Guided Conversations Canada now offering –

From the Beginning: Guided Conversations Towards Reconciliation,

Anti-Oppression & Social Justice Strategies

Our country is coming together in the spirit of reconciliation to create better relationships with Indigenous Peoples. While reconciliation as a theme in Canada focuses on Canadian reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, this principle is ancient and has been used the world over to repair relationships between individuals, communities, and societies. Organizations and communities want to gain a better understanding of differing realities within the Canadian experience outside of their own communities. We want to gain greater understanding of our society and our world, to build community, to acquire knowledge and to make reconciliation and justice an everyday part of our lives. By understanding and engaging in reconciliatory acts and conversations with BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Colour) communities, we can create a more equitable world. People often ask, “How? Where do I start?” Here is the answer: Before one can meaningfully engage in reconciliation, become anti-racist, or adequately support and cease “othering” communities different than our own, one needs to go back to the beginning to understand what we are reconciling so we can do those things effectively!

Seraph-Eden Boroditsky offers Guided Conversations that bring people back to the historical beginnings of Indigenous-Crown relations, our colonial system of white supremacy and capitalism, and the sometimes-surprising ways this interwoven legacy affects us today. These seminars were developed during Seraph-Eden’s time as the Winnipeg Arts Council’s first full-time Indigenous Arts Leadership Fellow, hired by Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre to teach them how to meaningfully engage in reconciliation and allyship, and support a more diverse artist and staff base. Conversations are tailored to the identified needs of an organization, but also provide a general overview of Canada’s history and the much-needed Canadian context. Delivery of Guided Conversations is recommended in multiple parts and is dependent on your group’s current level of education on the subject matter.

In general, the first round of conversations can include information such as:

  • A basic introduction to the 7 Teachings as a guide to conversation conduct and an example of Indigenous worldview;
  • Canadian context and history (including the Royal Proclamation and Indian Act);
  • The impacts of the Indian Act on First Nations and other Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous peoples;
  • Slavery in Canada and the economic power of racism;
  • Common misconceptions;
  • Reconciliation in Canada and the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action;
  • Terminology to be used when discussing Indigeneity and reconciliation;
  • The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; 
  • Inclusive terminology including discussion and help with the crafting of meaningful land acknowledgements or institutional statements. 

Subsequent conversations can include:

  • An understanding of “reconciliation” as a broader concept and how we can use this principle to create relationships between communities; 
  • Whiteness as a default, how to change our settings and recognize bias;
  • How to listen, inter-cultural communication, and harm reduction;
  • An understanding of “anti-racism” and “decolonization”, and how to employ their principles;
  • Examples of racist rhetoric and how to respond;
  • An understanding of “allyship” and how to navigate and actively engage in the important role of ally or accomplice;
  • Terminology to be used when discussing issues of “race,” ethnicity, and targeted communities;
  • Real and perceived barriers to diversity, representation & inclusion within your organization and board;
  • Creative ideas for your organization to tangibly engage inclusivity and anti-racism, and decolonize hiring and recruitment practices.

 This information is delivered through an anti-racist framework from an Indigenous perspective, with experiential and academically derived content. Guided Conversations are done over 3 to 5 half day sessions. The number of sessions your group needs will be determined through initial phone consultation with Seraph-Eden.

Seraph-Eden is a Winnipeg-based theatre administrator, Métis cultural educator, consultant, artist, and entertainer of Red River Métis and Ashkenazi descent who studied Native Studies and Sociology at the University of Manitoba. She has incorporated her education and life-long (inter) cultural, political, and community involvement — including over 11 years of facilitation and administration work and 20 years of social justice and community development work — to craft well-researched, customized Guided Conversations and cultural workshops. Drawing participants into a circle, Seraph-Eden creates an atmosphere of connectedness where everyone is equal. Trust is established to facilitate dialogue and illustrate how relationships are key in dismantling barriers to reach equity amongst all Canadians. It is an environment that welcomes emotional responses to sensitive issues and invites participants to ask questions and share ideas in an inclusive, safe, and honest space. Seraph has facilitated workshops and sessions with, and consulted for, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Wpg.), the University of Manitoba (Wpg.), Balmoral Hall School (Wpg.), Musical Stage Co. (T.O.), Acuity HR Solutions (Wpg.), Musical Theatre Productions (T.O.), Prairie Theatre Exchange (Wpg.), Shakespeare in the Ruins (Wpg.) and more, and with individuals and families.

“Seraph developed a program that not only gave us all permission to look into our collective community past, but also gave us the opportunity to express our own personal emotions — guilt, grief, shame, sadness, astonishment — but also hope for a new future together and an understanding that our past is a part of us, but it doesn’t have to be all of us. It’s how we look forward that will define us.”

  • Shelly Smith-Hines, former Director of Development, Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.

The cost of hosting Guided Conversations depends on your organizational or group means, and the number of tailored sessions required. Conversations are capped at 20 participants to allow for ample participation in person and via Zoom meeting.

During the pandemic, in-person sessions will be held in adherence to government and organizational guidelines.

For more information on Seraph-Eden, her Guided Conversations and their content, or to discuss  customized sessions for your organization, company, or community group, please email: contact.gctr@gmail.com  or use the contact form at guidedconversations.ca .