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  • Writer's pictureCarmen Lansdowne

Haíɫcístut, not reconciliation

Last week marked Canada's very first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation - a new federal statutory holiday.

It was an intense week: dinner with my mentor/coach where I received affirmation about starting this consultancy, four deaths from my home community, another funeral in my wider circle, and attending a reconciliation event on the actual day.

I also had dozens of messages from friends and colleagues sending love, strength, and also sharing the things they were doing to mark the day. It was all good, just emotionally heavy.

One thing that stuck out was our Heiltusk First Nation's promotion of the Haíɫcístut agreement we've just signed with the Province of British Columbia. Our elders didn't like the word "reconciliation" because to them to reconcile is to repair the relationship between two parties who have wronged each other. Our elders are very clear that we didn't do anything wrong - our land and our children were taken from us, and our customs were outlawed for decades.

Haíɫcístut was the word the elders wanted us to use - it means "to turn things around and to make things right again."

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