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Meet Team ReconciliACTION YEG 21/22: Hero Laird

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,


Welcome to 2022, a new year in the Gregorian Calendar. For some, this is a time of aspiration, hope and new beginnings. For others, it is mid-year: a time for storytelling. A time for art [1]. Whichever calendars you use, I can tell you this for sure: it's cold here in Treaty 6!


Fortunately each day gets a little brighter and we at ReconciliACTION YEG are excited to continue exploring current context and issues related to the Calls to Action with you.

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Hero Laird, and I am honoured to step into Liz's beautiful shoes and walk alongside Amanda, Casey, Gavin, and Amy as part of the ReconciliACTION 2021-2022 team. Together, we tend this little blog and encourage it to bear fruit. My heart is glad when I think about all the teams of students that have come together here to reflect on reconciliation and take action through sharing their words.


On my first day it's also nice to have won an award, already. Just kidding. I haven't done anything yet. So congratulations to this year’s team. They stand on the shoulders of giants. This new recognition is a testament to not only their work but the work of all the students who came before. For some great, award-winning reads, you can find their work here and here [2].


What award, you ask? Thanks to stellar student effort, the reconciliACTION blog has been inducted into the CLAWBIES Hall of Fame [3]. For those of you that don't know, the CLAWBIES recognize Canadian Law Blogs. ReconciliACTION was assessed with every other law blog from coast-to-coast-to-coast, written by firms and lawyers as well as students. That means that for years, the writing here has been pretty good! I'll do my best to keep it up.


It also means I get to thank you, dear readers. Kinanâskomitin for coming along. This year, we hope to hear from you, too. We'll be asking some questions and inviting your thoughts.


So I might mention a little bit more about me so we can get cozy, have a nice tea, and have some nice Monday blogs together.


Since I grew up in many places, I used to joke that I was from nowhere. Then I learned that my families came across the sea from England, Scotland and Ireland. On my father's side, I know one branch ended up here more-or-less by accident after an aborted attempt to reach Antarctica. (The longer tale requires a full pot of tea!) I'm still learning such stories. A few generations later, I was born in the foothills in Treaty 7 territory, and raised on the plains and by the sea, in the unceded lands of Coast Salish peoples. Then I wandered, learning, living and working in England, the Middle East, tiohtià:ke/ Montreal, tkaronto/ Toronto, and in amiskwacîwâskahikan/ Edmonton to support civil society and peace building.


A turning point in my life came when I visited Indspire [4] as part of my graduate studies [5]. We sat in a circle and our host asked kindly, "where are you from?" Not one word: a story. Me, a settler, I didn't know. In retrospect, answering this question is changing my life. And yes, I'm still answering it. Learning, and accepting, the places and stories that shape me and my families - warts and all - has helped me to be braver, and kinder. Since everyone is from somewhere, no one is apart. Some roots have been obscured, or cut. I have found that accepting my stories, tough and incomplete as some of them may be, is a gift. Without knowing ourselves, how can we relate well to others? Without learning from others, how can we understand ourselves?


For me, reconciliACTION is a gift of reflection: to learn, and to share, the stories that shape us here in Canada, on Turtle Island. Where are we from? Who are we now? And where might we go next?


Thank you for joining me on this part of my journey with reconciliACTION. I'm honoured to be writing to you, and I hope some of you will write back!


Until next time,


Hero & Team ReconciliACTION



[1] If you're feeling the mid-winter blues, here's one bright spot in Edmonton/ amiskwacîwâskahikan (Celebration: An Indigenous Art Exhibit runs til January 29): https://whiskeyjackarthouse.ca/pages/current-events-rkmw.

[2] The ReconciliACTION YEG blog moved! Current work is at https://reconciliactionyeg.wixsite.com/website and archives are at https://ualbertalaw.typepad.com/faculty/.

[3] https://www.clawbies.ca/.

[4] Indspire is a national Indigenous registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. You can find out more about Indspire here: ​​https://indspire.ca/.

[5] I completed my graduate studies with the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience: https://uwaterloo.ca/waterloo-institute-for-social-innovation-and-resilience/.

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