New South Okanagan pilot program aims to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together to discuss reconciliation

Bridging reconciliation gaps

A new pilot program in the South Okanagan will bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members together in a safe space to spark ideas around how reconciliation can be achieved in day-to-day life.

Table Talks, which is being developed by the Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen in collaboration with IndiginEYEZ, hopes to help people respectfully build relationships and take action in both work and personal lives.

"As a fourth-generation settler, I know it can be hard and many of us are unsure where to begin,” says Kim English of the Community Foundation. “Change requires us to think, feel, and act differently.”

The idea for the program came from a conversation between English and Kelly Terbasket, Syilx Okanagan director of IndigenEYEZ, an Okanagan-based initiative that delivers popular land-based, creative empowerment training for Indigenous peoples.

Terbasket recently launched thekinSHIFT workshop series, after hearing from many non-Indigenous people that they wanted a way to cultivate meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples.

"As a mixed-heritage person, I’ve learned to transform my own internalized barriers to real connection,” says Terbasket.

“I have lived the divisions that colonization brought and I am committed to helping change this for our upcoming generations. While kinSHIFT is supporting businesses to do this work, Table Talks is an exciting way to bring these conversations into our neighbourhoods.”

Table Talks will be developed locally with the future aim of hosting such programs province-wide.

"Indigenous people have so much to offer,” says Terbasket.

“We are the roots of this country and need to be treated as such. In syilx culture, we have this powerful concept of p?ax? which speaks to the way that coming together as people can spark understanding. Table Talks can be the spark that helps light the way forward.”

The project is in the planning stages at this time, and anyone interested in learning more about the program as it develops or even hosting one of the conversations can visit indigenEYEZ.com to receive updates in the newsletter or connect with either Kelly [email protected] or Kim [email protected].

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