have had to ask themselves some difficult questions. We very much appreciate the time and thought each member has contributed as they grappled with different perspectives and different approaches to this work.

We know that as a non-indigenous organization we risk falling back into dangerous old habits of trying to “save” or “fix” rather than creating space, listening to others, and looking at how we can change ourselves. We know that this journey requires mindfulness and attention and care. But at the same time, we also know that we can’t lose the momentum we have gained.

The Federation’s June conference, Reconciliation in Action, will take place Thursday, June 22 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort. I encourage you to join us and take part in this important, timely work. I believe that it is needed. And I believe that it will be done better if we do it together.