This community reconciliation movement is the culmination of seven years of Aboriginal awareness activities launched by parents at Pleasant Park Public School to provide experiential learning outside of text books on Indigenous perspectives, their history and the impacts of the legacy of residential schools and other past and contemporary issues of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. One of the key leads was part of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and much of the drive and focus has been on addressing the 94 Calls to Action raised in and by the TRC process.
The TRC tabled its final report June 2015, with 94 Calls to Action for reconciliation. A number of Calls to Action relate to education and challenge the current education system and curriculum. Central to all the recommendations, is the commitment to ensuring youth and the next generation of Canadians be provided with a better understanding of Indigenous history, culture, language and traditions, building stronger foundations of respect, appreciation and understanding.
Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal governments will be required to support reconciliation through changes in legislation, programs, and new investments. However, real change in the broader community is critical for true reconciliation to occur and create a more caring, respectful and equitable Canada.
Màmawi Together believes that by working together we will be even stronger in affecting this positive and needed change. We believe that community is key; and, that all Canadians need to be involved in the conversation, specifically young Canadians still in the elementary and secondary school system. Today’s youth have a unique opportunity to learn more accurate history from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and at University eliminating the need to undo erroneous understandings and perspectives. Additionally our youth can become our natural ambassadors to teach and help guide all other Canadians in our healing journey.
Màmawi Together Reconciliation Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service
2019 Awarded to Nancy Henry, OCDSB FNMI lead
Three years ago, we held our first ever Youth for Reconciliation Day, which involved youth from a number of schools in Ottawa coming together for a day for intensive workshops. It was a tremendous success; the youth themselves developed nine challenges for furthering Reconciliation, one of which prompted Màmawi Together to be the vehicle for the National Challenge. We have had two more successful Youth Days since, with participation from more schools and school boards and the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education.
The success of Youth Day would not have been possible without the efforts of the recipient of our first ever Màmawi Together Reconciliation Award. She took the idea and made it happen. She drew on her experience in education, and her knowledge of Indigenous education, pulled together students, teachers, school boards and volunteers, and made it work. She contributed many hours of her own time, her formidable organizational skills and her skills at persuasion, and her creativity. Her exemplary volunteer work was nothing short of instrumental in establishing Youth Day as what has become a key element of Màmawi Together’s education and awareness strategy.