The idea for the new Table Talks program, which aims to bring non-Indigenous and Indigenous community members together to have meaningful conversations about reconciliation, was sparked by a conversation between Kim English (left) and Kelly Terbasket, the Syilx Okanagan director of IndigenEYEZ. (Submitted)

The idea for the new Table Talks program, which aims to bring non-Indigenous and Indigenous community members together to have meaningful conversations about reconciliation, was sparked by a conversation between Kim English (left) and Kelly Terbasket, the Syilx Okanagan director of IndigenEYEZ. (Submitted)

Table Talks aims to bring South Okanagan Similkameen together to talk reconciliation

The project is by IndigenEYEZ and the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen

Would you like to know how to work towards reconciliation in your day-to-day life?

Table Talks is a new pilot program being developed by the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen in collaboration with IndigenEYEZ.

This new program aims to bring non-Indigenous and Indigenous community members together in a safe space to have deep conversations about reconciliation and to help spark ideas about how people can respectfully build relationships and take action in our work and in our personal lives.

“As a fourth-generation settler, I know it can be hard and many of us are unsure where to begin,” said Kim English, of the Community Foundation. “Change requires us to think, feel, and act differently.”

These kinds of shifts can start with intentional and meaningful conversation. In fact, the idea for the Table Talks program was sparked by a conversation between Kim English and Kelly Terbasket, the Syilx Okanagan director of IndigenEYEZ, an Okanagan-based initiative that delivers popular land-based, creative empowerment trainings for Indigenous peoples.

In response to numerous requests from non-Indigenous people, Terbasket and her team recently launched kinSHIFT, which delivers workshops for anyone wishing to cultivate meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples but unsure where to begin.

“As a mixed heritage person, I’ve learned to transform my own internalized barriers to real connection,” said Terbasket. “I have lived the divisions that colonization brought and I am committed to helping change this for our upcoming generations. While kinSHIFT is supporting businesses to do this work, Table Talks is an exciting way to bring these conversations into our neighbourhoods.”

Table Talks is being developed locally, with the aim to eventually host conversations across the province. “We’re thrilled to be leading a project that can have such a positive impact locally and eventually reach a much wider audience,” said English. “Working on this is so important, and really fits with our own organization’s commitment to gaining deeper learning of Syilx Okanagan values and understanding the local impacts of colonization.”

“Indigenous people have so much to offer,” added Terbasket. “We are the roots of this country and need to be treated as such. In Syilx culture, we have this powerful concept of p?ax̌ which speaks to the way that coming together as people can spark understanding. Table Talks can be the spark that helps light the way forward.”

The Vancouver Foundation through the Right Relations program is the main funder.

To learn more about the pilot project contact IndigenEYEZ or the Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen.

READ ALSO: ‘Truth and Reconciliation is an action, not a day off’: Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief

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