Ross White

When I was a 20-year-old Director of a church camp, I met some extraordinary people. I was representing my camp at an Alberta Camping Association Conference in Banff. Attending also were members of the Rocky Mountain Bush Camp—a program which took indigenous children into their hereditary land-based traditions for one week at a time. How surprised I was then that they invited me to come spend time at the Bush Camp! I’ll never forget sleeping in the tipi, sharing fresh deer meat and talking about how they carefully prepared for the children’s arrival. I felt so honored that they had reached out to a person like me—a non-indigenous, middle class kid—with no other agenda than to share their heritage and application of it.

This was well before the Reconciliation movement had begun. Their willingness to initiate the exchange of ideas was then, and has continued to be, a huge gift to me. Looking back, I realize the ongoing curiosity and openness I have now was activated by these humble, courageous folk. I have come to believe that while we live separately, we don’t have to. I see a day when we will live as respectful members of a rich and diverse common community, and we won’t use the word ‘reserve’ because we will use the word neighbour instead.

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.