A Community Association is helping people to understand the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report and move towards action.
The Regina Heritage Community Association is beginning a six-month session of readings and discussions on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. The first meeting is March 27, 2018.
The program began two years ago when Shayna Stock took over as the Executive Director at the Heritage Community Association. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report came out about a year before. “I personally wanted to read the report,” said Stock. “And also wanted other people in the community to share my reflections as we read through it.”
Stock said the recent Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine acquittals have changed tone of the meetings recently. People are emotional and passionate.
Almost half of the Heritage population is either Indigenous or new Canadians. “Our role is to serve and represent the Heritage neighborhood,” Stock said. “[The meetings are] a great opportunity for us as an organization to be holding space for people to connect across cultures and people to be learning from one another.”
Stock said she hopes to move people toward reconciliation and help people figure out what they can do. “Sometimes I wonder if there really needs to be that much more talking about it and what we can do to move the conversation that we have at this table into action,” Stock said. “It’s really open but I always try to bring it back to action and things we can do locally within our own families, neighborhoods, organizations.”
Stock hopes people will show support and build relationships with Indigenous peoples, and stand up against racism.
Nick Andrews, an American, now lives in Regina and attended the history reading session because he believed it was important to read the report and to better understand his new country. Before the meeting, Andrews had not read the report. “Equal parts because it’s difficult content to get through, it’s a difficult read, and also just not taking the time,” Andrews said.
“As a part of the group, helping the community talk through it and deal with what was in it felt like a really good way to approach it,” Andrews said. “The meeting was informal, organic, and helped attendees to understand the content in an open and welcoming environment.”
Andrews said that everyone was given time to speak and no one was told what to think. “It was reflecting on what this means and what it looks like for all of us personally.”
“There are people living in the country in Indigenous communities that have had a profoundly different experience than those who are born in wealthier communities. And the legacy… that won’t get better I think, until all of us have a better understanding of how it happened and preventing it from happening again.”
Andrews hopes people will do more than talk. “[Conversations are] not improving drinking water for kids growing up on reservations, and it doesn’t improve social services and work training and it doesn’t lift anybody else out of poverty. It’s one of the kind of small incremental steps that need to be taken.”
Stock hopes the interest in the group continues. “It’s really open to anybody wherever you are in your learning process of understanding the history of residential schools and their impact today,” Stock says. “As long as you’re willing to sit and have this conversation with us then we invite you to come.”
Seven months ago, the Heritage Community Association partnered with the Regina Public Library for support for the meetings. This partnership provides the group with supplementary resources and the library also provides free bannock and jam.
For more information about attending go to: https://heritagecommunityassociation.com/adult-programs/trc-report-reading-group/ .