About Our Work

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VIU Sep 29_edited_edited

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Our Roots

 

The Journey of Our Generation workshop is available for anyone who is willing and ready to learn the truth of our dark colonial history and understanding the ongoing impacts of history and systemic racism. It began during the North American Indigenous Games in 2008 hosted by Cowichan Tribes. The vision of this team of Cowichan Elders who facilitate this work is to build authentic relationships based on the cultural teaching Nuts’amaat Shqwaluwun (One Heart, One Mind) and the values of Truth, Respect, Love and Forgiveness. The Elders generously share their personal stories and cultural teachings.


The roots of the processes we work with have grown from "Circle and the Box" creator, Dr. Jann Derrick whose training, mentorship and vision have been invaluable to the growth and development of the work we offer. Dr. Derrick has been stewarding these sensitive and impactful exercises through workshops for well over 20 years.  Members of our team have been influenced by the Circle of Courage model of Dr. Martin Brokenleg, the teachings of Malidoma Some and many others who we have trained, studied and worked beside over the years. No two experiences are ever the same as the work is ever evolving to meet the current times and whoever shows up.

Workshop Description

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations point to the fact that reconciliation is the journey of our generation, but what does it mean and how do we create lasting change in our workplaces and our communities? The Elders remind us that it is a process, a journey without a final destination. In order for Canadians to live together in dignity, equality, safety and prosperity on the lands that we share, we must start by knowing the truth.

Through storytelling, experiential learning, role-playing and inquiry, this workshop provides participants with a unique opportunity to learn about Canada’s history and explore the concept of reconciliation. The work starts by exploring the differences between Indigenous and European worldviews (comparing traditional/village and western/urban) and the approaches to governance, leadership and community based on the experiential exercises of the Circle and the Box. It is told though the stories and experiences of the Elders. Through assuming roles and experiential learning, participants then travel through the story of the first 150 years of Canada’s history from colonization through the Canadian introduction of reconciliation to its recommendations and realities of today. Where do we find ourselves in this story, where do we go from here and what is our responsibility?

The workshop is an opportunity to learn about the impact of land and treaty policies, residential schools, and Indian hospitals. It is an opportunity to ask tough questions, reflect on conditioned beliefs, and understand how systemic racism continues to impact Indigenous communities in Canada. It is a space for open, honest dialogue about where we stand at this point on our reconciliation journey. It is grounded in the truth of the experiences of elders who have decided to share their stories as a path towards their own healing, towards our healing as Canadians and as a legacy of hope for their grandchildren and future generations.