1 Generation of Reconciliation for 1 Generation of Residential School

Returning to Spirit (RTS) is an organization that fosters reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Canada. Their work includes workshops that speak to Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and communities, deepening the reconciliation conversation across communities.

Funding from the IRF supported the work of Returning to Spirit through a project named “1 Generation of Reconciliation for 1 Generation of Residential School”.

Indigenous and non-Indigenous members participated separately in four-day Roots of Reconciliation workshops that uncovered the root causes of hurt and how they influence personal biases and opinions. Participants practiced vital communication skills and were encouraged to acknowledge the costs of avoiding reconciliation for themselves and their relationships.

After completing Roots of Reconciliation Workshops, Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants came together face-to-face. During these gatherings, participants gained insights into how they interpret others’ stories, their community’s stance on right and wrong and the toll on their relationships. 

The impact of this project is significant, with over 80% of participants reporting increased self-compassion, 98% finding the workshops valuable and 93% feeling confident in applying the tools in daily life. 66% of attendees identified as Indigenous, Black, or people of colour.

The true power of “1 Generation of Reconciliation for 1 Generation of Residential School” lies in its innate ability to prompt self-exploration and challenge biases. In the shadow of the lasting wounds of residential schools, this project allows participants to reconcile with themselves before reaching out to others, fostering healing and empathy.

About Returning to Spirit:

Returning to Spirit is an Indigenous-led non-profit in Saskatoon with a balanced Board of Indigenous and non-Indigenous members. In 2001, program creators Marc Pizandawatc and Sister Ann Thompson SSA faced challenges while envisioning reconciliation between former Indian Residential School students and faith community members. They conceived the RTS reconciliation process and workshops led by experienced trainers and partners, and today, the model has reached First Nations Reserves, rural areas, and cities, with thousands participating from diverse backgrounds.

To learn more about the work of Returning to Spirit, visit their website at https://www.returningtospirit.org/

Diocese of Saskatoon – Granting Committee