The following is the fourth question posed to the candidates for leadership of the GPA. The vote to choose the new leader will be held at the AGM on September 22nd.
“How can Green politics and Green politicians help overcome the barriers and misunderstandings that currently exist between groups of Albertans, most importantly between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Albertans, but also between city dwellers, on the one hand, and rural and small town Albertans, on the other?”
The answers from the two remaining candidates for the leadership are given below in the order in which they were received. A strict 150 word limit was imposed.
People have more in common that what separates us. We want safe homes, healthy families, job and career, good education, and the best for our kids and grandkids. We need to thrive and survive. Clean water, clean air, enough food, housing, and our Mother Earth provides.
We share many of the same values, too. The principles of the Green Party align with the Seven Sacred Teachings: focus on people and our environment.
To overcome barriers and misunderstandings, we need to communicate, talk to each other, hear one another. Truth is sacred, to be shared in an honest, good way; reconciliation is a process where people choose to learn, grow, change and care, and move forward together. Respect for one another opens doors of understanding, and we can move forward to build bridges of understanding, roadways of connection, gatherings of families and communities.
We’ve made a start at reconciliation with indigenous peoples; we must do more. To some, we have created a virtual apartheid. We must respect the treaties. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is excellent. I’ve learned about de-colonization from Native leaders. I value the TRC and the 94 Calls To Action. I’m still learning.
Reconciliation – between any groups with differences in heritage, values or priorities, and where there have been negative historical experiences – is not easy. It must start with respect.
Education is vital. More indigenous education in the curriculum is helping. Exchange programs/activities (cultural or otherwise) can help. Higher education also helps: I see more indigenous doctors, lawyers, teachers and counsellors etc. than before.
We must hear each other’s stories; show respect for cultures; learn the truth about historical injustices; focus on our shared humanity; celebrate our differences; and work together toward healing.