We all have parts to play, wherever we are in this jigsaw. And we’re as big as we want to be.
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Ambassador
Today is 60 days after the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
We are in a moment of massive change, massive transformation, and massive opportunity. We have to do things differently for real reconciliation to happen. Now is the time for urgent action.
Reconciliation is right in front of us. If we really want change, we have to change the system. Even though the work is complicated and challenging, we all have our unique gifts to bring. Together, we can transform our future.
Here’s how we big we want to be:
We need to expand our education services so more people and organizations can run reconciliation programs across the country.
We need to re-elevate Indigenous women back into their traditionally respected leadership roles, to guide us through the economic, environmental and social challenges we now face.
We need to build Traditional Houses in every major Canadian city where Indigenous peoples can connect and everyone can learn about reconciliation.
In the last 60 days since September 30, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes. We’re bringing on new team members to take on these big goals. We’re recruiting new board members to support and spread the word. We’re talking with partners about how to turn our dreams into reality.
We also need to raise money to support these big changes.
Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, when we’ll be counting on you for your support, and every dollar you contribute will help to achieve our goals.
Paddle together with us on our journey to advance reconciliation, with understanding, love, and hope, upholding our responsibility to each other.
Now is the time for change. Now is the time for reconciliation. ‘Namwayut: Together, we are one.
Erin Dixon (Gizhagate),Director of Knowledge and Indigenous Leadership, walks with vision and all of life in mind, sharing her Otipemisiwak-Métis heritage and love for Indigenous knowledge systems, and will be developing our new Indigenous Women Leadership program.
Leslie Hunt-Dickie (Tli’li’nukw), Director of Engagement, is a member of the Kwakiutl Nation deeply committed to building lasting relationships with governments, partners and society to do better for reconciliation.
Dashae Geddes, Office Coordinator,is a Cree Indigenous woman from George Gordon’s First Nations located near Regina, SK, who helped plan our team and partner events in 2019 and rejoins us now to prepare for our 2022 events and programming.
3. We’re continuing to raise funds
We have been moved by the support Canadians have shown to Indigenous organizations, including Reconciliation Canada, particularly on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Every time we hear that someone found value in one of our Reconciliation Dialogue Workshops, shared our resources with others, or asks when we are holding our next event, we know that we are on the right track.
Reconciliation is a journey for the long-haul. We would deeply appreciate your ongoing support as we move past September. If you are able and would like to contribute towards our work, please consider giving a gift.
Today, on Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we are at a pivotal moment in history.
We are at a crossroads in time when each of us needs to decide how we meet the challenge of reconciliation.
When our children ask us, “What will you do?”, do we say nothing?
Or do we seize the opportunity and commit ourselves to contributing to a better future, one that recognizes the harmful past and uplifts the resilience, wisdom and gifts of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island?
Right now, we are in a time of crisis.
COVID is challenging our ways of being and interacting with one another every single day.
Each day brings the revelation of more and more remains of Indigenous children who were forcibly removed from their communities to attend Indian Residential Schools, only to never return home.
For the first time in the history of this country, people are realizing the level of violence and abuse and terror that was perpetuated for all those years upon Indigenous children, their parents and their communities.
There is no denying something must be done.
Learning and talking about the truth of Indian Residential Schools isn’t about comparing whose trauma is worse. It’s about understanding how we build resilience. Each of us has a story to share.
I see reconciliation as the weaving together of all these resiliencies, the sharing and recognizing of going through difficult times, and choosing a new way of being as we move forward.
The questions we need to ask ourselves are:
How do we weave our resilience together to create something better than we could have alone?
How do we make lasting change that goes beyond a single day?
How do we show up as our best selves in these difficult and challenging times?
We invite you to show up by continuing to listen to and learn from Indigenous voices. Reflect on your own history and determine how you will contribute to a better today and a better tomorrow.
Here are some suggestions:
Donate to an organization advancing reconciliation. There are many Indigenous-led organizations, including ours, that welcome your support to carry out this work.
Understand the concept of all my relations, and how it applies to reconciliation, the environment, and prosperity.
Talk about the values of reconciliation and explore any synergies it has within your own culture, values, and vision for the future.
Most important of all – challenge yourself to do more than nothing.
