A Possible Canada for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples

Monday, March 6, 2017

Geraldine Cahill, Manager, Programs and Partnerships, SiG National

Manager of Programs and Partnerships at SiG Geraldine Cahill (second from left) and Executive Director of the 4Rs Youth Movement Jessica Bolduc (centre) at a project design meeting at Hub Ottawa.

I first heard the question “What does 2067 look like?” asked by the leadership team at MaRS’ Studio Y in Toronto in early 2015. It echoed a similar question posed in a Possible Canadas workshop convened by the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and Reos Partners earlier that year. It’s the kind of question that passionate young people get excited about answering. And then they did.

Since that time, a cohort of youth leaders and youth-led organizations have been exploring the development of a vision for a possible Canada and how we could get there together: 4Rs Youth Movement, Apathy is Boring, Studio Y and graduates from the University of Waterloo’s Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation among them.

Together, these groups represent a range of experience, knowhow and action—from systems thinking to movement building, to civic action to reconciliation, to deep partnership. Together we set about finding our North Star: a vision statement for the way forward.

This is where we landed:

In 2067, the diversity of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples who share these lands are in an authentic and inclusive relationship with each other and with the natural environment.

Importantly, these words built off of those first spoken by Jess Bolduc, who leads the 4Rs Youth Movement. She placed the language of our North Star in an Indigenous context with particular attention to our relationship to the land.

We then turned our attention to designing a pathway to get there, and Canadian milestone events helped reveal a focus. By the end of 2015, the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was released, including 94 Calls to Action. The first Indigenous Innovation Summit was held in Winnipeg and the newly elected federal government announced an inquiry into the deaths of murdered and missing Indigenous women.

It felt right for our small team to focus our vision on Reconciliation as well. Concurrently, the 4Rs had developed a cross-cultural dialogue framework that they have been sharing with a growing number of young people. It is designed to be a shared experience to engage in dialogue that furthers respect, reciprocity, reconciliation, and relevance.

As a team, we have now placed the 4Rs approach at the centre of our work. We are working to amplify their outreach on and off university campuses, support evaluation and storytelling and join them in a national gathering in early 2018 to look ahead and design what’s possible together. The 2018 gathering is a Canada 150 Signature Initiative and promises to be a dynamic and important event in the Reconciliation journey. This work will also be strengthened by partnerships with more and different organizations and networks, including the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, which has provided support, will help to encourage university student participation, and with whom we share a common vision for the future.

If you are between 18-30 years old and would like to attend a 4Rs gathering, please sign up to receive updates on potential events near you. 


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