Members dig deep to work on Indigenous reconciliation at Spring Member Forum

  Fiona Jackson      15 March 2019

On Monday, March 11, CHF BC and CHF Canada members came together to network, hear updates from both federations and learn about Kaslo Gardens Co-op’s work to bring an Indigenous perspective into the co-op’s mission supported by a Regional Diversity Grant from CHF Canada.  The co-op was inspired by the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Kaslo Gardens Co-op’s civic engagement committee chair Shari LaLiberte and Scott Clark, Executive Director of Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society (ALIVE), President of the North West Indigenous Council (NWIC), and Board member of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples gave an eye-opening and moving presentation on the challenges of the work of reconciliation.  Tami Pierce, Director, Indigenous Education and Community Engagement at Vancouver Community College, also shared about her work to educate post-secondary students about the history and impacts of colonialism filling a key gap in public education.

In the second half of the evening, members broke into groups to discuss how to begin the process of raising awareness and addressing reconciliation in their co-ops.

Key takeaways from the presentation and group work were:

  • 80% of the Indigenous population in Canada are off-reserve; 50% of those people live in urban centres
  • A lot of the reconciliation work so far has not been directed to off-reserve people
  • There are 29 distinct Aboriginal languages in British Columbia
  • There are more Indigenous children in child welfare now than at the height of the residential schools
  • Indigenous people make up about 2% of the population of the province but 40% of people who are homeless are Indigenous
  • Co-ops could consider a system for prioritizing vacancies to provide housing for Indigenous individuals and families

There are 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Can you name one?

A central principle across all TRC recommendations is the need to honour and respect Indigenous cultural perspectives and practices, to foster nation-to-nation partnerships with Indigenous peoples across all spheres of our communities and honour their treaty rights.

If you want to explore this topic further, please register for the workshop Coast Salish Co-op Reconciliation at our upcoming Spring Education Conference on April 6.

Download the PDF of the complete Member Forum presentation.