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Reading Reclaiming Power and Place

Justice
Saskatoon

Starting in the summer of 2019 a group of people have gathered together to read Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The OTC reached out to Nobuko Iwai, who is part of the reading group to learn more.

Where did the decision to start a reading group for Reclaiming Power and Place begin?
When the two-volume report Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was published, I knew I wanted to read it.  And I also knew how long it was, and I figured I really needed to have a group to be accountable to, to keep on reading.  So, I invited a group of people together, and we began to read and discuss the report in the Summer of 2019.

When was the first meeting?
The first meetings were held at St. Martin’s United Church or Grosvenor Park United Church, and we had about 15 people on the list.  Then with the onset of COVID -19 we moved to Teleconferencing (Zoom), and continue to meet once a month.  We had been reading 50-70 pages or so to discuss per gathering, and with the pandemic, and COVID-brains, we cut down our reading to 10-20 pages at the most.  It was important for us to read for meaning, for understanding, and to try to integrate our learnings.  We weren’t going for speed, but for depth.

Who hosts it?
Currently we hold it on Grosvenor Park United Church’s zoom account.

How many people do you have come? 
We have had as little as two and as many as 10. Since the pandemic, every month we have had an inquiry and someone wanting to join.  We have had people join from Ontario to British Columbia.

What are the conversations like?
We begin our time with a reading which touches us from the report, which is read without comment.  It’s our centering time. It’s a reminder that we hold these words, spoken and written and read, as holy. Then the conversations begin.  They vary with the people who are in the group.  Sometimes it is personal and heartfelt, sometimes it is filled with anguish and anger.  We use a passage and talk about what it means or what questions are raised.

How has reading Reclaiming Power and Place shifted members thinking/approach?
Certainly, going through Volume 1a) was tough, and triggering.  Those of us who are settlers were challenged to learn more.  We learned so much that has not reached mainstream media.  As we are now in Volume 1b), we are learning about what is being done in the name of healing, equity and justice.

What advice to you have for others who might be looking to start their reconciliation journey or join others on theirs?
My advice is to just do it.  Do something.  Take a step.  Find a group of people to journey with, because the journey is tough, and we need each other.

Anything else to add?
Just thank you to the OTC for your support and willingness to share what people are doing in the name of reconciliation.

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