In my March 10, 2023, CEO Report, I shared my experience about my mistakes on the road toward Truth & Reconciliation and how I still made mistakes even when I tried to do everything right. My intention was to share my uncomfortable teachable moment with our sector. At the discussion, some Indigenous communities see smudging as sacred and shouldn't be taught to others outside the community.
Well, the learning related to this post continues.
Lorelei Lyons of 2 Metis Women, who we contracted to deliver the smudging workshop, contacted me. To her, I had humiliated her and undermined her business which, of course, was never something I had intended to do. In addition to the smudging workshop, Lorelei has also presented workshops at the ASPECT Conference to create dreamcatchers and medicine wheels. All of these workshops have been highly reviewed by conference participants. So again, I am apologizing to Lorelei and recommending her business to you.
At this point, a younger version of myself might run away from the conflict and pain I've caused, but Truth and Reconcilliation are too important to do that. In other words, I will continue to make mistakes, and likely, I will continue to share them with you in the knowledge that the "settlers" among us have a lot of work to do.
We are not alone in this work, however. The provincial government released their Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan last year and will rely on us and our sector to help facilitate some of the difficult discussions ahead. ASPECT and other umbrella advocacy and community-serving agencies who share our mandate of removing colonialism from social services will join us to move forward. Running away isn't an option: this is too important for that.
Janet Morris-Reade, CEO