''RECONCILIATION'' - What does it mean to you?

A traveling exhibition, 2017

The Art Hives Network invites everyone to join in a humble, creative inquiry about the settler’s role in the Truth and Reconciliation work being done in support of establishing and restoring Indigenous people’s rights across Canada.This exploration doesn’t require answers and opinions, but time for neighbourhoods to come together for critical personal and collective reflection and art making about a topic that may be uncomfortable, uncertain, and unclear.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada (www.trc.ca) met between 2008 and 2015, with the aim to unveil the truth about the extent of the abuse inflicted on Indigenous people through the residential school system, which existed in Canada from the early 1800’s to 1996.The Commission’s main goal is for the experiences of the Indigenous people to be heard by all Canadians.This action became the first step towards Truth and Reconciliation.

The Art Hives Network joins Reconciliation Canada (2017) in believing that ''each person has an important role to play in reconciliation. Reconciliation begins with oneself and then extends into our families, relationships, workplaces and eventually into our communities.’’

Inspired by the TRC’s Calls to Action, our hope is that through uncovering and examining how our individual and family stories intersect with colonization and engaging in spontaneous art making and dialogue with one another, we can begin to unpack the colonial wounds inflicted on indigenous people.This « unsettling the settler » work (Regan, 2010) will help us understand how practices we participate in today might still be causing harm to the first peoples across Turtle Island.When we practice listening to each other there is hope that together with indigenous neighbors we can dismantle institutions that cling, perhaps unknowingly to worn out colonial methods. If small groups of people are committed to a concilitatory process, we may begin to imagine a shared future without oppression and poverty, and in which all could experience the security of having access to clean water, land, and air. Restoule (2015), member of the Dokis First Nation (Anishnaabe) and professor of Indigenous Studies, states that ’’Reconciliation is a process of relationship building. Like the treaties, it has to be co-created, reflected upon and acted upon continually to remain relevant and alive.The potential exists for a new era of mutual respect but we each need to reflect upon our relationships and responsibilities towards each other.’’

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