September 25, 2017
“I look white, so when I worked as an Indigenous hospital liaison I often got asked ‘don’t you have to be Indigenous to be in this role?’ It just goes to show how diverse we are as a culture and ethnicity. You can’t make any assumptions.”
A trained social worker, Lee is Vibrant Communities Calgary’s Community & Engagement Specialist. She came to Vibrant Communities Calgary after a lengthy career working on the “front lines” of poverty.
“Instead of intervening, I wanted to prevent people from entering the system in the first place.” Vibrant Communities Calgary is stewarding Calgary’s community-driven poverty reduction strategy, Enough for All, targeting the root causes of poverty.
Addressing the unique needs of Calgary’s Indigenous population is one of Enough for All’s key components. On October 12, the Indigenous Advisory Committee will host a special event, titled Reconciliation Journey - Walking a Path Together.
“We’re hoping to showcase more of the organizations that are addressing the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation report,” Lee says. In 2015, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published 94 ways in which civilians and officials can work together to repair the harm done by residential schools – including language, justice, child welfare, and education.
“It’s also an opportunity to get the broader Calgary community informed, and hopefully inspire people to learn more about the 94 calls to action and how you can help the Indigenous community.” The events of the day will also feature guest speakers and panel discussions interspersed with entertainment from Indigenous youth.
Lee says it’s been “healing” for her own experience to learn more about and understand the intergenerational trauma, and how colonization and racist policies have led the Indigenous community to where it is today. Lee’s grandmother is a residential school survivor, and the two have shared many long talks about it.
“Just hearing her story and how strong she was, it made me so proud.”
“I don’t want to be ashamed of being Indigenous, and I don’t want other young Indigenous people to grow up feeling shame either. We need to learn and understand, and share our truth with those around us – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.”
Click here to register for Reconciliation Journey on October 12, 2017.
Learn more about the Calls to Action and the Indigenous Strategy.
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Vote for Vibrant Communities Calgary as your favourite non-profit in REAP’s 2017 Be Local Awards!