WHY do Walk With Me?
In developing this activity, the descendants of immigrants on our creative team were mindful to not take on a re-colonizing stance of speaking for Indigenous peoples in Canada. At the same time, we were determined to avoid always putting Indigenous co-facilitators in the position of having to be the authorities on the delivery of cultural content. Instead, we felt that we could do our own work by drawing on the writings of Indigenous authors and historical documents. It is with this intention that Walk With Me invites participants to engage with the enormous well of existing writings by Indigenous authors that give voice to their visions of their own cultural lives and their direct experiences of the legacies of colonization. We hoped that fostering a personal and embodied investment with these profoundly moving stories would lead participants to "hearing" the perspectives of Indigenous peoples in a new way. We further hoped that an experiential activity that promotes a deeply felt understanding could stir a renewed commitment to building connections with people in Indigenous communities, and taking steps necessary to forge the kind of relationships that lead to sustained support.
We recognize that creating an accessible, relational project that brings Indigenous people and descendants of immigrants together has been important, but is not nearly enough to achieve significant reconciliation. The Heron People Circle members who guided this project echoed this concern and rejected the casual use of the term "reconciliation" for token actions. We agree and, embracing their guidance, we have intentionally framed our efforts in this project as only one step on the long path toward giving full voice to truths and making full efforts toward reconciliation.
Among the collection of writings used in Walk With Me, we have included material written by several non-Indigenous authors who are committed to addressing the impact and legacy of colonization, and who model what a stance of working toward building right relations might involve. One of these writers is Paulette Regan in her book, Unsettling the Settler Within.