“Quite simply means to create harmony. You create harmony with truth and you build truth out of humility. That is spiritual. That is truth. That is Indian. Within us, as nations of Aboriginal people and as individual members of those nations, we have an incredible capacity for survival, endurance, and forgiveness. In the reconciliation with ourselves first, we find the ability to create harmony with others, and that is where it has to start – in the fertile soil of our own hearts, minds, and spirits”
– Richard Wagamese
(“Returning to Harmony,” in Speaking My Truth:
Reflections on Reconciliation & Residential School)
The WITS Programs Foundation attempts to be an ally of and work in harmony with Indigenous people in humble support of reconciliation:
- We endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (commonly called UNDRIP).
- All WPF staff have been educated in Indigenous cultural safety.
- Representatives attend the FNESC Aboriginal Education Conference.
- With a collaborative community-led approach, our trainers have brought the WITS Programs to dozens of Indigenous community schools.
- Andy Telfer, our Executive Director, is a past Board member of the Indigenous Perspectives Society.
WITS Book lists include a number of suggestions and lesson plans for books written by Indigenous authors and discussing Indigenous experiences, knowledge, and cultures. Visit https://witsprogram.ca/school/wits-books-and-lesson-plans/ to find books and lesson plans for your classroom.
The Indigenous Literature Kit, developed by a consortium of educational organizations in Alberta in 2017, has an extensive list of books specific to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and appropriate for Kindergarten through Grade 12. Details are available at http://empoweringthespirit.ca/indigenous-literature-kit/.
Orange Shirt Day is a growing national movement that encourages education about, recognition of, and support for survivors of the residential school system. To help your students understand why your school honours Orange Shirt Day, check out the resources for teachers on the Orange Shirt Day society website: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/teacher-resources.html.
WITS Programs are delivered throughout Canada, and thus take place on the territories of the many Indigenous peoples – First Nations, Inuit, and Metis – who have made their homes on this land for millenia.
WITS staff, and the WITS home office, work, play and benefit from living in the unceded territories of the Lkwungen (Songhees) & Wyomilth (Esquimalt) peoples of the Coast Salish Nation, and commit to continued learning and to acts of reconciliation and justice.