By Shari Narine
Sweetgrass Contributing Editor
October 27, 2016.
From theory to practise. That’s how Brian Calliou wants to see reconciliation moving in the Bow Valley after this weekend.
“I think we’re going to have a mass of people in one region really working together,” said Calliou, program director at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, close to 200 delegates will gather at the Banff centre to take part in a Truth and Reconciliation Summit.
“The majority of the delegates are from the Bow Valley,” said Calliou. “What we decided to do when we started to explore doing this was to take a regional approach.”
The Bow Valley lies in Treaty 7 territory and includes people from the Stoney Nakoda Nation, members of the Chiniki, Wesley and Bearspaw First Nations. These members interact with residents, business people, educators, and service delivers in Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise and Eckshaw. It’s this interaction that the summit is targeting.
“Nobody is resisting against the (Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s) calls to action. They just don’t know what to do or how to go about it. I think that’s what we’re providing,” said Calliou, who has been heartened by the quick sell-out of the conference and the 200-plus names on a waiting list.
“There seems to be this phenomenon across the country where all kinds of sectors … are really taking action on their departments to look at how they live-in to the calls to action,” he said.
Along with local delegates there are about 70 people – including TRC commissioner Dr. Marie Wilson, former Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine, and human rights lawyer Kathleen Mahony -- from across Canada, who Calliou refers to as “sparks.”
“We want them to share the initiatives they already have underway in different various sectors,” he said.
But Calliou says they will be sharing more than what has already been accomplished: they will be sharing how to do the work.
“We’re really trying in this short one-day to move from the awareness and the truth part … to getting them into conversations … to motivate and inspire and actually own a call to action,” he said.
Calliou says participants can take broad actions - in their sector or community organizations – or personally, such as within their families or their own lives.
At the end of the day, participants will anonymously mark sticky notes with actions they will be taking. Those notes will go up on a wall.
“We want to have a big visual. They’re going to look like the sparks … to live-in to a call to action, to livein to the right relationships,” said Calliou.
The day’s findings – what actions have been taken across the country and what the Bow Valley plans to undertake – will also be captured in a report that the centre will share with other institutions and organizations.
“It will be something they can turn to and at least read and hopefully get excited about what they might do themselves,” he said.
Calliou notes that Banff centre staff, directors and board members will have one more day with the special guests, learning and listening and then putting that knowledge into a framework for operation at the centre.
“So we’re doing it partly for ourselves, partly for this valley and really partly for all Canadians and other institutions and organizations who can read our report,” he said.
The Saturday conference will also be livestreamed.
This logo, created by graphic designer Martha de Santiago for the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity’s Truth and Reconciliation Summit, consists of 94 sparks – one for each call to action - floating up the page as if caught by the wind. A black shape represents the dark past that must be acknowledged. Overlaid are two almost-intertwined shapes representing a compassionate and honest dialogue—the idea of working together while maintaining diversity.