Reconciliation St. Paul – Knowing our Past, Building our Future

Reconciliation St. Paul in Northeast Alberta is a grassroots (dis)organization that resists having a structured central leadership, board management, not-for-profit status or anything like that. Instead, we are neighbours and community members who care about sharing time and food together in good relationships, particularly between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.
 
Too often, our communities are separated by invisible lines that prevent people from getting to know each other. We know it is important to have a space where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people can come together to share their truths. This simple act of speaking and listening can create understanding or empathy. Historically and even presently, Indigenous people have not had a voice; this meeting creates a chance to be heard. Likewise, non-Indigenous people have not been asked to consider their role in the treaty relationship, so this is an occasion to explore possibilities for action.
 
As an open group with some regular contributors and many guests meeting monthly, we encourage subcommittees and action-groups to do reconciliation projects in town. These have included Indigenous Peoples’ week celebrations, anti-racism walks, teach-ins, restorative circles, special topic presentations, panel discussions, and more.  
 
More information, events, and education can be found on Facebook

Mission: the reconciliation goal is to improve relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. We want to create an open and inclusive process for intercultural bridge building by being willing to talk about our differing roles, stages, and views in our collective story of Canada.

Vision: Reconciliation shifts throughout four phases over time to restore balance and harmony to damaged relationships and wrongfully taken territories. The vision of this process is to meet people where they are at and to support safe education, dialogue and growth towards healing and good relationships. We do this for all the generations still to come.

The Sharing our Collective History Phase – confronts historic trauma by acknowledging and understanding our Canadian story of genocide, colonization, and assimilation of Indigenous peoples. The expansion of the settler state has been for the purpose of taking land and resources, despite often signing treaties of peace, sharing, and mutual co-existence.

The Understanding the Trauma Phase – raises awareness about the intergenerational traumas being expressed in Indigenous people and communities through high rates of internal, relational, and social difficulties. These symptoms of colonization are further complicated by settler denial or resistance to understanding the darkness in our collective history, thereby perpetrating further harm or failing to prevent it. Understanding trauma means recognizing that systemic injustices such as colonization and genocide are broadly detrimental and traumatic to perpetrators, victims, and bystanders alike.

The Releasing the Pain Phase – recognizes that the outlawing of Indigenous ceremonies and governance impaired the grief, loss, and trauma processing that still needs to occur so the burdens of the past will not be passed on to more generations. Indigenous Peoples releasing their pain will come through Indigenous pathways, which should not be rejected by Western society as their healers and helpers offer their healing practices too. 

The Transcending the Trauma Phase – acknowledges the wounds of the past without allowing them to forever define how we interact together. With settlers making their reconciliation and Indigenous Peoples doing their healing, we can celebrate each other. We can honor the diversity and uniqueness of all cultures, and be the authentic humans we are intended to be.

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