The Caring Society’s Reconciliation Ambearristers initiative invites groups to host a Reconciliation Ambearrister (ambassadors + barristers) who will guide you through years of free ways to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and make a positive difference for First Nations children, youth, and families.
Spirit Bear is a membear of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and is an Ambearrister who represents First Nations and other children who are standing up for culturally-based and equitable First Nations public services at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. He believes that addressing discrimination takes love, honesty, compassion, and a real commitment to helping others do the right thing. Spirit Bear has written books telling the true stories of how children of all diversities have helped ensure First Nations children get the public services they need when they need them. Still, there is more work to do and more work that Spirit Bear can handle alone so his relatives have come to help him educate and engage other children, youth and adults to help make the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action a reality.
The Ambearristers are meant to build relationships with local First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples to work toward a shared vision of reconciliation. We are introducing a phased in approach to the Ambearrister initiative that recognizes that some groups have good relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in their territories and others are just getting started in building those relationships.
While you and Ambearrister get to work on reconciliation, we ask that you keep @SpiritBear and the Caring Society posted each month on the innovative ways you and the local First Nations community are working to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls to Justice.
After spending a year with their Ambearrister, groups must write a letter and/or prepare a video explaining all they have learnt, and their Ambearrister’s story. Since groups are asked to update the Caring Society monthly, compiling their letters and/or videos should be an easy process!
As a really cool fact about the program, Ambearristers have already gone as far as Australia!
Here is more information about the Reconciliation Ambearristers process and requirements in phases. As a reminder, if groups have an affirmed relationship with a local community-authorized Elder and/or Knowledge Keeper and awareness of injustices and inequities affecting First Nations children and youth, groups can let us know and move to Phase Two!
Ambearrister Tupa is a special membear of the Okanagan Nation Alliance.
Phase One - Building Relationships and Learning for Reconciliation and Justice
- Build a meaningful relationship with a community-authorized Elder and/or Knowledge Keeper to nurture and sustain throughout the Reconciliation Ambearristers experience and beyond.
- Groups must learn about injustices and inequities pertaining to First Nations children and youth, and participate in one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action implementation initiatives created by the Caring Society. If you are an educator, we will provide a curated list of Caring Society resources for your school classroom.
- Once groups hold strong relationships with a community-authorized Elder and/or Knowledge-Keeper and are aware of injustices and inequities that affect First Nations children and youth, they can request to move to Phase Two of the program.
Remember that Spirit Bear has an award to recognize children and youth and groups of children and youth who do great work implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action so you and your Ambearrister should keep an eye out for the nomination details!
Ambearrister Maskwa from Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Phase Two - Receiving, Naming and Caring for Reconciliation Ambearristers
- Groups will be sent their Ambearrister and welcome package from the Caring Society and can keep their Ambearrister! If groups would like to purchase their own Ambearrister, they are more than welcome to do this.
- Groups must work with an Elder and/or Knowledge Keeper to organize a naming ceremony for their Ambearrister and describe why the name was chosen. This process needs to honour local protocols and community goals. Please hold this conversation with the Elder and/or Knowledge Keeper to honour what they need from the process. Please note that every Nation and community has different protocols.
- Groups must ensure their Ambearrister is wearing something to honour the local First Nations, Métis, or Inuit community and to symbolize its work implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. For example, Spirit Bear has an orange shirt for Orange Shirt Day, a Moosehide pin, and sacred items gifted to him by his own Nation and children across Canada. He even has a special outfit to wear to court!
- At this point, groups must register their Ambearrister's name, and provide a photo of them by sending us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Groups must teach their Ambearrister about the culture and language of the local territory. In return, the Ambearrister will teach the group about reconciliation - this connects to the process of reciprocity.
- Groups must learn about injustices and inequities pertaining to First Nations children and youth, and participate in an another initiative created by the Caring Society, with the support of their Ambearrister. If you are an educator, we will provide a curated list of Caring Society resources for your school classroom.
- Groups can send monthly updates to the Caring Society on the well-being of the Ambearristers with pictures and/or videos. This will also help groups keep track of their learning!