From reconciliation to reconcili-ACTION
“Let us find a way to belong to this time and place together. Our future, and the well being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.“
— Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation
In the Fraser Valley, we humbly acknowledge that the trails we care for and recreate on are within S’ólh Téméxw (in english, ‘our land’ or ‘our world’), the shared asserted territory of the Stó:lō peoples. Since time immemorial, the Stó:lō (People of the River), have lived, hunted, fished, harvested and recreated here. The deep connection to the land is described by Stó:lō elders as “we have always been here”.
The FVMBA recognizes and respects this sacred relationship and we are grateful for the opportunity to learn from the people and the land. We are committed to uncovering paths and ways to belong in this time and place, together. We further acknowledge the honour of living, working and recreating within the unceded territories of the:
- Áthelets (Aitchelitz)
- Ch’iyáqtel (Tzeachten)
- Màthxwi (Matsqui)
- Pópkw’em (Popkum)
- Sema:th (Sumas)
- Shxwhá:y Village
- Sq’ewá:lxw (Skawahlook)
- Sq’ewqéyl (Skowkale)
- Sq’ewlets (Skowlitz)
- Sxwoyehà:là (Squiala)
- Sts’ailes (Chehalis)
- Yeqwyeqwí:ws (Yakweakwioose)
We all have a role to play
“Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem, it’s a Canadian problem. It involves all of us.”
— Murray Sinclair, former Senator and Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
With historical knowledge, we can learn from the past so we can move forward in a good way together. Through recognizing and acknowledging the history and the original peoples of this land, we can honour and engage with the Stó:lō peoples in a respectful and meaningful way, realizing rich cultural knowledge and historical and current contributions.
On a personal level, each individual should ask “what does reconciliation mean to me? And, what action(s) will I take to learn and understand the history to make things better for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples moving forward?” Asking these questions are the key to moving from discussion on reconciliation to reconcile-ACTION.
Orange Shirt Day
Orange Shirt Day, September 30, is a day to honour and uphold Survivors and intergenerational Survivors of the Indian residential school system, and to commemorate those who didn’t return home.
The Orange Shirt Day movement was started by Phyllis Webstad, a member of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation in BC and former residential school student, to honour Survivors and intergenerational Survivors, and to remember those children who never made it home. Orange Shirt Day is an opportunity for people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultural identities to engage with the legacies of the residential school system.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
On July 20, 2021, the Government of Canada declared September 30 the “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation”. This federal statutory holiday is intended as a day for public servants and all Canadians to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. The declaration of this National day responds to Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action No. 80, which calls for the creation of a statutory holiday “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
Listen to Phyllis share her orange shirt story below and visit the Orange Shirt Society website to learn more.
Ways to participate
- Attend local or online events
- Learn about the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and about the First Nations whose territories you live, work and recreate on.
- Support Indigenous owned businesses, artists and events.
- Read the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report.
- Read the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
- Call on governments, institutions, social service providers and industries to implement Calls to Action.
- Take a course
- Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education – UBC (free six week course)
- Indigenous Canada Course – University of Alberta (free online course)
- Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples– Indigenous Corporate Training
- Donate to organizations that support survivors of residential schools, their families and communities.
This is far from an exhaustive list but perhaps provides a path to start. If you have ideas or resources you would like to share, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to connect and listen to your ideas, stories or suggestions.
- The Witness Blanket
- National Center for Truth and Reconciliation
- Reconciliation Canada
- Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program
- Working in a Good Way – Patrick Lucas & Outdoor Recreation Council BC
- Stó:lō Nation and Stó:lō Services Agency
- Stó:lō Xwexwilmexw Treaty Association
- S’ólh Téméxw Stewardship Alliance (STSA)
- Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe
- The Indigenous Foundation