A few years ago, the national magazine The Walrus published an article titled Reviving Riversdale: Gentrification and Reconciliation in one of Saskatoon’s poorest neighbourhoods in which author Alan Casey writes: "Riversdale is more than a neighbourhood that is gentrifying. It is a chance at healing an old wound. It is a knife-edge on which a city stands."
When the article was published, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was travelling the country, listening to the testimonials of residential school survivors and their families. Months later, the TRC would reveal a set of Calls to Action to everyone in the country to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.
I live and work in Riversdale and daily I grapple with the question, how do we heal this old wound? How we do move forward towards reconciliation? How do we support and maintain inclusivity in our neighbourhood?
My community work for Shift Development has allowed me to try out various strategies for responding to these questions. In the winter of 2016, I joined Reconciliation Saskatoon, a group of over 40 organizations, non-profits, government agencies, and churches who were coming together to plan a Walk for Reconciliation in June 2016. There began a transformational experience of learning, connecting, and moving forward.
Shift's work with Reconciliation Saskatoon continues in a deep and meaningful way, and we look forward to sharing some important projects coming soon, including the second annual Walk for Reconciliation this June. But this work has also revealed how much Shift Development as a team still has to learn about our Indigenous community, history, and the meaning of reconciliation.
Towards this end, we've planned a day of Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training on March 30 for the Shift team. I'm convinced that this is an essential first step for all of us, as the path towards Truth and Reconciliation must begin with listening and learning. So we're opening the invitation for anyone to join us. If March 30 doesn't work for you, organizing this training is as easy as calling the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and asking for their guidance. That is how we connected with Annie Battiste to facilitate the training, and we look forward to engaging this process.
Please join us!
Bring your coworkers, friends, family and collaborators.
Indigenous Cultural Awareness Training
Thursday, March 30 10-4pm (Location TBA)
Chef Jenni will serve soup and bread for lunch.
Registration is free. Contact email@example.com to reserve your spot.