On September 30, Canada’s inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Foresight closed our office so that the staff could take the day off to participate in a variety of different learning opportunities and activities. We read Indigenous literature, supported Indigenous-owned and -led cultural centres, art galleries, museums, attended community events and memorials, and took courses on reconciliation.
The following week, we met to discuss lessons learned in learning circle sessions. It was important to us to not let this day pass without reflection, so we convened with purpose as a team to share key learnings and have open conversations about how we can take the lessons from this experience further in our work.
One thing was clear at the end of the sessions: we did not want to have the same discussion next year. Rather, we wanted to commit to real, actionable measures that will ensure our learning continues over the next 12 months.
Here are three key takeaways from our team’s learnings:
1) Reconciliation is a process
Many of us approach problems like puzzles to be solved. As professionals, we often see problems and immediately think of solutions. Sometimes it’s easy to think of reconciliation the same way.
Through our reflections it became clear that reconciliation is not a problem to be solved, but a process to work through.
There are many actions that can be taken to forward our national goal of reconciliation. For us that means supporting projects like the Two Eyed Seeing Network, committing to diversity, equity, and inclusion through our hiring practices, removing barriers to participation in accelerator programming through Accelerate from Anywhere, and ensuring that the voices we include in our public events and social media are as inclusive and diverse as Canada is.
But the beginning of solving a problem is first admitting you have one.
2) Acknowledgement is key
For many of us, our learning activities included familiarizing ourselves with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action. Many of those recommendations revolve around the central tenet of acknowledgement.
For many years the dark side of the Indigenous people of Canada’s history was swept under the rug, and the traumas of events like the 60s Scoop, and the Residential School System were downplayed. Recent research now indicates that serious intergenerational trauma can take as many as seven generations to be resolved.
The first step in Truth and Reconciliation is truth. Accepting and acknowledging settlers’ roles in our shared history, and the effects it still has on many Indigenous communities and First Nations is a critical step in the process of reconciliation.
3) There is a lot being done and a lot left to do
During our team conversations, many of the parents among us reflected on the changes in the education system. Only recently has curriculum around the Residential School System and reconciliation been mandated by provincial governments.
Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its report containing 94 calls to action every province has developed a curriculum that includes the subjects of reconciliation, the Residential School System, and the perspectives of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people.
We are inspired by the leadership of our young people inside and outside of the classroom, and encouraged by the youth’s commitment to reconciliation. Education is a key piece of achieving reconciliation, and a good start, but there’s so much more to learn. No child should receive an education in Canada without learning about the diverse perspectives that make this country great.
Foresight supports a diverse, equitable, and inclusive green future. In the coming months, we are committed to deep conversations with our ecosystem partners around how we can turn this day of learning into actions that will result in the future we want to see.