A new Vernon Museum and Archives (MAV) program centered on Truth and Reconciliation is set to begin later this month.
Learn + Connect: Toward Truth & Reconciliation is a free online program that aims to educate participants about the impacts of colonialism throughout history and up to the present day.
Hosted by MAV Program Coordinator Amy Timleck and Curator Laisha Rosnau, the series will explore how colonial perspectives on history influence our understanding and actions regarding truth and reconciliation while discussing ways to move forward. .
“The series responds to strong public interest in the North Okanagan,” Rosnau said. “The programs and events we offered that examined the ways in which colonialism affected us all – Indigenous communities, early settlers and our contemporary culture – were well received.
“People have been asking for more and different ways to explore and discuss these topics in an open, honest and fair way,” Timleck added.
The program will take place on the third Thursday of each month, online on Zoom in the evening. Short films and readings will be included throughout the series.
The program kicks off with a session titled Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Land, Strong Hearts on Thursday, January 20 at 7 p.m. Attendees will view the film Stolen Land, Strong Hearts, which examines Pope Alexander VI’s devastating decree that all land inhabited by indigenous peoples was considered “empty” and the inhabitants “non-human”. The film will lead to a discussion of how this centuries-old document continues to profoundly and negatively affect Indigenous peoples today.
“There is sometimes a tendency to want to jump straight to the reconciliation piece, without having a solid understanding of our collective stories,” Timleck said. “We don’t come to reconciliation without the truth, so we’re really grateful for the opportunity to make information available in a way that feels accessible and to create the space to ask the tough questions.”
Registration for Doctrine of Discovery is available now through Eventbrite.
A future installment of the series will look at the early relationships between local indigenous Syilx and settler women.
“We are thrilled to be guided by the book Okanagan Women’s Voices: Indigenous and Settler Voices and Relations for a very local historical perspective relevant to the Okanagan,” Timleck said of the book edited by famed writer Syilx, researcher and activist Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Okanagan College professor Lally Grauer and UBCO professor Janet MacArthur.
Other programs and events will take place at the Vernon Museum in June to mark Indigenous History Month and honor the Syilx people of the Okanagan Nation, followed by a reading program for reconciliation for children and youth in summer.
Visit vernonmuseum.ca to register and learn more.
Truth and Reconciliation Museum