If you’re wondering what you can do to participate in reconciliation, there are many many ways you can do something meaningful. It can be as simple as listening to a podcast such as Ryan McMahon’s Red Man Laughing or Molly Swain and Chelsea Vowel’s Métis in Space. It can be more involved like volunteering for a Native Friendship Centre or participating in a blanket exercise.
The most important thing is to start learning about what has happened and what is still happening to Indigenous people. It may also be a good idea to balance that out with some positive experiences by taking a beadwork class or participating in a round dance. If you prefer to talk, you can attend fireside chats and talk with elders and other participants. Other ways include reading books, watching documentaries, visiting a museum or participating in organizing native events.
One of the best things I ever did was to decide to make a colouring book series with Indigenous artists and elders. It gave me a project to organize and talk about, a reason to reach out and connect with people from different nations around me. For each of the books, I looked for 2 artists and one elder. I met with them individually and explained my vision of the project to them. That was for each book to include their artwork and teachings and to be an introduction to their culture.
A portion of every book sold is paid to the artists and elders as royalties, which helps them with their livelihood, and also is a way of showing them appreciation for sharing their talent and knowledge with all of us. When you support artists and elders, you are supporting the backbone of an Indigenous community. One of Colouring It Forward’s core values is to preserve the ancestral wisdom of our people and to make it accessible to anyone who is searching for that path. Colouring It Forward also aims to provide opportunities for people to connect with Indigenous art and to learn about Indigenous peoples’ values and beliefs so that we can build appreciation and support for one another. We make donations on your behalf from each product sold to Indigenous projects that support education, language revitalization and economic development.