Almost a year ago, staff and board at Vantage Point began to critically consider our organization’s Indigenous cultural competency. Our journey began with a (not so simple) question: why, when, and how would we acknowledge that our offices and training space are located on traditional Aboriginal territory?
As we endeavoured to make space for this important conversation, we reached out to knowledge-keepers and more informed perspectives to provide guidance and support in the journey. Many talented people in our community responded from both within our own team and outside Vantage Point.
Team members from Reconciliation Canada, who generously shared their cultural wisdom, guided us in our realization that the exploration – and learning – would flow more naturally and be more transformative if we began initially by focussing on the individual level: what does reconciliation mean to each of us, personally?
With this question in mind, we began to take our first concrete steps together in reconciliation by asking our staff and board to mark this year’s National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2016, by committing to one personal act of reconciliation. That act of reconciliation may take many forms: participating in one of the many events surrounding the day, learning more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, or simply talking with a friend about our shared history. For me, it will involve taking my children for a driftwood log explore on Cates Bay Beach on Bowen Island (Xwlíl’xhwm), at the edge of the Salish Sea, to talk about its place (both physically and spiritually) in the Squamish Nation Traditional Territory.
Over the coming months, we look forward to our continued individual and organizational journeys to learn more about Indigenous culture and history. We will further explore what it means for us, individually and collectively, today and as we move forward towards a better future together. We intend to share our learning along the way.
However small our actions and in whatever form they take, we have the opportunity to positively and meaningfully contribute to reconciliation here in Canada. What act of reconciliation might you take on National Aboriginal Day?
After working in London and completing her MBA at INSEAD in France and Singapore, Maria Turnbull joined Vantage Point’s team in 2006. Rooted in the not-for-profit sector through numerous leadership roles with the British and Canadian Red Cross Societies, OXFAM and Amnesty International, Maria loves...