Reconciliation is a collective journey with no clear endpoint and this year has further demonstrated how important that journey continues to be.
We would like to thank everyone who took reconciliACTION in 2022 and joined us on this journey to foster meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Here is a snapshot of how we built awareness and education and made connections to move reconciliation forward this year.
Legacy Schools Program Continues to Grow
4th Riverside South Girl Guides made Every Child Matters bookmarks and started reading Land Acknowledgements regularly at meetings. They also had a campfire discussion about the residential school system where they read the book On the Trapline and listened to Gord Downie’s song, ‘The Stranger’.
As the Legacy Schools program continues to grow, students and youth are broadening their understanding of Indigenous perspectives and taking reconciliACTION. Since September we have received over 120 reconciliACTIONs from Legacy Schools!
- 6,785 educators are registered in the program, receiving free educational tools and resources
- 5,541 active schools/clubs engaging Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth in education, awareness, and action
- Over 6,785 total booster kits and toolkits distributed for the 22/23 school year so far
Do you know someone who works with youth? Tell them to sign up to join the Legacy Schools program to receive their free toolkit! What a great gift – the gift of awareness, education and connection: www.LegacySchools.ca
86+ Artist Ambassadors
Artist Ambassador and 2-time JUNO Award-winner, Leela Gilday, did an in-school visit at Range Lake North School with Ms. Townsend’s class in Yellowknife, NWT, as well as a music class at Chief Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School in Edzo, NWT.
Over the past year, we have been able to hold multiple Artist Ambassador engagements, reaching rural, remote, and northern communities, and connecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth with Indigenous artists.
Since January 2022:
- 20 Artist Ambassador visits, including 15 in-person visits in rural, remote, and urban communities, with all provinces and territories to receive an in-person or virtual visit by the end of 2022
- 1,939 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth were engaged through the Artist Ambassador visits
- National Indigenous Peoples Day at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON featured 3 of our newest Artist Ambassadors
- 14 DWF LIVE events were hosted during Secret Path Week (Oct. 17-22), reaching 248 Legacy Schools, including schools in rural, remote, and northern communities
- We now have 86 Artist Ambassadors and the program continues to grow
Youth Ambassador Program Doubles in Size
Each Youth Ambassador receives their own toolkit. Here’s what was included in the 2022 toolkit!
The Youth Ambassador program hosted 84 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth throughout July and August. During the 4-week program, youth took part in various training sessions and hands-on workshops to help build their understanding of reconciliation. From land-based learning and self-sovereignty with Ecko Aleck to beading with Lindsey Lickers, our Youth Ambassadors developed their skills and learned how to become leaders in their local community.
Following the program, the youth had the opportunity to join our Youth Ambassador Committee to give their input and share their ideas. There are currently 32 active committee members from the 2021 and 2022 cohorts.
Check out some of this year’s Youth Ambassador reconciliACTIONS below:
Indigenous History Month 2022
Throughout June 2022, DWF celebrated Indigenous History Month with virtual programming featuring teachings and performances from the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, ending with a special Canada-wide episode that highlighted the beauty of these three regions. We learned about different Indigenous languages, sacred herbs and medicines from the land, traditional songs, Indigenous inventions, and more! In case you missed any of this year’s programming, you can view all four episodes any time over on our YouTube channel.
National Indigenous Peoples Day at Scotiabank Arena
Students gathered at Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto, ON for a day of education and celebration in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day. DWF Artist Ambassador, Theland Kicknosway, opened the event with a special teaching and hoop dance performance.
On June 21, 2022, as part of Indigenous History Month, DWF proudly partnered with Scotiabank and Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment (MLSE) for a special one-day event to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Over 1,000 students gathered at Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto, ON and thousands more joined virtually to hear from Indigenous Elders, performers, speakers, and artists, who showcased their work, stories, and knowledge. Students had the honour of hearing from the Wenjack and Downie families about how we can continue to move reconciliation forward in our lives and communities. After the concert, students visited a series of learning stations around the concourse of the arena and participated in meaningful discussions.
