IAP2 WR celebrates Walking Together and Launches a new Board!

Message from the Past President, Amanda Kaiser

As the Past President, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate and welcome the new President, Lauren Bartlette and the new 2017-2019 board members.  Lauren has served on the Wild Rose board for the last three years as Director at Large.  Her experience and leadership will no doubt make her successful in her new role as President.

Outgoing President Amanda Kaiser               Incoming President Lauren Bartlette

 

Welcome - 2017 - 2019 IAP2 Wild Rose Board

Lauren Bartlette, President

Shawn Bravender, Vice President

Annemarie Marshall, Director at Large

Christine Waland, Director at Large

Kevin Thorvaldson, Director at Large

Kathryn (Katie) McKinnon, Director at Large

Mike Coldwell, Director at Large

Megan Mucignat, Youth Director

Whitney McKenzie, Youth Director

 

 

I look forward to fresh perspectives and new ideas that the 2017 board will advance.  Their contributions will build on past success and lessons learned to make the coming year great for our members and volunteers. 

The Wild Rose Board Retreat will take place in Red Deer on June 9th, 2017 and will provide an opportunity for new and existing board members to discuss the board and committees' vision, goals, and priorities for the year ahead.  We look forward to sharing the outcomes and plans for the coming year following the board retreat. 

I look forward to working with the board for the next year to provide mentorship and support.  It has been such a rewarding experience serving as the IAP2 Wild Rose President for the past two years and on the board for the past 5 years in total. I've had the opportunity to serve with so many great board members and volunteers, participate in various initiatives and events and connect with IAP2 members.  Thank you all!

 

Amanda Kaiser

Signature Event Wrap Up

On behalf of the 2017 Signature Event Committee, we would like to say a sincere thank-you to the participants, the speakers, venue hosts and everyone who made this year's event a success.  We also hosted our 2017 AGM and would like to thank our outgoing board members, and congratulate those just joining!

For more details on the Signature event, read on!

 

Walking Together....

On a balmy couple of days earlier this month, over 80 people came together for what was a truly transformational experience at this year's IAP@ Wild Rose Signature Event, themed, Walking Together - Reconciliation and Public Participation.  The event was held at the Alfred Savage Centre nestled in Edmonton's Whitemud Park, and was sponsored by Communica, CTC, ISL, McElhanney and TransCanada.

A very special pipe ceremony was offered by Elder Bernie Makokis to help participants open their hearts and minds to the day ahead.  This was followed by a social opportunity to gather over food and drink at local craft brewery, Situation Brewing.

 

Day 2 kicked off with a welcome and opening prayer by Elder Bernie Makokis.  Ann Harding and Kim Hyshka followed that with a unique icebreaker that asked participants to think about and record, anonymously, a specific fear they may have related to situation or person with whom they may have conflict in their P2 practice.  Attendees took turns reading aloud the thoughts captured by their peers, many of which were emotionally charged, including those reflecting a fear of hearing that they "don't care about other' values", are "not welcome", within a community, or "aren't capable of undertaking [their] jobs".  Attendees reported that recording and hearing others read aloud their feelings of discomfort actually took the sting out of those fears, and provided some insight into some of the "hot buttons" or triggers of their fellow event attendees.  The activity served as a lesson to practitioners to remember that everyone we engage with has triggers and hot buttons of their own, which will affect each and every interaction.

Next came an eye-opening Kairos Blanket Exercise, led by dynamic facilitator Michelle Nieviadomy (profiled in this newsletter), where approximately 40 participants took part in an interactive session where the history of  Indigenous and settler relationships in Canada were reflected in narrative form.  Impacts to Indigenous communities as a result of colonization, trade, and residential schools - among other pivotal events - are demonstrated through story-telling and manipulation of blankents (being folded to get smaller, representing shrinking access to lands, or seperated to create a divide between the people involved).

 

Dr. Fay Fletcher and Indigenous lawyer Janice Makokis supported participants through a debrief of the Blanket Exercise that explored Indigenous ways of knowing and what it meant to be a "settler" and an "ally" (non-Indigenous supporter of Indigenous interests). After lunch and the AGM, participants reconvened to hear first-hand experiences from two amazing urban Indigenous women: Teneya Gwin and Larisa Kreider. These ladies shared what it has been like for them to grow up and live in the urban environments of Edmonton and Calgary with very few places and spaces that reflect the deep Indigenous history and identify within those cities. Larisa and Teneya also talked about the work they are doing to increase Indigenous inclusion in urban centres through knowledge sharing, building bridges with non-Indigenous Albertans, and Indigenous place-making.

The event closed with a Circle activity.  The 'sharing' or 'talking' circle is an Indigenous methodology that asks participants to take turns answering the same question.  In this case, participants were asked to share what stood out for them from the day and what they will take with them and do differently in the future based on what they experienced.  Everyone took the time they needed to share what was on their mind and in their heart and the rest of the group listened graciously.  This emotional and inspiring Circle offered a fitting conclusion to a transformational experience.

 

IAP2 Wild Rose profiles Michelle Nieviadomy with Iskwew Health and Wellness - Facilitator of the Blanket Exercise


Michelle Nieviadomy

IAP2 WR:  What propelled you into the work you currently do?

MN: Once I reconnected with my Cree heritage, it was important for me to find meaningful work in which I could engage with both the urban Indigenous community in Edmonton as well as having the opportunity to build bridges with non-Indigenous communities around reconciliation.

 

IAP2 WR:  You walked Signature Event attendees through that amazing Blanket Exercise, and people were extremely engaged and moved.  Why do you think that is?

MN:  I really have to give credit to KAIROS's Blanket Exercise.  This is an incredibly visual and powerful educational tool with the intention of creating a deeper understanding about the history of Canada and Indigenous peoples.

It is also helpful when your particpants/audience is engaged!

IAP2 WR:  As engagement practitioners, establishing trust is paramount to a successful engagement outcome.  What do you believe are the essential elements to building trust with those people with whom we engage?

MN:  Often times, we are wanting to jump in and "help" or "fix".  It really starts with listening. 

Listening to the history and the story of those with whom you're engaging.

Creating moments and opportunity of meaningful dialogue with respect to one another so you can engage in a truthful and meaningful way.

Having open lines of communication with one another.