7th Anniversary Impact Stories: Why We Walk

Sep 22, 2020

The “Why We Walk” campaign asked individuals to share their story and personal connection to the reconciliation movement. Stories were shared in the weeks leading up to the Walk for Reconciliation in 2017. Today, we feature two powerful impact stories to mark the 7th anniversary of our inaugural walk.

Brooke Fairley

“To me, reconciliation means giving respect to the first people and honouring the teachings of the land that we are so blessed to live on. I grew up on the land of the Squamish Nation and I have made so many friends and learned so many lessons from the Squamish People that I carry with me. More recently, I began working with a Squamish Nation elder. She always says “culture is our medicine.” That’s something that has really stuck with me. Through learning about her culture, traditions and teachings, I have really seen how culture is medicine. That’s where the healing comes from—resurging the teachings and the old ways.

I understand that we always see things through the lens of our own culture and our own lives. I am a white, fourth-generation settler so I always see things through my mainstream, dominant, privileged lens. I have learned so much from her to expand my own thinking and I recognize that I have been so honoured to work under her teachings. She has further abled me to understand my role as a settler, my role as a mother, my role as a human being and as a spirit on this earth.

To learn how to understand others, how to live with people, how to live with our land, and how to respect one another— that’s really what it’s all about. That’s what reconciliation means to me.”

Sphenia Jones

“I went to a residential school in the late 1950s. I was about 11 years old, and I worked in the infirmary there. I remember stealing foods for the kids or the babies in the infirmary because they were so hungry. I would take whatever I could find, like peanut butter sandwiches or even raw potatoes. When I got caught, I had to scrub floors with a toothbrush for four months. I tried my best to protect the kids in that school and, even today, they thank me for what I did because they remember being so hungry.

Lots of people say things like – “that didn’t happen” – but it did. They say – “oh, get over it” – but we have to talk about it first. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we can do. I had a hard time forgiving the ones that abused me, but it was vital to get on with my life. I was anchored to the past, which made me sick. When I let everything go, I started getting better.

So, what does reconciliation mean to me? It means looking after the little ones which are the biggest hope for the future, and it means healing as our souls come together as one.”

Meet RC’s New Team Members!

Jul 30, 2020

In the midst of COVID-19, we have welcomed four interns and volunteers across North America to our RC team. We are incredibly excited to see the value they provide to our work in Canada and beyond this summer.

Shay L. Downey

Systems Change and Social Innovation Associate

Ancestry: Cherokee Nation of Tahlequah, Oklahoma

What does reconciliation mean to you?

Reconciliation includes an acknowledgment of past injustices to move forward toward a future with shared prosperity for all.

What is your favourite part about working at RC right now?

I love the opportunity for engaged scholarship while I apply my interest in Systems Change to the work of economic reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples of Canada. As I am living in Florida, USA, I am incredibly grateful for current technology and the ability to work with RC while being so far away.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I am an opera-singing rugby player!

What is your current favourite quote?

“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Katelynne Herchak

Community Engagement Coordinator

Ancestry: Inuk from Kuujjuaq, QC with ties to Nunavut & Nunatsiavut 

What does reconciliation mean to you? 

Reconciliation means love to me, to love yourself and to love people wherever they are in their path. 

What is your favourite part about working at RC right now?

What I enjoy about working at RC is like it feels like I’m working with family and it’s a great feeling. 

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I have two fun facts, one is that I was Miss Vancouver Island 2015 and the second is that Nelson Mandela and I are birthday twins! 

What is your current favourite quote?

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” – Nelson Mandela 

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Adrienne Ahn

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Ancestry: Korean-Canadian

What does reconciliation mean to you? 

Reconciliation involves a process of unlearning and relearning the truth. It is about using your mind, body, and heart to find peace within yourself and others around you.

What is your favourite part about working at RC right now?

I love getting to know the people in this team and sharing dialogue, stories, and mutual respect for each other.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I presented on SDG 5 and intergenerational equity during last year’s UN HLPF in New York!

What is your current favourite quote?

“Water teaches four important lessons: what you see is often your projection, what is soft can also be powerful, persistence can break barriers, change is always happening.” – Yung Pueblo

Jim P

Marketing and Communications Volunteer

Ancestry: Caucasian/Asian (Chinese)

What does reconciliation mean to you?

To me, reconciliation is foremost a process and a commitment to that process. It’s rooted in compassion, respect, and humanity and is marked by truth, justice, forgiveness, healing, and love. 

What is your favourite part about working at RC right now?

I’m incredibly grateful for the values-based approach that RC utilizes in its actions and purpose. It’s centred on bringing people together and working towards shared prosperity, which has helped me in processing and understanding our society’s dialogues on social and racial injustices.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I was born and raised in the Texas Hill Country!

What is your current favourite quote?

“Reconciliation, really, at the heart of it all is this idea of love – of loving yourself and loving others.” – Chief Joseph

Statement on Multiculturalism Day

Jun 26, 2020

June 27th is Multiculturalism Day, a day that officially marks Canada’s commitment to celebrate the cultural and racial diversity that continues to flourish within our society. 

As we stand side by side to make our vision of a vibrant and inclusive Canada a reality, this day serves as an important reminder that we must unite as one and honour our differences.   

We acknowledge that not everyone experiences society in the same way.  We must respect the diverse, cultural contributions and unique gifts that each and every person brings to our land. Together we must educate ourselves and engage in collective dialogue to work towards building a multicultural world; our future depends on it.

‘Namwayut – We Are All One.