We at Aangen are committed to standing with the Indigenous communities we live and work with and in. As part of this commitment, three members of our team including one of Aangen's board members engaged in learning through the Indigenous Canada course offered online through the University of Alberta.
We fully acknowledge that, as settlers, we are not experts on this topic. Our (un)learning is never finished. We are committed to continued growth, education, and action. The learning from this course for our team members led to presentations during staff meetings, and continued dialogue regarding Aangen’s dedication to reconciliatory action. It was a small step in our commitment to reconciliation and to increase inclusion of Indigenous voices, perspectives, and needs throughout the organization.
While we are only at the beginning of our journey, we wanted to share back with our larger community some of the key learnings and conversations we have had so far:
We have a lot more learning to do
Engaging in the twelve modules of Indigenous Canada, we were brought back to middle school social studies classes where this information was both left out of “history” lessons, and in some cases, an extremely skewed version of this history was told. Do you remember learning about how wonderful the Hudson’s Bay Company was and how it was a founding force in the wonderful Canada we have today? Do you remember learning that the Hudson’s Bay Company claimed Indigenous land as their own and engaged in slavery? I only remember learning the former. Examples like this reminded all of us at Aangen that we have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do. If you would like to do some learning of your own, may we suggest you learn about the specific land you are on, the treaties that govern it, and the people in originally belonged to; Whose Land is a helpful resource.
Reconciliation is about building and repairing relationships
Reconciliation is not a second chance at assimilation. It is an ongoing process of building new and mutually respectful relationships between Indigenous people and Canadian settlers. It is also about understanding that truths, harms, and justice should always be understood relationally, because it is through relationships that we co-create understandings and produce change.
Allyship is based on ongoing action, and is something we must earn
We at Aangen are committed to reconciliation, to not only learning but also action, to ensuring inclusion of people and perspectives in our work. We recognize that this does not give us the title of “ally,” but rather that it is a title we may at some point be honoured to be given, when our ongoing action proves our support and we are trusted by our Indigenous partners. We are reminded again that this work is about building relationships, understanding, and always standing in solidarity.
As with all the work at Aangen, this is a lifetime commitment
The genocide committed by Canadian settlers has had reverbarations felt to this day, and our social systems continue to be oppressive and exclusionary. We at Aangen know that reconciliation is a commitment that has no end date. Our learning, actions, and growth is never ending, and we are dedicated to doing all we can to stand in solidarity with our Indigenous partners and communities
While a blog post can barely scratch the surface of this ongoing learning, we wanted to share some notes on this process. Some of the behind the scenes pieces we are working on include increased anti-oppression and trauma-informed training for our staff. Also take a look at where our fundraising dollars are going: we were so pleased to be able to donate $6,000 + to Raven Trust from our Canada Camino. Keep an eye out also for future campaigns and advocacy initiatives. We will keep you updated on our social media platforms!
We invite any suggestions on what we at Aangen can do as an organization to support your communities and improve our reconciliation efforts. Please connect with us at email@example.com
Module 2: The Fur Trade (2015). Indigenous Canada: Looking Forward/Looking Back, University of Alberta, Faculty of Native Studies.
Module 5: “Killing the Indian in the Child.” (2015). Indigenous Canada: Looking Forward/Looking Back, University of Alberta, Faculty of Native Studies.