Righting Relations

Righting Relations

Someone asked me what it means when I say:

“As a Settler, I acknowledge the treaty relations that have not been honoured and work daily to restore good relations.”

As a mixed race person, my family has a complex relationship to colonialism. On the one side, my family is of European ancestry who settled in across what is sometimes called Canada and the USA. The other side of my family was brought through indentured labour to work in the sugarcane fields of Trinidad and later journeyed to Alberta.

Even though some folks in my family have separate and intersecting experiences of colonialism, they have also benefited from treaty agreements that have allowed Non-Indigenous people to settle here. However, treaty promises made to Indigenous communities have not been honoured even though settler and diasporic communities continue to live in this territory and make use of natural resources.

As a person, I cannot change the lives of my ancestors or control people other than myself. I can, however, take actions daily to right relations — through my word choices, relationships, purchases, votes, books I read, work I do, the way I show up in community, how I share resources and opportunities, and how I challenge the world around me.

As the founder of a business, recently this understanding of righting relations has informed my HR practices, our sourcing commitments, packaging design, and community care conversations. It also informs how we stay open to hard feedback.

There is still so much more work to do and so much that I don’t know. It’s one of the privileges of my life to get to do this work.

Righting relations is a commitment to showing up and doing the work on equity, even if it takes time and you make lots of mistakes.

If you have questions or suggestions, please reach out!

Love Always,
#sarjesa #business #socialenterprise #bethechange #postcolonialism
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