Truth and Reconciliation statement
The Southern Gulf Island Neighborhood House’s Truth and Reconciliation statement represents our staff, volunteers, and board members’ investment in promoting reconciliation through listening, reflecting, learning, and action. We recognize that our work towards reconciliation will always be a work in progress and must be demonstrated through actions and not by declaration alone.
With great respect, the Southern Gulf Island Neighborhood House’s confirms that our work takes place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples. We are situated on the unceded territories of the W̱SÁNEĆ Indigenous people who have lived here for more than 10,000 years ago. The W̱SÁNEĆ Indigenous people are known as being part of the Coast Salish First Nations, including the Tsawout, Tseycum, Tsartlip, Pauquachin, Penelakut, Lyackson, and others. It is with gratitude that we extend our services throughout Indigenous territories across the west coast of Turtle Island.
As a settler-dominated organization, we recognize our participation in the historical and ongoing violence and systemic bias of oppressive colonial systems. The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harm brought on by centuries of intergenerational trauma, erasure, and historical abuse is unfathomable and inexcusable. As an organization, we are committed to change this. Further, the Southern Gulf Island Neighborhood House commits to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and advocate for the dignity and well-being of the Indigenous community throughout our work.
We must do better to advance truth and reconciliation in our work and to continuously hold it as a priority. We strive to build programs committed to decolonizing spaces. It is therefore with gratitude and respect that we address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, and in particular the following Calls to Action which are especially applicable to our work:
- We call upon those who can effect change within the Canadian health-care system to recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices and use them in the treatment of Aboriginal patients in collaboration with Aboriginal healers and Elders where requested by Aboriginal patients.
- We call upon the federal government to establish multi-year funding for community-based youth organizations to deliver programs on reconciliation and establish a national network to share information and best practices.
- We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceedings with economic development projects.
- Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
- Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.