Circle Alberta Project
In 2008, the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights (JHC) presented Circle Alberta: Strengthening Relationships for Shared Prosperity. Inspired by former Assembly of First Nations Chief Ovide Mercredi's disheartening speech at the John Humphrey Centre’s 2006 Building World Peace: The Role of Religion and Human Rights conference, Circle Alberta was a dialogue process that engaged stakeholders on critical issues, incorporating relationship building as a guiding framework.
A critical need for continued and enhanced opportunities for dialogue and relationship building remains between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples. During the initial Circle Alberta gathering in October 2008, not only in each breakout was this stressed as something vital for the advancement of Aboriginal Peoples’ rights and development, but at the final wrap-up plenary, participants voted unanimously to continue dialogue and wanted to see another gathering in the future. To view the report from Phase I, click here.
Initiatives such as Wicihitowin and the Alberta Native Friendship Centres' Association's Common Ground are to be celebrated, embraced and supported as a dialogue approach that fosters Aboriginal empowerment and solution development. We see Circle Alberta contributing to and complementing these initiatives by creating communities of respect and understanding – by building bridges between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples and providing learning opportunities that move as well to a provincial, and potentially national, level of discussion and impact.
Youth Dialogues and Education
As part of Circle Alberta, the Centre has worked to build an awareness among youth of Canada's shared history. For example, in November 2011, 40 students in Edmonton spent a day with Elders to develop an understanding of the impact of the Residential School System. We have also collaborated with YOUCAN to develop and deliver an intensive two-day workshop forcing youth to face their prejudices and misunderstandings. Finally, offering sessions in schools on Treaty Rights, the Residential Schools System and other issues is an ongoing effort. If you are interested in hosting us at your school, don't hesitate to contact us.
Dinner Table Dialogues
The dinner table is a sacred space that fosters sharing, understanding and collaboration. The Centre has created a toolkit for hosts to plan these dinners that will involve an intimate gathering of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal People to share their memories and foster relationships. Consider hosting a dialogue and be part of this movement to healing and reconciliation in Canada. View the toolkit for more information.
Community Based Dialogues – Film and Discussion Nights
Using films and documentaries as a launching point, these facilitated community based dialogues provide a venue that fosters stronger relationships in the community. They will provide a safe space to reflect on the issues that concern the community as well as share memories and stories to build a collective understanding on these issues. A toolkit has been created to help foster these conversations.
Provincial Gathering 2013
In the fall of 2013, the provincial gathering for Circle Alberta will be a smaller more intimate event which will work to bring key individuals together to focus on developing a framework and vision for the future of the initiative, but also to allow time for participants to reflect and spend time on developing projects and skills related to promoting respect and reciprocity. Over three and a half days in a remote location, participants will engage with speakers to build an enhanced understanding of issues, participate in capacity building sessions to improve their ability to deliver projects, and develop collaborative plans focused on advancing indigenous rights in their community and across Alberta. For more information, visit our events section.