It has been over two years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its calls to action, but the journey to reconciliation requires perseverance and involves everyone, says Robert Joseph, hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation and co-founder of Reconciliation Canada.
“Only when we make reconciliation a core value in our daily lives are we going to create a narrative that will help us get there.”
Dr. Joseph, who was recently appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada, believes that reconciliation starts with the individual – and with person-to-person interactions – and can then affect families, workplaces, communities and eventually the nation. “We are not going to transform the country unless all of us are engaged,” he says.
Reconciliation Canada is working to bring people together though partnerships, community outreach programs and educational workshops. It also hosts events, such as the Walk for Reconciliation, which attracted 50,000 people in Vancouver in September 2017.
Since each person has an important role to play in reconciliation, Dr. Joseph suggests carrying a “back pocket reconciliation action plan” that can map out – and remind us of – our personal contribution to advancing reconciliation. The plan can also be shared on social media with the hashtag #namwayut.
“I see many people and groups get behind the idea of reconciliation, and every time we heal community, we recognize a common humanity,” says Dr. Joseph. “In that way, we are creating a gentler and more caring society.”
Canada aspires to being “caring, compassionate, just, inclusive and equal,” says Dr. Joseph.
“When we tap into the energy and commitment that’s been expressed in connection to reconciliation, we can affect some real transformative change that can allow our country to live up to its aspirations.”
More information at reconciliationcanada.ca.