Bringing together diverse communities to foster understanding, unity, and healing is what People Bridge Advocacy is all about. September brings about a renewed focus on Canada’s Indigenous peoples, as established by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s “Calls to Action”. With that in mind, PBA organized our annual Sharing Circle event on September 23rd, 2023 at Station 20 West.
At the event, Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, including new Canadians and immigrants, participated together in an effort to engender learning, connection, and open dialogue in a safe space to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Ceremony and Activity
The “Truth and Reconciliation – Walking Together” sharing circle was hosted with the goal of bringing together people from diverse backgrounds including those from First Nations, Métis people, and new Canadian communities. Beginning with the invocation of the four directions and a smudging ceremony, we aimed to honour Indigenous tradition. Following this, the program included presentations and speeches from Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, including testimonials from survivors of the Residential School system, group and panel discussions, and historical and cultural insights from Elders.
One attendee in particular was quoted as saying thanks, adding that “Bridging between newcomers, settlers, and Indigenous peoples is difficult, complex work, but I can’t think of anyone better suited than Senos [and the PBA] to try…”.
Themes and Goals
Participants walked away from “Walking Together” with a deeper understanding of the historical and ongoing issues faced by First Nations and Métis peoples, as well as marginalized communities. This increased awareness is a crucial step towards reconciliation. Through discussions on Land Reconciliation, reconciliation with marginalized communities, and ecology from an Indigenous perspective, the event offered valuable learning experiences for those in attendance.
The central theme of Land Reconciliation (also known as the “Landback” movement) underscored the importance of Indigenous land rights and the need for meaningful dialogue and action in this area. “Everyone that lives in Canada should attend at least one of these events. I will never get tired of attending… It’s a good education to learn about the history of the First Nations”, said one participant.
By gaining insights into Indigenous perspectives on land, community, and environmental stewardship, we can all be that much further along in our journey towards meaningful truth and restorative reconciliation.
Making an Impact
While learning and education play an important part in events like these, they also offer a vital opportunity towards lasting healing and empowerment. Through open dialogue and the sharing of experiences and challenges, those in attendance had the opportunity to work towards healing from past traumas and to find strength in unity. The purpose of this sharing circle was to enhance individual and community capacity to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action through collaborative efforts.
Together, through the People Bridge, we can strive for a better future for everyone in Canada. We hope you’ll attend our next event.