Augustana's Workshops in Building Capacity for Reconciliation bolstered by community participation

Augustana's Workshops in Building Capacity for Reconciliation allow students, staff and faculty to interact with community members to learn about the current and historic experiences of Indigenous people in Canada and use that information to further reconciliation efforts in their own lives.

Tia Lalani - 09 September 2019

The Workshops in Building Capacity for Reconciliation include presentations and discussions where participants can learn more about historic and current experiences of Indigenous People in Canada and further reconciliation efforts within their own lives. Photo courtesy of Augustana Indigenous Student Services.

This September, Augustana will launch the fourth year of its Workshops in Building Capacity for Reconciliation program. The program is open to members of the larger Camrose and area communities, alongside Augustana students, staff and faculty who want to learn more about historic and current experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and use that new insight to further reconciliation within their own spheres of influence.

Participants can register in the workshops program to become eligible to receive a co-curricular Certificate in Building Capacity for Reconciliation from Augustana, or without registering, attend the series of public talks that will be part of this program.

"We're excited to include members of the public again this year," said Megan Caldwell, Director of Indigenous Student Services at Augustana. "Having community members is really important because it brings more diversity to the group. We have folks participating who are retired, farmers and people who are actively working with Indigenous communities in their jobs as well as Indigenous people who want to come out and learn more."

Six workshops will take place roughly once a month, in the evening, from September to March. Different topics, linked to broad themes stemming from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final report and 94 Calls to Action, will be explored with invited guests providing context of the historic and current experiences of Indigenous Peoples both locally and across Canada. Some of the workshops will include a public presentation, and all workshops will include an in-depth exploration of the session's topic for registered participants.

"Having the workshop paired with the presentations gives people a chance to talk about what they just heard or saw," says Caldwell. "You're able to have that conversation and unpack in the moment and hopefully see how it applies to your own life and your own work."

The workshop series will kick off with a session just for registered participants, featuring a lecture from Augustana history professor Daniel Sims, and working through the experiential KAIROS Blanket Exercise. Other workshop highlights include: Piikani archaeology with Eldon Yellowhorn; a presentation on the Maskwacis Education Schools Commission with Superintendent Brian Wildcat and others; understanding the meaning behind beadwork with author Gregory Scofield and others; and in partnership with the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre, two workshops featuring performers from two of their offerings this year: Unikkaaqtuat and Mission Songs Project.

Along with learning through history, performance, art, practice and more, the workshops offer a safe space for discussion.

"A big part of these workshops is making people comfortable talking about these issues," Caldwell said. "Reconciliation isn't going to happen top down-we need people to talk to each other and understand each other's perspective."

If you are interested in registering your interest to participate in the 2019-2020 workshop series, please find more information (including a registration form) here: Registrations will be open until 4:00 pm on September 11, 2019.