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Girl Guides in Saskatchewan starting Reconciliation journey

Youth
Saskatchewan

At the top of the June 1 edition of the Prairie Lily, the Girl Guides of Canada Saskatchewan Council’s newsletter, was a Treaty acknowledgement.

It was the first step for the Guiding movement within the province to go public with their Reconciliation journey, which recognition of treaty is a significant part.

It’s a great place for us to start,” said Megan Van Buskirk, Deputy Provincial Commissioner with the organization.

“I thought that was one way for us to share, that knowledge with other Guiders and girls.”

Girl Guides of Canada has been around for more than 100 years and while it’s open to all young women, Van Buskirk said people largely believe it to be a white, middle-class, Christian organization, and they are looking to change that belief and be more inclusive.

“We’re trying to show that Girl Guides is for everyone,” she said.

The land acknowledgement is just the beginning. The traditional Guiding program in Canada has undergone changes to be relevant to where girls are today, which includes a lot more discussion on social justice and inclusivity, Van Buskirk said.

“We’ve received some funding from National, to amplify Guiding in Indigenous Communities in Saskatchewan, so we are really trying to create those relationships and provide the support wherever we can.”

Guiding in Saskatchewan is reaching out to reserves across the province to find out what in the programs is relevant and engaging to girls there, she said.

“We are working within the realm of what Girl Guides is, which is really just to empower girls to be who they want to be and reach their full potential,” Van Buskirk said.

“I’m really hoping that all of this is culminating together to help us as an organization work towards Reconciliation and always learn about what we should be doing next.”

Van Buskirk said it can seem overwhelming as groups start down a path of Reconciliation, but adds that those groups shouldn’t feel alone. She said people with questions should reach out to others that are doing the work.

“There is a lot of information out there,” she said.        

“We should be involving Indigenous folks and not just doing things that we feel needs to be done. Have those conversations and create those relationships because that’s going to be where the magic happens.”

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