A new Museum and Archives of Vernon (MAV) program centred 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 on the impacts of colonialism throughout history and up to the current day.
Facilitated by MAV program coordinator Amy Timleck and curator Laisha Rosnau, the series will explore how colonial perspectives of history influence our understanding and actions regarding truth and reconciliation while discussing ways of moving forward.
“The series is responding to a great deal of public interest in the North Okanagan,” said Rosnau. “The programs and events we’ve offered that have looked at the ways which a colonialism has impacted all of us – Indigenous communities, early settlers, and our contemporary culture – have been well-received.”
“People have asked for more and different ways to explore and discuss these topics in open, honest, and equitable ways,” added Timleck.
The program will take place on the third Thursday of every month, online over Zoom in the evening. Short films and readings will be included throughout the series.
The program kicks off with a session called Doctrine of Discovery: Stolen Land, Strong Hearts on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. Participants will view the film Stolen Land, Strong Hearts, which examines the devastating decree by Pope Alexander VI that any land inhabited by Indigenous Peoples was considered “empty” and the inhabitants “non-human.” The film will lead into a discussion about how this centuries old document continues to profoundly and negatively affect Indigenous Peoples today.
“There’s sometimes a tendency to want to jump right to the reconciliation piece, without having a solid understanding of our collective histories,” said Timleck. “We don’t get to reconciliation without truth, so we’re really grateful to have the opportunity to make information available in a way that feels accessible and to create the space to ask difficult questions.”
Registration for Doctrine of Discovery is available now via Eventbrite.
An upcoming edition of the series will delve into the early relationships between local Indigenous Syilx and settler women.
“We’re excited to be guided by the book Okanagan Women’s Voices: Indigenous and Settler Voices and Relations for a historical perspective that is very local and relevant to the Okanagan,” said Timleck of the book that is edited by renowned Syilx writer, scholar and activist, Dr. Jeannette Armstrong, Okanagan College professor Lally Grauer and UBCO professor Janet MacArthur.
More programming and events will be held at the Vernon museum in June to mark Indigenous History Month and honour the Syilx People of the Okanagan Nation, followed by a Reading for Reconciliation program for children and youth in the summer.
Visit vernonmuseum.ca to register and learn more.