The ConnectR Story
Reconciliation Saskatoon is a community of over 115 organizations, non-profits, businesses and partners who have come together towards one mission: to initiate a citywide conversation about Reconciliation and provide opportunities for everyone to engage in calls to action. Led by The Office of the Treaty Commissioner and The City of Saskatoon, and joined by the Saskatoon Tribal Council and Central Urban Métis Federation Inc., we host the hugely successful “Rock Your Roots” Walk for Reconciliation on National Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Saskatoon every year.
ConnectR is our latest project and evolved out of a desire to share the opportunities we experience through Reconciliation Saskatoon beyond our circle.
- listen to each other and build new relationships;
- learn from one another;
- build a shared future;
- create change and live Reconciliation together.
CONNECTR FIRST STEPS
We formed a dedicated committee of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who participated in planning sessions, meetings and brainstorming. Our group included Elders and Residential School survivors at each meeting to guide us, teach us, and inform our process. We developed a set of Guiding Principles to make sure our process was connected to Elders, Survivors and Indigenous communities and ways of knowing. Our project name, logo and content was all developed through consultation with these supports, as well as sessions with youth and members of our broader community.
When we were ready, we engaged a team from Creative Fire, who listened intently, read these principles, and even walked with us at the Walk for Reconciliation. We want to especially acknowledge the work of Greg Miller and Julie Wriston for creating a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous talents to work on ConnectR and who took very seriously the need to approach this project from a unique perspective.
YOUTH CHAMPION INITIATIVE
One thing the Elders and Survivors emphasized was a need to engage youth, the next generation—to involve them in Reconciliation. So we developed a Youth Champion Initiative where we hired six youth and a coordinator to embark upon their own journeys of Reconciliation, using the ConnectR site as a tool along the way. We invited them to share their experiences through social media and events, and reach out to the broader community with their stories. Right now, we are working with an Indigenous and newcomer youth to develop an exciting new podcast.
Along the way, we have learned that Reconciliation is a journey, a path. You can’t do one thing and say your journey is complete. Reconciliation is a lifelong learning process and ConnectR is there to support you along the way.
Of course, ConnectR is just a starting point. Click here to learn more about how to use the site, but understand that we are continually evolving our content as we continue our work. We invite you to be part of that process by recommending actions that you took to further your Reconciliation journeys, or resources that have been useful to you. Your feedback is very valuable.
A huge thank you to our financial supporters: the Saskatoon Community Foundation, the Community Initiatives Fund, the City of Saskatoon and SaskCulture. We have also received in-kind support from the City of Saskatoon and Office of the Treaty Commissioner. And thanks to our many volunteers who have invested their time and hearts in being ConnectRs.