The 4Rs Youth Movement has grown together over the past nine years as an Indigenous youth-led, settler-supported collaborative, seeking to change the country now known as Canada by changing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people. Building on a foundation of Respect, Reciprocity, Reconciliation & Relevance (the 4Rs), our goal is to bring young people together to learn and take action on some of the most critical and challenging issues of our time.. Our hope is to grow our collective capacity and strategically weave together networks of awesome people, organizations and movements contributing to a healthier ecosystem for young people engaging in decolonization & reconciliation work.
While cross-cultural dialogue is a foundational pillar of our work at 4Rs, we have been hearing from Indigenous youth that the conversation and resources attached to reconciliation are moving away from addressing the systemic issues surrounding colonization and meeting the needs of Indigenous peoples and communities. Many feel that reconciliation is being co-opted, where the voices and actions of those with power and privilege are continually centred, while Indigenous healing, land reclamation, justice and equity are pushed to the side. With this feedback, we’ve been called to question whether the current approach of reconciliation is having a meaningful impact at every level.
With the voices of community in mind, it feels important to push back against “reconciliation” as a buzzword, knowing the purpose and intent of our actions will live on beyond a political or program mandate. We want to refocus our efforts so they are aligned with how Indigenous youth define this work, using what we’ve been learning about systems change and holding meaningful cross-cultural dialogue, while also acknowledging and honouring the definition of reconciliation residential school survivors outlined in the TRC process.