We stand in solidarity with the Mi’kmaq community of Nova Scotia

Oct 17, 2020

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.


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.


A message from Chief Joseph regarding the current dialogue on racial injustice

Jun 9, 2020

Our Ambassador Chief Robert Joseph shared the following statement regarding the current dialogue on racial injustice:

To everyone who has walked with us, worked with us, supported us, partnered with us, now is a time to take action.

People are standing up against the injustice of the killing of George Floyd in the U.S. There are countless stories in Canada as well.

Systemic racism is not new. What’s new, is it is being filmed on smartphones and shared on social media. It’s being brought to light like never before.

See something, say something.

Contact your local, provincial, federal leaders and tell them, it’s not ok to treat people differently because of race. Have hard conversations with your family, friends, neighbours, co-workers and bosses. Racism has to end. It’s time to get on the right side of history. It’s time to embrace our common humanity like never before.

We cannot afford to stand silently any longer.

Martin Luther King Jr. said: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Now is the time to embrace and live out: Namwayut – We Are All One


Building Resilience with Chief Joseph

Apr 24, 2020

Reconciliation Canada presents a video series on staying resilient during the troubling times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through traditional teachings, our Ambassador Chief Robert Joseph explores how to respond to challenges, recover from difficulties and setbacks, and build emotional and spiritual resilience. 


Episode 1: Reconciling our mind, body, soul and spirit

Episode 2: How to cope with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic

Episode 3: Chief Joesph’s Story of Resilience

Episode 4: Proceeding carefully to the new normal



A Message from Chief Joseph in light of COVID-19

Mar 24, 2020

“If ever there was a time and a need to honour our common humanity, ‘Namawyut [we are all one], this is it.  This is the moment.” – Chief Joseph sends a message to all, in light of COVID-19.    

For an update on Reconciliation Canada’s activities during this time, please click here.


Reconciliation Canada COVID-19 Update

Mar 20, 2020

Dear Friends and Supporters of Reconciliation Canada,

We wanted to take a moment to update you on Reconciliation Canada during these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the safety of our staff and community members, we have made the decision to close the office and postpone all upcoming workshops and events until further updates. Our staff are working from home, and we are doing all we can to ensure these new working arrangements have minimal impact on our operations. For instance, we are now working towards providing some of our programming and initiatives through remote platforms and we look forward to sharing them with you soon.   

We are closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and its potential impact on the RC community. As the situation evolves, we will continue to provide further updates on our response. Meanwhile, feel free to reach out to our staff by email with any questions or concerns that you may have.

We wish you, your family and friends, safety and good health in these difficult times. We have every confidence that we can overcome this time of uncertainty by coming together as one and acting with the kindness, concern and empathy needed for the common good of all.


Sincerely,

The Reconciliation Canada Team


Chief Dr. Robert Joseph’s Reflection to the Reading of UNDRIP in the Provincial Legislature

Nov 22, 2019

I trembled at the moment as BC MLA’s voted unanimously to give first reading to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on Oct 24, 2019, in the provincial legislature.

It was impressive and inspiring because all I had ever seen in the course of my lifetime (80yrs) was the denial or trampling of Indigenous rights. As a tear or two trickled down my cheek, I experienced the wonder of the human spirit. My fundamental faith and belief in the sometimes elusive goodness of others were once again affirmed.

“This bill, when passed, will deepen the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and elevate all of us to new heights,” I thought.

The pride I felt for our Indigenous leaders, grand chiefs Ed John, Stewart Philips, Terry Teegee and Cheryl Cashmere was immeasurable as I listened to them speak to the bill.

My respect for Premier John Horgan, the Honorable Scott Fraser and BC Liberal Party leader Andrew Wilkinson and all MLA’s was deepened.

Much work will be required following the passage of the bill. Let us all stay the course.



Learn more about UNDRIP here.  


Statement on B.C. government’s legislation to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Oct 24, 2019

The moral and legal persuasion of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is ultimately strengthened by the legislative framework passed by the B.C. government today.

This is one of the most significant human rights milestones achieved for Indigenous peoples by any government in the world. B.C. has set a legislative precedent that can guide the way forward for all provinces across this country as well as at the federal level for meaningful recognition and engagement.

This legislation will allow us to recognize the constitutional and human rights of Indigenous people. At the same time, it will be a beacon for all of us to advance reconciliation as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The bill will create a foundational pillar for deepened inclusion and equality for all without diminishing the same for all others.

The UN Declaration does not create new rights. It upholds the same human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. This is something we should all aspire to and be proud of.

Over time the UN declaration will be harmonized with provincial law that will serve the needs of British Columbians. The B.C. government should be applauded for its extraordinary courage for taking this giant step for our society.



For more information, see our news release here.  



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