Visit our website today to watch the concert, learn more about the learning stations, and enjoy photos from the day!
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Recap
People throughout Canada joined us on September 30 to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The day included an online panel discussion with Indigenous leaders who spoke about the papal visit of July 2022.
Since the papal visit resulted in mixed emotions for many Indigenous Peoples throughout the country, DWF hosted a candid conversation with those who were directly involved in and affected by the visit in Treaty Six Territory. The panelists talked about the impacts of the visit on their communities, why the call to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery is a critical next step, and how non-Indigenous peoples can engage meaningfully in reconciliation.
In case you missed it, you can watch the recording on our Facebook or YouTube channel, or directly on our website. Use our discussion questions, available in English and French, to help guide the conversation.
Taking Over National Airwaves: A DAY TO LISTEN 2022
DWF was proud to partner once again with major media outlets and radio stations throughout Canada for A DAY TO LISTEN 2022. With more than 500 radio stations participating, spanning different markets, regions, and formats, A DAY TO LISTEN 2022 leveraged the power of radio to inspire people throughout Canada to move reconciliation forward in meaningful ways. This year’s theme was ‘Messages of Hope’ and over a dozen Indigenous speakers and artists shared powerful stories and experiences of:
- Cultural Reclamation
- Language Resurgence
- Art Practice
- Land-Based Learning Narratives
Listen to the program directly on our website!
Secret Path Week 2022 Events
Chanie Wenjack’s sister, Evelyn Baxter, recently travelled to Toronto and was able to visit Union Station for a viewing of the Secret Path Exhibition, which launched during Secret Path Week. Evelyn is seen here with a photo of her sister Pearl Achneepineskum and Gord Downie.
Secret Path Week 2022 was the fifth annual Secret Path Week event. The focus this year was to engage people through educational and accessible content and encourage participation in grassroots reconciliACTIONs, which we saw with our DWF LIVE programming and Secret Path Exhibit at Union Station, as well as the numerous reconciliACTIONs that came through from our Legacy Schools, Legacy Spaces, and others!
As part of Secret Path Week, DWF hosted 14 special DWF LIVE events for a week of interactive learning. Legacy Schools heard from leading Indigenous artists, singers, authors, filmmakers, legal experts, and more, and we even had classes join our streams so students could engage directly with the speakers and share their thoughts with the audience. In case you missed it, you can watch all the Secret Path Week DWF LIVE sessions here.
We have more DWF LIVE events coming up in the new year, so stay tuned for more information!
Secret Path Exhibit
On October 17, our Legacy Spaces partner, Union Station, unveiled our Secret Path Exhibition. Living in the historic West Wing and Oak Room of Toronto’s Union Station from Oct 17th to November 24th, 2022, the Secret Path Exhibit shared the story of Chanie Wenjack and how it inspired Gord Downie to take action. The exhibit highlighted the stories and relationship between Chanie and Gord, and offered resources to visitors to take reconciliACTION, receiving thousands of visitors a day!
150+ Teams Walked for Wenjack
To date, more than $125,000 has been raised to support DWF’s programs, campaigns, and events through Walk for Wenjack! We had over 150 registered teams with over 22,000 participants from schools, organizations, and individuals. So far, 45,000 km have been walked and logged by participants throughout Canada in honour of Chanie.
Thank you to all of our participants and donors who made the 2022 Walk for Wenjack such a success!
Legacy Spaces Program Expands
In September, Deloitte became the first partner to launch a Legacy Space in the province of Quebec inside their Quebec City office.
Over the past year, the Legacy Spaces program has experienced incredible growth, particularly in our geographic reach throughout the country. We are so excited to support our partners in creating the first Legacy Spaces in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan, with plans for 14 new cities in total! Some other program highlights include:
- 13 new Legacy Spaces partners
- Plans for 25 additional Legacy Spaces
- 19 launch events between January and December 2022
- 5 Legacy Spaces partners renewed their commitment for five more years of reconciliACTION