Due to the pandemic, Experiences Canada postponed its national youth leadership forum on Reconciliation planned for this summer. Meanwhile we wanted to offer a series of online events and resources to maintain youth interest and awareness in issues of Reconciliation and inspire them to apply, as well as support secondary school educators who are looking for innovative ways to support their online learning plans.
Experiences Canada has collaborated with Indigenous leaders, artists, lawyers, journalists, and land and water defenders to bring you Five webinars. The speakers in this series have generously offered their time and knowledge to engage youth in a dialogue on the contemporary issues and challenges that Indigenous people face.
What is Reconciliation?
Reconciliation means different things to different people, understanding the breadth of perspectives is an important first step in fostering more meaningful dialogue.
Over the span of five online events and follow up challenge activities, Experiences Canada aims to encourage conversation and inquiry among Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. We will start with an Introductory session that informs about the treaty rights and obligations that were agreed upon, the historic injustices that have impacted Indigenous populations since first contact, and some of the priority issues related to Reconciliation today. Following that introduction, each unit will explore some of those priority issues in greater detail and illustrate how all of them are interconnected. We will look at Language and Culture; Health and Well-being; Environment and Relationship with the Land, and Education and Economic Opportunity.
Introduction to Reconciliation
Reconciliation means different things to different people, understanding the breadth of perspectives is an important first step in fostering more meaningful dialogue. Our introduction to Reconciliation will inform about the treaty rights and obligations that were agreed upon, the historic injustices that have affected Indigenous populations over the past century and a half, and some of the priority themes related to Reconciliation today.
Speakers: Perry Bellegarde, Max Fine Day, and Crystal Martin-Lapenskie.
Language and Culture
Language is critical to sharing traditional knowledge, family and community history, and cultural worldview. Sadly, years of colonial systems and structures, most notably the imposition of Residential Schools, severed these connections, meaning that for many generations, knowledge and understanding about their communities and their cultural identities was lost
Speakers: Susan Aglukark, Zoey Roy, and Sage Paul.
Health & Wellbeing
The underlying issues for the health crises facing Indigenous communities are well documented: unsafe drinking water; lack of adequate housing and affordable food supplies; lack of adequate health care and emergency services; lower income levels and lack of access to education and economic opportunity.
Speakers: Pam Palmater, and Michael Redhead Champagne
Environment and Relationship to the Land
Industrial development over the past century and a half has negatively impacted the quality of the environment through pollutants, contaminants, urbanization. Large scale industrial projects such as the construction of pipelines, forestry, and water waste management have often led to conflicts with Indigenous communities concerned over the potential long-term degradation to the natural resources and their traditional ways of life.
Speakers: Geoff Green, Larissa Crawford, and Kluane Adamek.
Education & Economic Opportunity
Better education is the cornerstone for a stronger path forward for everyone: fueling understanding and awareness; and providing greater opportunities for economic well-being. Indigenous people are the fastest growing population in Canada. Investing in their future economic outcomes will strengthen prosperity and sustainability for all of Canada.
Speakers: Arlen Dumas, and Autumn Larose-Smith.
As well as contributing to the Experiences Canada Youth Leadership Forum on Reconciliation, Experience Canada’s program partners are also offering additional resources as part of the Reconciliation Conversations webinar series. These resources aim to inform and address many of the same issues highlighted by the Reconciliation Conversation speakers, and provide still more ways for youth to take part in meaningful conversations and engage with their communities.
For each topic, we have providing lesson plans and discussion guides to assist educators in integrating the various topics into their curriculum plans. Our aim is to encourage conversation and inquiry among Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, while ensuring a brave space for youth to communicate.
We encourage you to view the webinars with your students, and continue the conversation in your virtual classrooms using our lesson plans and guides.
Reconciliation Ambassadors are a group of dedicated young people who have been selected to act as hosts, mediators, videographers and social-media managers for Reconciliation Conversations. By offering their experience, knowledge, and support skills to this webinar series, the Reconciliation Ambassadors are ensuring that youth are engaged, informed, and protected as they participate in meaningful conversations on Reconciliation.
Thanks to Our Sponsor
Experiences Canada is proud to partner with RBC`s Future Launch initiative – a commitment to help young Canadians prepare for a drastically changing workforce.