Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Reconciliation Lethbridge: Moving forward

Treena Tallow
AHS Advisor Treena Tallow - This year signals the fourth anniversary since Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) concluded. The Commission arose as a result of the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and had the important task of documenting the truth of the survivors, their families and communities, and those affected by experience.

The mandate of the commission was to prepare a comprehensive historical record on the policies and operations of the schools, to hear the testimony of survivors and produce a report that will include recommendations to the Government of Canada. The work of the TRC resulted in 94 Calls to Action that aim to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.” The calls illustrate goals and priorities which highlight the greatest need for Indigenous peoples and their communities.

The City of Lethbridge has taken the need seriously and established the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee, which will champion the Lethbridge Reconciliation Implementation plan. The committee will work collaboratively to move the plan forward and make reconciliation a reality for Lethbridge.

Amanda Scout, a member of the committee, says Lethbridge will soon celebrate the city’s second reconciliation week, which will be held next month; September 17 - 22. Scout says last year’s experience provided many amazing events that contributed to the renewal of meaningful relationships, the honouring and sharing of truth, and the fostering of peaceful and respectful relationships and dialogue.

Addressing the TRC Calls to Action requires the passion and commitment of communities. It’s about coming together collectively and finding solutions. The work is monumental in the quest for success in rewriting the wrongs and moving forward together. As stated by Commissioner Justice Murray Sinclair in reference to the 94 Calls to Action:

“As a Commission we have described for you a mountain, we have showed the path to the top, we call upon you to do the climbing.”

Reconciliation Lethbridge is enroute, but much work is still needed. As a community we can move forward collectively, establishing and maintaining mutually-respectful relationships; climbing that historic mountain together with support, commitment and collaborative leadership. The calls to action guide the way in creating equity for Indigenous people and reconciling the past to a more hopeful future.

Treena Tallow is an Advisor with AHS Aboriginal Addiction and Mental Health, in the Indigenous Health Program. She can be reached by e-mail, Treena.tallow@ahs.ca

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