Truth, Reconciliation, and Right Relations: Pre-Conference Program

Time: Tuesday May 15th, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, 107 Tunnel Mountain Drive, Banff, Alberta

(All photos by Don Lee/Banff Centre)

Knowing the truth about Canada’s shared history with Indigenous Peoples is vital to understanding how we can work towards shared goals with Indigenous Peoples and communities. This full-day program on May 15th, 2018 provides the opportunity to develop respectful right relations. The course is specially designed by the renowned Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity for participants at CEGN’s 2018 conference. However, the program can also be taken independently of the conference.

You will learn through participating in a ceremony, in-person lecture, hands-on application of theory and an outdoor walk to experience the power of place. There will also be opportunities for individual reflection, as well as group activities. This is a great professional development opportunity for funders whose work aims to bring positive change to Indigenous communities and organizations.

Course objectives:

  • Build greater respect, understanding and meaningful connections between Indigenous people and participants
  • Nurture the curiosity of funders in learning more about Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action
  • Enhance the participants’ communication style through deep listening and open dialogue to gain new perspectives
  • Empower participants to take action on reconciliation in their communities and organization to help advance the process of Canadian reconciliation
  • Foster networking opportunities for funders to share learnings and exchange knowledge prior to CEGN’s 2018 Conference

The course will be held in Banff on the land of Treaty 7 territory. The facilitators will include a story telling of Banff’s original peoples and their ways of life to celebrate and develop a better understanding of Indigenous culture.

Full-Day Agenda



9 a.m.    Welcome and Smudge

Welcome the group to Treaty 7 Territory, share stories of Banff’s original peoples, celebrate Indigenous culture and present the purpose and process for the workshop.

10 a.m. Truth

Through lecture and interactive exercises, share the truth of Canada’s shared history.

11:45 a.m. Medicine Walk

Provide an understanding of reconciliation from a land based perspective.

12:45pm Lunch

Recommend self-guided conversations to explore personal relationship to and responsibility for reconciliation.  Banff Centre provides discussion questions and participants self-organize in pairs or groups.

1:30pm   Tools for Reconciliation

Explore contemporary challenges faced by Indigenous peoples (communication, relationship building, advancing right relations, advocacy and education, to name a few.)  Discuss allyship and responsibility for non-Indigenous peoples and organizations to speak out against ongoing forms of discrimination while also exploring what allyship means in effective and practical terms.

3:30pm   Action Planning

Advocacy, systems thinking, and personal plans and commitments to implementing change and advancing right relations.

4:30pm   Program Close



Registration is Now Open!

The Pre-Conference course is open to all CEGN conference participants and other funders. The fee is $325 + 5% GST and includes lunch, coffee/tea breaks and light snacks. Registration for the course is to be arranged with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity by completing the registration form before May 7th. Note: All participants are recommended to arrange accommodation on the night of May 14th at the Banff Centre at $190/night (or nearby hotel) as the course will begin on May 15th at 9 AM.


About the Facilitators:

Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux is an Honorary Witness for the TRC and the Chair on Truth and Reconciliation at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she is an adjunct asst. professor for the Faculty of Anthropology and Research Affiliate of the Centre for Health Care Ethics. Her research and academic writing is directed towards understanding the continuing transmission of unresolved intergenerational trauma and grief primarily within the Indigenous community of Canada. Cynthia believes embedding Indigenous Knowledge and History into curriculum at every level is the only way to ensure Canadians develop an appreciation for the significant contributions of Indigenous peoples in this country. She has dedicated her life to building bridges of understanding between people, and has a particular interest in developing creative solutions to complex social issues. She sees endless merit in bringing people from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds together to engage in practical dialogue.


Alexia McKinnon (Lexi) joined the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Leadership and Management team as the Personal Learning Advisor in 2012. In 2015, she shifted roles to become a Project Lead within the Peter Lougheed Leadership Programs. Lexi has recently been promoted to Associate Director, Indigenous Leadership and Management. She is excited about the opportunity to learn from and work with  Indigenous people and communities across Canada.


(All photos by Don Lee/Banff Centre)

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