A wall of paper hearts featuring messages of hope and support for Indian Residential School Survivors line the hallways outside Creating a New Way Forward: Release of the TRC Findings and Recommendations in Vancouver on June 2, 2015. 'I am sorry. I love you. Thank you'.
Creating a New Way Forward: Release of the TRC Findings and Recommendations
June 2, 2015 | Vancouver, BC
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) release of the long anticipated report was celebrated with an exciting event at the Simon Fraser University Goldcorp Centre for the Arts in Downtown Vancouver. The event – a panel discussion representing a diversity of Canadian voices – was to explore and reflect on the TRC’s legacy, and future of reconciliation in Canada.
Although representing many communities, the panelists all voiced a message of hope with respect to moving forward after the close of the TRC; there was a collective vision that the lessons from the TRC can be applied across Canadian society to build stronger, more tolerant and engaged communities.
After an inspiring introduction and welcome to Coast Salish Territory by Chief Ian Campbell, each of the esteemed panelists came forward and presented their views and vision for reconciliation in Canada.
This event was joined by notable community leaders Linda Morris, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Member and Community Engagement, Vancity; Honorary Witness Robbie Waisman; Honorary Witness Mayor Gregor Robertson; Jodie Wilson-Reybould, former BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief; Honorary Witness David Wong; Reverend Mary Fontaine, Hummingbird Ministries, and Doug White, Director, Centre for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation, Vancouver Island University.
Jodie Wilson-Reybould was hopeful that the TRC’s work would act as a lens to help Canadians to empathize, and that it could act as a catalyst for change.
Honorary Witnesses Robbie Waisman and David Wong emphasized the importance of sharing experiences of resilience and reconciliation, and how these stories can resonate across communities.
Doug White highlighted the point that social change is not just about denouncing what we don’t want, but building and supporting the things that we do.
The event emphasized that all Canadians play a key role in reconciliation, and that reconciliation is a process which will not end with the report’s release. Many of the panelists spoke about the accomplishments of the TRC, but that there is a firm agreement that there is still a great deal left to be done, and that all Canadians can play a role.
Reconciliation Canada would like to extend our appreciation to all those who supported this event. We thank all of the attendees, sponsors, panelists, volunteers and other individuals who made this events possible. We are proud to be involved in such engaging events that foster understanding, dialogue and community building.
Doug White addresses the crowd
Panelists Doug White, Robbie Waisman and David Wong
Panelists Mayor Gregor Robertson and Rev. Mary Fontaine
Panelists Robbie Waisman, David Wong, Mayor Gregor Robertson, Rev. Mary Fontaine and Reconciliation Canada's Mary Gerges
We offer our sincere gratitude to the sponsors who made this panel discussion possible.
Reconciliation Matters: Embrace the past, Witness progress; Celebrate a new way forward
May 31, 2015 | Vancouver, BC
It is 9am on Sunday, May 31, 2015, and a crowd has gathered at the Sheraton Wall Centre Courtyard in downtown Vancouver. More than 3000km away, the historic Walk for Reconciliation has just begun its journey from École secondaire de l’Île in Gatineau towards downtown Ottawa. The crowd in Vancouver watches in anticipation as a sacred fire is lit, unifying Canadians coast-to-coast in support of Indian Residential Schools survivors in their ongoing journeys towards healing and reconciliation.
This was the beginning of the day-long event, Reconciliation Matters: a series of special observations organized to coincide with the closing events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Church clergy worked in collaboration with Reconciliation Canada to host these events and to bring together Canadians from many traditions and backgrounds.
As the sacred fire burned in the Sheraton Wall Centre Courtyard, the events progressed over the street for an ecumenical service at St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church. The service focussed on confession and acknowledgment of the harms inflicted through the Indian Residential School system.
Following the service, the congregations were greeted by a community street fair in the Sheraton Wall Centre Courtyard surrounding the sacred fire. The street fair featured live music from Sister Says, a soulful genre-bending pop duo with Haida and Tsimshian roots, Aboriginal artisans, and educational booths and displays from local community and cultural organizations.
Elder Ruth Adams from Tsawwassen First Nation offered a Coast Salish Welcome to the territory, and was followed by guest speakers Doug White, Director, Centre for Pre-Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation at Vancouver Island University and former Chief of Snuneymuxw First Nation, and City of Vancouver Deputy Mayor Raymond Louie. Both White and Louie reiterated the need for all Canadians to contribute meaningful action towards reconciliation.
The day culminated with the Blanket Exercise; an interactive activity that encourages participants to rethink the timeline of Canadian history through the lenses of colonialism, treaty-making and resistance. The exercise highlights significant events and demonstrates the impact of colonialism on individuals, families, and cultures.
Participants rounded off the day with an Ecumenical Prayer Service held at First Baptist Church, once again providing an opportunity for Canadians from all walks of life to come together and to learn about their role in reconciliation.
Reconciliation Canada is proud to collaborate with Vancouver’s Ecumenical community to mark the significance of the closing of the TRC. We are truly grateful for the generosity of all of the partners and organizations that made this possible.
Rev. Dan Chambers, St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church, welcomes attendees to Reconciliation Matters
Collaborating Partners on Reconciliation Matters: Anglican and United Church Archives, Central Presbyterian Church, Christ Church, Anglican Cathedral, City of Vancouver, First Baptist Church, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, St. Andrews-Wesley, United Church, and Reconciliation Canada.
We are pleased to welcome Alana Wittman to the Reconciliation Canada team! Alana is joining us as Partnerships Coordinator. Alana comes to the Reconciliation Canada with a background in international relations and social activism. Her commitment to reconciliation began when she facilitated monthly community discussions on Aboriginal rights and reconciliation in Kelowna in 2012/13. Alana's passion for bringing socioeconomic and political equality to every Canadian attracted her to join the Reconciliation Canada team.
We are excited to welcome Alana to the Reconciliation Canada team and look forward to working with her towards a new way forward.
Reconciliation Canada Launches New Website
We are delighted to announce the launch of our new website! www.reconciliationcanada.ca features a new design to help you access tools and resources so that you can educate and take action on reconciliation in your community.
Chief Dr. Robert Joseph Receives Deputy Ministers’ Recognition Award
We are proud to announce that Chief Dr. Robert Joseph has been presented a 2014-2015 Deputy Ministers; Recognition Award! The award was presented to Chief Joseph for his work as a member of the St. Michael’s Residential School Reconciliation team, under the category Collaboration and Partnerships.
The Deputy Ministers’ Recognition Awards were created in 1988-1989 to recognize individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to achieving Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s goals and objectives.
We congratulate Chief Joseph for this wonderful achievement!
Help us move forward with our 2015 initiatives
Reconciliation Canada has many national initiatives and dialogue workshops planned for 2015. Help us move our initiatives forward by making a donation.
Reconciliation Canada - A New Way Forward Society is an Aboriginal-led, culturally diverse, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization.
Some of our 2015 initiatives include:
Reconciliation Dialogue Sessions & Action Plans
Reconciliation-Based Leadership Training & Core Competencies Assessments