Today, five years after the federal government issued an apology on behalf of all Canadians for the Residential School program, we stand at an
historic crossroads for indigenous youth.
In vision and in law, we see the outlines of a partnership society, based on principles of respectful and constructive engagement. We can discern it in our history, and in the awakening that is currently taking place across Canada, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission carries out the essential, nation-building work of bringing what has been shameful, hidden and ignored about residential schools into public view. We see it when Indigenous and non-Indigenous people walk together in solidarity, and wherever Indigenous people are moving from dependency to responsibility and accountability. It is there in the upraised voices of Idle No More.
The path through reconciliation to a better Canada, now open, will not remain so if we do not take it, boldly, today. We can honour and learn from the best of our history. We can respect and care for one another, acting with patience, sensitivity, forgiveness and determination to admit wrongs, to heal, and to provide redress. We can move forward together, to build a society that we’re proud to bequeath to our children’s children. The alternative is hardly worth mentioning.
Dechinta, Youth Fusion, Wawatay/JHR, and the other articles collected here describe some of the new, welcome and long-overdue partnerships between Canada’s philanthropic and community sector and Indigenous youth. To these young people, we say: Through our mistakes and misfortunes, we have given you much to do. We dedicate this book to you, in the hope that the work described here will encourage others to follow these first brave steps on the path to true and enduring reconciliation.
The following is a collection of stories highlighting promising approaches in partnerships between non-profit organizations and indigenous youth. Written by rising and established indigenous and non-indigenous journalists, each story profiles a different partnership, with a focus on what worked, what didn’t, and lessons learned. Three of these stories (Dechinta, Exeko and and AbTeC) are also featured here in video format.