Our Reconciliation Journey Continues

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Culture: People First


In recognition of National Aboriginal History Month we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our reconciliation journey to date. Vantage Point recently established a Reconciliation Task Force with the goal to guide and support our efforts in reconciliation.

I shared with the group that I had created a folder a few months back named Indigenous Cultural Competency. It has served its purpose as a place to collect resources and reflections related to our Reconciliation efforts, which began about two years ago. I also shared an aspiration that one day I wouldn’t need to carry that folder about with me. That I will eventually have developed my Indigenous cultural competency such that I will carry the learning deep in my bones and demonstrate more understanding and strength as an ally to the Indigenous community in my day-to-day behaviour at both work and home.

I – and Vantage Point – have learned over the last 12 months that it may take a lot more time to achieve that aspiration. Moving beyond reconciliation as a “project” towards embedding it in our work takes many steps. I’m proud to share with our community that we continue to take forward, positive steps in this work.

  • We have made our first territorial acknowledgments here in our training space and in spaces outside of our offices that are located on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples.
  • We reflected on the diversity of our knowledge philanthropy team and our training materials to ensure our diverse community is more appropriately reflected.
  • Several team members participated in an Understanding the Village Workshop, led by Residential School survivors and elders, increasing our internal knowledge of the history of relations with Indigenous peoples in Canada – and experiencing the impact of vulnerability, courage, and authenticity in moving reconciliation efforts forward.

Thanks to continued support from our community of Indigenous partners, we are gradually learning about what meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities, clients, and individuals might look like. The opportunity for meaningful engagement has prompted us to grapple with important questions that will inform our further steps forward: 

  • What would it make possible if reconciliation were an articulated organizational value?
  • What forms of cultural training for staff, board, and knowledge philanthropists can we aspire to?
  • In what ways could Indigenous culture inform the work we do in building not-for-profit organizational leadership and governance?
  • What would need to be in place in our workplace for it to feel truly inclusive – and safe – for Indigenous and non-Indigenous team members (staff, volunteers, and board members)?
  • How is our expertise in leadership and governance relevant, and accessible, to emerging Indigenous leaders?

What questions are you, and your team, asking yourselves in support of reconciliation as we mark National Aboriginal History Month?

We would also like to make a note of thanks and appreciation to the Reconciliation Task Force members: Kevin Barlow, CEO of the Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council; Babs Kelly, Partner, Northern Engagement; and Nancy More, knowledge philanthropist.

About the Author

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...


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