Reconciliation is our shared responsibility to contribute to a better today and tomorrow so that all our children can achieve their optimum potential and shared prosperity.
I lift my hands in honour of all our children, those who lived and those who perished, in Canada’s Indian Residential School system. I humbly accept my responsibility to pick up and carry forth your truth, your courage and your hope for all our relations from this day forward.
Karen Joseph is a Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw social change maker who co-founded Reconciliation Canada in 2012 to uphold her father’s dream of witnessing thousands of people walking together in support of Indian Residential School Survivors and Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In September 2013, the Walk for Reconciliation brought 50,000 people to the streets of downtown Vancouver in their commitment to revitalize the relationships among Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians. Since then, she has championed hundreds of gatherings with diverse leaders to advance individual, organizational, and societal reconciliation
September 30, 2021, marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
This is a day to recognize and reflect on the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools. It is also a day when we can honour Survivors, their families, and Indigenous communities.
How you can participate in Truth and Reconciliation:
Challenge yourself to learn more
This National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity to not only reflect on what we know, but also take the time to learn more. Attend an event in your community, or explore some of the learning resources below.
In response to 215 children found buried at the Kamloops (Tk’emlups), Reconciliation Canada hosted a series of gatherings to help people understand our shared history. At each gathering, our expert panelists examine how we are all building the Reconciliation movement, exploring ideas that will help shape the future of Canada.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a collection of educational resources to support teachers in raising awareness about why residential schools were created, their ongoing legacy, and how these have shaped the country we live in today.
The University of Alberta offers a free online course that explores Indigenous histories and key issues in Canada. This course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations.
This podcast explores what it means to be an Indigenous person today and to be engaged in relationships—relationships to land and place, to a nation, to non-human relatives, and to one another. All My Relations is a place to explore these relationships, and to think through Indigeneity in all its complexities.
Show your support
Before being officially recognized by the federal government, September 30 was known as Orange Shirt Day, started by Phyllis Webstad. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. Wearing orange is one of the simplest ways to show some support for the day.
Donate to organizations working on reconciliation
We are at a time where it is crucial that this awareness and energy is translated into concrete change. Be part of the We are at a crucial time when our energy and awareness of residential schools need to translate into concrete change. Be part of the impact that keeps this momentum going by supporting organizations like Reconciliation Canada. Your support will help us continue our work to reconcile the pain of our shared history, and take new steps on a path of healing towards a better future for all Canadians. Support now
It has been a very challenging year for Indigenous communities in B.C. and across Canada. Please be mindful of how sensitive this day will be for many.
Show consideration to those who are hurting by listening to those who are willing to share their stories and giving space to those who need it, and making an effort to take the next step in your own journey of lifelong learning on truth and reconciliation.
When we hosted gatherings for the 215 children found buried at the Kamloops (Tk’emlups) Residential School, we knew that more graves would soon be found.
And now they have; and the grief continues.
We mourn the loss of all the children who never came home. Collectively we are in deep pain and many are searching for support and seeking guidance for what to do next, how to heal, and how to respond.
We invite you to join our live gathering, Bringing Our Children Home series, every Tuesday (4:00 PM PST) and Saturday (10:00 AM PST) to discuss the future of reconciliation.
Candy Palmater, Mi’maw comedian and host of the Candy Show, will moderate a discussion on how we are all building the Reconciliation movement, exploring ideas that will help shape the future of Canada. All are invited and encouraged to attend this exceptional learning opportunity.
This and future gatherings will feature Reconciliation Canada Ambassador Chief Dr. Robert Joseph and CEO Karen Joseph alongside an expert panel of guest speakers.
Join the event on Zoom (link below) or Facebook Live.
If you need help, please reach out. You can locate mental health resources here:
Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS): 1-800-721-0066
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-6686868 or text 686868
Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-784-2432
Battered Women’s Support Services: 1-855-687-1868
IRS National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
Tsow-Tun Le Lum Crisis Line: 1-888-403-3123
Ku-Us Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
We are humbled by your messages of support, strength and resilience. Your support allows us to engage all Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize relationships and lay the framework for a new way forward.
On Thursday the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered on the grounds of the Kamloops (Tk’emlups) Residential School. This devastating discovery resulted in a wave of grief and trauma that has swept through our nations. We stand with the Secwépemc people, Indian Residential School Survivors, their families and their communities as they process this tragic loss.
