How to be an Indigenous ally in Canada - YouTube
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00:00:00 00:00:01 >> [MUSIC]. Today is the national day for
00:00:01 00:00:03 truth and reconciliation and
00:00:03 00:00:05 our next guest is here to discuss
00:00:05 00:00:08 ways we could be true allies to indigenous people.
00:00:08 00:00:10 Welcome Sara Majdanek.
00:00:10 00:00:11 This is something you speak about
00:00:11 00:00:13 daily through your work as president and
00:00:13 00:00:17 CEO of the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.
00:00:17 00:00:21 Just explain what the fund is for viewers who don't know.
00:00:21 00:00:25 >> For sure. As an indigenous person
00:00:25 00:00:27 and a member of the multi-nation of Alberta,
00:00:27 00:00:31 I live and breathe this work every day.
00:00:31 00:00:33 What we really seek to do at
00:00:33 00:00:36 the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund is to build
00:00:36 00:00:39 cultural understanding and create a path towards
00:00:39 00:00:41 reconciliation between
00:00:41 00:00:44 indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada.
00:00:44 00:00:46 How did we do that?
00:00:46 00:00:49 Our work is really based on the pillars of
00:00:49 00:00:52 awareness, education, and connection.
00:00:52 00:00:55 All of the programs that we have at
00:00:55 00:00:57 the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund
00:00:57 00:00:59 invite all peoples to join
00:00:59 00:01:02 us on this journey towards reconciliation.
00:01:02 00:01:05 >> This is, I feel crucial because
00:01:05 00:01:06 folks watching at home who are
00:01:06 00:01:08 not indigenous are always looking for ways,
00:01:08 00:01:10 how do I jump in, how do I get in there,
00:01:10 00:01:12 how do I not do the wrong thing?
00:01:12 00:01:15 Let's talk about just broad strokes.
00:01:15 00:01:19 What does an indigenous allyship look like?
00:01:19 00:01:23 >> It really means listening,
00:01:23 00:01:29 leaning into the discomfort of doing something wrong or not
00:01:29 00:01:31 knowing where to start or a feeling disassociated
00:01:31 00:01:35 from a responsibility to contribute to reconciliation.
00:01:35 00:01:39 When we heard about the recovered bodies of
00:01:39 00:01:43 children at residential school sites all across the country,
00:01:43 00:01:46 there was feelings of shock and
00:01:46 00:01:49 outrage and horror and anger and grief,
00:01:49 00:01:53 but then what, how was that momentum,
00:01:53 00:01:56 how is that energy translated
00:01:56 00:01:59 into improving outcomes for indigenous people?
00:01:59 00:02:04 How many folks took that next step to take responsibility,
00:02:04 00:02:08 to lean in to their own personal connection,
00:02:08 00:02:12 to reconciliation and to how they can contribute?
00:02:12 00:02:15 >> Let's talk a little bit about that.
00:02:15 00:02:18 I'm going to break it down so we can talk about what
00:02:18 00:02:20 allyship looks like in
00:02:20 00:02:23 the different places where we breathe and live in work.
00:02:23 00:02:25 Let's talk about the classroom.
00:02:25 00:02:27 What does this look like, what does allyship look
00:02:27 00:02:29 like for the teacher and for the students?
00:02:29 00:02:32 >> For sure. In the classroom,
00:02:32 00:02:36 it's really insuring that the true history and impacts and
00:02:36 00:02:39 legacy of the residential school system is being
00:02:39 00:02:42 taught to children in this country.
00:02:42 00:02:45 The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund actually
00:02:45 00:02:48 helps provide free resources to
00:02:48 00:02:51 educators to help them
00:02:51 00:02:54 feel supported to be able to teach this content.
00:02:54 00:02:58 They can sign up for free online and
00:02:58 00:03:01 we provide tools and resources to help them feel
00:03:01 00:03:04 confident to teach about the true history and legacy
00:03:04 00:03:06 of the residential school system
00:03:06 00:03:09 in this country and also the strength,
00:03:09 00:03:11 resilience, and,
00:03:11 00:03:17 the vast differences between indigenous communities.
00:03:17 00:03:21 One of the things that has been tremendous in
00:03:21 00:03:25 our work is seeing the need for that content,
00:03:25 00:03:26 the need for that support.
00:03:26 00:03:30 We're currently supporting over 3,000
00:03:30 00:03:34 educators in every province and territory in this country,
00:03:34 00:03:37 and we're not even four years old.
