decolonizing reading club

In January 2021, LWF and the Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective (LWIC) collaboratively created a reading club to grow our teams’ understanding of Indigenous perspectives and experiences, truth and reconciliation, treaty obligations, and the history and legacy of colonization. Though group discussions on shared readings, this reading club genuinely created a safe and brave space for personal and professional learning and reflection that hadn’t been possible in other workshops and trainings.

The reading club is part of the ongoing growth and development of all staff members as we continue our respective learning journeys. We are working together to challenge our preconceptions, prejudices and past education. We want to ensure that LWF and LWIC staff are equipped with knowledge, terminology and perspectives that will help us integrate actions of reconciliation, decolonization and antiracism within our professional work and in our personal lives.

The topics, ideas and truths we encounter may be difficult and provoke uncomfortable feelings. Having honest conversations about the impacts of colonialism and racism is not easy, but is incredibly important.

As a result of the reading club and subsequent initiatives, LWF and LWIC staff have developed a greater understanding of the impacts of colonization, and have applied these lessons. Most notably, the 2023-2027 strategic planning process – including committee briefs, land acknowledgement and new organizational values – was more meaningful and productive as a result. The strategic plan commits to “educate LWF staff, board, members and partners on treaty rights and responsibilities, anti-racism, environmental justice, and the impacts of colonialism” (1.3) and “respect Indigenous rights and jurisdiction and uplift Indigenous knowledge for the protection of Lake Winnipeg” (2.4).

As we read new books, papers and other materials, we will be sharing our reflections on our website, as well as in our newsletters and through e-updates. We invite you to join us on this learning journey. 

Click the below links to read recent staff reflections:

Decolonizing Reading Club: White Supremacy Culture – Still Here

Read LWF Program Coordinator Claire Harvey’s reflection on Tema Okun’s article, which explores how characteristics of white supremacy culture shows up in our workplaces and personal lives.

Decolonizing Reading Club: A Grandmother Begins the Story

Read LWF Communications Advisor Marlo Campbell’s reflection on Michelle Porter’s novel, which uses episodic storytelling to explore themes of family, trauma, resistance, endurance and resilience.

Decolonizing Reading Club: Rehearsals for Living

Read Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective Program Lead Kianna Durston’s reflection on Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s analysis of current and historical collective efforts to build a better world.