The land upon which St. George’s resides is known to the WSÁNEĆ (Saanich) peoples as SNAKE and is a part of the territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən people (pronounced Le-KWUNG-en). Our work toward reconciliation with the living history of the land and local First Nations communities is in it's beginning stages.

Below you will find some resources that may be helpful for your reconciliation journey (areas of red text are links to external sources):

(CONTENT WARNING: residential schools, genocide, death of children, trauma - Support for survivors and their families is available. Call the Indian Residential School Survivors Society at 1-800-721-0066 or 1-866-925-4419 for the 24-7 crisis line. The KUU-US Crisis Line Society also offers 24-7 support at 250-723-4050 for adults, 250-723-2040 for youth, or toll-free at 1-800-588-8717)

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Truth and Reconciliation: My Action Plan - explore guiding documents, discover who's territory you are on and how to acknowledge it, UBC's Indigenous Peoples Language Guidelines, watch films by Indigenous filmmakers, checkout training opportunities, read books by Indigenous authors, become an ally, participate in events that celebrate Indigenous peoples and promote social change, and learn about intersectional privledge. 

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#94in94 

In response to the recent discoveries in Kamloops and Brandon, Reconciliation Thunder and Circles for Reconciliation have launched an awareness campaign to help center conversations on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. For each of the 94 days before Orange Shirt Day (September 30, 2021) each of the 94 Calls to Action will be shared on social media in hopes that one day every Canadian will have read the TRC Report and have chosen at least one to act on.

More information is on their Get Involved tab.  Each call will be posted to all their social streams every day!

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Unreserved Podcast and Radio - Unreserved is the radio space for Indigenous community, culture, and conversation. Host Falen Johnson takes you straight into Indigenous Canada, from Halifax to Haida Gwaii, from Shamattawa to Ottawa, introducing listeners to the storytellers, culture makers and community shakers from across the country.

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Challenging Racist "British Columbia" -  150 Years and Counting (150YC) is a new open-access, multi-media resource that documents how this recent cycle of anti-racist activism is part of a broader history of Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities challenging white supremacy for over 150 years – particularly since 1871 when BC joined Canada

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First Peoples' Map of BC - British Columbia is home to 204 First Nations communities and an amazing diversity of Indigenous languages; approximately 50% of the First Peoples’ languages of Canada are spoken in B.C. To access information on all the First Nations languages and communities in B.C., use the search bar at the top of the page or click on any of the tabs

Indigenous People's Atlas of Canada - In this atlas, you will find outstanding reference maps of Indigenous Canada, as well as a section devoted to Truth and Reconciliation, including detailed pages on many aspects of the topic with contemporary and historical photography, maps and more. 

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Indian Residential School Survivors Society - IRSSS is a BC-wide organization dedicated to providing emotional support & services to Indian Residential School Survivors & Intergenerational Survivors. 

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A brief history of Vancouver Island’s five residential schools, and the children who died there - Of British Columbia’s 18 residential schools, five were located on Vancouver Island where more than 200 children died. According to the Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, it’s expected that more children died at these schools, but their deaths have not been recorded and their grave sites have not been marked.

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After Kamloops, the search for Vancouver Island graves takes on new intensity. Why did it take so long? - As the news of the remains of 215 children found buried in the ground at the Kamloops Indian Residential School broke across the country, Steve Sxwithul'txw felt so much grief. And then anger. And then helplessness. 

Sxwithul'txw, a member of the Penelakut Tribe, was sent to a residential school in 1970 when he was five years old. His mother, aunts, and uncles were also forced to attend. So, it was not a surprise to him that a grave site was found. 

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Indigenous Canada Course (free course at University of Alberta) - Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Topics for the 12 lessons include the fur trade and other exchange relationships, land claims and environmental impacts, legal systems and rights, political conflicts and alliances, Indigenous political activism, and contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.

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Non-Indigenous people — here’s what you can do, right now - Communities across so-called Canada are grieving after the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Many Indigenous people are overwhelmed with the tasks of caring for themselves, their families and communities. And many non-Indigenous people are wondering what they can do to help.

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How can non-Indigenous people deal with their horror, anger and grief? - written by Dawn Brennan

First – this is your burden to carry. Indigenous people are carrying their own very heavy burdens.

Please do not ask them for help with your own emotional labour.

You can place teddy bears on your porch or in your window (bears for 215). You can make donations – research options.

You can dig deeper than displaying bears and donating.

You can read the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and find some that you can follow up on. Easily googleable.

You can read the names of the children who were known to have died at Residential School. The common consensus at this time seems to be that the 215 are not on this list of over 4,000 children. https://memorial.nctr.ca/?page_id=372

You can be prepared. The Kamloops school is one residential school. There were 139 Residential Schools. Gravesites have previously been identified at a few other schools. It is anticipated that research will identify many more gravesites.

You can watch Residential School Survivors testify for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Warning. This is horrifying and heartbreaking. https://legacyofhope.ca/wherearethechildren/stories/

Here is a list of films related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. https://www.kairoscanada.org/missing-murdered.../films

You can educate yourself about the land you are on and the people whose land it is. https://native-land.ca/

You can pursue further education; there are lots of options but here is a free one:

https://www.ualberta.ca/.../indigenous-canada/index.html

You can volunteer – check out options in your community.

Do you know any Indigenous people? It is astonishing to me how many Canadians simply don’t know any Indigenous people. How can you meet some without burdening them? What Indigenous events / organizations exist in your community?

Indigenous peoples in Canada have survived despite the best efforts of our Governments and Churches. They have deep spiritual and cultural lives. There is much we can learn from them. But we also have much to learn about them and the genocide which has been perpetrated against them. Use your horror, shame and guilt as an impetus for change. Yes, please display a teddy bear. I am. But don’t stop there.

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Banner image: Photo by Arnaud Mesureur on Unsplash