A Call to Reconciliation: Dr. Marie Wilson Ignites Hope at EPL’s Forward Thinking Speaker Series event

A Call to Reconciliation: Dr. Marie Wilson Ignites Hope at EPL's Forward Thinking Speaker Series event 

Our second Forward Thinking Speaker Series event buzzed with the spirit of reconciliation as Dr. Marie Wilson, a former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, took center stage. Her discussion with the evening’s moderator, Chief Littlechild, revolved around her new book, "North of Nowhere” and served as a powerful reminder of the ongoing path towards reconciliation in Canada, emphasizing the importance of collective action. 

Dr. Wilson's passion for preserving the stories of residential school survivors was palpable. She stressed that these narratives encompass not just the harrowing experiences, but also the laughter, resilience, and unwavering spirit of these individuals. Understanding these stories, she argued, is fundamental for all Canadians as they form a vital part of our collective history. 

Dr. Wilson didn't shy away from the challenges of reconciliation. The tendency to forget, or worse, to view it as someone else's problem, is a persistent hurdle. However, her message was clear: reconciliation is a national responsibility requiring a collective effort. Dismantling systemic barriers and reigniting public awareness are crucial first steps. 

One of the most unexpected yet impactful takeaways was the significant role libraries play in reconciliation. By fostering safe spaces for dialogue, championing Indigenous voices through storytelling, and providing accessible resources like audiobooks for survivors with reading difficulties, libraries have become a powerful force for positive and transformational change. 

The event wasn't solely focused on broad strokes. Dr. Wilson offered practical ways for individuals to contribute. Staying informed, holding the government accountable for TRC promises, and educating newcomers about residential schools were just a few ways she suggested we can make a difference. It's not about grand gestures, but rather consistent, smaller actions that collectively contribute to meaningful progress. 

A sense of optimism resonated throughout the event. Dr. Wilson discussed the establishment of a national council tasked with monitoring progress on reconciliation using tangible metrics like graduation rates and access to services in Indigenous communities. This commitment to accountability marks a significant step forward. 

Dr. Wilson's book captures the essence of the reconciliation movement, emphasizing that even our smallest actions contribute to significant change. This event inspired a sense of hope, leaving attendees with a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to building a more just and equitable future for all Canadians.