Reconciliation - A Starting Point

Lori StCyr, Community Learning Network

1 2 26 September 2023

As the leaves change from bold and bright lush greens, to magnificent oranges, yellows and reds, my mind wanders off to thoughts of what fall brings. Fall to many means kids going back to school, the end of days spent lying in the sun, out camping, harvesting from the land or garden, thoughts of trips not taken, or daydreams of warm summer nights spent at the lake. Fall is a time of preparation for the long winter ahead. 

For the Indigenous people of Canada, the fall can also mean many different things. It can be a time to hunt for a big fat moose, elk, or deer. It can mean it is a time to prepare for the upcoming winter: harvesting, gathering, and canning. In my community, you know when fall is here because you hear many quads going down the road, with riders who are off to look for the big fat moose. It can also mean a time of sorrow or sadness; a time of reflection and hope.

Fall brings many things to mind. For me, it is now a time to recognize the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation on September 30th when Canadians will mark this day in many ways.

As the Indigenous & Metis Liaison I often hear questions related to Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Questions such as, but not limited to:

• When do I offer tobacco and where do I purchase it?
• How do I offer protocol and what is an appropriate gift?
• How do I know if someone is an Elder?
• What is a Knowledge Keeper?
• Who can smudge?
• Why do people smudge?
• What are some Indigenous literature recommendations?
• What do I include in a land acknowledgment, and who should speak it/write it?

These are wonderful curious questions, and I appreciate each and everyone of them. I may not always have the answers, but I do know of some wonderful resources, lesson plans, books, and blogs that may help guide you to some of the answers. Please take a moment to explore some of the resources below. I would also be happy to sit with you to chat and learn about Indigenous ways of knowing and being, I, too, am a resource that is available to you!  

Blogs found on the CALP Portal:

Reflections from the Metis, Indigenous & Inuit CALP practitioners - Metis, Indigenous & Inuit CALP practitioners from across the province were asked to answer 3 questions to help inform the work we all do.

Growing up Niitsitapii in Canada – Lucile Provost, Indigenous Learner Liaison at the Pincher Creek Community Adult Learning Program, shares a three-part reading of Blackfoot History: Growing up Niitsitapii in Canada and Community Outreach in Piikani (Bee gun nee).

My Unsettling Journey - Donna Christinson (former North Regional Support) shares her ongoing decolonizing journey. 

Training & Events:

September 28, 2023 - National Day for Truth & Reconciliation online event. The CALP community will gather for a time of remembrance, reflection and learning. CLN invites you to join us to mark this day with our honoured guests. 

October 11-12, 2023 - Indigenous Learning in the CALP model: Creating Safer Spaces (Grande Prairie). Explore the role of culture and its implications on Indigenous Learners in the CALP model. We will be discussing concepts such as cultural bias and history while exploring specific strategies that will help facilitators create learning spaces and opportunities that will meet the needs of Indigenous learners.

November 15, 2023 – Ask Us Anything about Metis & Indigenous Worldview hosted by Lori St.Cyr, Metis & Indigenous Liaison. Join us as we draw on the wisdom and experience in the 'virtual' room. This Ask Us Anything session will focus on an Indigenous and Metis Worldview. This a safe place to ask the hard or uncomfortable questions. 


National Center for Truth and Reconciliation - A part of our mandate at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) is to raise awareness of the history and creation of the residential school system, its ongoing legacy, and how it has shaped the country we live in today. The teaching resources and educational programming we offer make it easier for the public to learn the truth about this tragic history. Education - NCTR

Canada's History Magazine – Listening to Survivors - Lesson Plan. Lesson plans included in this guide are designed to help teachers and students engage their hearts as well as their minds as they explore the publication together. Listening to Survivors Educational Package - Canada's History (

Indigenous Canada – University of Alberta's online course Indigenous Canada | University of Alberta ( Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores the different histories and contemporary perspectives of Indigenous peoples living in Canada.

Thank you for taking the time to learn, for asking the hard and uncomfortable questions and, most importantly, thank you for wanting to be an ally.


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