Highlights from 360: Bridges, 6 Degrees Citizen Space
Speakers: Niigaan Sinclair, Nadine Caron, Fabrice Vil, Ausma Malik, Ahmed Danny Ramadan
Many people have deep roots in a place. Others are more recently settled. Canada is home to Indigenous peoples and settlers, along with a dynamic third partner: new citizens, nearly a quarter of a million each year. They bring their stories, identities, obligations and allegiances. Reconciliation is a shared project and responsibility. In Canada and elsewhere, bridges between Indigenous peoples and newcomers – groups with natural affinities – need to be identified and built. How do we foster the right welcome amongst all residents of Turtle Island?
What does the bridge as metaphor offer us in thinking through this question? Our second 360 began with a conversation on what bridges and building them might mean to our speakers gathered on the stage. From discussions on collective responsibility to human and non-human nations who inhabit the land, the conversation turned to the structural problems that require bridges to be built in the first place. Allyship was brought to the fore, with an emphasis on decentering allies and creating space for those most affected to speak and lead on pressing issues. Audience interventions, as always, were crucial in providing correctives to the course of conversation. Did we, as one participant suggested, need to move beyond bridges — structures connecting two fixed points — to a different vocabulary that could capture the many dimensions of power?
“Bridges are built from both sides of the river.” – Ahmad Danny Ramadan
“We have a consistent and ongoing delusion that we are the only meaning-makers in creation.” – Niigaan Sinclair
“Allyship is about recognizing our privilege and being willing to give it up.” – Ausma Malik
“We can be different than what we have inherited.” – Niigaan Sinclair
“Different groups have different responsibilities in building bridges.” – Fabrice Vil
“When I look around, and I’m surrounded by non-Indigenous healthcare providers, and they care as much about the Indigenous patient in my office, at that moment – that is the purest definition of success in this country.” – Nadine Caron
“If we do not have the proper language to describe the architectures of oppression that were built to keep us apart, perhaps we cannot destroy that architecture or change that architecture to create relationships that are built on mutual respect.” – Emilie Nicolas
Photos: Liz Beddall and Alyssa K. Faoro
First Nation, First Surgeon | TVO, The Agenda