Recently, our team at Amplify Consulting Inc. had a staff retreat. In our quest for continuous learning, we invited Ryan Deneault of Healing Between Worlds to come and speak with us about the history of Canada from an Indigenous lens. The talk was open, honest, and eye-opening for our entire team.
Ryan read from a book by Richard Wagamese called “Embers,” and the message he brought to our team through this reading was about truth and courage. As a first-generation Canadian, I wanted to reflect on what this day means to me as a proud Canadian of Dutch immigrants as I continue to learn from my Indigenous friends to understand what this day means to them and me.
First, there’s truth. When you look back and learn the reality of our wonderful country of Canada and the treatment of Indigenous peoples, as well as many other groups such as the Japanese, the Chinese, and many others, our history is fraught with a heaviness and a hurt. I believe understanding this truth of our history is the first step on the journey of reconciliation as it helps me put myself in the shoes of another, and that’s where understanding builds from.
Second, there is courage. As Ryan shared with us all and allowed us to ask any question we wanted, he allowed us to be vulnerable and ask the questions that will help us learn as individuals. There needs to be space made to allow for questions from those just learning and the grace of others to receive questions that can come from an uneducated place. It’s like a dance – a step forward and a step back that creates something beautiful, but we all must be courageous and commit to dancing first.
For me, it is about continuous learning and next steps. We have attended conferences and heard talks that inspire, albeit briefly. However, it’s our commitment to continue learning that helps us grow. Understanding that this growth is constant is also essential. It allows us to remain humble, open and gentler with those in various stages of learning.
As you commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day, seek the truth, be courageous to ask questions, and remember you’re always learning.