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On Moving Towards Inclusion and Equity for Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia

I have been struggling to focus since the discovery of 215 children in a mass grave outside a residential school in the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc community in the southern interior of British Columbia. This is not an Indigenious issue, this is not a Settler issue- this is a humanity issue in Canada. Every one of us who is not of Indigenous ancestry has a part to play in our history to date. And now, we stand at the precipice of change.


Since the discovery last week, I have felt the shift. People in my life have been affected by this moment in our history and as a collective, I believe that our province is ready to embrace this work wholeheartedly. Sustainable change however is slow and steady. Today I offer you a list of ways in which I have included Indigenious history into my work for the purpose of learning, unlearning and cultivating inclusion:


  • I read books written by Indigenous authors to hear the voices, the stories and perspectives. In Embers, Richard Wagemese provides earthy, philosophical and honest meditations about daily life. Richard’s words are simple and the message immense. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer educates us about everyday plants and vegetation through an Indigenious lens. Strawberries will never be just strawberries again. I find myself whispering thanks to my garden, even the weeds as I clear them. And in The Flight of the Hummingbird, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas brings me to tears with the hopefulness, the resilience and the bravery of one small bird.


  • I make land acknowledgements. Sometimes I struggle with the pronunciation of Indigenious names, but I seek guidance from Indigenous websites like Bannock + Butter (tumblr.com) where I found a wonderful guide. Land acknowledgements are personal for me. As I plant my feet on the floor, I centre myself for the session ahead and I ask for the ground beneath me for support. Thanking the land by its Indigenous name feels right.


  • I start my workshops by sharing a reading from Indigenous authors. Not only do I find Indigenous storytelling beautiful, but I also find the words settle me and the attendees as we settle into our work.


  • I make financial contributions to Indigenous charities in my home province. This is not possible for everyone, but if you can, then do consider donating. This discovery of 215 children’s bodies is but one atrocity faced by the Indigenous communities in our country. Generational trauma needs to be supported through care, which these charities can provide. Consider donating to the Indian Residential School Survivor Fund ( Indian Residential School Survivors Society (irsss.ca))


  • I spend time every day talking to friends, family and colleagues about Indigenous issues whenever I can. During team meetings, at lunch, over dinner and at bedtime. We talk, we share, we reflect and then we take small steps to make change.




Friends, this list will grow and change as the year goes on. Today I share this with you as inspiration for your own lists. My list has 6 actions on it, maybe yours has 1 or 20. Every small step towards learning, unlearning and applying Indigenous learning in our lives will make a difference.



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