“Reconciliation” describes a relationship or an imbalance of a relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. It is important to understand reconciliation because it has a direct impact on improving Indigenous health and wellbeing.  

As part of Truth and Reconciliation (in response to atrocities that occurred at residential schools), Justice Sinclair defined reconciliation as justice and healing. Here at AO, we believe that the problem with focusing on justice is that it is deeply rooted in the past. The outcome of justice is a quest for compensation so in seeking justice, further conflict is created. Therefore, in attempting to put forward a justice-based framework or mindset, we create adversarial relationships. As a reconciliatory concept, justice will never lead to future achievements: a justice-based approach to reconciliation will always result in the unanswerable question, “was it enough?”. 

That leaves the second word that Justice Sinclair used to define reconciliation: healing. Healing focuses on moving forward, finding new futures, creating possibilities, alliances, and partnerships. Healing opens many doors and opportunities. Once healing has occurred, there is no end to the possibilities and outcomes that an individual can achieve. Healing, however, must occur for both sides in a conflict; if we just healed one group, healing would never work.   

Reconciliation and the Three Pillars

We have redefined reconciliation as healing and economic independence for Indigenous individuals. Reconciliation must be Indigenous-led and will only be achieved through partnership (because the only way to achieve healing of both sides is through partnership). We have also remodeled reconciliation into three pillars which will make it possible in our lifetime. The pillars become even stronger when they are braided together and work in unison. 

Achieving Reconciliation for Indigenous Peoples

The first pillar involves healing and assisting Indigenous individuals to obtain economic independence through employment and entrepreneurship. The achievement of the first pillar also necessitates rebuilding family and community, giving back language and culture, and helping to remove barriers to societal participation free of discrimination and racism. Our self-guided software system for mental health management and outcomes, AONest™, achieves this pillar. Click the link below to learn more. 

Achieving Reconciliation for Businesses

The second pillar is about achieving action Item 92.2 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which works to ensure that Indigenous people have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Indigenous communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects. It is through the second pillar we will be able to develop corporate champions and have them embrace the Indigenous talent pool by helping corporate Canada eliminate systemic discrimination and barriers to employment. The second pillar is achieved through reconciliation training to help businesses remove the barriers to employment and understand the history and need for reconciliation. Learn more about our Reconciliation training.  

Achieving Reconciliation for People of Canada

The final pillar is about raising awareness with all Canadians and capturing reconciliation journeys through the activation of spaces (e.g., greenspaces). We can activate public spaces with replica Indigenous artifacts, reconciliation turtles, and medicine gardens, to help raise awareness with the public to support reconciliation. System holders and corporate Canada present barriers to employment for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis (FNIM) individuals; this is the premise of why we developed reconciliation training. We are also developing cultural programming to help Indigenous individuals reclaim culture and language and to support feelings of safety and belonging. Collectively our programs will lead to overcoming intergenerational trauma and in turn proactively prevent Indigenous individuals from entering the various systems that impact them.