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In fall 2020, 5 Narayever members were very fortunate to have spent 10 evenings with 5 indigenous people from various parts of Canada on Zoom.  The purpose was to establish an environment of trust where we could all learn and openly discuss issues that are important to move forward with reconciliation.  The sessions were led by two facilitators with topics ranging from Dispelling Misconceptions, the meaning of Land, the Indian Act, Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop, Treaties, the Justice system etc. All participants found the experience extremely educational and moving. Below are some personal statements. 

Kelly Francis

Thank you for inviting me to contribute to your newsletter.  I am Kanieh'kehá:ka from Akwesasne.  I was honoured to be one of the facilitators for Circles for Reconciliation and was privileged to have members of your Synagogue as part of our Circle.  Participating and facilitating these circles is a unique experience where I am not only afforded the opportunity to share information about and discuss the history of Indigenous people in Canada, the effects of colonialism and systemic racism on my people, and even more specifically - on my family and the effects of intergenerational trauma, but it's also a unique  opportunity to learn.  In the Circles I have been in, I take something away every time from both our Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants.  Reconciliation to me is about creating a balance in our country in the way we treat each other, connect with each other and recognize the history of our country that has been kept in the shadows for so long.  My favorite part about talking about Reconciliation is how it makes people feel - uncomfortable as it may be.  Unless you feel something for what you're learning about the injustices inflicted on Canada's Indigenous peoples in the past and continuing today, why would you care?  These feelings are what fuel change and challenge our biases.  Talking about our history has stoked a flame in me to begin learning my language and learning more about my culture.  I feel like these things were taken from my family so long ago -we can't even trace it without getting church records. Even then, we don't know what answers we'll get. All this said, I am happy to have been part of the Circles for Reconciliation and thrilled to have made lasting personal connections with other participants.  

Janine Jack

I am a young Assiniboine-Anishinaabe woman on Treaty 1 Territory Land in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I really enjoyed my time with Circles for Reconciliation, and I wish it didn't have to end. Before I joined, I was quite nervous because I was not really aware of what kind of people I was going to encounter but they ended up to be really amazing people with big questions for me because I am Indigenous woman and I was raised in a Pentecostal home. I never really had answers about my Indigenous background. Instead, I wanted to share my experiences of being racially profiled, not having territory on my own land, or not being able to have a voice. In this Circle, I felt like I was actually heard. Everyone can make a difference by breaking those stereotypes if we listen to one another. 

Lucille Narun

Each Circle began with participants reading the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe:

LOVE: it is important to care for one another

HONESTY: better to fail with honesty than succeed by fraud

RESPECT: give it, earn it, receive it.

TRUTH: it is always easiest to speak the truth

HUMILITY: to be humble about your accomplishments is to be strong

COURAGE: let nothing stand in the way of doing the right thing

WISDOM: with hard work and dedication will come knowledge

Each time I heard these words, I felt that the world would be a far better place if everyone lived by these principles!

Meeting and getting to know the indigenous members of the circle was a real privilege!  They were so generous with sharing their own and their families’ experiences, which were sometimes very painful to tell. I learned so much and hope to continue, and I plan to do some small things to help with moving forward towards reconciliation. 

Thank you to Kelly and Pat for your excellent facilitation and a huge thank you to all my new Circle friends!

Isabella Meltz

The Circle of Reconciliation provided a wonderful opportunity to listen to and learn about Indigenous history and experiences.  It created a safe place for all of us to gather and discuss the horrendous treatment of Indigenous people by Canada/Canadians and how they have sustained themselves over the years. I will never forget the faces and voices of the Circle and I will continue to work towards reconciliation.

Justine Silver

Two words stand out from participating in our Circle of Reconciliation: acknowledgement and respect. These, to me, are the foundation of healing. Making personal connections helped contextualize the modern-day lived experience of being Indigenous in Canada.  I’m full of gratitude for the opportunity to participate, to all participants who shared so openly, to the facilitators and to Laraine for organizing us NarayeverNics.

Laraine Naft

I am so grateful to the Indigenous Circle participants for their willingness to connect the dots between the history we were reading  in each Circle and the current lives they were living.  Describing the personal impact on themselves for our learning was enormously helpful and exceptionally generous.

Below are several examples of how past mistreatment of Indigenous peoples continues to impact individuals and communities to this day:

Past Present
The history of residential schools (that operated across Canada from 1892 until 1996 when First Nations’ children were forcibly removed from their families and communities) and the 60’s scoop (when the child welfare system “scooped” children from their homes often without notice, claiming they were unwanted) Some participants imagined that, as children growing up in single parent homes or as single parents raising children, they or their children could have been removed without recourse
The Pass System (that began in 1885 and lasted 60 years) required Indigenous people to obtain a pass to be allowed off reserve and could be jailed if found without one Sometimes it felt that it was still in play when they were regularly racially profiled in stores where clerks followed them around while they shopped and then asked for their invoice as they left the store
First Nation people admitted to university lost their status rights Could be connected to current high drop-out rates in schools
Indian Act forbade First Nations people from forming political organizations  Some Indigenous people are reticent to publicly protest

We already have a few FNC members on the waiting list for another Circle, should we be able to arrange one.  In the meantime, you can  register on your own for a Circle with people from across the country. Please visit their website at

Fri, March 1 2024 21 Adar I 5784