00:03:37 00:03:43 That's really just meeting the needs of educators coming to us.
00:03:43 00:03:47 It's an interesting place to be in where we can
00:03:47 00:03:51 support education faster than you can reform curriculum.
00:03:51 00:03:53 >> That I have to say, Sarah,
00:03:53 00:03:54 I've seen the difference
00:03:54 00:03:57 between when I was in school and what we learned,
00:03:57 00:04:00 which was a completely whitewashed history of
00:04:00 00:04:03 Canada to now what my kids are bringing home,
00:04:03 00:04:05 and their assignments, and I'm thinking,
00:04:05 00:04:07 oh my gosh, there has definitely
00:04:07 00:04:09 been a change and there needs to be so much more.
00:04:09 00:04:10 But I am seeing
00:04:10 00:04:13 the change that your organization
00:04:13 00:04:14 is contributing to, which is amazing.
00:04:14 00:04:16 Let's get into the workplace now.
00:04:16 00:04:18 You're in a workplace setting,
00:04:18 00:04:21 what does indigenous allyship look like there?
00:04:21 00:04:25 >> We designed our legacy space program
00:04:25 00:04:28 around helping organizations, employers,
00:04:28 00:04:32 communities on their reconciliation journey by holding
00:04:32 00:04:34 physical space to acknowledge
00:04:34 00:04:37 their commitment to advancing reconciliation,
00:04:37 00:04:39 and then taking a look inwards,
00:04:39 00:04:43 what does that translate to in terms of the diversity,
00:04:43 00:04:45 equity, and inclusion policies,
00:04:45 00:04:48 what does that translate to in terms of hiring
00:04:48 00:04:52 practices and retention of indigenous employees,
00:04:52 00:04:54 does that mean I'm holding
00:04:54 00:04:56 space to create more equitable opportunities for
00:04:56 00:04:59 indigenous voices to be heard at
00:04:59 00:05:01 all levels within an organization,
00:05:01 00:05:05 including board room tables across the country?
00:05:05 00:05:10 There is a commitment that needs to be made by
00:05:10 00:05:15 employers to taking it beyond that next step of being a policy,
00:05:15 00:05:18 but actually acting on it and implementing it in
00:05:18 00:05:21 the ethos of the work
00:05:21 00:05:24 the company does and the way it treats its employees.
00:05:24 00:05:27 >> Good, so it's the hiring for them is to follow through,
00:05:27 00:05:29 its is this safe space for these employees,
00:05:29 00:05:30 do they have a voice,
00:05:30 00:05:32 do they have a seat at the table,
00:05:32 00:05:33 are they talking at the table?
00:05:33 00:05:35 All of that has to happen.
00:05:35 00:05:37 Let's talk about the community.
00:05:37 00:05:39 You are in a community and you are
00:05:39 00:05:41 wondering how you can be an indigenous ally,
00:05:41 00:05:43 do you have tips for us?
00:05:43 00:05:47 >> It can really be as simple as reading the 94 calls to action,
00:05:47 00:05:50 finding one that resonates with you and
00:05:50 00:05:53 actioning it within your home, your community,
00:05:53 00:05:54 within your workplace,
00:05:54 00:05:58 understanding who's traditional territory you're on,
00:05:58 00:06:00 building relationships and connections
00:06:00 00:06:03 with indigenous communities and peoples,
00:06:03 00:06:05 reading, indigenous authors,
00:06:05 00:06:08 taking the time to educate yourself.
00:06:08 00:06:10 Because if you didn't learn in
00:06:10 00:06:14 school and you're just reading these news headlines,
00:06:14 00:06:16 do you actually understand
00:06:16 00:06:20 the truth that needs to come before reconciliation,
00:06:20 00:06:24 and education is such an important piece of that.
00:06:24 00:06:26 >> It is crucial.
00:06:26 00:06:29 The first step, definitely and then ally,
00:06:29 00:06:30 always remember as a verb,
00:06:30 00:06:32 so it's about the action.
00:06:32 00:06:33 Sarah, thank you so much for that.
00:06:33 00:06:34 >> Thank you.
00:06:34 00:06:36 >> Great information.
00:06:36 00:06:38 To find out more about the Gord Downie and
00:06:38 00:06:40 Chanie Wenjack Fund and it's
00:06:40 00:06:44 allyship resources or for a list of reconciliation ideas,
00:06:44 00:06:47 head to our website, cityline.tv.
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