Recently, I was presenting at a National Conference on Housing on the topic of Leadership and conflict.  Before presenting, I was standing at the registration desk admiring a brochure I had noticed about “Circles for Reconciliation.”  The title caught my attention and I asked the person at the registration desk if she knew anything about the initiative. 

She looked up and said: “Well, the person who created them is standing right behind you.”

I looked behind me and this kind, older looking man was standing there, just finishing up another conversation.  So, I jumped right in after and introduced myself.  He was so generous in the shared space and so keen on the concept of circles of reconciliation. It sounded fascinating, Turns out, he was also presenting at the conference and was only in town, from his native Winnipeg, for a few days. 

Spontaneously, I asked him if he’d be willing to come out for coffee the next day and if he’d be open to others joining us from the local dispute resolution community.  He agreed. 

The next day, 8 of us joined Raymond Currie in the lounge adjoining his hotel, to talk Truth and Reconciliation, Indigenous relations in Canada and this little initiative that is taking off like wildfire, Circles for Reconciliation.

The main goal of the Circles for Reconciliation is to bring together and build a healthy relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through partnership circles. It’s a simple, and yet powerful, idea of setting up 10 week circles, where participants are both Indigenous and non-Indigenous and both speak to building a new vision for Canada.

I can’t begin to express how special it was to spend two hours with Raymond Currie and a few of our folks from Victoria to hear his inspiring stories and hopes of spreading this structure right across Canada.

The concept has taken off intensely in the last few months, and they are outgrowing the original funding they had in place, so they are presently fundraising as well.  Check out their website and watch the short 2 minute video to get an idea of Raymond and his leader partner, Clayton Sandy.  Raymond mentions in the video if only 200 people donate $100 each, they will make their goal.

I’ve done my part.  What about you?

“Too many Canadians know little or nothing about the deep historical roots of these conflicts. This lack of knowledge has serious consequences for First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples and for Canada.” … Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report.