News Ticker

Truth and Reconciliation Summit Coming to Banff Centre


by Meghan J. Ward

On October 29, 2016, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is hosting a Truth and Reconciliation Summit for Bow Valley residents to learn about and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. The event will bring together both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous participants to explore their roles in the reconciliation process and develop an approach for repairing Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples. We interviewed Banff Centre’s Brian Calliou to find out more on the background and goals of this important event, and how you can take part.

The Truth and Reconciliation Summit comes to The Banff Centre October 29, 2016.

The Truth and Reconciliation Summit comes to Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity October 29, 2016.

Last year, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada issued a report based on a multi-year process to listen to survivors, communities and others affected by the Residential School system. This report and other materials are now in the care of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba.

On October 29, 2016, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is hosting a day-long summit for Bow Valley residents to learn about and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action that resulted from this process. Summit participants will be equipped with new knowledge and tools to take action and incorporate reconciliation into their own lives, families, organizations, and communities.

To learn more about the Summit, Crowfoot Media’s Editor-in-Chief caught up with Brian Calliou, one of the lead organizers of the event and Banff Centre’s Program Director for Indigenous Leadership and Management.

Meghan J. Ward/ How did the Truth and Reconciliation Summit come to be?

Brian Calliou/ At first we were waiting for the full Truth and Reconciliation Commission report to come out, and wanted to invite a Commissioner from the TRC to come in and speak to the public. But then we thought, “Why don’t we do more? If the public is going to be here, how can we bring them to a call to action and to foster respect for the history, presence and rights of Aboriginal people?”

We looked to other organizations doing work in Truth and Reconciliation, such as the United Church of Canada, and eventually came up with an event that would include multiple speakers and break-out sessions.

MJW/ What does the day’s schedule look like?

BC/ The Summit will begin with our Keynote Speakers [see below], including a bit of truth from the TRC Commissioner, Marie Wilson. She will share an overview of the report, which will include a brief review of government assimilation policies, residential school experiences, and an overview of the calls to action. We will also be hosting a panel with speakers from different sectors, including church, education, arts, health and government. After lunch, participants will break out into groups with various “thought leaders” (we have over 40 of them coming from different sectors who are already doing some of this work). We will have Indigenous voices sprinkled throughout each breakout room, including local Stoney youth. 

Finally, we will all come back together to do a quick overview of what each breakout room covered. Our hope is that some local people will have been inspired to own at least one call to action and leave with a personal action plan for reconciliation in their community.

Participants in the Elder Tom Crane Bear Room (Cultural space on campus where some of the Summit will be held). Photo courtesy The Banff Centre.

Participants in the Elder Tom Crane Bear Room (a cultural space on campus where some of the Summit will be held). Photo courtesy Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

MJW/ You’ve asked the thought leaders to stick around for an extra day to meet with each other and with key leaders at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. What do you hope to accomplish?

BC/ We wanted to focus the Summit around getting people to move into action quickly and bring together this network of people to inspire them. The Banff Centre is already starting to do this work, we have built this network and now we a chance to learn about and support each other’s work in that national network.

In terms of Banff Centre, these additional meetings are all aimed to help develop a framework around reconciliation. We want to do this work in all of our program areas and infuse indigenous perspectives across all disciplines. Our goal is to position Banff Centre as a leader on these big ideas. We’re going to act on this. We’re going to do even better.

MJW/ This event sold out quickly. How can people take part if they don’t have a ticket?

BC/ The public event will be filmed (and live streamed on the website). We’ll also have a report from the breakout sessions and from thought leaders. We have commissioned someone to do an internal report so that we can make our findings available to the public.


Keynote Speakers include:


Writer, adventurer, outdoorsy mama and summit cartwheeler, Meghan J. Ward is the editor and co-founder at Crowfoot Media and lives for backcountry getaways.

The views and opinions expressed in the articles on are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editor, the editorial team or the publishers.

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