We call on all of you to join Reconciliation Canada as we host an online gathering designed to create understanding of the impacts of this discovery and support the long-term healing of those affected. Reconciliation Canada’s Ambassador, Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, delivered a crucial interview outlining the impact of this discovery on CBC this afternoon. You can locate mental health resources here:
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society offers a crisis line for grief, crisis, and trauma counselling 1-800-721-0066.
Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous-specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s toll-free and can be reached at 1-800-588-8717 or online at kuu-uscrisisline.com.
We invite you on this shared journey of truth-telling, mourning and responsibility. Now is the time for us to reflect critically on our values and the true meaning and role of Reconciliation in Canada.
Isaac is the most recent addition to our marketing and communications team. Isaac brings Reconciliation Canada a wealth of experience from his degree in Conflict Studies and Business, previous work in marketing strategy, and restorative justice processes. He is thrilled to be a part of such a passionate, dedicated, and inspiring team. He is enthusiastically engaged with, and pushing his understanding of, the Indigenous experience.
To him, Reconciliation means a willingness to have difficult conversations, and to share appreciation for each other’s differences. Reconciliation calls us to listen empathetically and problem-solve collectively. He believes communication and respect are the pillars of progress.
During his tenure at Reconciliation Canada, Isaac hopes to bring Canadians together in dialogues that benefit everyone and champion Reconciliation. Outside of work Isaac is a passionate outdoorsman, with a particular love of hiking.
Giving Tuesday is a global movement about unleashing the power of the people to transform their world through giving, collaborating and generosity! It has grown into a movement inspiring millions of people to learn about the organizations that they can support and get involved in. We invite everyone to join us for the 8th annual #GivingTuesday and learn more about Reconciliation Canada and how you can get involved in the spirit of generosity and engagement.
What does Reconciliation Canada do?
Reconciliation Canada leads the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. We actively engage multi-faith and multi-cultural communities to explore the meaning of reconciliation. Together, we are charting a New Way Forward.
Why should I be involved?
Your involvement comes at a critical time. The enormity of racial inequity and health disparities are at the forefront of our daily lives. Now, more than ever we are responsible for creating a society that embraces our common humanity.
“Let us find a way to belong to this time and place together. Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.”
– Chief Dr. Robert Joseph –
Your donation will amplify the message of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, and support Reconciliation Canada’s new online strategy that will engage over one million new people in the reconciliation movement. Our goal is to reach $100,000 in the first five days.
For one week only, your donations will be DOUBLED. Our friends Rudy and Patricia North are generously matching every dollar contributed to Reconciliation Canada! Please check out our donation page https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/45119
Reconciliation Canada stands with the Mi’kmaq People who are lawfully trying to exercise their inherent right to fish as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada 21 years ago.
Reconciliation Canada is horrified by the racial tension rising on the shores of Nova Scotia over the lobster fishery. It is inexcusable that the Mi’kmaq People still cannot exercise their inherent right to fish as affirmed in the landmark supreme court ruling in the case of Donald Marshall Jr.. The ruling affirmed that Mi’kmaq had the right to earn a moderate living from the fishery.
We are a nation that cherishes the rule of law. But we also stand proudly on the premise that this law is entrenched solidly on the redeeming notions of justice and equality.
So, why are we here in this moment confronted with signs of hatred, violence and vigilantism?
Why is the verdict of our highest court in the land not applied, not honoured? Twenty-one years is far too long. We have all failed the Mi’kmaq.
Our relationship, Indigenous and non-indigenous, is on trial once again, just as it was on the Wetsuwaten stand-off.
Reconciliation Canada calls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to engage his high office’s influence to bring all the parties together to seek resolution mutually. To call for peace and reconciliation that creates a pathway forward that is inclusive and shares prosperity.
We call on the Minister of Fisheries and the Department of Fisheries to avail all of its resources and expertise to expedite a process that will lead to mutual agreement and benefit.
To the RCMP, keep the peace and protect and serve.
To all others, call for a peaceful and just solution to this precarious conflict.
Let us try to advance reconciliation. Namwayut- We are all one.
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.
“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.”
“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.”