Listening Circles Toolkit

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As Canada commemorates the 150th anniversary of confederation, the Art Hives Network acknowledges the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people caused by colonization. We join together to examine the role of non-Indigenous Canadians in the truth and reconciliation process to help establish and restore Indigenous people's rights in Canada. We believe that non-Indigenous Canadians have a responsibility to understand the shared history of colonization and how we may be continuing to perpetuate colonial relationships in our personal and professional lives.

We invite people in communities across Canada to come together to form small listening circles, where we sit in a circle and listen to each other, and reflect critically on personal and collective choices and experiences. Adding spontaneous and informal art-making about a topic that may be uncomfortable, uncertain and unclear helps to maintain an empathetic space. We believe such community listening circles can generate the necessary dialogue to uncover and examine how our personal and collective story intersects with colonialism, and how we may reproduce it in our lives and cause harm to Indigenous peoples. This ''unsettling the settler'' work is necessary to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation (Regan, 2010), and to start imagining a shared future of mutual recovery and respect.

This toolkit is a work in progress. It is a beginning, initiated by a group of non-Indigenous Canadians to share our process and learning with readers, with the hope to inspire them to do the same. We hope this toolkit will continue to expand as more communities experiment with it. We welcome feedback and participation data at network@arthives.org.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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