In June of 2021, the Canadian federal government passed legislation to mark September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is designated as a day to ‘honour the resilience, dignity, and strength of survivors and intergenerational survivors and remember the children who never came home’ and a chance to ‘engage and educate people about B.C.’s colonial history and how it has and continues to impact Indigenous communities.’
Since 2013, September 30 has been observed as Orange Shirt Day, which is a movement to recognize the colonial legacy of residential schools and commit to the ongoing reconciliation process.
Veritext Canada pledges to do our part in this process through our ongoing commitment to ensuring Indigenous languages and culture is respected in the legal services industry.
This page is dedicated to showcasing the organizations and people that we are proud to support and partner with, as well as the projects that we are committed to.
The Treatment of Indigenous Language in Legal Transcripts
On September 21, we hosted a CPD webinar titled: The Treatment of Indigenous Language in Legal Transcripts. This was hosted by Christy Pratt, RCR, RPR, CLR, Vice President of Veritext Canada, Mike Parkhill, O.Ont., MSM, SayITFirst (Founder), and Nigel Baker-Grenier, J.D., White Raven Law (Associate).
The attendees included lawyers, paralegals, and other legal practice professionals, and also invited were the court reporters who are integral to creating respectful, practical approaches to transcribing oral Indigenous language and managing transcript errata without changing or expanding on testimony.
This webinar is the first of many that we will be presenting on Indigenous languages and cultural considerations in the legal industry.
Meet Kristy Cameron, Métis Artist
You may have seen the above image a few times now in the promotion of our September webinar. “Communicating…Sharing, Connecting, Growing…Together” is the title credit of this beautiful piece by Kristy Cameron.
The message of this piece resonated strongly with us, as we commit to grow and learn together in the spirit of community.
Kristy was born and raised in Atikokan, Ontario, the Canoe Capital of Canada. Being raised surrounded by the beauty of the natural world has given her endless subjects to paint, as she observes and researches this environment and its inner connections.
As a Métis artist and descendant of numerous fur trade employees, Kristy incorporates Indigenous and historical content into her art. The bright, bold colours are templates for more intricate images that unfurl deeper meanings within meanings.
Kristy’s art can be found in private and public collections, such as the Archives of Ontario, the Canadian Museum of History, and various school boards and social agencies.
Meet Nigel Baker-Grenier, J.D., Associate at White Raven Law
We were truly fortunate to have Nigel Baker-Grenier join our Indigenous Language webinar panel. Nigel belongs to the Gisgahaast clan from the Gitxsan Nation, and he is also Swampy Cree from Churchill, Manitoba.
Nigel is an Associate at White Raven Law and an Adjunct Professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in the History Honours program at the University of British Columbia and a Juris Doctor from the Peter A. Allard School of Law.
Nigel chose to study law to revitalize Indigenous laws grounded in oral histories and traditions. Indigenous laws contain rich normative resources that are relevant today and robustly inform the rights and obligations of the contemporary world.
Nigel has taught Indigenous-Settler Legal Relations and is currently the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic’s seminar instructor. His research focuses on the revitalization of Indigenous laws which are grounded in oral histories and traditions. Indigenous laws contain rich normative resources that are relevant today and robustly inform the rights and obligations of the contemporary world.
He is also the lead dancer for Dancers of Damelahamid, an Indigenous dance company based in Vancouver. He has developed and performed numerous works including; Spirit Transforming 2012, Flicker 2016, Talking Past Each Other 2018, and Mînowin 2019. Nigel has toured nationally and internationally as an artist. He has also assisted in organizing the annual Coastal First Nations Dance Festival.
Meet Mike Parkhill O.Ont., MSM., Founder of SayITFirst
Mike Parkhill rounded out the panel for our Indigenous language webinar. Mike left his executive career at Microsoft Canada to start SayITFirst, a company dedicated to helping Indigenous communities reverse language loss and develop more speakers today than existed yesterday.
Mike took his technological knowledge at Microsoft and created the idea of approaching various communities to collect their language knowledge and then digitize and preserve it for teachers, parents, and students to access and learn from. Mike’s respect for the cultures of the communities that he has connected with, plus his ability to connect with elders, made this venture a success.
Mike is a five-time best-selling author, and SayITFirst has won Best Canadian Educational Video and the NYX International Award for Best Canadian Cultural Video for the creation of the Koko Jones Children shows. For his efforts and the resulting impact on Indigenous communities, Mike has received the Order of Ontario and the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal.
