Reconciliation Conversations

Due to the pandemic, Experiences Canada postponed its national youth leadership forum on Reconciliation planned for this summer. Opportunities to apply to attend the event next June 2021 in Winnipeg remain open. 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

What is Reconciliation?

That is the challenge question we are asking youth in Canada between the ages of 14-18. 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.

Language & 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

More information

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

 

More info

Environment

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.

More information

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.

More info

Featured Speakers

Experiences Canada has collaborated with Indigenous leaders, artists, lawyers, journalists, and land and water defenders to bring you Five live online events. The speakers in this series are generously offering their time and knowledge to engage youth in a dialogue on the contemporary issues and challenges that Indigenous people face.

Kluane Adamek

Kluane Adamek

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Regional Chief

Serving since January 2018, a proud citizen of Kluane First Nation, Regional Chief Adamek belongs to the Dakl’aweidi (Killerwhale) Clan.

Susan Aglukark

Susan Aglukark

singer/songwriter

Canadian Inuk Singer/Songwriter Susan Aglukark is one of Canada’s most unique artists and a leading voice in Canadian music.

Perry Bellegarde

Perry Bellegarde

INDIGENOUS LEADER

Perry Bellegarde was first elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in 2014.

Michael Redhead Champagne

Michael Redhead Champagne

community organizer & public speaker

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Michael is an award-winning community organizer, public speaker, and a proud member of Shamattawa Cree Nation.

Larissa Crawford

Larissa Crawford

Founder, Future Ancestors Services Inc.

A Métis-Jamaican mother based in Calgary, she is an award-winning anti-racist & Indigenous researcher, speaker, artist, and entrepreneur

Max Fine Day

Max Fine Day

Executive Director of Canadian Roots Exchange

A nêhiyaw napew from the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory. He is Executive Director of Canadian Roots Exchange.

Arlen Dumas

Arlen Dumas

INDIGENOUS LEADER

Arlen Dumas was elected Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs in July 2017

Crystal Martin-Lapenskie

Crystal Martin-Lapenskie

President, National Inuit Youth Council

Originally from Hall Beach, Nunavut. She has developed a range of programs and services relating to the Inuit culture, education and policy.

Geoff Green

Geoff Green

Founder - STUDENTS ON ICE

Students on Ice is a program that supports initiatives related to youth, education and the environment in the Polar regions.

Autumn Larose-Smith

Autumn Larose-Smith

President- University of Saskatchewan Students' Union

A Métis queer student, she was recently awarded the Young Women Leaders Award, recognizing Métis leaders who are inspirational role models.

Pamela Palmater

Pamela Palmater

LAWYER / ACTIVIST

A Mi’kmaw citizen of the Eel River Bar First Nation. She is a lawyer and currently the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

Zoey Roy

Zoey Roy

Poet and Arts Educator

Zoey “Pricelys” Roy is a leader, educator, activist, advocate, and multidisciplinary performance artist.

Sage Paul

Sage Paul

Artist & Designer

A member of English River First Nation. Sage is an award-winning artist & designer and a recognized leader in Indigenous fashion

LIVE EVENT SUMMARY & RESOURCES

Monday May 25, 1:00pm EST - Introduction to Reconciliation

This Introductory session 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, Crystal Martin-Lapenskie, Max Fine Day

 

More information / Resources

Tuesday June 2 - 1:00pm EST - Language and Culture

According to the 2016 census there are over 70 Indigenous languages in use across Canada. Currently Cree, Inuktituk, and Ojibway have the highest number of speakers. Despite this diversity, overall only 1:6 Indigenous persons (or 17%) could hold a conversation in an Indigenous language. 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.

This unit will explore the connection between language, culture and identity, and will highlight some of the people and organizations working to reintroduce language and culture to their own communities, and to use them to educate Canadians more broadly.

 

Speakers Include: Susan Aglukark​, Zoey Roy, Sage Paul

More Information / Resources

Monday June 8, 1:00pm EST - Health and Wellbeing

Although Canada boasts one of the highest qualities of life in the world, this is not the reality for Indigenous peoples, particularly those living on reserve. Nearly 50% of Indigenous children in Canada live in poverty, and Indigenous peoples are twice as likely to die from avoidable causes than the average Canadian. 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. Mental health is a key concern, including high levels of anxiety and depression, addiction, abuse, and suicide.

Although the challenges can seem overwhelming, this unit will underscore the urgent need for action, and introduce some amazing people and organizations that are shaping a path forward.

 

Speakers: Pam Palmater, and Michael Redhead Champagne

 

More information / Resources

 

 

 

Monday June 15 - 1pm EST - Environment and Relationship to the Land

First Nations peoples’ worldview includes a special spiritual connection to the earth and all living things based on their subsistence needs and values extending back thousands of years. The Inuit have also been intrinsically linked to the land historically, depending on it for their very survival. Metis societies were communal and therefore the concept of land ownership was not understood. Until recently, that meant they were disenfranchised from any land use rights, disrupting their traditional communities and unique way of life. These needs and values have been acknowledged in Treaties and land claim agreements that Indigenous peoples with land use rights and,in the case of First Nations and Inuit, authority over natural resources on their lands. 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.

 

This unit will explore this important relationship, and Indigenous concepts of sustainability, and how industry and Indigenous communities can better work together on mutually beneficial economic projects.

 

Speakers Include: Kluane Adamek, Larissa Crawford and Geoff Green

More information / Resources

 

Monday June 22 - 1:00pm EST - Education and Economic Opportunity

The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued 92 calls to action in its 2015 report. Twenty of them related to education: improving access to quality education within Indigenous communities, as well as improving knowledge and understanding of Indigenous history and culture throughout Canada through school curricula and broader public educational channels. Better education is the cornerstone for a stronger path forward for everyone: fueling understanding and awareness; and providing greater opportunities for economic wellbeing. Indigenous people are the fast growing population in Canada. Investing in their future economic outcomes will strengthen prosperity and sustainability for all of Canada.

 

This unit will discuss the barriers many young Indigenous people have and continue to face to further their education along with some of the Indigenous-led education and training initiatives that are addressing these challenges.

 

Speakers Include: Arlen Dumas, Autumn Larose-Smith

 

More Information / Resources

 

Reconciliation Ambassadors

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.

Check out up-to-date posts and exclusive content from our Reconciliation Ambassadors on our Reconciliation Conversations Facebook group.

Teaching Resources

Each week, for each topic, we will be 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 attend the live events with your students, and continue the conversation in your virtual classrooms using our lesson plans and guides. Teaching Resources will be published each week on our website.  Join our Facebook Group to be notified of updates, or sign up to receive email notifications here

Want to know More?

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. 

You can find out more about the many youth initiatives RBC supports here.

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