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#CraftReconciliation: Building Bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Communities

May 24, 2016

“Reconciliation is in your hands. You will build the future of this country… So go ahead and ‘craft’ it!” – Wab Kinew

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has resulted in the creation of many projects that are working to build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. These initiatives have focused on strengthening knowledge sharing and creating meaningful dialogue in hopes of facilitating connections that lead to enhanced solidarity across the country. One such project that has worked to build these connections is the #CraftReconciliation challenge.

This initiative was first proposed by Wab Kinew, a musician, broadcaster and author originally from Northwestern Ontario who is now a provincial politician in Manitoba. #CraftReconciliation is a unique opportunity for students to talk about what reconciliation means to them. It encourages First Nations and non-First Nations youth to openly discuss the topic of reconciliation, followed by crafting their own ideas of what this should look like within the computer game Minecraft, or through any medium of artistic expression they wish. Students at Wikwemikong High School on Manitoulin Island are participating in this project, communicating primarily with students within the Simcoe County District School Board. #CraftReconciliation is also one of many projects that is using technology as a tool to connect youth. It has provided youth the opportunity to share their voices with one another across different spaces, using tools such as Google hangouts to discuss reconciliation. One student who is partaking in this project stated that, “It was pretty eye opening to know that there are other schools, not only First Nations students talking about this.

You also have Canadian citizens who aren’t aboriginal who are talking about what we think would be the right way to start reconciliation…what would be the best suggestion for everyone in Canada to learn about it”. The use of technology tools, such as Minecraft, to help facilitate dialogue around reconciliation has created a space where youth can develop a greater understanding of one another’s experiences, fostering a greater sense of social connectedness. This space provides the opportunity to grow relationships and build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

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In line with sharing knowledge and ideas between communities around the topic of reconciliation and the work being done by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, is the creation of an Idea Book by the TakingITGlobal Indigenous Youth Advisory Circle (IYAC). The IYAC is part of the Explore150 project, representing perspectives from 30 Indigenous communities across Canada. It was established to increase contact and understanding across Indigenous communities and between First Nations, Inuit and Metis people and non-indigenous people in Canada and beyond. In collecting and publishing the perspectives of these young people, a platform was created to help develop meaningful dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. The conversation around reconciliation for youth is continuing to grow, with various tools, including mobile apps around gaining knowledge of the history of residential schools, being implemented to assist with the sharing of knowledge. Using technology and creating resources for youth, by youth, has been beneficial as students are “really, really engaged in the process [as it is] clearly relevant and meaningful for them. These [projects] have given them a common content to rally around” a space where youth can have their voices be heard.

The use of technology as a tool to help build bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities has resulted in a space for youth in which relationships can be created. This ultimately results in the fostering of social connectedness, ensuring that reconciliation is an act dependent upon everyone and their connected support of one another.