BC Association of Community Response Networks

Message from Executive Director Sherry Baker

While I write this at the end of June during an unprecedented heatwave and recuperating from knee replacement surgery, I have had lots to think about the events which have transpired over the last couple of months that have affected all of us in so many ways. June was jam-packed with special “days”: Intergenerational Day, WEAAD, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, PRIDE week, and ending with Canada Day on July 1. Woven throughout all these important reminders and activities has been the discovery of the unmarked graves of Indigenous children at Residential Schools throughout the land and the profound grief resulting along with the intergenerational damage which was done by those who took the land and exploited its people over generations.

So, what are we, as part of this amazing provincial organization – the BC CRN – doing about it? What can we do about it? Should we be worried about “doing”, or should we be more concerned with “being”? How can we shift our behaviour? How can we all become better informed about the important issues of genocide, reconciliation, decolonization? How can we learn to be sensitive to the pain and the grief and be beside our Indigenous brothers and sisters as they do their work?

I do not have the answers to any of these questions. However, I do know that we have a group of contractors, mentors, coordinators, and board members who care deeply and want to learn and share. We have included the work on decolonization and reconciliation in our Strategic Plan. We ensure that everyone on our team has the opportunity to work with elder, Kathi Camilleri, in her Building Bridges presentations. We circulate a wealth of information and witnessing to help us learn more and understand. We encourage our First Nations CRNs to pursue their healing work and be able to share it. We encourage each of our associates to pursue their own learning and understanding. We encourage discussion at all levels.

To quote Chief Cadmus Delorme from the Coweessess people – ‘…we don’t want to live in our current state. We want to be part of the economy. We want to be part of the growth…the social lives…We are asking that you stand beside us, that as we are gaining our control again – as indigenous people…that we have a better understanding”.

(Header Photo: Canadian Press – Paul Wright)