“We collectively need to continue making progress in solidifying self-identity in our Native youth, our role in supporting Native Canadian youth and Indigenous roles in revitalization.” – Mike Parkhill
You can learn more here.
Meet Charlene SanJenko, 2X Founder + Impact Producer
Charlene SanJenko is a two-time Indigenous founder of reGEN media – the first and only Indigenous-owned and female-led company that facilitates the creation, funding, and distribution of regenerative media projects through a relational filmmaking model – and PowHERhouse – a community of practice for diverse leaders, changemakers and social impacters ready to walk a path of relational leadership for future generations.
Charlene now adds filmmaker to her CV with the launch of her documentary, Coming Home for the Children – reGEN media’s first original short documentary, directed by Charlene SanJenko. The film is a personal journey and exploration of the importance of intergenerational healing, touching the pain, and what it truly means to come home to our whole selves for the children.
You can see a trailer for the film here. You can RSVP to the virtual screening on October 30th too.
For an in-depth look at the story behind the documentary, you can tune in to the podcast hosted by Charlene where she shares more details of the life of a 60’s scoop survivor and the path to building a new identity immersed in her indigenous culture.
PowHERhouse is currently seeking more people and organizations to support their initiative LIFTing Your Leadership. This is an economic reconciliation project in partnership with the Indigenous LIFT Collective, Co-operators, Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Sunshine Coast Insurance Services Inc., reGEN media, and PowHERhouse. The seed for this project was planted in May 2022 at an intentional solutions-focused gathering called, The Table of Twenty, hosted by PowHERhouse.
The project developed through co-creative conversations with a focus on uplifting twelve Indigenous women founders and non-binary entrepreneurs in their early stages of entrepreneurship. The cohort program was rooted in decolonized leadership development and is steeped in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. This is an online cohort experience in creative expression as a vehicle for healing, creative entrepreneur ignition, and personal leadership and growth opportunities. It is accessible for women from rural and remote communities to build healing and capacity from the roots.
Student Legal Assistance (SLA)
Student Legal Assistance (SLA) is a pro-bono legal clinic that provides legal information and representation to low-income residents of Calgary and the surrounding area.
Every year, over 100 law students volunteer their time providing civil, criminal, and family law help to individuals who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. SLA’s work improves the functioning of our Courts by providing clients with representation and ensuring they have the legal information necessary to make sound decisions inside and outside the courtroom.
One area of legal assistance the organization provides help with is residential tenancy dispute resolution.
In 2022, the SLA had taken on a case of an Indigenous woman who – after 20 years of peaceful residency – was facing an eviction notice. The appeal could not be made without a transcript. In Alberta, many court transcription services have been subsumed by the province, whereas RTDRS hearings have not. In this case, the SLA’s client could not afford the usual transcription fees, so the transcription team at Veritext was happy to step up and transcribe the one hour of audio files the students had recorded for their client – at no charge – as our way of supporting access to justice for all.
We have helped with another case for them this year and continue to support the SLA via their annual charity golf tournament at Sirocco Golf Club each July. Funds raised through the tournament support SLA’s ongoing operations.
You can learn more at their website.
The Witness Blanket is a large-scale installation by artist and master carver Carey Newman, inspired by a woven blanket. (Source)
Inspired by a woven blanket, the Witness Blanket is a large-scale work of art. It contains hundreds of items reclaimed from residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures from across Canada.
Here, you can explore the items and stories carried by the Witness Blanket. They are accompanied by the voices of Survivors who talk about the experience of being forced into residential schools. Their generous and insightful stories convey the reality of anti-Indigenous racism, colonialism and genocide. They reveal the ongoing harms caused by Canada’s residential school system.
As we continue our reconciliation journey, many charities and organizations are leading the efforts to support Indigenous Peoples and this process of reconciliation.
The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
On June 21, 2021, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act received Royal Assent and immediately came into force. This legislation advances the implementation of the Declaration as a key step in renewing the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.
The IBA is a not-for-profit federal corporation continued under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, S.C. 2009, c. 23, and a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers, judges, legal academics and scholars, articling students, law clerks, paralegals and law students.
Read the origin of Orange Shirt Day and other stories about survivorship,
Secret Path is a ten-song digital download album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.
Removed from their family home and forced into Canada’s residential school system, Cree musical prodigy Aline and her siblings are plunged into a struggle for survival. The film was written, directed, and produced by Métis/Dene filmmaker Marie Clements. See where to view here.