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KEEP CONVERSATION GOING FOR RECONCILIATION

Source: letter to the editor by Lesley Washington, director of programs at YWCA Saskatoon, published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix June 11, 2015

I had the privilege of participating in the Walk for Reconciliation in Ottawa at the end of May, alongside other members of YWCA Canada’s National Advocacy Advisory Committee.

Part of our reason to convene in Ottawa was to participate in the walk as an expression of our organization’s commitment to the reconciliation process. The other, perhaps more important reason, was to begin discussions on how we can move from an expressed commitment to informed and meaningful action.

YWCA Canada issued a statement last week to welcome the release of Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s summary of its report and recommendations, highlighting in particular our continued call for an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. This week, at our annual members meeting in Edmonton, YWCA Canada will be adopting strategic directions for the next five years, which will include renewing our commitment to reconciliation.

As the TRC summary notes, reconciliation calls for community action from us all “to ensure that Canada is a country where our children and grandchildren can thrive.” I am proud to be part of an organization that is setting an example of such a commitment.

I say this also because of the feeling I left with after Ottawa–of hope that something has fundamentally shifted in our nation, and that Canadians will not allow Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future to sit on the shelf and collect dust. People of all walks of life seem to understand in a new way that we need to keep the conversation going, and that we are all in this together.

I suggest reading: Unsettling the Settler Within by Paulette Regan; Stolen From Our Embrace by Suzanne Fournier, Ernie Crey and David Neel; Where the Pavement Ends by Marie Wadden; The Strength of Women: Ahkamlyimowak by Priscilla Settee; Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman by Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson; and The Comeback by John Ralston Saul.

To assist Canadians in keeping the conversation going, Reconciliation Canada has created a Kitchen Table Dialogue Guide and Youth Leader Dialogue Guide: http://reconciliationcanada.ca/reconciliation-begins-withme//participate/

Read the full article by Lesley Washington here: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Keep+conversation+going+reconciliation/11126884/story.html