Last week I was a guest in a Sharing Circle that one of my clients hosts monthly. The focus of the Circle is about promoting Indigenous Cultural Safety as it seeks to increasing awareness.
One of the questions I was asked was how to convey that both Diversity & Inclusion and Indigenous Cultural Safety work are different and both important. I had an inspiration that I shared I that moment, that I would like to share here as well.
Consider a tree: The roots, the trunk, the branches, the leaves.
No matter what work we are doing within EDI, whether it be around Indigenous issues, about anti-Black racism, 2SLGBTQI+ positive space, accessibility for people with disabilities, etc. the roots are the same.
We’re talking about:
- Anti oppression
- Acknowledging people
From those roots comes the comes the trunk.
The trunk is the work that we do to ensure that the things on the list above are lived principles in our lives – individually and in our organization. That work includes education, awareness, creating safe spaces, creating cultures of learning, reviewing policy and procedures, accountability, etc.
But the trunk leads to branches. Literally, things :branch off” from the trunk.
We need to acknowledge that there are different ways that this work looks and different aspects that are necessary for various communities and their people. We can’t treat everything like it’s just one branch. There are very specific things that we need to acknowledge, work on, and attend to.
The Indigenous experience is a very particular and specific experience in this country – to acknowledge and address anti-Indigenous racism we need to understand and address colonization, white supremacy, genocide, the role of government and the church, the systemic nature of oppression against Indigenous people (to name a few).
The Black experience requires that we understand and address slavery, white supremacy, and the systemic nature of oppression against people who are Black (to name a few).
Every historically disadvantaged group that has been and continues to be marginalized has a context and a story that we need to keep in mind when moving towards equity, inclusion, belonging, safety and anti-oppression.
The details are different. And those details are important to know, acknowledge and use – to be able to participate in reconciliation, participate in healing, participate in real change.
Which brings us to the leaves.
When we acknowledge the details, and the differences that make our histories and realities unique, we can sprout the changes and create a new future – the leaves.
Stay tuned for the graphic!