Circle aims to build relationship bridges

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   by BND    Comments closed

by Chris Bolster | [email protected]
Published: Wednesday, March 11, 2013 9:00 PM PST


Approximately 20 people gathered at Tla’amin Community Health last month to hear information about an upcoming workshop that will help build new bridges and strengthen existing ties between aboriginal and other Canadian communities.

Chief Robert Joseph and John McCandless are leading a relationship-building workshop called Bright New Day Reconciliation Circle at the Salish Centre at Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation on March 14-15. They are part of Chief Robert Joseph and Associates, a North Vancouver educational firm which focuses on developing a culture of understanding.

“The more we get to know each other, the more we can appreciate each other’s values,” said McCandless. “When we begin to understand where each other is coming from, the less likely we are to want to damage the relationship.”

Joseph and McCandless developed the workshop after Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology for the government’s use of residential schools to assimilate aboriginal children and the lasting harm it caused which has rippled through generations.

“It was an incredible moment,” said McCandless, “but we realized that the apology wouldn’t lead too far if we couldn’t create a grassroots movement to meet it halfway.

Joseph and McCandless have been conducting reconciliation workshops across the province since 2009 for mixed audiences of both aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians. The Tla’amin reconciliation circle will be number eight for the pair.

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