With the recent radar detection of over 1,000 unmarked graves of Indigenous children on former residential school grounds in Canada and the newly established National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, many non-Indigenous Canadians are wondering what they can do to help.
Janice Selbie, registered personal counsellor in unceded Syilx land (now known as Kelowna), has collaborated with First Nations somatic experiencing practitioner and counsellor Louise (Tzuntzunthlumga) Snowdon from Wei Wei Kim territory (also known as Campbell River), and counsellor and Elder Reg (Oltoos) Phillips of Sto:lo territory from Sts’ailes to explore and answer this and other questions.
Questions like: Is it cultural appropriation for me to wear or say certain things? Why are First Nations people still disadvantaged after receiving financial reparations? Is it racist to ask about a person’s heritage? What is the ’60s scoop?
“As a child, I was ignorant of the implications of the ’60s scoop. All I knew was that I suddenly had a big sister,” Selbie said. “As an adult, I chose to educate myself about the tragedy and sorrow and our family’s unwitting role in it so that I could do better.”
Snowdon explains: “The word in our language that best represents the goal of our collaboration is ‘małt̕ega̱’atła̱la, which translates from Kwak’wala language to mean ‘Journey to understanding each other.’”
The Journey to Understanding Each Other webinar starts Oct. 14, with the first in a series that will answer the questions about how non-Indigenous people can become better allies to First Nations individuals in Canada. Both personal and educational, this webinar will provide insight and resources for the general public, educators and health care providers.