National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation

Our journey towards reconciliation offers us many opportunities to learn from and celebrate Indigenous culture, history and healing practices. It is a continuous journey—one that will take openness and commitment from our organization and community.

CAMPFIRE CIRCLE is grateful for Indigenous communities’ stewardship of the land that we occupy, and we aspire to be deserving stewards of the land, in partnership with Indigenous communities.

September 30, 2021 is Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It represents an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize and honour Indigenous survivors, their families, and communities impacted by residential schools. On this day, individuals and organizations are being asked to reflect on and be deliberate about recognizing where harm has been done, and consider actions they can take to strengthen relationships with and among Indigenous communities.

We wanted to share information about the work our organization has begun towards reconciliation

It begins with acknowledgement that we have used the Oochigeas and Teomul name and Mi’kmaq and Maliseet legend to build the organization since its founding in 1983. We recognize this was done without permission from those communities, and for that we apologize.

First Steps to Reconciliation

Our reconciliation journey began in 2020, followed by a June 2021 meeting facilitated by an Indigenous Camper family, which included local Indigenous community leaders and Elders, including an Elder from the Mi’kmaq community.

We shared our future plans to rename the organization, as a final stage of work started after the merger of Camp Ooch & Camp Trillium in January, 2020.

We discussed respectfully retiring the use of the Oochigeas and Teomul names; indigenous leaders offered to partner with us, to provide translations of the new organizational and site names using local languages, to help develop local land acknowledgement statements, and suggested opportunities for youth programming. We are grateful for their support and interest in working side-by-side with us, and excited to learn what these and other future collaborations can yield.

Patrick Hunter is a two-spirit Ojibwa artist, graphic designer and entrepreneur from Red Lake, Ontario, currently living in Toronto. He generously donated this paddle to our 2020 Paddle Project Auction.

Reconciliation is a continuous process that requires participation

This journey of reconciliation offers us many opportunities to learn from and celebrate Indigenous culture, history and healing practices. We commit to:

  • Continuing on this new path to explore how we can better acknowledge Indigenous contributions, the territories our camps reside on, and other reconciliation efforts;
  • Embracing education and partnership opportunities as they arise;
  • Keeping our community updated on this work and welcoming their contributions;
  • Embedding education about reconciliation into our ongoing programming and organizational communications.

We recognize this as a continuous journey—one that will take openness and commitment from our organization and community. We are grateful to everyone who has participated so far, and thank them for their interest and willingness to help us do better.

Other diversity, equity and inclusion efforts

Other efforts and investments to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI) organization are underway. In 2020, we partnered with Feminuity, a company with expertise in building diverse teams, equitable systems, inclusive products, and thriving workspace cultures.

They are helping us understand how our various stakeholder communities perceive our DEI status. Together, we are co-creating a multi-year DEI strategic plan, including additional actions we can take towards reconciliation. To date, they have conducted surveys and/or interviews with our staff, board, supporters and families and we plan to embed their recommendations into our strategic plans, sustainably.

Helpful resources

Visit Orange Shirt Day and Downiewenjack.ca to access stories and other truth and reconciliation resources.