Reconciliation Canada, an Indigenous-led organization, began in September 2012 with a bold vision to promote reconciliation by engaging Canadians in dialogue that revitalizes the relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians in order to build vibrant, resilient and sustainable communities. A vision based on a dream held by Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Reconciliation Canada’s Ambassador, to witness tens of thousands of people of every culture and faith walking together for a shared tomorrow.
So began Reconciliation Canada’s journey to engage British Columbians in reconciliation through community initiatives and events that not only uphold and advance the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) but also demonstrate the mass support for finding a new way forward in our relationships together.
In November 2012, Reconciliation Canada hosted its very first workshop, a gathering of multi-cultural Elders, to set the foundation for its work moving forward. For two days, Elders from Indigenous and other ancient histories gathered to explore how reconciliation, as a way of being, can help our society move forward.
Through the development of meaningful partnerships and community outreach programs, Reconciliation Canada hosted a series of Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops across the province and three major events during Reconciliation Week in September 2013, including the Walk for Reconciliation engaging 70,000 people in Downtown Vancouver.
As the demand for reconciliation action began to spread across the country, Reconciliation Canada began to plan workshops and outreach initiatives not only in British Columbia, but across the country.
In just a couple of short years, the growing commitment to reconciliation has been evident as seen in these milestones:
- The City of Vancouver unanimously passed a motion to proclaim a Year of Reconciliation from June 21, 2013 to June 20, 2014.
- 70,000 people braved the pouring rain in Downtown Vancouver to join the Walk for Reconciliation on September 22, 2013.
- The B.C. School Trustees Association passed a motion on residential schools as a required high school course in April 2014.
- The City of Vancouver unanimously passed a motion to support a City of Reconciliation Framework on October 28, 2014.
- The Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil Waututh First Nations hosted a Brushing Off Ceremony for the City of Vancouver’s Mayor and Council to prepare them for their new term on December 16, 2014.
- Co-hosted events in Ottawa, ON, and Vancouver, BC, to coincide with the closing of the TRC in May 2015 including a 10,000 person Walk for Reconciliation in from Gatineau to Ottawa.
- Conducted more than 40 Dialogue Workshops in communities across Canada, including Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray and Whitehorse.
- Several cities have declared their commitment to reconciliation, including: Calgary, Campbell River, Cranbrook, Edmonton, Port Alberni, and Toronto.
We must recognize our common humanity and the permanent connection with one another and the place we live. Our collective wellbeing rests with the relationships we build today.
Together, we are charting a New Way Forward.
Reconciliation Canada – A New Way Forward Society is a registered charity (#821403599RR0001)
Impact Story: Linda Morris
“As a society, whether its Vancouver, BC, or Canada, we really demonstrated the power of people caring” – Linda Morris
Learn more about Linda Morris’ story and Vancity’s role as a founding and current partner of Reconciliation Canada here.