What can we do as facilitators to open dialogue and understanding among settlers and indigenous people in order to further reconciliation?
This consensus workshop on reconciliation was done in a session at the IAF North America/Caribbean conference in Ottawa, May 4, 2018, led by a team of indigenous and settler facilitators. Twenty participants included indigenous and settler people as well as recent immigrants to Canada, and ranged in age from 20’s to late 60’s. These are the raw results: seven clusters with the cards that created them.
Promote Culturally Respectful Communication

  • Use the talking stick
  • Sharing stories
  • Tell the truth
  • Be open
  • Allow/invite emotions
  • Hold space for all feelings and perspectives
  • Restorative circles
  • Don’t shy away from discomfort
  • Give benefit of the doubt
  • Allow for silence
  • Story board storytelling

Value the Process of Co-Creation

  • Consult elders/knowledge keepers in advance
  • Involve indigenous peoples in session design
  • Co-facilitate
  • Involve, or hand over to, indigenous facilitators
  • Learn about where you are – community, protocols, meeting models
  • Recognition of territory
  • Activities for indigenous self-organizing
  • Assess if we’re getting closer to/farther from goals
  • Develop agenda with indigenous peoples
  • Explore cultural appropriateness of facilitation design
  • Weave, create, co-create
  • Ensure equal representation
  • Actively apply facilitator competencies
  • Look for opportunities to co-create
  • Involve someone from the community to co-facilitate/teach, etc.

Consider, Acknowledge, Challenge with Humility

  • Access our ignorance
  • Cultural humility
  • Seeking permission
  • Ditch the triangle – embrace the circle
  • Consider indigenous knowledge as parallel knowledge system
  • Integrate indigenous culture
  • Be holistic: emotions, thinking, beliefs and physicality
  • Listen – open mind, hear, will
  • Acknowledge unconscious bias
  • Challenge people’s assumptions/world views that perpetuate racism/oppression

Value Diversity

  • Intro activities that connect self with history!
  • Make space for all experiences
  • It’s not a blame game
  • Accept/expect lack of empathy and BE PREPARED
  • Celebrate diversity
  • Culturally relevant opening

Creatively Engage with Diversity

  • Meet community where they are – space, go to them
  • Find creative ways to engage
  • Recognize indigenous diversity
  • Working assumptions that centre indigenous voice
  • Invite diverse participants, speakers, organizers

Be Open to Learning

  • Educate ourselves i.e. CBC’s “8th Fire” series
  • Context, history
  • Consider power dynamics
  • Bring all perspectives in education
  • Consensus in terminology (ex. Settler)
  • Know the history – wampum is our collective story
  • Build own recipe guided by UNDRIP and TRC

Define Vision for Future Collective Action

  • ReconciliACTION is everyone’s responsibility in Canada
  • Long haul committed relationship
  • Explore what rich, whole relationships include
  • Establish common vision
  • What will the relationship be in 7 generations? (Keep this in mind in facilitation)
  • Ask how we can BE

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