Committing to the Truth of Our Past

Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada presented the Executive Summary of their final report along with the 94 Calls to Action three years ago, Canadians and Edmontonians have been challenged to keep the process of reconciliation going. At the Edmonton Heritage Council, we have taken this commitment to heart. Over the past several months, the EHC board and staff have created a plan that will be our path forward on this journey.

Part of the EHC’s commitment to reconciliation lies in the support of projects and ideas that continue to unearth the dark parts of our collective past to further everyone’s understanding of who we are. Over the past several years through the Heritage Community Investment Program and sponsorships support, EHC has invested in many initiatives that help to shed a light on the Indigenous experience in our city. Organizations like Kahteyak Education Society and Papashchase Cree Nation Society has newly benefited from support from EHC to explore their own Indigenous roots in Edmonton and connect that to the present. We have also been able to support heritage-based organizations, like La Cité Francophone, Silver Skate Festival, Ground Zero Productions, and Société Généalogique du Nord-Ouest to find ways to include the Indigenous perspective in their heritage work.

Within the Edmonton Heritage Council, we are also committed to working differently and being leaders within Edmonton’s heritage community. We recently updated our vision statement to acknowledge our place on Treaty Six and the principles of truth and reconciliation. Our staff have identified eight of the Calls to Action that EHC can have a direct role influencing in Edmonton and created an implementation plan for action on them in the coming year. As an organization, the Edmonton Heritage Council wants to inspire others in our city to begin to work through a lens of reconciliation. For us, this means intentional learning, understanding, and relationship building based on mutual respect and honesty.

Now is a good time to reflect on the progress we have made in truth sharing and reconciliation. We are in the middle of Reconciliation Week in Edmonton and there are many people finding ways to recommit and engage with this cause. The Edmonton Heritage Council is proud to be a part of these celebrations, as a supporter of many events including the Asian-Canadian Film Series screening of “All Our Father’s Relations” and the screening of our own film “Camsell” in Enoch Cree Nation.

Later this month, EHC will be inviting our members and partners in Edmonton’s heritage community together for an honest conversation about how reconciliation impacts the stories we share about our city’s past. We are all on this journey together and we need to find ways to learn, connect, and share with and from one another.

To honour the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, we must find ways to live reconciliation every day. This means continually finding small ways to further our understanding of the past and present while planning to work differently going forward. At the EHC, we want to continue to challenge ourselves to reflect on the history of this place, find ways to honour this past, and strive to include diverse perspectives in our work.