In October, 2005, Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders in child welfare gathered in Niagara Falls at an historic event called Reconciliation: Looking Back, Reaching Forward – Indigenous Peoples and Child Welfare.
The result of this gathering was the creation of the Touchstones of Hope, which was presented for the first time in a document entitled Reconciliation in Child Welfare: Touchstones of Hope for Indigenous Children, Youth and Families.
Printed copies of this document may be purchased through the Caring Society. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (613) 230-5885 for more information.
When the Touchstones of Hope were first conceived the focus was on reconciliation in child welfare. This remains a priority for the Caring Society and many others, though it is with gratitude and joy that the Touchstones of Hope have been successfully implemented across a wide variety of contexts. This includes reconciliation in workplace environments, education, health care and much more.
The Touchstones of Hope movement incorporates an understanding of reconciliation that is comprised of four phases. Reconciliation engages both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the process of:
- Truth Telling: The process of open exchange (listening and sharing) regarding the story of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
- Acknowledging: Affirming and learning from the past and embracing new possibilities for the future.
- Restoring: Addressing the problems of the past and creating a better path for the future.
- Relating: Having recognized that Indigenous peoples are in the best position to make decisions about Indigenous peoples, we move forward together in a respectful way, along a new path, to achieve better outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
- Self-Determination: Indigenous peoples make the decisions that affect their communities and lead the development of laws, policies, research and practice.
- Culture and Language: Indigenous cultures are ingrained in all theory, research, policy and practice that affect their communities.
- Holistic Approach: Approaches to working with Indigenous communities recognize and reflect the distinct realities of the whole community including culture (traditions, spirituality and social customs), language, environment and socioeconomic factors.
- Structural Interventions: We stand up to injustices to protect the rights of all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, including children and youth.
- Non-Discrimination: Indigenous peoples are entitled to equal access to resources and services that are responsive to their needs and the unique cultural context of their experiences
Question about the Touchstones of Hope? Contact:
Marc St. Dennis
Reconciliation and Research Coordinator