Personal responses on how Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are being implemented

I have already connected with an indigenous kokum.  We have become friends and that friendship continues to deepen.  She is comfortable sharing part of her story with me, and I feel very blessed and humbled to receive it.  We are looking forward to spending more time together now that we can, and and I have offered to help her any way I can as she moves to a new home at the end of the month.  She has welcomed me to join her in taking part in some upcoming indigenous gatherings.  I hope to join her at one of her church services in the near future, and have invited her to come to the Qu'Appelle House of Prayer for a day since she has wanted to go there since she first heared about it.

We indeed have a warm and loving friendship which continues to grow.  And once we can go back to ANARC ( Aboriginal Non-Aboriginal Relationship Community) in person, I will be able to re-connect with some of the other kokums whom I met before Covid came along.

[Judith Pellerin, Regina, SK]

My plan is to continue being a burr in the side of provincial and federal politicians by continuing to write letters in support of MMIWC and in support of fresh water initiatives for remote northern reserves.

I have contacted the local reserve to ask what actions I can do to support their endeavours as part of the RCWP Canada movement.

I’ve asked the local Anglican-Lutheran church to consider a book study.

I need to talk to the leader about a book study with Sourdough community members.

I’ve asked permission to consider a book study at work.

I’ve volunteered to assist Cynthia Wesley-Esquamaux who is running locally in the riding of Simcoe North in the next federal election.

[Catherine O'Connor, Orillia, ON]

My response to ongoing (for several decades) concern for Indigenous relations in Canada has been research for both my Masters and Doctoral studies and other study and writing, especially in regard to their disproportionate numbers of First Nations in jail. I can see myself and my community involved in post- and pre- incarceration initiatives for shelter, food and companionship, My husband and I both attended Returning to Spirit (RTS) week one and I completed week two (reconciliation).

I have just begun reading, by Suzanne Methot, Legacy:Trauma, Story and Indigenous Healing, Toronto: ECW Press (2019).

We've bought two Anishinabe children's books  for reading to children who visit our home and grandchildren AUNDECK THE CROW, and  WHISPERS ON THE WATER which promote Indigenous ways of seeing, speaking with and understanding all creation. My grandson told me a joke he learned from a Cree Elder: How do you cook potatoes? YOU Kôhkom and Môhshom!

I lead, through Resmaa Menakem and Richard Wagamese books, and other materials 3 -15 minute sessions or body practice each week on Zoom to address trauma held in our bodies genetically and otherwise: 9 am Tues. and Sat., Thursday at 3 pm all Saskatchewan Time

Book Studies: Reading and practicing from My Grandmother's Hands, White Supremacy by Layla Saad, and listening to a Cree couple's stories are part of the book study group, "Living Out Truth and Reconciliation". My husband and I joined a book club with Robin Wall Kimmerer's book Braiding Sweetgrass this past year and I also completed a course on Non-violence which included teachings on non-violent protest.

I also listen to, learn from, and befriend several Blackfoot friends I've met over the past 25 years.

When I give a talk in my parish church, I begin with a land acknowledgement -- this is not common practice. I also greet the people and have them repeat back a Blackfoot greeting, OKI! Our spiritual director group in town now begins with a land acknowledgement too.

I invite Indigenous and People of Colour folks I meet to attend RCWP Canada liturgies.

I listen to and spend time with the land.

[Teresa Hanlon, Lethbridge, AB]

I tried to organize a book club, suggesting Maria Campbell's older 'classic,' "Halfbreed." It is easily available for less than $5.00 now.  Three people agreed to start in the fall.

As part of RTOERO Exec, I organized a Combat Climate Crisis poster contest in the secondary schools with two school boards here - RC and Public this year.  My fellow members were not too keen on it so I did all the work which included the winner planting a tree at each school, prizes and plaques to raise community awareness.  It was such a big success that the entire executive decided they would like to extend it to elementary schools next year.

I suggested we change the focus to the Charter of Indigenous Rights. I was told that just sounded like "flavour of the month." Since when did this topic become "flavour of the month"?  The people on this executive are a cross-section of good citizens but you can see what I mean by stating that it's an uphill challenge. I have not given up but I know it won't be simple.

[Roberta Fuller, Pickering, ON]

Attending sessions of the TRC hearings at Treaty 4 in Ft. Qu’Appelle in 2013 brough me face to face with the pain of the survivors of the residential schools. From then on, I followed news reports of the TRC and when the final report was released attended workshops and study sessions on the TRC to learn about the recommendations.  This was followed by the Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls which I responded to in a similar manner.

I have done some reading on Indigenous issues and look for Indigenous authors on history and spirituality.  Following are some significant reads for me.  In some cases I was able to attend a book launch or presentation by the author:
  • James Daschuk: Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life.   Also attended a presentation by him on the subject in Regina.
  • Arthur Manuel: The Reconciliation Manifest: Recovering the Land, Rebuilding the Economy
  • Blair Stonechild: The Knowledge Seekers.  Attended his book launch at FNUniv.
  • Robin Wall Kimmer: Braiding Sweetgrass.  Participated in a Zoom session with her from UBC.
  • Richard Wagameese: Indian Horse, Embers, One Drum.
  • Joseph Auguste Merasty & David Carpenter: The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir.
  • Joseph Boyden: Three Day Road, Through Black Spruce, The Orenda.  Attended presentation by him in Regina.
Recognizing that white supremacy is at the root of racial discrimination, I initiated study groups for the Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community on white supremacy using the following books.  See more on this in the MMICC report.
  • Layla Saad: Me and White Supremacy.
  • Resmaa Menakem: My Grandmother’s Hands.  Heard him speak at two conferences on Zoom. 
There are many resources for on-line learning from Indigenous teachers. Two that I participated in are the free on-line course on Indigenous Studies offered by the University of Alberta through Coursera.  KAIROS offered a lot of learning opportunities this year.
Regina is home to First Nations University of Canada which is affiliated with the University of Regina.  I have attended a number of programs on Indigenous spirituality and the Truth and Reconciliation Report offered by these institutions. FNUniv. Canada is continually revising their offerings and, since the pandemic, more courses are available remotely.

In 2018 I participating in the “Coming Together In A Good Way” Seminar where I learned about Circles for Reconciliation which brings together groups of 5 Indigenous and 5 non-Indigenous persons for the purpose of promoting reconciliation.  I am presently waiting to participate in this program.

I made personal contacts and friendships with people in the Indigenous community over time and participate in a variety of gatherings and well as offering the opportunity for these to members of the community. 

The Archdiocese of Regina has an office of Indigenous/Non-indigenous relations with which I have contact.  Prior to the pandemic they hosted monthly potluck and sharing circles which I attended as able.  This continued as on-line gatherings over the past year.

I am involved with a prison ministry initiative called "Friends on the Outside" which is a support group that meets weekly with people who have been released from prison and are working to reintegrate into society.  Covid-19 has made it necessary to discontinue those gatherings, but I’m hopeful that they will resume in the near future.

"Mother Earth Justice Advocates" is another initiative I learned about through one of my contacts and which I support.  They provide information and action initiatives of care for the environment.

The local chapter of "Making Peace Vigil" distributes a weekly notice of items of interest including Indigenous Justice resources and actions. This is a helpful source of information that I use and make available to the community.

Further activities will be undertaken as appropriate.

Some websites of interest:
[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK]


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