Overview of Module
This panel opens with an introduction and overview of the program. Following this, Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples share their personal stories, linking them to the impacts of colonialism and the relationships between Indigenous Peoples and people who have settled here.
You’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of your personal stories and the stories of Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples engaged in renewing the relationship. Solidarity work must be grounded in our personal stories. You will walk away with a deeper understanding of how your stories are connected to doing this work.
Heather Milton Lightening
Community Organizer, Fundraiser, Trainer
Heather has over sixteen years of organizing experience from local issues to international campaigns. Heather was a founding member of Native Youth Movement that empowered youth politically and socially to make change in their communities, and then went on to found and build a national Native youth network that supported Native youth organizing across the US and Canada with the Indigenous Environmental Network. Heather currently is working on a contractual basis with many different organizations doing trainings, facilitating and support work for Native communities.
Bill is the founder and CEO of Canadians for Reconciliation Society. His personal journey with Indigenous Peoples began with a chance encounter with a native panhandler in Chinatown in 1988. Then his first visit to a native road block at Duffy Lake Road in 1990 opened up his eyes to BC’s true history. In 2001, he organized a Walk for Reconciliation across the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver. He continued with organizing numerous forums inviting Indigenous speakers to clarify issues confronting Indigenous Peoples. In 2004, he organized the first Historical Banquet in Chinatown attended by 600 Indigenous Peoples, Chinese and Canadians to celebrate the reconnection of the communities. In 2005, his work received an Honourable Mention in the bi-annual Awards of Excellence competition from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. In 2008, his friendship with Indigenous Peoples enabled him to discover many forgotten Chinese historical sites within BC. In 2009 his work was endorsed by several Grand Chief’s during the Union Of BC Indian Chiefs’ Chief Council where he was asked to speak on “Our Shared History.” Over the decades, he has organized study tours onto native reserves and territories and brought 1,800 to a closer understanding of the native situation.
Bernice has lived and worked in the Victoria area for the past twenty years and is a member of the Kwakwaka’waka Nation. As a single mother on welfare, Bernice struggled to raise her daughter in Victoria. Food banks and second hand stores were often the only options she was able to access to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.
An active community member, Bernice was one of the first Legal Advocates trained by Tim Richards at TAPS (Together Against Poverty Society) office, assisting people on income assistant to apply for disability level 1 or 2. She also works as a Native Employment Counselor for United Native Nations, working in the First Nations community assisting with job search, resume writing and doing employer visits to secure positions with different agencies in the Victoria area.
As a founding member of M’akola Housing Society, Bernice was instrumental in the creation of M’akola’s first housing project on Caledonia Street. M’akola has since gone on to create housing from Victoria to Alert Bay.
Bernice has sat on the Native Friendship Centre’s Board of Directors and various First Nations agencies in Victoria.
Her outlook on life is that if she can change something in the system that would make life easier then she is going to figure out how to accomplish the change, or keep asking or working with the right people till the change is complete. Life has given Bernice a gift of passion and conviction and that makes her who she is today.
Madeleine was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and moved to coastal BC in 2009 to attend the University of Victoria. In the fall she will be completing her final year at UVic where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Environmental Studies. From January – April 2014, Madeleine completed a semester at the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society that focused on resource management and Aboriginal politics. Currently, Madeleine continues to live in Queen Charlotte, Haida Gwaii where she works for a community-based seaweed harvesting business, North Pacific Kelp.