The lasting impacts of residential schools were brought home this past weekend. Maggie Mercredi facilitated a half-day workshop about the residential school legacy for our board and staff members.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants had varied experiences and exposure to the residential school legacy. We shared some laughter, amidst emotional reactions of sadness, hurt, discomfort and pain. Two residential school survivors shared their experiences, along with an intergenerational survivor, Maxine Lacorne.
There were many lessons learned.
- We need to consider the trauma and impacts of residential school in our work and relationships with Indigenous people.
- Everyone’s experience is unique to them.
- We need to acknowledge our country’s role in the residential school legacy, and support the healing journey among Indigenous friends, colleagues, students and co-workers.
The workshop was part of the NWT Literacy Council’s commitment during this year of reconciliation. We hope to continue discussions about reconciliation among board and staff members, including how we can improve understandings and relationships with the diverse population we serve.
The board’s three days of deliberations also included our annual meeting on the weekend.
Bylaw change due to funding challenges
Members agreed to change our bylaws to allow a minimum of one face-to-face board meeting a year. Our bylaws required that we have a minimum of two in-person meetings a year for the past almost 30 years.
The change was made necessary by the evolving nature of funding for our organization and many non-government groups. For some of our history we received core funding from the federal government. That was taken away from all territorial and provincial literacy groups a few years ago. We are not able to include travel expenses to bring our board members together in our project funding.
We were able to continue with two meetings a year for the past few years but know that isn’t financially possible this year, and perhaps not for at least some future years.
— Kathryn Barry Paddock