Babs Kelly

For me in my life, reconciliation really has been a journey. The first time I engaged with reconciliation was back in the mid 80s. My father had been incarcerated in a variety of institutions and he had ended up in an outreach program for Indigenous men who were in prison, and it involved a circle. It was a kind of restorative justice program and they spoke of reconciliation with his family and with people he had harmed. On my mother’s side, her father had been to a residential school and that had always been part of her family’s story. They were always working through the legacy of shame and anger and other consequences of a family that ended up disconnected from their place and their people. So I’ve felt connected to reconciliation for a long time.

Something that I am drawn to now in regards to reconciliation is furthering conversations in disruptive, creative and hopeful ways. I often notice that people find it startling the moment when we say that reconciliation is not just a program that we do— it is not as simple as a checkbox system, or bringing an elder in. It actually is about stopping and thinking about who’s land are we guests on. It is considering how we can we be good allies and how can we look at the world with an anti-oppression framework. Then, reconciliation is looking within and thinking “now this requires a change in me.”

The Why We Walk campaign asks individuals to share their story and personal connection to the reconciliation movement. Stories will be shared in the weeks leading up to the Walk for Reconciliation on September 24th, 2017.

We believe that every person has a story to tell and that by sharing these stories, people may feel a more personal connection to the reconciliation movement.

Learn more about the Walk for Reconciliation here.

Read more Why We Walk stories here.