Circles for Reconciliation attracting attention across Canada
Circles for Reconciliation is a grassroots project that pulls together small groups of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Together, they talk very openly and personally about issues like residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and aspects of reconciliation.
They were started by Raymond Currie, 83, in Winnipeg in consultation with elders and Indigenous groups.
"It gives Canadians a chance to engage in what is, in my view, one of the most important issues in our country and that is the reconciliation," he said.
Currie's story touched a nerve with the Now or Never audience. After it aired, calls and emails came in from people interested in learning more.
"It's been extraordinary. We had no idea what to expect after the show and I began to receive emails. I've had 60 responses from Halifax to Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island."
"But a number of people said they had many contacts in Indigenous communities while others said they lived beside Indigenous communities all their lives but really never met them," he explained.
Currie's goal was to launch 100 circles in two years. With 19 done and 20 more in the works, the response has Currie thinking more nationally.
"It's so wonderful to see the interest in the non-Indigenous community," Currie said. "The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, when it held its meetings, I think attracted mainly Indigenous participants. But the reports, when they came out, people are taking the calls to action seriously and it's reaching into the non-Indigenous community in ways that are very exciting."