Reflecting on Reconciliation This National Aboriginal Day, June 21
What does this mean? In last year’s Aboriginal Day message I wrote about the importance of respect when speaking with our Aboriginal peoples. This year has been all about reconciliation.
I had the privilege of teaching and working with Dr. Chief Robert Joseph, known affectionately as Chief Bobby Joe, who created “Reconciliation Canada”.
As stated on their website, his vision is to “…promote reconciliation by engaging Canadians in dialogue that revitalizes the relationships between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians in order to build resilience.”
He and the others at Reconciliation Canada held the Walk for Reconciliation: A New Way Forward last year in September. The event attracted over 50,000 participants, despite pouring rain. CBC Vancouver decided this walk was the number 2 newsmaker of 2013.
The philosophy and goals behind this event were straightforward. Chief Bobby Joe said:
“The Walk for Reconciliation is designed to transform and renew the very essence of relationships among Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians. It sounds so simple, but just the act of gathering and walking and sharing our stories can join us all in a shared commitment to creating a new way forward in our relationships with each other. Our future depends on being able to simply get along, respecting each other for the unique gifts we bring.”
With compassionate and clear-sighted leaders like Chief Bobby Joe at the forefront of the Aboriginal movement, I have faith we’ll realize his vision.
I recently visited Haida Gwaii to present my nephew with a Haida button blanket for his high school graduation. I’m so proud of him as he moves on to university where he received a basketball scholarship to SFU. (My nephew is on the far right wearing my blanket…a raven with a basketball!)
National Aboriginal Day Celebrations
First Nations people embrace their heritage and commemorate June 21 as National Aboriginal Day. Everyone from all walks of life is welcome to join one of the many celebrations around the province and nation.
• Kelowna: http://www.okmapguides.com/events-details/kelowna/national_aboriginal_day/619
• Kamloops: http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20100619/KAMLOOPS0101/306199992/-1/KAMLOOPS/twin-celebrations-to-mark-aboriginal-day
• Vancouver – Vancouver Art Gallery: http://nnkn.ca/content/national-aboriginal-day-celebrations-vancouver-bc
• Vancouver – Trout Lake: http://www.bcnationalaboriginalday.com/
• Across Canada: http://www.ammsa.com/publications/windspeaker/canada-prepares-national-aboriginal-day-june-21
Watch PSAC’s Justice for Aboriginal Peoples Video
If you’ve ever wondered why so many Aboriginal issues remain unresolved and are all still so acute today, watch this video done for the Public Sector Alliance of Canada’s Justice for Aboriginal Peoples campaign. As Chief Bobby Joe says, reconciliation is about sharing and learning. Please take the time to learn.
MoveUP Executive Board Member
MoveUP Human Rights Committee Chair
Haida Nation Member