As Réseau Compassion Network continues its reconciliation journey, a retreat was held to bring together staff and board members from across the network. “We were hoping to further our collective journey through sharing and learning,” explains CEO Daniel Lussier. “And to have a chance to hear from our network members about their hopes, challenges and plans for the future.”
A group of approximately 60 leaders, board chairs, vice-chairs and front-line staff gathered in St. Boniface on Saturday, November 26th for a full-day workshop facilitated by Lisa Raven, the founder of Returning to Spirit. In the first half of the day, Raven shared a mix of stories, experiences, and models to help the group better understand what reconciliation can look like and their role within it.
The afternoon was a time for network members to delve into questions that would help them move forward in their individual organisations.
“The road ahead isn’t laid out completely,” Lussier explains. “We know there is no end point for reconciliation work. This will be a journey for us and will evolve over time. Each organisation is on their own path and we’re proud of the work that has begun.”
Network members explored what their organisation could commit to in the short term, what opportunities or challenges exist, and how the Network can work together to create safer spaces for Indigenous clients and patients. The last part of the day included a chance for each organisation to share what was most important for them as they moved forward.
Many priorities were identified: connecting with each other in more meaningful ways, sharing resources between members, fully understanding and acknowledging the harms (both historic and current) in the health and social service sector, and paying special attention the francophone Métis experience were all mentioned.
Since November 26th, network staff have reached out to begin sharing and connecting outside the retreat. Staff involved in reconciliation work have been asked to share their contact information so that each has extra support if required. Leaders are asking to share job descriptions and staff surveys that will help them to better understand their organisations as they stand and create positions that will support reconciliation.
“This is, ultimately, what we were hoping to achieve with the session,” confirms Lussier. “We have a network that already has many resources and people who are knowledge keepers and allies. As we move forward together, tapping into the strength of the network will be important as we find concrete ways to make a difference.”